AAHS (AAHS: Agnostics, Atheists, Humanists & Secularists) is thrilled to welcome Rabbi Adam Chalom to UU Santa Monica Sunday, Feb. 2 at 2 pm to 4 pm in the Sanctuary. He will talk about his work as Rabbi of Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation and share his wisdom on humanistic approaches to historic religious traditions in today’s changing landscape of faith and practice.
Many humanists, agnostics, or the otherwise non-religious are emotionally attached to family and cultural traditions, from Passover seders to “holiday” trees, but can struggle to celebrate their heritage with philosophical integrity. What experience can 50 years of Humanistic Judaism offer towards open yet rooted cultural identities and communities?
Rabbi Adam Chalom has served as Dean for North America of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, the leadership and rabbinical training institution of the world-wide movement of Secular Humanistic Judaism, since 2007. He has also served as Rabbi of Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation in suburban Chicago, where he lives with his wife and two children. He is on the editorial board of the journal Humanistic Judaism and has served on the Advisory Council of The Humanist Institute.
Rabbi Chalom was raised as a Humanistic Jew at the Birmingham Temple in suburban Detroit, Michigan, the founding congregation of Humanistic Judaism. He earned his B.A. from Yale University in Judaic Studies, a Master’s Degree at the University of Michigan in Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies, Rabbinic ordination from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, and his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in Near Eastern Studies. His dissertation was titled “Modern Midrash: Jewish Identity and Literary Creativity.”
Rabbi Chalom has previously helped organize and spoken at conferences on theism and public policy, young adult children of intermarriage, the future of Jewish peoplehood, and more. He has contributed to several published volumes, most recently “Humanistic Judaism and Secular Spirituality” in Religion: Beyond Religion (MacMillan, 2016) and the entry “Humanistic Judaism” in The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. Rabbi Chalom has also edited two books: Jews and the Muslim World: Solving the Puzzle (IISHJ, 2010) and Rabbi Sherwin Wine’s A Provocative People: A Secular History of the Jews (IISHJ, 2012). He also developed a 50-session adult education curriculum, Introduction to Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ).