- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Thank you for sharing with your readers the efforts of our congregation, Machar, to build a secular humanistic movement within Judaism (“For ‘cultural’ Jews, focus not on God,” Culture, Nov. 8). We are proud of what we have accomplished in more than 30 years, making the history, culture and ethics of the Jewish people relevant to many D.C.-area residents who embrace Jewish traditions, humanism and rationalism rather than faith.

Our congregation is no less a religious institution than others on which The Washington Times reports. Rather than seeking those people who “fall through the cracks” or “can’t bear to say goodbye to their heritage,” Machar offers a vibrant example of living Judaism that does not require compromise with what we know scientifically. It is a home for many who are shaping a progressive Judaism that helps our culture evolve beyond supernaturalism toward human empowerment and shared responsibility for creating a better world. It also is a welcoming place for interfaith couples and nontraditional families. To dismiss it as a movement operating “at the far edges” of Judaism ignores the reality that increasing numbers of people are adopting a secular worldview.

The Times can do better in its efforts to report on the development of modern religion.

RICK GOLD

President

Machar, the Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism

Arlington

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