I applaud Rabbi Mirel’s effort to encourage nonaffiliated Jews in the greater Seattle area to join a Jewish community in his article “An offer you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse” (Rabbi’s Turn, Feb. 25). He lists several types of congregations to choose from, including Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Renewal and Meditative, and he notes, as a caveat, that he is intentionally excluding messianic synagogues from the list of acceptable choices. One type of Jewish community that exists in Seattle but is not included in Rabbi Mirel’s list is Humanistic Judaism. As a member of the Secular Jewish Circle of Puget Sound, the local affiliate of the Society for Humanistic Judaism, I would like to correct this oversight. Although SJC is not a synagogue, it provides many of the same services as other Jewish communities, e.g. monthly community get-togethers, holiday celebrations, Sunday school, adult education, lifecycle celebrations, cultural programming, etc.
SJC is a viable alternative for people who want to participate in a Jewish community that offers a world view that may resonate for them. SJC also actively engages in the larger local Jewish community, taking part in events at the Jewish Community Center, sponsoring cultural events such as the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, and supporting community organizations such as Jewish Family Service and the Jewish Federation. I appreciate you remembering to include Humanistic Jewish organizations such as ours in the list of viable alternatives for those seeking affiliation. We’re another type of vibrant Jewish community with much to offer and provide another doorway to affiliation.