Humanistic Judaism is a movement in Judaism poised to address and respond to the changing nature of Jewish identity. The Pew Research Study of 2013 found that one in five Jews (22%) identify as having no religion. Among those born after 1980, this number increases to 32% who describe themselves as having no religion. These individuals, as well as many who identify as religious, identify as Jewish on the basis of ancestry, ethnicity, or culture. They hold a cultural Jewish identity coupled with a strong belief in humanism.
Humanistic Judaism embraces a human-centered philosophy that combines rational thinking with a deep connection to the Jewish people and Jewish culture. Humanistic Judaism integrates the celebration of Jewish identity with the belief in using human reason and human power as the best vehicle for improving the world.
Humanistic Judaism provides an approach to Judaism for many Jews who say they are not very religious but are seeking a connection to their Jewish heritage. For those who might identify as “just Jewish,” cultural, secular, Humanistic, half-Jewish, “not religious,” atheist or agnostic, Humanistic Judaism offers a connection to their Jewish identity and the Jewish community. Humanistic Judaism offers an approach to Judaism that enables them to say what they believe and believe what they say. For more than fifty years, Humanistic Judaism has provided an inclusive home for Jews and their families, including the intermarried, the LGBTQ community, and families where Jewish ancestry is patrilineal – a home for all those who identify with the history, ethical values, culture, civilization, community, and fate of the Jewish people.
By offering a meaningful opportunity for the celebration of cultural Judaism, the Society for Humanistic Judaism provides a pathway into the Jewish community for many unaffiliated Jews. Humanistic Judaism offers a significant Jewish alternative in the modern world.