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Our Beliefs

“Humanistic Judaism allows me to take the best parts of Judaism (culture and learning) and move aside the parts I don’t agree with (supernatural and outdated practice)."

 — Craig D., Deerfield

“As a mixed religious family,  Kol Hadash provides us a supporting and spiritual home on our terms.”

 — Ellen R., Deerfield

“I knew what I didn’t like about religion, but I didn’t know what I could like about it. Not only did I not have any objection to Humanistic Judaism, there was a lot of attraction to it; it was much richer than I thought it would be.”

 — Ilya T., Highland Park

"People often ask me, 'If Humanistic Judaism is not a matter of what God wants you to do, then how can you decide how to behave and what to do?' Humanistic Jews look to do what’s best for human beings, and expect human beings to try their best and do their best to help other human beings. So regardless of whether you believe or don’t believe in god, you can be comfortable with the values and traditions of Humanistic Judaism.”

— Terry K., Highland Park


"Laughing has always seemed more Jewish to me than praying."

— Rabbi Sherwin Wine


Kol Hadash is an expression of our beliefs as Humanistic Jews.

We believe that human beings have the intelligence and wisdom to determine the purpose and course of their lives, free of supernatural guidance.

When truth and reason challenge sacred stories, we view our founding narratives as powerful literary myths, but not history.

Connections with our Jewish family are important

We celebrate being a part of the Jewish family (by birth, by marriage or by choice) by honoring Jewish tradition and heritage through cultural and educational exploration.

As a congregation, we come together to celebrate Jewish holidays and life-cycle events. Service readings are in English and sensitive to a diverse audience, enabling everyone (of all ethnic and religious backgrounds) to participate equally and meaningfully.

We adapt our traditions to be consistent with our values.

When Jewish tradition tells us to sit segregated by gender, and human dignity says otherwise, we follow human dignity. Jewish tradition was always created and adapted by people based on their time and values, and we honor our tradition best by adapting our inheritance to meet our needs, as our ancestors did before us.

We say what we mean and we mean what we say.

The joy of Kol Hadash is knowing that what we say and practice in our congregation is consistent with what we believe. If some of us choose to fast on Yom Kippur, it is for Jewish solidarity or in sympathy with the hungry rather than to be inscribed in a cosmic Book of Life. If you don’t believe the words you are saying, why say them?

We welcome all individuals and families who seek connections with Jewish culture.

We embrace the reality of intercultural marriage and welcome all individuals and families, firmly believing that no one should deny who they are. Kol Hadash is an inclusive, open community — LGBTQIA+ and straight, with children and without, single or partnered, working or retired. Kol Hadash has activities and connections for everyone!

We provide a strong Jewish cultural education, not indoctrination for our children.

Our students explore what it means to be Jewish and to value their Jewish identity. We teach them to feel confident in asking questions and thinking for themselves. 


We have eliminated financial barriers to joining our community.

We encourage people to explore our warm and welcoming congregation in their own way. Our membership model consists of three categories: Sustaining Member (exceeds requested financial commitment), Supporting Member (meets requested financial commitment), and Contributing Member (chooses financial commitment appropriate to circumstance). Contributing members may continue to choose their level of support for as long as they like, increasing — we hope — as their  connection and engagement to Kol Hadash deepens over time.

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Thu, April 15 2021 3 Iyyar 5781