Rediscovering Jewish Diversity

The real Jewish experience is more diverse than we ever imagined.

How can the histories of diverse Jewish communities transform the Jewish present? Join us to learn and to grow!


Please register separately for each session by clicking the separate links .

Thank you!

This program will be presented by Rabbi Adam Chalom, Ph.D, the Dean for North America of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism. You can read more about his academic background here, and you can see examples of past programs he’s taught on the IISHJ’s YouTube channel, either a complete list or selected recent online programs.

What ties together Jews with roots in Russia, Syria, Azerbaijan and Ethiopia? How can we create one Jewish community, even a self-defined Secular Humanistic Jewish congregation, from the wide range of Jewish experiences, attachments, cultures and beliefs? Perhaps what might drive us apart can also bring us together.

What are the Jews? – Is being Jewish a nationality, or a race, or a culture, or a people, or a religion, or something else? The answer to this question will impact how we understand what diverse Jewish communities have in common, and why they differ.

Alexandria, Egypt – What can the experiences of Jews living 2000 years ago with Greeks and Egyptians, and balancing between traditional religion and Hellenistic culture, teach us about Jewish life in the 21st Century?

Baghdad, Iraq – Does the 2,500 history of Jews and Arabs in what became the capital city of medieval Muslim empires give us hope or despair for future prospects of tolerance and peace?

Salonika, Greece – The medieval Jewish refugees from Spanish Inquisition and expulsion transformed this small city near the border between Europe and Asia. Are they a model for modern challenges of immigration, multiculturalism and the breakdown of community?

Beta Yisrael – as the American Jewish community becomes more aware of and open to Jewish racial diversity, how can we learn from the experience of the Beta Yisrael (Ethiopian Jews) in the Jewish State of Israel?

Connecting the Dots – What do these examples of Judaism off the beaten path have in common, and where do they diverge? And what can we learn from this to open our own Jewish communities to today’s Jewish diversity?