First North East SHJ Conference held in White Plains
The response to April 9th's North East Regional Humanistic Judaism Gathering (we abbreviated as NER) was wildly greater than I expected. It was the first regional gathering within memory, if ever. When I asked the assembled 53 delegates from HJ congregations across the North East U.S., who wanted to do another one in the fall, all the hands shot up in favor. I was blown away.
Attending one of these is like meeting your long lost brothers and sisters, whom you discover are so much like you, and have met similar situations in inventive and creative ways. The gathering included workshops, music, food, social time, and Havdalah. Remember the Beatles’ song “Hey Jude”? The City Congregation’s Dan Wyman on guitar and songstress Michelle Zalph gave an incredible rendition of “Hey Jews” with Purim lyrics.
Beth Ulman did a marvelous job leading the workshop on Youth Education. An outcome was general agreement on a proposal by Rob Agree for joint teacher training. It will enable educators who deal with the same age group to share their experiences, approaches, and techniques. Rob was a Sunday School Director at CHJ before job opportunities took him to New Jersey. He and his wife Melissa were unable to find a congregation like ours, so formed one themselves, which is now in its 12th year.
Without our CHJ, NER would not have happened. We started by inviting congregations to a CHJ potluck and program last year, then convening a president’s meeting in January, where NER was fleshed out.
The next North East Regional (NER) is now slated for Saturday November 5.
Organizations and Congregations
National - Society for Humanistic Judaism www.shj.org
www.machar.org (Washington, D.C.)
www.citycongregation.org (New York City)
www.chjmc.org (New Jersey)
Eastern USA Affiliates
Central USA Affiliates
Western USA Affiliates
International Affiliates UJA/Federation http://www.ujafederation.org/