Folkshul Welcomes You
We welcome all who want to be part of our Jewish community including, but not limited to folks who are: culturally Jewish, agnostic, atheist, spiritual, self-identified Jewish, Jew~ish, Jew-curious, in an interfaith family, LGBTQ, leaving Judaism, returning to Judaism, freethinkers, humanists, grandparents, singles, couples, parents-trying-to-give-their-kids-good-values-and-a-cultural-identity-in-a-non-religious-setting...
A VIBRANT JEWISH COMMUNITY
Folkshul is a joyful hub of family programs and community activities. A member-run cooperative with a professional staff, Folkshul provides a culturally enriching and meaningful experience.
Our students learn Jewish history, values, mythology, and celebration of holidays. They participate in music, dance, and art and develop social action projects. Special attention is given to relating the “Jewish Experience” to modern day events and issues.
Folkshul is also a family experience with holidays and rites of passage celebrated by the entire community.
Adult members play a critical role in setting policy, developing educational direction, designing social action projects, educating ourselves, and working with staff to develop and strengthen our Folkshul (People's School).
From Max Rosdenfeld's What is Secular Jewish Education
Secular Humanistic Judaism
Folkshul’s mission is to transmit the values of social justice and human responsibility in an environment that nourishes critical thinking and provides a strong sense of Jewish identity.
From Max Rosenfeld's What Is Secular Jewish Education?
"The English word “secular” is an inadequate translation of the Yiddish word veltlich, which means this worldly as opposed to next worldly, profane as opposed to sacred, rationalism as opposed to supernaturalism...
The word combination “secular-humanism” better expresses the ideas contained in the word veltlich. This view of Jewish history and tradition holds that the Jews are a people and that religion is only one aspect of Jewish culture. It recognizes the historic importance of religion as a cementing force in the existence of the Jewish people, but does not consider this the sole reason for Jewish existence or the sole explanation for Jewish survival...
The secularists among the Jews base our views on the premise that the Jewish people are more than a religious group; that we constitute a world people; and that as with every modern people there is room in Jewish life for a diversity of opinion, including the secular-humanist view which does not subscribe to the tenets of religion."
This image is from the WHYY article on our unique tradition. Read the article here.
A Secular Humanistic Bar, Bat, or Breit Mitzvah ceremony signifies a young person’s desire to become more responsible for his/her/their own decisions and actions, and to identify with the many previous generations of Jews. The ceremony acknowledges our youths’ acceptance of the philosophy that we are responsible for our actions, and that our actions affect our own lives and the lives of those around us. It is an expression of the family’s enthusiasm for engaging with the teen in a more mature relationship with increasing interdependence and independence. It is conducted in the embrace of family and community, and in the light of a strong Jewish tradition. Our Bar, Bat, and Breit Mitzvah ceremonies celebrate a time of transition from childhood to adolescence.
The Bar/Bat/Breit Mitzvah process is a program of study and action leading to a ceremony designed by the student and parents/guardians, and guided by the Lifecylces Officiant along with the student’s mentor. The ceremony includes a public presentation in which the child demonstrates his/her/their understanding of some particular aspect of the Jewish experience.
The process is designed to have the child integrate their personal interests with their Jewish values and knowledge. The hope is that this will encourage the student to explore and discover elements of the Jewish experience that are personally meaningful. The process is also designed to be relevant to modern Judaism and reflect ethical, intellectual, and Humanistic principles, as well as welcome the young adult into the worldwide, historical, and local Jewish community.
*Folkshul has adopted non-gendered language as a means to be inclusive not only in thought, but in action and reshaping the way we practice representation justice for all members. Breit Mitzvah means covenant of the commandment, just as Bar/Bat Mitzvah means son/daughter of the commandment. This ceremony is a covenant of the student and their family acknowledging their desire to express, develop and own their Jewish identities and strengthen their relationship to the Jewish and secular world.