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April 19, 1985 - Image 45

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-04-19

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Friday; April 19, 1985



affairs and reviews of new books.
Services often take a form differ-
ent from what one is used to seeing in a
Reform, Conservative . or Orthodox
synagog-4e or temple. On a recent Fri-
day night, the congregation presented
a musical drama entitled "A History of
America: The Search for a Better
Life," featuring readings, songs and a
narration by Wine. Nowhere were the
lighted Shabbat candles, Kiddush or
prayers traditionally used to welcome
the Sabbath. What one saw instead,
was a celebration of life.
Looking at what would be the
counterpart of a bimah, one sees a
speaker's podium and stage. There is
no Aron Kodesh (Ark), but the library
contains books of the Torah. According
to the temple's creative director, Mari-
lyn Rowens, the services generally
take the following form: first there is
what the congregation calls a "medita-

tion" service, usually focusing on a
universal theme. Rabbi Wine then de-
livers a sermon on a timely topic. The
choir sings and there is a candlelight-
ing. The evening concludes with an
Oneg Shabbat.
According to Rowens, there might
be a "life-cycle event" at services — a
bar or bat mitzvah or confirmation.
Usually the child delivers a talk and
receives blessings from Wine and the
Wine earned bachelor's and mas-
ter's degrees in philosophy at the Uni-
versity of Michigan. He served as a
U.S. Army chaplain in Korea, was the
assistant rabbi at Temple Beth El in
Detroit and at Temple Beth El in
Windsor. He is the founder of the
Society for Humanistic Judaism;
founder and director of the Center for
New Thinking, a community forum for
new ideas in the arts, sciences and phi-

losophy; founder and national
spokesman for. the Voice of Reason, a
national organization to defend the
secular state; and founder and co-
chairman of the Conference of Secular
and Humanistic Jews.
He estimates that half of his con-
gregation comes from secular or non-
affiliated backgrounds while the other
half hails from Reform, Conservative
and Orthodox Jewry. The congrega-
tion is comprised mainly of profession-
als, and the average age is about 38.
There are some non-Jewish members,
but Wine says they are the spouses of
born-Jewish members.
Some of Wine's congregants
talked to The Jewish News about why -
they find Humanistic Judaism attrac-
Suoan Citrin of Birmingham said
she felt uncomfortable in traditional

Continued on next page

Rabbi Sherwin Wine
draws froth current
events for his lecture
and sermon topics and
applies them to a
discussion on a
universal theme.

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