Anne Klaeysen: “The Ethical Humanism of the Future”

By September 22, 2019 September 23rd, 2019 No Comments

I take inspiration for this final platform address before my retirement at the end of September from Ethical Culture founder Felix Adler’s first and last sermon at Temple Emanu-El in 1873 called “Judaism of the Future.” It was meant to be an audition for being appointed his father Samuel’s successor as rabbi. Instead it shocked the congregation by neglecting to mention a deity and offering a bold manifesto of Judaism as a secular religion of morality for all humanity, not just a privileged few. While conceding that his sermon was brilliant and that young Felix had a bright future ahead of him, the synagogue’s trustees made it clear to him that such a future would not be with them. Six years later, he founded our non-theistic religion of ethics. Have we fulfilled the future he envisioned? What future do we envision now? Together we will explore these questions.

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