About Us

The International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ) was established in 1985 in Jerusalem to serve the needs of the growing movement of  Secular Humanistic Judaism. Its three primary purposes are to train rabbis, leaders, educators and spokespersons, to commission and publish materials for the movement and to offer public seminars and Colloquia for education and inspiration. Since the North American Section was incorporated in 1985, it has ordained over 40 Leaders/madrikhim(ot)/vegvayzer and Rabbis.

While the IISHJ was originally envisioned as the center of a multi-national network of programs, its current activities are focused on supporting the work of the North American Section and its Israeli partner (since 2004), Tmura-IISHJ: the Institute for Training Secular Humanistic Rabbis and Jewish Leadership in Israel. The original IISHJ campus is located at the Ben and Lorraine Pivnick Center for Humanistic Judaism in Farmington Hills, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. The IISHJ administrative office is in Lincolnshire, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Seminars are held at both the Lincolnshire and the Pivnick Center campuses, as well as with Secular and Humanistic Communities throughout North America.

The IISHJ includes faculty members of major universities throughout the world who serve as part-time lecturers and instructors. Distinguished writers, intellectuals, and ordained Secular Humanistic Rabbis also serve as faculty. The intellectual and organizational leader of IISHJ from its establishment until his untimely death in 2007 was Rabbi Sherwin Wine. The current Dean for North America is Rabbi Adam Chalom, PhD.