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The Spinoza Havurah

A Community for Spiritual Humanistic Judaism

About us

The Spinoza Havurah is a completely online, lay-led collaborative community for secular, atheist, agnostic, and Humanistic Jews as well as non-Jewish humanists. We gather on Zoom to celebrate and observe Shabbat and Jewish holidays together in a spiritual, meditative way that is consistent with our non-theistic beliefs. We also engage in group study sessions, and we discuss our ideas on this site’s blog and in our Facebook group. If you would like to join us, please fill out the contact form below or click the “Join Us” tab on the menu bar.

The Havurah is affiliated with the Society for Humanistic Judaism. Membership is currently free and open to all who agree with our values and philosophy and wish to celebrate life with us. Our programs are based in the Eastern U.S. time zone.

Join Us!

Fill out the form below to join our email list and receive updates about upcoming events; or join our Facebook group.

What We Do

Shabbat and Holiday Services

We get together approximately every other week for shabbat services, and holidays when applicable, that are focused on humanistic spirituality, inspiration, and personal growth. We utilize meditation and non-theistic liturgy that draws on modern and traditional prose, poetry, and music.

It’s a Mitzvah

A core tenet of both Judaism and the Humanist philosophy is that actions are more important than words. While the Hebrew word mitzvah literally means commandment, it also has the colloquial meaning of good deed. We believe that doing good makes us feel good and is a fundamental element of spirituality. At the beginning or end of every gathering, we encourage our members to put their beliefs into action by giving tzedakah (charity) and performing acts of loving-kindness.

Text Study

Education has long been an important part of Jewish tradition. We also believe in its importance for our ethical and spiritual development. We engage in the study of traditional and modern Jewish (and non-Jewish) texts independently and during our shabbat observances and special study sessions.

FAQ

What is Humanistic Judaism? How can you have Judaism without God?

Like other liberal Jewish Movements, including the Reconstructionist Movement, Humanistic Judaism teaches that Judaism is an ever evolving civilization. Judaism contains many different religious beliefs and practices, political ideologies, folk ways, culinary conventions, and artistic styles. Secularism, atheism, and humanism are also venerable traditions and worldviews within our shared Jewish civilization.

Humanistic Judaism is unique among the modern Jewish movements in combining Jewish traditions, holidays, and practices with Humanist philosophy and non-theistic liturgy.

Why are you named after Baruch Spinoza?

Spinoza may have been the first secular Jew in history. He broke with the Jewish community of Amsterdam, but also maintained his independence from the majority Christian religion. He was a rigorous thinker and one of the most important philosophers of the modern world, but he was also a deeply spiritual man. Like him, we are a group of freethinkers who do not accept the theologies and arbitrary religious authorities of the past, but we are also spiritual seekers forging a new path forward.

AM I WELCOME HERE?

We welcome everyone! If you like what we’re doing and think it’s the right community for you, you’re absolutely welcome to join us. Radical inclusion is one of our most important values.

What do you mean by spirituality? How can you be atheist and spiritual at the same time?

As Humanistic Jews, we are committed to skepticism, reason, and the scientific method as our epistemological foundations. When we talk about spirituality, we are not referring to communion with spirits, angels, or God; nor do we mean to imply support for things like astrology, crystal healing, or fortune telling.

For us, Humanistic spirituality is primarily a matter of feelings and emotions. Spirituality is the cultivation of positive feelings like awe, wonder, inner peace, compassion, love, empathy, connection, and self-transcendence. Belief in God and spirits is not necessary to feel these very natural human emotions.

What’s a Havurah?

A havurah is a small group of like minded people who gather together for the purposes of learning and observing shabbat, holidays, and life cycle events. The word havurah has etymological roots with the Hebrew word for friend, haver, as in a group of friends.

Why are you only online?

Online congregations are the wave of the future. The Humanistic Jewish Movement is still a small movement with widespread membership, and an online community allows people to come together around a shared interest, such as Humanistic Jewish spirituality, even if they’re geographically distant from one another.

See What’s Going On and Register for Events!

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