Affiliating with the Society for Humanistic Judaism

Hello All ~

Our group is now preparing to apply for affiliation with the Society for Humanistic Judaism, to become part of a larger worldwide Jewish community, and to be a visible presence in our community for folks who wish to affirm and celebrfate their Jewish heritage, but are not comfortable in a more religious setting.

There are different ways for our group to do this. The one that seems to fit us is the become a “Havura” community, which is a community with 3 to 25 households. We are not likely ever to be any larger on the Mountain.

The annual affiliation fee for this size group is $250.00, which must be submitted with the application. I am prepared to cover the first year’s fee, to get us started. But I’d like to offer to you the chance to contribute. (In the future, the annual fee would be divided equally among the member families.) Please contact me directly to let me know if you’d like to make a contribution. This would make you a member of People of the Mountain and the Society for Humanistic Judaism.

Find out more about the Society here:

And here’s a bit about why to affiliate as a communityfrom the SHJ website:


humanorah_society_for_humanistic_judaismNo community in your area? With a limited number of affiliates and the increased mobility of the Jewish people, often Humanistic Jews find themselves in communities where there are no affiliates of the Society for Humanistic Judaism. Members relocate to retirement communities or to be near their children. Children raised in Humanistic Judaism leave their childhood community for college or careers.


Being part of an SHJ community gives opportunity for a like-minded group of individuals to celebrate holidays, study together, educate children, and provide support in times of joy and sorrow.

The Society for Humanistic Judaism helps individual members to connect with other Humanistic Jews in their area. We assist you in developing strategies to reach out to like-minded secular and cultural Jews. The SHJ Rabbi and Executive Director provide support as the community grows.

Resources are available to support organizing efforts – Shabbat and holiday materials, advertising and marketing tools, adult and youth educational curricula, YouTube videos and DVDs describing the philosophy and practice of Humanistic Judaism. It may be possible to arrange a visit from the SHJ Rabbi.

There are three paths to connect to other Humanistic Jews:

Organize an SHJ Community for communities that will ultimately consist of 25 or more household members.
Organize an SHJ Havura for communities that will likely have less than 25 household members by choice or by limitations beyond the control of the organizers.
Become involved in SHJ’s on-line Facebook page and discussion forum for individual members.

The requirements and benefits of these options vary. Please contact Rabbi Miriam Jerris for more information about organizing an SHJ affiliate in your area.

We are now working to organize Humanistic Jewish communities in: Indianapolis, IN; Orlando, FL; Kansas City, MO and Milwaukee, WI. These communities have individuals serving as contacts. (And Sewanee!)

We have also had multiple requests about HJ communities in Southern New Jersey; Central New Jersey; Madison, WI; Dallas TX; Houston, TX, Central, MD; New Orleans, LA; Rhode Island; and Las Vegas, NV. We are unable to move to the next step in these areas because no one has offered to serve as a contact person. If you are willing to be a contact person, please email Rabbi Miriam Jerris.

So please contact me directly if you want more information, or if you can join with me in covering the initial annual fee of $250.00 (You certainly can participate fully with our little group whether you contribute or not!!)

Will Melnyk

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