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Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine

Sherwin Wine (January 25, 1928–July 21, 2007) was the founder of The Society for Humanistic Judaism.


Wine's most famous book is Judaism Beyond God, where he makes his non-theistic views quite clear.

In a new biography of him, A Life of Courage, Wine writes a length intro to that book which summarizes his belief in our ability to combine a rational, 100% naturalist, non-theistic Humanist worldview with an active celebration of Jewish culture and heritage.


Originally a Reform rabbi he broke with Reform Judaism in favor of an explicitly nontheistic brand of Judaism. He founded the first humanistic Jewish congregation, the Birmingham Temple, in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Rabbi Wine's position on God is one that he describes as ignosticism. By ignosticism he means that he regards the question of God's existence to be meaningless because it has no verifiable consequences and from this he concludes that people can and should live without reference to such a supernatural being.


A reader reports that the Rabbi is atheist: To quote from Rabbi Wine's book Staying Sane in a Crazy World in reference to [Alcoholics Anonymous] "One of the signs of personal strength is that we take blame for what we do wrong. The other sign is that we take credit for what we do right. We do not alienate our power by assigning it to someone else...Strong people are comfortable in recognizing their own power...nor do they call their power 'a higher power'".

--- On July 21, 2007, Wine and his longtime life partner Richard McMains were in a taxicab headed to a hotel from dinner in Essaouira, Morocco, when their cab was hit by another vehicle. Both Wine and the taxi driver were killed instantly in the car crash. McMains survived the collision although he was seriously injured in the crash. ---

The Society for Humanistic Judaism has a site at http://www.shj.org.

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