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October 31, 2003 - Image 51

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-31

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Secular Milestone

First Israeli Humanistic rabbi is ordained in Farmington Hills ceremony.



ven in a Jewish movement
marked with notable mile-
stones, the ordination of
the first Israeli Humanistic
rabbi stands out.
In an Oct. 24 ceremony at the
International Institute for Secular
Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ) in
Farmington Hills, Rabbi Sivan Maas
took the next step in a career spent as
a Jewish educator and communal
"This is a historical moment for the
Secular Humanistic Jewish move-
ment," said Rabbi Sherwin Wine,
founder of Humanistic Judaism and
dean of the American branch of the
IISHJ, the intellectual and educational
arm of the movement.
"The time has come to introduce
serious rabbinic leadership in Israel for
the secular majority that is otherwise
unserved by the current rabbinic
Rabbi Maas completed the four-
year rabbinic program of the Institute
while concurrently studying for her
master's degree in Judaic studies.
She has served as a Zionist emissary
to Detroit for three years and as exec-

utive director of the Community
Council for Rehavia, Nakhlaot,
Sha'arei Khesed, Talbleh and Kiryat
Shmuel for five years. She also served
as education director for Kibbutz
Among her duties as the first
Humanistic rabbi to live and work in
Israel, Rabbi Maas will serve as organ-
izer of a new rabbinic education pro-
gram, to begin in Israel in January
2004, under the auspices of the
International Institute. Academic
director of the program will be Tel
Aviv University Professor Yaakov
Malkin, founder and academic direc-
tor of Meitar College of Judaism as
Culture in Jerusalem and dean of the
Israeli branch of the IISHJ.
Eleven Israeli candidates — most
of whom hold master's degrees from
Israeli universities — have been
admitted to the 180-academic-hour
Rabbi Maas' rabbinic thesis was
written on the topic, "How to build
and develop a Secular Humanistic
Jewish community in Israel."
"Her research will prove very help-
ful as she begins to organize congrega-
tions and communities in Israel, offer-
ing secular Israelis a Humanistic corn-
munity in which they can celebrate

Rabbi Mass is lauded as a trailblazer by the movement's founder, Rabbi Sherwin Wine.

life-cycle events, rites of passage,
and holidays from the perspective of
Judaism as a culture," said Rabbi
Miriam Jerris, community
development coordinator for the
Society for Humanistic Judaism in

Farmington Hills.
'As the first Humanistic rabbi in
Israel, Sivan Maas is a trailblazer pre-
pared to undertake an important
endeavor in modern Jewish life,"
Rabbi Wine said. Li

New Rabbi Welcomed

Becoming the fifth American HumanistiC
rabbi, Judith Seid vas ordained in the
Oct. 24 ceremony, held during the
International Institute for Secular
Humanistic Judaism's biennial colloquium.
Two - previously ordained members of the
Tamara Kolton,
Humanistic rabbinate
ordained as the first rabbi in the movement
in 1999, and Adam Chalom, ordained in
2001 — are currently leaders at

Rabbi Judith Sea gets a warm reception -om Rabbi Tamara Dolton.

Birmingham Temple.
Rabbi Seid was the first certified leader
of the IISHJ and also is certified in its
musician-cantorial program. She
was leader of the Ann Arbor
Jewish Cultural Society, is founder and
leader of the Baltimore Jewish Cultural
Chavurah and is a member of the executive
committee of the Congress of Secular
Jewish Organizations. E





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