Who We Are

“We are each other’s answers. . . “

Or Hadash (New Light), the Humanistic Judaism Congregation of Birmingham, Alabama was established in 1998 to respond to the needs of a contemporary and diverse Jewish community. As a congregation, we affirm a moral commitment to human dignity and ethical behavior, and we encourage each member to explore Jewish heritage with an open mind and a willingness to take personal responsibility in determining his or her life course.

We welcome all who identify with the history, culture, struggles, triumphs and future of the Jewish people. Our membership is composed of individuals of diverse ages, lifestyles and backgrounds. Among our members are those who bring more than one religious tradition to Or Hadash – both within and outside of Judaism. As a congregation, we strive to make all members feel comfortable and welcome.

Our congregation is still small and stresses closeness, congeniality, and warmth. Its present programs include monthly Shabbat celebrations and potluck suppers, a monthly Havurah discussion group. The congregation also celebrates the major Jewish Holidays and the various life cycle events of the congregants. Or Hadash is part of a growing, contemporary Jewish movement, with more than 30,000 individuals involved worldwide.

WHAT IS SECULAR HUMANISTIC JUDAISM?

As a clear alternative to Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism, Jewish Humanism affirms that:

  • The power and responsibility to shape and define our lives is ours as human beings regardless of belief or disbelief in supernatural authority;
  • Our behavior is an expression of our beliefs;
  • Our own freedom and dignity as Jews are linked to those of every human being.

Humanistic Judaism places complete responsibility for human behavior on humans themselves, with human conduct and spirituality guided by the positive morality and ethics that continue to evolve from the rich worldwide Jewish history and culture. Humanistic Jews believe in the value of human reason and in the reality of the world which reason discloses.

We believe in the value of human existence and in the power of human beings to solve their problems both individually and collectively. We have organized into communities and congregations because we believe that the fellowship of other Humanistic Jews enables us to affirm the value of our Jewish identity in the present, while preserving our connection to the past and linking us to the future. Secular Humanistic Judaism is a growing, contemporary Jewish movement. There are now more than fifty organized communities in the US and Canada, and more than 30,000 individuals involved worldwide, including organizations in Israel, the former Soviet Union, Australia, Western Europe, and South America.

If you are interested in joining Or Hadash or would just like to visit, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please see our Contact page for more details.

“We don’t look to a god for answers. We are each other’s answers.”

Greg Epstein, author of God Without God