Kol Hadash Northern California Community for Humanistic Judaism
Kol Hadash ("New Voice" in Hebrew) was organized in 1987 as the Northern California Chapter of the Society for Humanistic Judaism, by a handful of individuals who were looking for a way to celebrate their cultural Jewish identity nontheistically. Today, Kol Hadash is a lay-led community with about 60 households over five counties in the Bay Area, primarily in Alameda County, where we meet for our community functions. We aspire to begin havurot in the San Francisco and Peninsula areas in hopes of further community expansion.
Included in our diverse membership are those raised in every branch of Judaism, both in the U.S. and abroad, couples and families with children of mixed religious backgrounds, singles, Holocaust survivors, those raised unaffiliated, those who became Jews by choice, in ages from the very young to the very old. If it were not for Humanistic Judaism, most members would remain unaffiliated.
What makes us unique among Jewish congregational life is that we believe people are not bound by supernatural authority, nor to indoctrination from the past, except by their own choosing. We believe that Jewish civilization, including Judaism itself, is best understood and enriched by a secular perspective using reason over faith as the source of truth.
Because of our shared values, like all Jewish communities Kol Hadash is an extended family with whom we celebrate the holidays, learn, and form bonds of friendship and support. We are a congregation with a charter, and a volunteer board of directors. We have adult programs, social groups and study groups, some with overlapping membership, which help strengthen the bonds among members. We share losses and comfort each other with memorial services. We are affiliated nationally with the Society for Humanistic Judaism, and members of various local organizations including the Jewish Community Relations Council.
If you are uncomfortable with liturgy that refers to a higher power, you will feel welcome in our community. Our backgrounds may be different, and we may not speak in one voice—but that's what makes us an exciting, vibrant community. We invite you to come and see for yourself.