Secular Humanistic Judaism

Secular Humanistic Judaism

Secular Humanistic Judaism is a philosophy of Jewish community, and also a powerful approach to celebrate the power and responsibility of the individual. While significant online resources and useful publications are available, IISHJ public seminars offer unique opportunities to learn more about our movement.

Shimon Dubnow

Shimon Dubnow (1860-1941)

Chaim Zhitlowsky

Chaim Zhitlowsky (1865-1943)

Sherwin Wine

Sherwin Wine (1928-2007)

Diversity is Jewish Tradition

SHJ 100) Roots of Secular Humanistic Judaism - A review of the major personalities who laid the foundation of a Secular Humanistic Judaism during the past three hundred years. Topics include the Enlightenment, the literature of Jewish Nationalism, and the philosophic works of humanistic Jewish thinkers. Required for Educators, Leadership, Spokesperson and Musicians Programs. CR: 1

SHJ 110) Basic Ideas of Secular Humanistic Judaism - A review of the fundamental principles of the movement, with a special emphasis on articulating them for a popular audience. Issues addressed include the questions of truth, reality, human nature, ethics, politics, aesthetics, Jewish identity, Jewish history and Jewish culture. Required for Educators, Leadership, Spokesperson and Musicians Programs. CR: 1

SHJ 115) Independent Study in the Philosophy of Secular Humanistic Judaism - This course is completed independently using Part IIII - Philosophy of Secular Humanistic Judaism of the Introduction to Secular Humanistic Judaism curriculum by Rabbi Adam Chalom. Acceptable written responses to all discussion questions must be completed for credit. CR:1

SHJ 125) Society for Humanistic Judaism Conference - attend an SHJ conference including all major workshop, plenary and service sessions. CR: 1

SHJ 135) Congress of Secular Jewish Organization Conference Experience - attend a CSJO conference, including all major workshop and plenary sessions. CR: 1

SHJ 145) IISHJ Colloquium Experience - attend an IISHJ Colloquium, including all sessions. CR:1


SHJ 400) Philosophy of Secular Humanistic Judaism - This graduate-level course focuses on the philosophy of Secular Humanistic Judaism and how this philosophy connects to the important questions of Jewish and personal life. Required for Master's Degree and Rabbinic Programs. CR: 3

Download a syllabus for SHJ 400

SHJ 495) Rabbinic Thesis - Supervised by the Dean. CR: 3

SHJ 501) History of Secular Humanistic Judaism 1 - A graduate-level survey of sources of Secular Humanistic Judaism in Jewish history and tradition, in contemporary movements, and in the writings and activities of famous Jewish writers, historians, intellectuals, artists, & leaders. Required for Master's Degree and Rabbinic Programs. CR: 3
Download a syllabus for SHJ 501/502

SHJ 502) History of Secular Humanistic Judaism 2 – A continuation of SHJ 501: History of Secular Humanistic Judaism, which is a prerequisite for this course. Required for Master's Degree and Rabbinic Programs. CR: 3
Download a syllabus for SHJ 501/502