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New Group Seeks to Unite Non-Religious Jews

November 22, 1986|From Reuters

DETROIT — A new group seeking to unite non-religious Jews internationally with a common belief in a humanistic approach to Judaism was announced here.

Rabbi Sherwin Wine, co-chairman of the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews, said delegates from the United States, Israel, Europe and Latin America had also voted to press for complete separation of religion and state in Israel and elsewhere as a cornerstone of the new movement's policy.

"We view the Jews as not primarily a religious group but as an historic international people," said Wine, who heads a secularist congregation in a Detroit suburb that hosted the group's first international conference.

The new movement, he said in an interview, was formed by associating regional secular humanist Jewish groups in North America and Israel and was open to other sympathetic national groups.

Yehuda Bauer, professor of Holocaust studies at Israel's Hebrew University, was named federation president while former Israeli Chief Justice Haim Cohn was named honorary chairman, spokesmen said.

Wine said the federation's initial membership is estimated at 30,000 --12,000 in the United States, 10,000 in Israel and the rest elsewhere--out of more than 13 million Jews worldwide.

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