On Monday night at the Boulder JCC, Rabbi Miriam Jerris presented an animated discussion about Humanistic Judaism. The program, sponsored by Menorah and MOVERS, was attended by approximately 35 people, including a large contingent from Beth Ami, the Colorado Congregation for Humanistic Judaism. The lecture was entitled, “Prayer without God: the Language of Humanistic Judaism.”
Rabbi Jerris explained that the movement started in 1963 in Michigan by Rabbi Sherwin Wine as an offshoot of the Reform movement. Humanistic Judaism began with the Reform prayer book and revised it over time, removing all references to God.
Rabbi Jerris, a member of the Society for Humanistic Judaism and an ordained Rabbi, stated that Humanistic Judaism focuses on Jewish history and culture and that services do not follow a liturgy or have traditional prayers. The prayers focus on placing reliance on self and others. Rabbi Jerris concluded her presentation by teaching those assembled three songs traditionally used in Humanistic Jewish services, entitled “Peace Be with You,” “There’s a Place (Yesh Makom)” and “Where is My Light (Ayfo Oree)?”