HNN #20: Humanistic Judaism

This month’s guests on HNN #20 are Harvard Law Prof. Alan M. Dershowitz, Humanistic Judaism founder Rabbi Sherwin Wine, and student gay rights activist Erin Davies of the “Fag Bug” project.

Segment 1: Rushdie honor inflames Muslim world

Update: Jes and Duncan give a brief update on recent HNN podcast guest Salman Rushdie. Rushdie was recently knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Muslims in Iran and Pakistan are threatening violence.

End: 3:05

Segment 2: Secular Government and Human Rights

Interview: Duncan interviews Harvard Law Prof. Alan M. Dershowitz on the steps of Harvard. Dershowitz muses on why “secular” has become a dirty word and explains why secular law is necessary to ensure human rights for believers and non-believers alike.

End: 7:00

Segment 3: What is Humanistic Judaism?

Interview: Duncan Crary and Matt Cherry speak to Rabbi Sherwin Wine, founder of the international movement known as Humanistic Judaism. Wine explains why about half of all Jews describe themselves as “secular.” He also explains the ceremonies performed by atheist rabbis like himself.

End: 28:01

Segment 4: Fagbug Teaches People About Homophobia

Interview: Jes Constantine speaks to Erin Davies, a graduate student, about her national tour to raise awareness about homophobia. When Davies discovered that her car was vandalized with anti gay slurs because of a gay pride rainbow sticker she was hurt. Then she decided to leave the slurs on her car and bring it on the road to show people first-hand the ugliness of homophobia and prejudice.

End: 44:00


  • “A Besere Velt (A Better World)” Yiddish Chorus of the Workmen’s Circle, directed by Lisa Gallatin.*
  • “Brudershaft Lid” by M.Birnbaum, arranged by L. Gallatin*
  • “Yungnt Himen” text by S. Kacerginski, music by B. Rubin, arranged by Z. Mlotek, adapted by L. Gallatin. *

*live performance recordings provided courtesy of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University.

I Ain’t Afraid (mp3)*
by Holly Near
from “Edge”
More about this song (HNN Theme Song).


Society for Humanistic JudaismFag BugThe New Humanism ConferenceHarvard Humanist Chaplaincy