Humanistic Jewish Havurah hosts Rabbi-in-Residence

The Humanistic Jewish Havurah of Southwest Florida is looking forward to the visit of Rabbi Miriam Jerris, Society for Humanistic Judaism Rabbi, who will be visiting our area the weekend of February 19-21.


Rabbi Jerris will be participating in our Humanistic Jewish Shabbat celebration Friday evening at the Pelican Marsh Community Center. This is a potluck event. The charge, $10 per person, covers our expenses. To attend, contact Dean Sklaroff at 239.591.0101, as she coordinates what each participant should bring.

South Regional Lee County Public Library discussion

On Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., Rabbi Jerris will be at the South Regional Lee County Public Library (21100 Three Oaks Parkway, Estero) to explain and discuss Humanistic Judaism to anyone interested in learning more about our movement.

Are you uncomfortable in a traditional temple or synagogue? Do services seem somehow disconnected from your beliefs or how you live your life? Did you abandon the belief in a personal deity years ago? In spite of being pretty secular, do you find yourself drawn to things Jewish? Would you like to congregate with other Jews who feel the same about their Jewish identity? Many suffer from the disability of not feeling legitimately Jewish. Others do not even know that another option exists. Rabbi Jerris has been involved in Humanistic Judaism for more than 40 years and is adept at explaining the humanistic option that serves the needs of people who have these concerns.

Secular Humanistic Judaism is a viable alternative to the existing theistic varieties that dominate the American scene. It may be your alternative and Saturday afternoon will be an opportunity to meet face to face with Rabbi Jerris to learn more. If you would like to attend, call 239.495.8484.

Community meeting

Then on Sunday at 2:00 p.m., the Havurah meets in the David G. Willens Community Room of the Jewish Federation of Collier County (2500 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 2201, Naples). Rabbi Jerris will talk about “Living an Authentic Jewish Life.” What is the value of Jewish identity in a secular world? Can you be a part of the Jewish community and question some of the basic premises of Rabbinic Judaism? What if you question the notion of an omnipotent, omnipresent deity? Do you feel hypocritical saying the words at a traditional Shabbat or holiday service? Rabbi Jerris will explain how secular Humanistic Judaism provides a way to participate in Jewish communal celebration while “saying what we believe and believing what we say.” The rabbi will reflect on the reasons she feels that Humanistic Judaism enables her to be both a Jew and a Humanist simultaneously. Dena Sklaroff ( or 239.591.0101) is accepting reservations for this event.

Most secular and humanistic Jews have never bothered to deal with the philosophic and historic foundations of their commitment. Judaism is no single religion or philosophy of life. It embraces a spectrum of alternatives that find significance and value in Jewish identity. A secular approach to Judaism is an important alternative among Jewish people throughout the world.

A basic tenet of Humanistic Judaism is that our power resides within each of us. No matter what we say we believe, it’s what we do that counts.

Jewish identity needs to find some way to express itself that does not violate other values that are equally important, or more important. It needs to promote personal integrity. It needs to present a realistic version of Jewish history and to incorporate it into Jewish celebration.