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The creation of the State of Israel is one of the most significant modern accomplishments of the Jewish people. Many of the early settlers were part of the secular world and considered to be an important part of the roots of Humanistic Judaism. Max Nordau and Ahad Ha’am are just two of the great secular humanist thinkers that contributed to the development of the State.
In the course of its short existence, Israel has successfully absorbed Jews from around the world and worked hard to create a dynamic democratic society. In recent decades, Humanistic Judaism has also flourished in Israel, producing secular Jewish rabbis, leaders, and institutions that uniquely serve the needs of many secular Israeli Jews. T’mura, the rabbinic seminary of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism in Israel, has ordained 25 Humanistic rabbis. Rabbi Sivan Maas is the first ordained Israeli Humanistic rabbi and is the Dean of the Institute in Israel.
The writers, poets and songwriters of the modern Jewish state have provided moving material for many Humanistic Jewish celebrations and commemorations. From the poetry of Yehuda Amichai to the songs of Naomi Shemer, Israeli culture has proved to be a rich source of inspiration for Humanistic Jews.
On several occasions, the Society for Humanistic Judaism has declared its solidarity with the people of Israel. The Society has also stated its support of a peace process that will bring a final resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict while ensuring Israel’s security.
The Society also supports Israel’s aspirations to craft a society that benefits all of its citizens, as expressed in the words of its Declaration of Independence:
THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture….
The Society for Humanistic Judaism supports these goals and encourages Israelis and their leaders to continue to build a nation based upon these principles.