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Kahal Am

The Humanistic Jewish Community of San Diego

About Us

Kahal Am is one of more than 30 affiliated humanistic congregations and groups in the national Society for Humanistic Judaism, founded in 1963 by Rabbi Sherwin Wine.  The movement has grown globally through the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Judaism.  The movement serves the needs of secular Jews as the fifith branch of the Jewish family tree, with highly trained leaders and ordained rabbis serving its members.

The San Diego congregation began in 1985 in the living room of Alex and Shirley Levin.  Today we offer a variety of religious, social and educational programs.  Our purpose is to enable our membership to find meaning in an historical, cultural, educational, charitable and humanistic involvement in Jewish life.   Our members come from a variety of backgrounds.  Some were raised in traditionally observant Jewish homes, some in secular homes and others with little knowledge of Judaism.  Our common ties come from a desire to be connected with others who share a fresh, independent approach to Jewish identity.  We welcome you to visit us and see what we are about.



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Madrikha Beverly Zarnow

Soloist Janet Hammer

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Our Philosophy

Humanistic Jews affirm that we have the power and responsibility to shape our lives independent of supernatural authority. We value the aspects of Judaism that offer meaningful connections to our people’s past while expressing our convictions and contemporary way of life. We believe that Humanistic Judaism is a viable, rewarding option within Judaism.

As members of Kahal Am we . . .

identity as members of the Jewish People and draw strength from our history, culture and achievements, which we believe are the products of human decisions and actions.

Bond to the Jewish People through humanistic celebrations of holidays and life-cycle events, creating and using non-theistic Jewish rituals in celebrating the ethical core of Judaism.

Affirm the value of study and discussion of Jewish and universal human issues relying on reason, observation and creative expression.

Seek solutions to human conflicts reflecting the freedom, dignity and worth of every human being.

Believe that it is human beings who have the capacity and the responsibility to solve human problems and commit ourselves to actively seeking such solutions with science, personal autonomy, and Jewish loyalty.

Pledge ourselves to pass on these values to present and future generations by education and by our example.  

Judaism is the evolving culture and civilization of the Jewish People. A Jew is someone born to a Jewish parent OR who identifies with the history, culture and future of the Jewish people.

Jewish culture and civilization are the developing creations of the Jewish people over many centuries. As in past generations, we adapt tradition to keep it meaningful and consistent with our philosophy.
The Torah is the creation of people. It is an important repository of Jewish culture and history which deserves respect and study. The Torah plus Jewish experience is the basis for Jewish behavior and ethics.
Holidays and ceremonies are celebrated to commemorate our history, reinforce our unity and articulate our values.
Secular spirituality is the experience of discovering the power within human beings. Nature, family, human creativity, and community are all sources of spirituality.
We welcome multi-cultural and LGBT families and offer intercultural marriage ceremonies. We recognize and treasure unique Jewish experience and culture, while seeing ourselves as part of the greater human family.
Ethics should serve human needs. Morality is the consequence of a person’s actions. Individuals should take an active role in working for the freedom and dignity of all people and preservation of the environment through social activism and social action.

We actively support the existence of the State of Israel. We encourage an open dialogue about the reasons for and solutions to the Palestinian and Jewish conflict.