Special Dossier
• War Versus Hezbollah

Top Stories
• Live From Israel
Dems Speak Out
• GOP Obstructs Support
• Hiram Bingham Stamp
• Two Different Conflicts
•  Joining the IDF
•  Mea Culpa
• McIntyre's Apology
• Arab State = Jew-Free?
• The Hammer
• Not In My Synagogue
• "Transparency" Is Black
• Where Have All The Rabbis Gone
• The Lobbies
• NIF v. ZOA
• Letters to the Editor

• We Stand With Israel
• Blood Donations
• Shalom TV

In Their Own Words
• Peter Edelman

Networking Central
• Kehillah Secular Jews

Living Judaism
• The Halacha of War
• The Tahara Experience
• Organ Donation

Raising A Mensch
• Parenting during war
• Mazel Tov... It's A Girl!

The Kosher Table
• New In The Main Line

Free Subscription

Past Issues
• July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
• February 2006
• January 2006
• December 2005
• November 2005
• October 2005
• September 2005
• August 2005
• July 2005

  About       Free Subscription       Donate       Contact Us        Links   border="0" />    Archives
The Kehilla's Secular Rosh Hashanah Observance. 

Networking Central

Kehilla For Secular Jews In The Delaware Valley
Six Jewish Organizations Unite

-- Larry Angert

The Philadelphia region is home to thousands of Jews who identify themselves as being both Jewish and secular. Six of the area's secular Jewish organizations recently affiliated to form a regional Kehilla for Secular Jews. These groups share their organizational calendars, attend each others' events, and enrich each others' Jewish experience. Each group has it's individual
history, emphasizing various aspects of Jewish life. Our differences are small and are outweighed by our shared love of Jewish culture and learning.

I thought I was the only one!

As a long-time member and Secretary of one of these groups (Shir Shalom), I've heard the same thing again and again from people who contact us. They say, "I thought I was the only one!" They often express joy and relief to know that they are not alone in their secular relationship to their Jewishness.

Secular Jews may feel marginalized in the larger Jewish community. But the Jewish tent is big, and there's room for all of us in it. Unaffiliated Jews who are not intellectually comfortable with
traditional denominations may find the Jewish community and fellowship that they seek in a secular Jewish organization. The Kehilla for Secular Jews includes six of them, so come and explore!

While many readers will be familiar with some of these organizations, others are less well known. Here is a brief description of the Kehilla's member groups (in decreasing order of the organizations' ages).

  • Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring
    Created a century ago by immigrants as a mutual aid society, the organization became known for building bonds of support and community. WC/AR branches formed across North America, providing communities of fellowship and a visionary safety net of health and education services, aiding Jewish families throughout the life cycle. Hundreds of thousands of Jews have a historic link to The Workmen's Circle. Chances are your family does too. (Website, email.)
  • Jewish Children's Folkshul
    For over 80 years, Folkshul has offered an alternative approach to adults and families who want to enhance their Jewish cultural identity with all-ages education and a vibrant community. Our members live in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery counties, and New Jersey. Folkshul's mission is to transmit the values of social justice
    and human responsibility in an environment that nourishes critical thinking and provides a strong sense of Jewish identity. Folkshul is cultural, not religious. Folkshul classes meet Sunday mornings at the Springside School in Chestnut Hill. (Website)
  • The Sholom Aleichem Club
    Funded in 1954, the Sholom Aleichem Club presents monthly programs of Jewish cultural, literary, and musical import and special programs for Passover and Rosh Hashanah. (Website, email)
  • PSJO (Philadelphia Secular Jewish Organization)
    The PSJO, which is an affiliate of the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations, is a group of adults who meet once a month for educational and social purposes. The meetings focus on elements of the historical, cultural, and ethical aspects of Jewishness. The group also participates in the Kehilla for Secular Jews' communal observances of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Holocaust, and has an annual Seder. (Email)
  • Shir Shalom (A Community for Secular Humanistic Judaism)
    Affiliated with the Society for Humanistic Judaism (SHJ), Shir Shalom was formed in 1998 as the first Delaware Valley affiliate of the SHJ. Humanistic Jews believe that Judaism is defined by the entire culture and history of the Jewish people, and that we have the power and responsibility to shape our own lives, independent of supernatural authority. We celebrate Shabbat, the festivals, and life-cycle events with song, poetry, and joy, without mouthing prayers that we do not believe. (Website, email, phone toll-free 866-542-0946)
  • SJSJ (South Jersey Secular Jews)
    A recently formed organization for those interested in learning about and celebrating Jewish culture, history, and humanist ideals. Lively discussion and potluck dinners occur once a month at various homes in South Jersey. (email, phone 856-795-9260)

Past Networking Central Groups of the Month

In this section, we highlight a new local group each month in order to encourage networking.