A little something I’ve been working on and socially putting together (this is a work ever in progress!):
“There is a fundamental intelligence that is present within the basic building blocks of this universe, and that pervades every aspect of this universe. It is not all knowing but, rather, ever experimenting and giving rise to new possible ways of physical expression. It is not demonstrably self-aware without the development of consciousness within the minds of creatures evolving in its expression of life. It is a universal size unconsciousness that is the universe in formative substance. Much like the unconscious is the formative substance for our consciousness as a physical being, all our thoughts and behaviors, and our briefly expressed throughout each day conscious awareness of our reality in this universe.”
What do you do if you are a Jew who is devoted to Jewish way-of-life, but understandably doubts the existence of a “God” in this scientifically enlightened age? One answer is, you join a secularist Jewish chavurah!
Kahal Chokhmah v’Da’at is an explorative Jewish chavurah that is focused on expressing traditional Jewish way-of-life fully independent of theistic ethno-religious belief in an ancestral god-image. We achieve this by teaching and encouraging the practice of Jewish seasonal and life-cycle rituals with a spiritually enlightening focus on humanistic values and actions, reasoning by way of rational observation and scientific inquiry, and educating our Jewish family on the demonstrable and verifiable real history of the Jewish people (as revealed by archaeology, for example, as opposed to blind faith in our cherished literary myths) and the development of our culture and ritual way-of-life.
How we express Jewishness at Kahal Chokhmah v’Da’at …
As the Congregation of Wisdom and Knowledge, Kahal Chokhmah vDa’at, we seek to embrace an ever growing rational understanding of this universe in balance with the need to metaphorically express our assumptions and questions about this universe in a way that derives meaning and purpose for us. We embrace the expressions made in religious perspectives and teachings within an embraced rational awareness of the world as it demonstrably is. We place no emphasis of rightness upon any single one belief but, rather, view it as but one attempted ever evolving expression to bring a sense of place and meaning to the natural world. We recognize that all religions are a human expression, all contain some measure of perceptive truth about this world and this universe, and all need to be explored for these perceptive truths. We recognize that the perceptive truths we gather from our religions need to be tested and modified as needed by comparison to the observable and testable world that is both us and around us. We embrace both science and spiritual mysticism whole heartedly together, knowing that a balanced human and a balanced society must have a naturally derived degree of both.
As humans, we have the ability to question ourselves, and this questioning we need to apply to both our religious/ideological beliefs and to our studies of this reality we find ourselves conscious within. We need to be cognizant and willing to question and choose. We need to be cautious of our inherent attempt to categorize this experience of life by non-existent absolutes. For, in doing so, we historically cause more harm than good to ourselves, other species, and to our planet. We must as humans recognize our responsibility to create, share, and enjoy our myths, but equally remind ourselves that they are just this – our myths that we must constantly update to match current rational observable and demonstrable understanding of our world. We are for responsible religious beliefs and teachings, that embrace their being tested, and that avoid discouraging questioning and critical analysis.
We read Torah with the understanding that it expresses the myths that we tell about our people and these myths are noticeably and demonstrably different from the actual history of our people. We teach both, our actual history, as updated and verified by archaeological finds, and the myths as written, focussing in on what they meant to writers of their days, questioning why they wrote the myths this way, and questioning how we can use these myths today to teach important ethno-religious truths we now believe as modern Jewish people.
We perform the yearly seasonal rituals of our Jewish heritage, focusing on and teaching the developmental history of these holiday festivals, how they were performed and what they meant to Jews at different historical times. We add fresh new expression to these rituals, based on modern interpretation and understanding of meaning and purpose we find we’re associating now to the historical purpose for these holidays. We use humanistic blessings, rather than religious liturgical ones, to express the Jewish ritual to bless and make sanctified moments of our lives.
When we embrace halakhah and perform mitzvot, we do this *not* because some mythical “G-d” image of our people commanded us to do so. Rather, we do these acts, these spiritual expressions of consciousness, because they are the right acts for us to do as individuals and as a people. We do not perform acts that we *know* does not actually sanctify life in our times, but rather only regresses us backwards in thinking and behaving to a time in which our understanding as a people still needed much work of understanding and development. We modernize what we can and reflect it in behavior humanistically, and only teach about the rest and their what and why.
We believe that as Jews we have a historically obligated responsibility to care for all of humanity, regardless of other’s ethnic, cultural, religious, or personal backgrounds. We have a responsibility to care for our planet for the sake of future generations. We have a responsibility to embrace methods of science, free inquiry, and critical analysis to address the problems of human welfare and to evolve the many particularisms of our religious expressions. We have a responsibility to honestly address the history of our human expression upon this planet, learn from it, and adapt our ways to express ourselves more consciously and sustainably within this world we share with others (including the other conscious life forms we share this planet with). We have a responsibility to advocate for and insist upon democratic forms of human relationships, thus encouraging our human aspirations for equitable justice and sanctity in human societies. We have a responsibility to encourage and foster responsible human spirituality, one not based in absolute creeds but, rather, based in conscious awareness of the impact of our daily actions. We have a responsibility to encourage feelings and awareness of connection as human beings, with each other and with all life upon this planet.
Kahal Chokhmah v’Da’at
For more about our congregation – click here now!