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- About Us
Paul Golin, Executive Director
Paul Golin is executive director of the Society for Humanistic Judaism. For nearly two decades, Paul has helped Jewish organizations and movements better understand the key trends affecting North American Jewry, including intermarriage, engagement, disaffiliation, and inclusion. Paul’s writing has appeared in the Forward, the New York Jewish Week, Tablet, and elsewhere. He co-authored the books: 20 Things for Grandparents of Interfaith Grandchildren To Do (And Not Do) To Nurture Jewish Identity In Their Grandchildren (2007) and How To Raise Jewish Children…Even When You’re Not Jewish Yourself (2010). Paul previously served as associate executive director of Big Tent Judaism/Jewish Outreach Institute where he helped pioneer and refine effective engagement techniques. Paul is the white Ashkenazi half of a “Jewpanese” (Jewish/Japanese) Jewish multiracial household. He maintains the Jewpanese page on Facebook and tweets sporadically at @paulgolin. Click here to reach Paul by email.
Miriam Jerris, Rabbi
Rabbi Miriam Jerris has been a member of the Society for Humanistic Judaism and the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism of Metro Detroit and committed to its philosophic principles since 1970. As the Rabbi of the Society for Humanistic Judaism, she provides philosophic, liturgical, ceremonial and organizational support for its affiliates and members. Rabbi Jerris is the co-editor of the liturgical book, Here is Our Light. She is the 2006 recipient of the Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a former president of the Association of Humanistic Rabbis, the rabbinic association for Humanistic rabbis. Rabbi Jerris holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies with a specialization in Pastoral Counseling from Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, Ohio, a Master’s Degrees in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s Degree in Humanistic and Clinical Psychology from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology. She was ordained by the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism in 2001 and is the Associate Professor for Professional Development, serving as a mentor for its students. Rabbi Jerris specializes in serving multicultural families and couples, and has officiated at intermarriage ceremonies since 1985. Click here to email Rabbi Jerris.
Jennifer Grodsky, Information Manager
Jennifer Grodsky holds a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Michigan (Dearborn), and a Bachelor’s in Human Resource Development. She has been with SHJ since 2006. Jennifer is a member of the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism of Metro Detroit, SHJ’s founding congregation. She and her late husband taught in the BT school and their daughters celebrated Bat Mitzvahs there. Married by Rabbi Sherwin Wine in the early 1990s, Jennifer and her family have been long term members and supporters of Humanistic Judaism. Click here to email Jennifer.
Kathy Tschirhart, Administrative Assistant
Kathy Tschirhart is the administrative assistant of the Society for Humanistic Judaism and very happy at SHJ. Kathy graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Occupational Safety and Health from Oakland University in Rochester, MI. Click here to reach Kathy by email. She will gladly assist you.
Emily Cohen, Social Media and Communications Associate
Emily Cohen is a virtual marketing and business development professional. In a past life she was a social worker, completing her MSW at Florida Atlantic University. After over a decade of working in non profit and community advocacy, she found her talents were better served on the marketing side, creating diversity strategies to reach a broader community. Emily is a mom, wife, business owner, and proud queer Jew living in Central Florida! She has recently found Humanistic Judaism and is excited to continue implementing cultural Judaism into her life. Look for her work on SHJ’s Blog, Facebook Page, and Instagram.
James M. Branum, Humanistic Judaism Magazine Editor
James M. Branum is a member of the SHJ and of Temple B’nai Israel (a reform synagogue in Oklahoma City). His initiation into Judaism came by way of the SHJ’s adoption/conversion program. He is a peace activist and brings that intention to his work as an attorney, seeking to assist members of the US military who are seeking to be discharged early due to reasons of conscience. He is also the author of several articles and two books on progressive legal issues. His educational background include a J.D. from Oklahoma City University School of Law, a bachelor’s degree in theology from Lipscomb University-Austin, and certificates from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Darshan Yeshiva. He is a member of the National Lawyers-Guild and the Democratic Socialists of America and is a proud step-dad to a teenage son. He loves bicycling, lego building, organic gardening and ham radio (callsign KG5JST). Click here to email James.
Sarah Levin, Strategy Director, Jews for a Secular Democracy (JFASD)
Sarah Levin is the founder and principal of Secular Strategies, a political consulting firm specializing in the mobilization of nonreligious voters and advocating for secularism in public policy. She worked for the Secular Coalition for America from 2013 through 2019 in various roles, including Director of Grassroots and Community Programs and Director of Governmental Affairs. In 2016, she facilitated the establishment of the first ever Secular Caucus in the Texas Democratic Party and worked with secular Democrats to get three secular policy resolutions incorporated into the party’s platform. Sarah proudly represents the secular community as a Co-Chair on the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) Interfaith Council. Click here to email Sarah.
Katie Reiter, National Coordinator, Jews for a Secular Democracy (JFASD)
Katie Reiter grew up at the Birmingham Temple, now known as the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism. She studied under Rabbi Sherwin Wine and feels strongly connected to and appreciative of the teachings of Rabbi Wine and Humanistic Judaism. Accordingly, she has spent her life advocating for her community and fighting for human rights. For over 20 years, Katie juggled raising three children with running a successful health management consulting business and being a volunteer community activist. Eventually, Katie opened Our Greentopia, LLC., an eco-lifestyle boutique with a mission centered around environmental education and advocacy. A few years later, Katie decided to take her activism to the next level and run for office. While she did not win, she immediately jumped in to help the campaign of Michigan Senate candidate Rosemary Bayer. After Senator Bayer won the election, Katie accepted the position of Chief of Staff to the newly elected Senator. She served the Senator for 3 years, focusing on such issues as gun violence prevention, homelessness and poverty eradication, environmental justice, educational justice and reproductive rights. Katie currently serves on the board of Women Confronting Racism and the steering committee of End Gun Violence Michigan. Katie recently moved to Tucson, Arizona and is excited to work for JFASD fighting for the freedom of and from religion. Click here to email Katie.
Nomi Joyrich, Michigan Director, Jews for a Secular Democracy (JFASD)
Nomi Joyrich is the Michigan Director of Jews for a Secular Democracy (JFASD), a pluralistic initiative of the Society for Humanistic Judaism and an organizer for Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network (MUUSJN.) Nomi’s work supporting interfaith concerns and social justice issues spans decades and includes political activism at all levels of government. Nomi’s current focus is on reproductive freedom, economic justice, and voting rights and protection.
Nomi received her B.A. in Minority-Majority Group Relations, Political Philosophy and Psychology from James Madison College, Michigan State University. She received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Washington. Prior to working full time as a social justice organizer, Nomi was a social worker—first for the Seattle Indians Health Board and later for Seattle Public Schools. Nomi was also a long-time small business owner even as she remained politically active as an agent for social change. Nomi is the child of Holocaust survivors and a member at Temple Kol Ami. She lives in Farmington Hills with her husband and two daughters. Click here to email Nomi.
Nicole Klein Knight, Marketing and Communications Director (JFASD)
Nicole Klein Knight is a State Representative who serves on the Criminal Justice Committee in the State of New Hampshire. She is the Floor Leader for the Progressive Caucus and Secretary for the Young Democrats Caucus. Nicole co-founded the Never Again New Hampshire chapter in 2019. Before becoming a Public Servant, Nicole worked as the Communications Specialist for a Fortune 500 company. Click here to email Nicole.
Ari Lazer, HuJews on Campus
Ari Lazer grew up in Seattle, WA going to the Secular Jewish Circle of Puget Sound. During high school she participated in Conclave during 2019 and was influenced to become a youth representative on the board for 3 years. Now she goes to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, concentrating in psychology and dance. Ari is currently working for SHJ on building a club for Secular and Humanistic Jews at Sarah Lawrence called HuJews On Campus. Click here to email Ari.
Rachel Himelhoch, HuJews on Campus
Rachel Himelhoch is the HuJews On Campus representative on the University of Michigan Campus. Majoring in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience, and minoring in social class and inequality from the University of Michigan, Rachel plans to be a child psychiatrist. While Rachel thought her parents were Jewish, her mother was actually Christian. She begged her father to enroll her in Sunday school at the Birmingham Temple. After many years of questioning, Rachel identifies as a Secular Humanistic Jew.
The homophobia and sexism correlated politically with organized religion steered Rachel to secularism. The dichotomy of God’s love for everyone and the treatment of LGBT+ people, the misogyny within the church, and white evangelical support for the overturning of Roe v. Wade discredited the idea of a God for Rachel. In high school, she participated in numerous charity events, including sending 1000 donated items to First Step and raising $10,000 for the Charity ShelterBox program. Rachel has also participated in social justice efforts through the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism of Metro Detroit. Click here to contact Rachel.