Submitted by the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism (CHJ)
The Congregation for Humanistic Judaism (CHJ) will hold its annual High Holiday services at The Unitarian Church in Westport, 10 Lyons Plains Rd. All services and programs are free and open to the public, and free childcare is provided during daytime programming. Services include readings, music and reflection about the major themes of the holiday, including self-examination and renewed commitment to positive action. Interwoven with these timeless ideas will be the theme of this year’s High Holiday services, A Tradition of Questioning.
The guest speaker for Rosh Hashanah eve services on Wednesday, September 4, will be Manny Ratafia, an experienced leader of the Humanist Association of Connecticut. He founded a popular discussion group on humanist books and is Past President and Chair of Development of the Humanist Association of Connecticut.
Daytime services during both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur include special Family programs (appropriate for children ages 4-14) and discussion groups and workshops for adults. Manny Ratafia will also lead a discussion on Rosh Hashanah day, Thursday, September 5. In addition to being a Humanistic Jew, Manny is a technology entrepreneur, and has been published and quoted in more than 100 publications in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, including Business Week, Forbes, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He has been interviewed on national and international television programs and on U.S. radio programs.
Other daytime services will include thoughtful interactive discussions about Coming out of the Secular Closet; Exploration of the Cain and Abel story; and more. A full schedule can be found at www.HumanisticJews.org. Yom Kippur day services take place on September 14.
Supervised childcare will be available during the day programming.
Members of the Congregation write the CHJ High Holiday observances, and this year they were written by Norwalk resident Cary Shaw. Cary set about this task with the intention to make the programs true to the lives and thoughts of modern Jews, while also promoting traditional Jewish values. Visitors have expressed enjoyment of this refreshing approach to welcoming the Jewish New Year.
Prospective members and guests are welcome to join the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism for all of their High Holiday Services. All services are free.
- Rosh Hashanah Eve Service (Oneg to follow) with the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism: Wednesday, September 4. Doors open at 7:00. Services start promptly at 7:30.
- Rosh Hashanah Day Program with the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism: Thursday, September 5, 1:00-4:45pm
- Yom Kippur Kol Nidre Service with the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism: Friday, September 13. Doors open at 7:00. Services start promptly at 7:30. Shabbat lighting of candles too.
- Yom Kippur Day Program and Break Fast with the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism: Saturday, September 14, 1:15-6:00ish pm
All programs take place at The Unitarian Church in Westport, 10 Lyons Plains Road, and are open to the public free of charge. Casual dress is recommended for daytime programming.
Humanistic Judaism emphasizes personal responsibility in fulfilling the Jewish ideals of loving kindness, justice, good deeds, and giving to those in need. These ethical ideals are shared by Jewish tradition and humanist philosophy. Humanistic Jews practice in personally meaningful ways, consistent with a modern understanding of the world.
CHJ is known for its meaningful and relevant High Holiday themes, community spirit, and reflective workshops and discussions. The Congregation is a cooperative, run exclusively by members who plan educational programs, social events and holiday observances throughout the year. Because it is a warm and welcoming community, interfaith couples also find it to be the right place for their families. CHJ offers a full-service Sunday School program for children through Bar/Bat Mitzvah. An Open House and first day of Sunday School is scheduled for Sunday, September 9 at 9:30 am at Bedford Middle School in Westport. Please let CHJ know that you are coming by calling (203) 226-5451 by September 7 or visit www.humanisticjews.org for more information.
Humanistic Judaism is the most recent group recognized as a major branch of Judaism by the United Jewish Communities. The Fairfield County CHJ Congregation was founded in 1967. Humanistic Judaism is now active in many countries throughout the world.