Wine, Sherwin T. 1928–2007

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Wine, Sherwin T. 1928–2007

(Sherwin Theodore Wine)


See index for CA sketch: Born January 25, 1928, in Detroit, MI; died after an automobile accident, July 21, 2007, in Essaouira, Morocco. Rabbi and author. Wine was known to many as the rabbi who didn't believe in God or, as he put it himself, who suspended belief in a supreme being for lack of empirical evidence. Wine was a legitimate, ordained Reform rabbi who led Jewish congregations in Detroit and its sister city, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, between 1956 and 1964. At some point, while ministering to a congregation in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, he came to doubt the existence of God, but he continued to observe the ethical and cultural practices of Judaism. Wine began to call himself a secular humanist, or secular Jew. He attracted national attention, including the censure of other, more traditional rabbis, but Wine also gathered a following of like-minded souls throughout the United States and Canada. Wine and his fellow humanists practiced the tenets of Judaism but replaced the worship of God with a celebration of man. Wine founded the Society for Humanistic Judaism in 1969 and the Center for New Thinking in 1977. He was active in the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, the International Association of Humanist Educators, Counselors, and Leaders, the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews, the North American Committee for Humanism, and the Conference on Liberal Religion. Wine promoted his views in several books, including A Philosophy of Humanistic Judaism (1965), High Holidays for Humanists (1979), Judaism beyond God: A Radical New Way to Be Jewish (1985), Celebration: A Ceremonial and Philosophic Guide for Humanists and Humanistic Jews (1988), and Staying Sane in a Crazy World (1995).



Chicago Tribune, July 23, 2007, p. 4.

Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2007, p. B8.

New York Times, July 25, 2007, p. A16.

Washington Post, July 24, 2007, p. B7.