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Who We Are

A diverse and welcoming Jewish community

The City Congregation was founded in 1991 as the New York City affiliate of the Society for Humanistic Judaism. Our members come from many different backgrounds. We hold many different opinions and beliefs. We joined the congregation in search of something cultural, spiritual, intellectual, or social. What we have in common is a commitment to our shared secular values and future.

 

Many Jewish backgrounds

Some of us grew up unaffiliated, secular, or “just Jewish.” The City Congregation is our first Jewish community and we came to it knowing little or nothing, or maybe even a considerable amount about Judaism. We wanted a connection to our heritage for ourselves or our children.

Some of us had religious upbringings that were either perfunctory or rigorous, but traditional teachings and rituals no longer appeal to us. We may have spent years affiliated elsewhere or “synagogue shopping” without satisfaction. The City Congregation allows us to embrace the Judaism we cherish in a form that doesn’t require us to compromise our beliefs and values.

Both of us were born and raised in observant Jewish families. For the first time in our over 60 years, we can celebrate Shabbat without mouthing words that have no meaning for us. — Devera & Michael

 

Our diverse members

We are Jews by birth, Jews by choice, and non-Jewish partners of Jewish members. We are singles, students, young families, and retirees. We are single parents, adoptive families, blended families, and child-free. We are straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. We come from throughout the New York City tri-state area — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Long Island, and New Jersey — to be part of this remarkable secular Jewish congregation.

 

Interfaith couples and families welcomed unconditionally

Intermarriage isn’t just a fact of modern life to be tolerated, it’s an expression of our wonderful multicultural society that we fully embrace. We welcome non-Jewish spouses and partners as full members of our community and encourage them to share in our celebrations. We urge children in our secular Jewish school and bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah courses to explore and honor their multiethnic and non-Jewish heritage.

 

Many Jewish beliefs

Many of us are unabashedly atheist or agnostic. At the City Congregation we found a place where we can espouse those beliefs without apology. Others are comfortable with a belief in God or a higher power but we live our lives with an emphasis on human responsibility. We too feel supported in this congregation. Find out more about what we believe.

I admire people who resist the pull of conformity and find their own best way. Maybe it's no coincidence this is very first congregation I've ever joined. — Gladys

 

Many individual needs

As with any congregation, some members come primarily for our Jewish children’s school, others for our Shabbat programs or secular High Holiday services. Whether you are seeking intellectual stimulation, secular spirituality, Jewish social activities, or a combination of all of these you will find a home at The City Congregation.