IISHJ Independent Study

IISHJ Independent Study

Thank you for your interest in learning more about Secular Humanistic Judaism!

There are many opportunities to learn more about our movement on your own or in a study group. Our distinct approach to Jewish history and culture, personal philosophy, ethics, spirituality and more can help deepen your understanding and identity while broadening your horizons. Here are some suggestions:

  • Study Guides: a number of our publications now have free study/discussion guides that can both assist your reading and facilitate small group discussions of the key ideas and issues raised in the texts. Here are those books, all of which are available for sale on Amazon.com or directly from us – the study guides are free PDFs linked to from the individual book pages.

Humanist Readings in Jewish Folklore

Staying Sane in a Crazy World

A Provocative People:
A Secular History of the Jews

Judaism in a Secular Age
(study guide for parts II and III only)


Judaism Beyond God:

Beyond Tradition:
The Struggle for a New Jewish Identity

  • Introduction to Secular Humanistic Judaism: a 3-part Adult Education Curriculum: tied to a few key textbooks, this curriculum is designed for self-study or for small group discussion with a facilitator. Each unit includes an introductory essay, recommended readings and discussion questions (curriculum purchase includes coursepack originals and facilitator’s copy with suggested discussion question answers). 20 units on Jewish history, 15 units on Jewish culture and 15 units on Secular Humanistic Jewish philosophy will provide a solid grounding in our movement’s approach to Jewish life. Videos from classes taught based on this curriculum are now available on these YouTube playlists: Introduction to Jewish HistoryIntroduction to Jewish Culture, and Philosophy of Secular Humanistic Judaism.
  • IISHJ Colloquium Conferences: between 1995 and 2014, the IISHJ sponsored biennial Colloquium conferences on important issues in Jewish life. Unaffiliated Jews, new approaches to Jewish history, Jews and the Muslim world, secular spirituality, the future of Jewish peoplehood, and more were discussed, debated and challenged over multiple riveting and enlightening sessions. Some Colloquia resulted in IISHJ publications, and videos of all Colloquium sessions have been posted on the IISHJ YouTube channel. Enjoy a learning adventure by reliving each Colloquium!
  • Lectures, sermons and classes by IISHJ Dean for North America Rabbi Adam Chalom: In addition to his work with the IISHJ, Dean Chalom is the Rabbi of Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation in north suburban Chicago. Selections of his High Holiday and shabbat sermons, as well as other educational programs, have been recorded and presented through “The Kol Hadash Podcast” on iTunes and other podcasting platforms. Over 80 episodes currently available!

You might also be interested in working your way through our recommended reading list on Secular Humanistic Judaism, or the syllabi of most of our Rabbinic Seminars, which you can find linked from the specific seminar descriptions.

You can also watch videos of learning sessions with Dean Chalom on the IISHJ YouTube Channel: Tradition and FreedomJewish in the 21st CenturyFAQs of Secular Humanistic Judaism, and more.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact IISHJ Dean for North America Rabbi Adam Chalom at info@iishj.org. Happy learning!