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NEWS: HUMANISTIC JEWS ENDORSE MOMENT OF SILENCE AT OLYMPIC GAMES OPENING CEREMONY

Farmington Hills, MI, July 26, 2012 The Society for Humanistic Judaism has issued a statement endorsing the international effort calling for a moment of silence commemorating the 11 Israeli Olympians who were murdered in 1972 at the Summer Olympics in Munich.

The statement reads in part:

The 40th anniversary of the 1972 Olympics murders is upon us. Despite tens of thousands of requests for a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies on July 27 in London, the International Olympic Committee (the governing body of the Olympics) has refused to acknowledge at the opening ceremonies (viewed by millions around the world), the tragic deaths of 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists on September 5, 1972, at the Munich Olympic Games.

Therefore, be it resolved that the SHJ supports the commemoration of the Israeli Olympians murdered by terrorists at the 1972 Olympics and strongly recommends that its members add their names to the online petition at http://www.change.org/oneminute.

This petition, created by Ankie Spitzer, wife of the slain Israeli fencing coach; Ilana Romano, wife of one of the murdered athletes; and JCC Rockland, is the most recent effort to convince the International Olympic Committee to commemorate the slain athletes during the games. As has been done since 1972, the local Jewish community has scheduled a memorial event.

As Humanistic Jews, we support the values of dignity, equality, and freedom embodied by the Olympic spirit. “Olympians come together to compete in peace, friendship, and mutual understanding,” said Society for Humanistic Judaism executive director Bonnie Cousens. “For there to be no memorial observance included in the ceremonies on this, the 40th anniversary of the killing of the Munich 11 at the 1972 Olympic Games. is a negation of the very ideals promoted by the Olympics.”

The Society for Humanistic Judaism is the national umbrella organization for Humanistic congregations in North America. Humanistic congregations embrace a human-centered philosophy that celebrates Jewish culture. Humanistic Jews value their Jewish identity and the aspects of Jewish culture that offer a genuine expression of their contemporary way of life. Humanistic Judaism embraces the belief in the human capacity to create a better world rather than in reliance on a supernatural power or an omniscient deity.

There are currently more than 30 congregations in the United States and Canada affiliated with this growing movement. Forty-nine percent of the United States 5.5 million Jews say that their outlook is secular and forty-eight percent do not belong to a synagogue or other Jewish organization according to the American Jewish Identification Survey undertaken by professional statisticians under the auspices of the Center for Jewish Studies at the City University of New York. The Society helps to organize local congregations and havurot, creates and disseminates celebrational and educational materials, provides national programs, including programs for teens and young adults, and serves the needs of individual members who do not live near an existing Humanistic congregation.

For more information, contact the Society for Humanistic Judaism.

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