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God-Optional Judaism: Alternatives for Cultural Jews Who Love Their History, Heritage and Community

God-Optional Judaism: Alternatives for Cultural Jews Who Love Their History, Heritage, and Community (by Judith Seid, Citadel Press, $19.95) offers alternatives to God centered religious practices of Judaism, notably the “Big Three” movements in North America. Seid opts for a humanistic Judaism concerned with universal justice. equality and spirituality that stems from various other sources, such as the natural world or art. She traces the roots of the recent Orthodox-backed premises that have minimized the importance and meaning of cultural Judaism, by bringing to light the heterogeneous nature of Jewish community throughout history. Seid addresses the difficulty of finding a congregation that appeals to the surprising number of North American Jews who do not identify as religiously Jewish, but who seek an embracing community for ethnic or cultural Jewish identification. The book includes a how-to guide for life cycles and festivals, and information on finding or starting your own secular/ humanistic Jewish group. As important as these practical tools is the premise that diversity is a major component of the evolution and survival of Judaism.