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July 04, 2003 - Image 137

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-07-04

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maintain his position as dean of the
movement's rabbinical school.
He also will continue to lead and
expand public discussions at the Center
for New Thinking in Birmingham,
which he founded in 1976 as a com-
munity forum for new ideas in the arts,
science and philosophy.
He will, no doubt, continue to be a
fixture in his Birmingham community,
where he begins most days early, with a
three- to four-mile walk, followed by
hours at a table in the Townsend Hotel
restaurant, writing and organizing his
lectures, planning his day.
The months-long tribute to Rabbi
Wine by the temple included an
archive exhibit of pictures, articles and
documents portraying moments in the
history of the movement. A series of
reunions of those who celebrated wed-
dings, confirmation and b'nai mitzvah
i Wine were held.
As tho e who know him would
'expect, hi decision to leave the congre-
gational p st was not sudden or with-
out calculation.
"It's all part of a five-year plan," said
one of his successors, Rabbi Tamara
Kolton, who will take on the rabbinic
leadership position along with Rabbi
Adam Chalom, both of whom are cur-
rently part of the temple clergy
"And that's the genius of why it's
working. We mentored for five years.
He handed us the plan with every year
mapped out with a graph of how we
would each increase our responsibili-
ties, right up to this moment."
Aside from the gradual transition on
the part of the rabbis, she said, it
allowed "people to slowly accept us as
their leaders.
She doesn't anticipate any major
changes at the temple. "We are going
to continue his work, but bring our
own unique way of contributing to the
temple — with our own personalities.
"The temple is going to grow, not
only because it's a dynamic place, but
because it will meet the needs of more
and more in the Jewish community,"
said Rabbi Kolton, the first Humanist-
ordained rabbi, who is educational
'director of the temple's 85-student,
preschool through grade 12 school pro-
Rabbi Chalom, as director of adult
proivamrning, will focus on adult edu-
cation and social action. He will con-
tintue to work with youth. He was
ordained in 2001, alongside his moth-
er-in-law, Rabbi Miriam Jerris.
/ Rabbi Kolton uses a Humanistic
phrase to eliminate any concerns she
/may have about taking over Rabbi
/ Wine's role. "The answer has to be,


No fear, only courage,'" she said.
"This is the opening of a new door
and there is no fear, only joy; no fear,
only hope; no hesitation, only open-
ness. I have to live his legacy and live
the life of courage he's been talking
about for 40 years."
Both Rabbis Kolton and Chalom
grew up at Birmingham Temple and,
unlike Rabbi Wine, were never part of
another movement. They were
ordained as Humanistic Judaism rab-
"But as rabbis, we study Jews in his-
tory — in biblical times and modern
times," Rabbi Chalom said. "Knowing
the styles of different synagogues is part
of being a good rabbi in the perspective
of klal Yisrael [Jewish unity].



. .

The Future

Even with beliefs that hardly fit the
standard of Jewish norm, the commit-
ment and perseverance that brought
Rabbi Sherwin Wine to create and
bring Humanistic Judaism to interna-
tional visibility are undeniable.
Called rebellious and fleeting by
some and visionary and courageous by
others, his intense belief, impressive
education, natural confidence and
trademark charismatic manner has
brought a stream of Judaism to many
who may not have found a place else-
"I have reached out to those who
were not comfortable with other forms
of Judaism," he said.
Now, he is working on perpetuating
what he has started. The author of four
books and recently named Humanist
of the Year by the American Humanist
Association, Rabbi Wine's name will,
no doubt, be recorded in Jewish histo-
1 7.
The book A Life of Courage: Sherwin
Wine and Humanistic Judaism, which
includes essays from former Israeli
Knesset member Shulamit Aloni and
Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer,
among others, was presented at Rabbi
Wine's June 27 retirement celebration.
The book was organized by Rabbi •
Cohn-Sherbok, Marilyn Rowens, direc-
tor of the International Institute of
Secular Humanistic Judaism, and the
Rev. Harry T. Cook of St. Andrew's
Episcopal Church in Clawson, who
shares with Rabbi Wine a philosophi-
cal approach to life.
"He will become increasingly well
known," said Rabbi Dan Cohn-
Sherbok, professor of Judaism at
University of Wales. "He is a very
important thinker."


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