Celebration is the act of dramatizing our commitments to people and ideas. It helps us to focus on what is most important in our lives, on what is worthy of our energy and enthusiasm.
Celebration can be as simple as private reflection or meditation, as elaborate as large, planned ceremonies for public meetings and services, a way of reinforcing community bonds.
Celebration can occur at any time - at significant moments in the calendar year or in the cycle of personal and community life, in transitions from season to season, at the anniversaries of important events, during the "passages" in each individual life.
Celebration, based on a bold vision of the human condition, can become a response that is equally exciting, with its own emotional power.
Celebration is the humanist alternative to ritual. It is less compulsive than ritual, preferring that forms serve the people and not the reverse.
For twenty years, Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine has provided original celebrations of every variety for a secular Jewish community. Celebration: A Ceremonial and Philosophic Guide for Humanists and Humanistic Jews is the product of his experience. It is an affirmation of the ethical view of life that dramatizes, in prose and poetry, what secular and humanistic Jews feel about their heritage.
The celebration material in the book is primarily verbal. It is also strongly intellectual and ideological, as well as reflective and sentimental. The style rests on the conviction that celebration events can touch both the mind and the heart; the content rests on the conviction that reason and emotion, inspiration and integrity, humanism and Judaism, are not separate, but complementary.