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Adat Chaverim offers a high-level Adult Education program conducted by our leader, Cantor Jonathan Friedmann, Ph.D. Our adult learners engage in lively discussions, address deep questions, explore diverse perspectives and strengthen their roots as modern secular Jews.

The program consists of three ongoing courses:  Adult Education Series; Book Club (“People of the Books”); and Humanistic Torah Study.

Our Adult Education Series examines topics of historical and contemporary interest. Here’s a sampling of past topics:​

  • Shofar in Comic Books

  • Jewish Toymakers of the Early 20th Century

  • Humanism in Ancient Sources

  • Individualism and Commitment

  • Jewish Wisdom Literature

  • Mitzvot and Meaning

  • Secular Spirituality

  • Theism, Agnosticism and Atheism

  • Jewish-Muslim Relations

  • Who is a Jew?


Our Book Club (“People of The Books”) delves into books of interest to Humanistic Jews. Here’s a sampling of books we’ve read:

  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, by Carol Anderson

  • 1984, by George Orwell

  • Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality, by Patricia S. Churchland

  • The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates, by Frans De Waal

  • The Conquest of Happiness, by Bertrand Russell

  • Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

  • The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ, by Daniel Boyarin

  • Judaism for Everyone...without Dogma, by Bernardo Sorj

  • The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, by Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean

  • Mortality, by Christopher Hitchens

  • A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating Imagination for a World of Constant Change, by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown

  • Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, by Harvey Pekar and J. T. Waldman

  • The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, by Will Eisner

  • Science and Religion: Are they Compatible? by Daniel C. Dennett and Alvin Plantinga

  • The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, by Eric Hoffer

  • When General Grant Expelled the Jews, by Jonathan D. Sarna

  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan


Our Humanistic Torah Study casts a historical and critical lens on important passages in the text. Here’s a sampling of past discussions:​

  • Should Secular Humanists Read the Torah?

  • Bereishit: Is the Myth of Creation Relevant?

  • Noach: Floods and Human Responsibility

  • Vayishlach: Wrestling, Rape, and Revenge

  • Shemot: The Rise of Moses

  • Beshalach: Parting the Sea

  • Kedoshim: Are You Holy? (And what does that even mean?)


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