Founder of Humanistic Judaism dies

Rabbi Sherwin WineRabbi Sherwin T. Wine, founder of Humanistic Judaism, tragically died on Saturday, July 21, 2007 while vacationing in Morocco. Returning from dinner Saturday evening in Essaouira, his taxicab was hit by another driver. Both Rabbi Wine and the taxi driver were killed instantly. His partner Richard McMains survived the collision and currently is hospitalized in stable condition.

Wine was born in Detroit, Michigan on January 25, 1928. He was a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Hebrew Union College. In 1963 he founded the Birmingham Temple in suburban Detroit, the first congregation of Humanistic Judaism.

In 1969 he helped establish the Society for Humanistic Judaism to serve as the national outreach vehicle for the humanistic movement. In 1986 he helped to create the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews, a worldwide association of national organization. At the time of his death, Wine was the Dean of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism in North America.

The American Humanist Association selected him Humanist of the Year for 2003. The Humanist of the Year award was established in 1953 to recognize a person of national or international reputation who, through the application of humanist values, has made a significant contribution to the improvement of the human condition. As Humanist of the Year, Rabbi Wine joined such notables as Stephen Jay Gould, Betty Friedan, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Margaret Sanger, among others.

Rabbi Wine is the author of Humanistic Judaism, Judaism Beyond God, Celebration and Staying Sane In A Crazy World. In addition, he was a principal contributor to Judaism in a Secular Age: An Anthology of Secular Humanistic Jewish Thought.

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