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  • 		                                		                                <span class="slider_title">
		                                    Connect with like-minded people who do not think alike		                                </span>
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		                                    Enjoy familiar Jewish traditions adapted for our secular philosophy		                                </span>
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		                                    Believe in the power of people		                                </span>
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		                                    Build lasting friendships		                                </span>
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		                                    Inspire the next generation with a relevant Jewish education		                                </span>
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		                                    Live in harmony with what you believe		                                </span>
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		                                    Celebrate Jewish culture in a meaningful way		                                </span>

Doing Jewish Differently

Kol Hadash ["new voice"] has been a warm and welcoming, full-service Humanistic Jewish Congregation for more than 20 years. Like other congregations, together we celebrate major Jewish holidays, provide a cultural Jewish education for our children, mark the Jewish life cycle from birth and Bar/Bat/B Mitzvah to weddings and memorials, run adult learning programs, collaborate on community service projects, and enjoy fun social and community service activities. But unlike other congregations, we pride ourselves on Doing Jewish Differently.

See how below!


Humanistic Philosophy: People Not Prayer

We share a human-centered, secular philosophy that focuses on this world, this life, and what people can do for themselves and for each other. This approach harmonizes our Jewish life with our everyday life, agreeing with the many American Jews who do not believe in the omnipotent and intervening God of the Bible and traditional prayer book. We believe that people have both the power and responsibility to improve our lives and the world around us. If the supposedly “divine” commandments of Jewish tradition were actually written by people, then we are free to choose what speaks to us and helps guide us today.


Cultural Judaism: We Say What We Mean and Mean What We Say

Humanistic Judaism celebrates major Jewish holidays and lifecycle events, interpreting them in a secular and cultural context rather than a traditionally religious one. We read meaningful poetry and prose that resonate with our Jewish cultural heritage and encourage reflection and meditation. We sing Jewish songs in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish – always providing translations and transliterations (pronunciation in English letters). Bottom line: We read, say and sing what we truly believe!


Different from Other Liberal Judaisms: Consistently Focused on Humanity and the Natural World

While Reform, Reconstructing, and Humanistic Judaism  recognize the importance of human action and the evolution of Jewish practice to fit today’s values, Humanistic Judaism consistently expresses its non-theistic approach in everything we do. Rather than praying to or relying on a god, we focus on what humans can know and can do (that’s why we’re called “Humanists”!). Kol Hadash is a comfortable home for people and families who identify as Culturally Jewish, Just Jewish, Jew-ish, Not Religious, Secular, Humanistic, Atheist, and/or Agnostic. No prior knowledge or Jewish literacy is needed; come as you are!

Full Inclusivity: We Celebrate Jewish Life with Our True Selves in All Our Diversity

Humanistic Judaism embraces and celebrates the reality of intercultural and interfaith partnerships, LGBTQIA+ individuals and families, and families in every form and variety. Children of intercultural/interfaith families can be both Jewish and something else, rather than either/or. And all family members are fully welcome to participate in all Kol Hadash programs, services, and life cycle events.


Membership: No Financial Barriers -- Everyone Self-Selects Their Own Contribution

Membership in Kol Hadash is about meaning, not money. We welcome everyone, regardless of ability to contribute financially. This is another example of how we live our values with consistency and integrity. All members anonymously select whatever contribution level is commensurate with their financial ability, sense of value, and desire to advance the mission of Kol Hadash.


Holiday Celebrations: We Replace Worship with Belief in Human Power and Responsibility

Our cultural holiday celebrations adapt familiar Jewish traditions, rituals and blessings to be consistent with our secular philosophy. We have services and/or celebrations for all the major Jewish holidays, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Tu B’Shevat, Purim, and Passover. We also have twice-monthly Friday evening adult Shabbat services. And we have special holiday services and celebrations for children and families.


Rabbi Adam Chalom: The Full Package -- Engaging, Innovative, And Scholarly!

Rabbi Adam Chalom has served as the full-time rabbi of Kol Hadash since 2004. He is a dynamic and illuminating speaker, a clear and inspiring teacher, and a warm and approachable presence at Kol Hadash. He is also a source of compassionate and caring support through difficult times, and a leading voice in the international movement of Humanistic Judaism. He earned a B.A. in Judaic Studies from Yale University; a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies at the University of Michigan; and his rabbinic ordination from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ).

Sunday School: Our Goal Is Cultural Literacy and Critical Thought, Not Indoctrination

Our Sunday School students explore the entire range of the Jewish experience and are encouraged to think critically and decide for themselves what “Being Jewish” and “Doing Jewish” means to them. We are distinct in emphasizing asking questions rather than memorizing answers, making choices rather than obedience, and focusing on people rather than faith.  We have weekly Sunday School classes for 1st through 9th grade Confirmation, with formal Hebrew learning beginning in 5th grade. We also offer monthly Adult Tot programs and a no obligation  "Sunday School Try Out."

Bar/Bat/B Mitzvahs: Completely Customized To Be Meaningful to the Student and Their Family

Every B Mitzvah service (a gender-inclusive term for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs) is devoted to only one student, and the B Mitzvah is the only reason for the gathering. Rather than having to read the assigned Torah portion of the week, students choose their own Hebrew reading based on what they find meaningful. (Don’t worry, Rabbi Chalom guides students in this process.) Their focus can be on a Torah or other Hebrew text and commentary, or they can speak on a topic, issue or person from the Jewish experience. Rabbi Chalom works one-on-one with each student for several sessions to research and prepare their presentation and to find their related community service project. All family members can participate fully in our B Mitzvah ceremonies.

Life Cycle Events: Rooted in Jewish Traditions, but Not Limited by Them 

At Kol Hadash, celebrations of life are created with and for the individuals and families observing them. They are personal and personalized, open to today’s diversity of Jewish experiences and families, and deeply moving. These include: Babynaming; Bar/Bat/B Mitzvah, Confirmation, Weddings (including intercultural, interfaith, and same-sex marriage), Funerals and Memorials, and Choosing to Become Jewish.



Haven’t Heard of Us? We’ve Been Here for a Long Time!

Kol Hadash was founded in 2001 by 100 members of Congregation Beth Or, the first Humanistic Jewish congregation in the Chicago area. With the movement’s roots dating back to the early 1960s, we now have member families spanning three generations! Kol Hadash is a member of the Society for Humanistic Judaism, which has more than 10,000 members in 30 congregations throughout North America.





Have questions? Interested in learning more? Rabbi Adam Chalom is always happy to talk with you in person, by email or phone (847-383-5184,, or you can contact our Administrator, Jeremy Owens (



Please join us for our upcoming events


Guests are always welcome!

Upcoming Events

All Events
  • Sunday ,
    AprApril  14 , 2024
    Confirmation Class Field Trip:

    Sunday, Apr 14th 9:15a to 1:00p


  • Sunday ,
    AprApril  14 , 2024
    Adult & Tot Make n’ Take Passover Matzah Cover (ages 3-6)

    Sunday, Apr 14th 9:30a to 10:30a


  • Sunday ,
    AprApril  14 , 2024
    Sunday School

    Sunday, Apr 14th 9:30a to 11:30a
    Kol Hadash's Youth Education is a once-a-week program - we meet weekly on Sunday Mornings. SUNDAY SCHOOL: We have weekly Sunday School class at 9:30-11:30am for Kindergarten through 9th Grade Confirmation. HEBREW LEARNING: Our 5th grade students initially learn Hebrew through Individual Tutoring in half-hour sessions, which families schedule at their convenience directly with our Tutor. In 6th grade, our students further their Hebrew learning at Sunday School in Rabbi Adam Chalom’s B Mitzvah Prep class. In preparation for their B Mitzvah, our students will again meet with our Hebrew Tutor for individual sessions. ADULT-TOT: Our enrichment class for 2-6 years olds with a grown-up, Preschool Jewish Discovery, meets monthly on Sundays at 10:30-11:30am. It is free and open to everyone - come once or every month! FAMILY PROGRAMS: About one Sunday a month, our whole school -- students, teachers, families, and guests -- come together to celebrate Jewish holidays as well as for special programs on Jewish culture, community service activities and more. Please join us to celebrate the Jewish holidays - our family programs are free and open to everyone! SUNDAY SCHOOL TRY OUT: Wondering whether we are a fit for your family? We welcome you to join us to find out - there is no expectation of a commitment. Are you thinking about how to expose your children to Jewish culture and identity? Your family is welcome to ‘try out’ our Sunday School by visiting their grade’s class for the day. Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation holds weekly Sunday School classes for students in Kindergarten through 9th grade Confirmation. Each class has a well-defined curriculum, covering topics in Jewish history, literature and culture. We encourage children to value their Jewish identity and to think for themselves. Each month, our whole school -- students, teachers, and families -- come together to celebrate Jewish holidays as well as for special programs on Jewish culture, community service activities and more. Questions to Youth Education Director Ilana Shaffer at or 773-209-8266


  • Sunday ,
    AprApril  14 , 2024
    Adult & Tot Make n’ Take Passover Matzah Cover (ages 0-2)

    Sunday, Apr 14th 10:30a to 11:30a


  • Monday ,
    AprApril  15 , 2024
    Women's Group: Canasta

    Monday, Apr 15th 11:45a to 2:00p
    If you like to kibbitz, come to canasta. You like the company of other awesome Kol Hadash women. All are welcome. For more information about all WE Group activities, contact Joyce Hirsch (



Sat, April 13 2024 5 Nisan 5784