Category Archives: Celebrations

Information about our Celebrations

It’s Sukkot!

sukkot 2015

Kol Haskalah celebrated Sukkot with a presentation by our Sunday School’s Junior Division. We sang songs, learned about the holiday and shook the Lulav and Esrog.

A harvest holiday, Sukkot is often celebrated inside a sukka , a three-sided hut with a roof open to the sky, constructed especially for the event. Here families and communities are able to gather and eat a meal, share stories and enjoy the outdoors. For Humanistic Jews, Sukkot is a time to appreciate nature and the outdoors, and to celebrate Jewish identity with family and friends.

Chag Sameach! Happy Passover!


When:              Sunday, April 5 at 5:00 PM

Where:            Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (ERUUF)

4907 Garrett Road,  Durham, NC  27707

Join us for a lively Humanistic Seder.

Please bring a Passover dish to share that will serve at least 8 other people. We look forward to tasting your holiday specialty! Also, please bring your own serving utensils (labeled). We will provide matzos, sacramental wine, grape juice and cold drinks. You are welcome to bring your own wine for the dinner. Attendance is free but donations are appreciated.

If you plan to attend, PLEASE  RSVP to Renee at

We will also be collecting food to contribute to the needy in our communities.

Pesach: April 19th, 2014

Join us as we celebrate Pesach with humanistic Haggadah and songs!

April 19th from 4:30 to 8:00 PM (Service at 5:30pm)

Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (ERUUF)***

Fellowship Hall
Durham, NC


  • Cost for Members: $17.50 adults (15 or older) $8.00 ages 10-14 $6.00 ages 5-9, Under 5 Free($50 maximum per family; $5 less/person for vegetarians)
  • Cost for Non-Members: $25.00 adults (15 or older) $8.00 ages 10-14 $6.00 ages 5-9, Under 5 Free($65 maximum per family; $5 less/person for vegetarians)
  • NOTE: Reservation AND check must be received by April 10th. Please send your check (made out to Kol Haskalah) to: Marielle Belhassen, 961 Palace Garden Way. Raleigh, NC 27603.

Please bring a dish to share that will serve at LEAST 8 OTHER PEOPLE.
We look forward to tasting your holiday specialty! Please bring your own serving utensils (labeled.)
We will provide chicken, matzos, sacramental wine, grape juice, and cold drinks. You are welcome to bring your own wine for the dinner. For more info., please call 968-7888 or email or

Volunteers are needed for set-up, clean-up and help with errands, etc. Please email Marielle at if you can help. Thank you!

****** ERUUF, 4907 Garrett Rd, Durham (6/10 mile east of 15-501, on the left) Click for directions/parking info***


Chanukah and Christmas:The Winter Holiday Lights in Our Life

Please Join Us!

 Chanukah and Christmas–The Winter Holiday Lights in Our Life

Sunday–Nov 17th


Murphy Hall, UNC Campus

Jenn Sessler and Marv Axlerod will discuss the differences and similarities between Christmas and Chanukah–two holidays that add light and festivity to the winter season.  Discussion will include traditions, meanings, history and modern Humanistic Jewish perspective.

Come Celebrate Chanukah with Us

Friday, December 6th, 6:30 pm

Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (ERUUF)***

Fellowship Hall
Durham, NC

Enjoy eating latkes, a candle-lighting ceremony and songs led by the Mitzvah and Sunday School students as well as a silent auction and a homemade menorah decorating contest for youth.

Make a menorah at home and bring it to the celebration. Each member who displays their creation will get to pick from a prize bag.

Plan to bring a dish to share for a potluck supper as well as a non-perishable food item to donate.

Items needed for silent auction: suggestions include gift certificates from local businesses; jewelry or other hand crafted goods; new and unused housewares or clothing/accessories; coupons for your time and expertise (babysitting; gardening, leaf removal or household chores; computer assistance, whatever skills you wish to share). All proceeds from the auction will go towards sustaining Kol Haskalah.  Contact Jenn Sessler: to donate auction items.

Volunteers needed for set-up and preparation (latke-making!) at 4:30 p.m. The festivities will get underway at 6:30 p.m.

Contact Marielle Belhassen to lend a hand for this event:


*** ERUUF, 4907 Garrett Rd, Durham (6/10 mile east of 15-501, on the left) Click for directions/parking info***


Chanukah Party – Saturday December 8, 2012

Share latke-making, potluck supper, silent auction, candle-lighting ceremony and songs by Mitzvah and Sunday school students and menorah decorating contest for youth.

Saturday, December 8th at 4:30 PM

ERUUF (Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship), 4907 Garrett Road, Durham, NC

For More Information Call: 919-929-5233

We will be holding a Silent Auction at our Chanukah Celebration to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy Relief. Please check out the items offered below and come ready to bid! You can win great items (perfect timing for holiday gift giving!) and perform Tikkun Olam while eating latkes and celebrating with friends and family!

Silent Auction Items

All Items are Brand New with Tags/Original Packaging.

Junior Drake Zip Wallet in Violet, MSRP $148.00

Red by Marc Ecko Broadway Crossbody in Saddle, MSRP $59.00

BCBG Generation Alli Messenger in Black Whisper, MSRP $98.00

Steve Madden Candy Shop Tote in Pewter, MSRP $98.00

Perlina Joyce Nylon Animal Tote in Brown, MSRP $98.00

Anne Klein Eyelet Odyssey Satchel in Mello Yellow, MSRP $89.00

Cushion-Cut Amethyst Earrings, MSRP $59.99

Cushion-Cut Garnet Earrings, MSRP $59.99

1/4 Ct. Diamond Earrings in 14K Yellow Gold, MSRP $149.99

Black Agate and Pearl Earrings, MSRP $29.99

10 Strand Pearl Bracelet Set, MSRP $44.99

LEGO City Policeman Watch with mini figure, MSRP $24.99





Kol Haskalah in the News!



Rosh Hashanah for Humanistic Jews

September 13, 2012
Humanistic Jews will observe the upcoming High Holidays, too, like other Jewish traditions, but in their own way. Kol Haskalah: A Humanistic Jewish Congregation will hold Rosh Hashanah, Tashlik and Yom Kipper services for congregation members who identify more with Jewish culture than religion.

Humanistic Judaism was founded in 1963 by Rabbi Sherwin Wine in Detroit to provide a home for humanistic, secular and cultural Jews. Kol Haskalah means “Voice of Enlightenment.”

Jennifer Sessler, president of Kol Haskalah, explained that Humanistic Judaism is non-theistic rather than atheistic.

“We don’t pray to God – not that if you believe you can’t join,” Sessler said, but human beings can establish morals and ethics without religion or a supernatural authority. The congregation of Kol Haskalah includes interfaith families and Jews raised in a variety of movements.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a time to reflect on how they lived their lives the past year, Sessler said, and if they’ve made good choices and been good to other people. The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah, which begins Sunday, and Yom Kippur, on Sept. 25, are spent reflecting and then asking for forgiveness. Humanistic Jews ask forgiveness of each other and themselves, but not God as well, Sessler said.

“We have an opportunity to come together and listen to life lessons, which are so important,” Sessler said, and use them in a way to experience the significant of the holiday. She said a supernatural authority that punishes and rewards is not necessary to determine if something is the right thing to do.

Sessler is the speaker at the Rosh Hashanah service Sunday and will share her own story about how she came to Humanistic Judaism. She grew up in New York in a conservative Jewish household that kept Kosher. It bothered her that women and girls were not allowed to be called up to the Torah during Shabbat. In college, she began to ask more questions, but living in New York she didn’t feel the need to affiliate with a congregation because she could go to observances anywhere. When she moved to Chapel Hill, she sought out a place where she could identify as Jewish culturally and eventually joined Kol Haskalah. For the High Holidays, Sessler will take her children to services, mark the days and talk about their values, friendships and current events.

“We’ll talk about how to make better choices, be better people,” she said. “We will have those discussions by the time we get to Yom Kippur and ask forgiveness of others and ourselves.”

Her family has those discussions all the time, not just at the High Holidays, Sessler said.

Kol Haskalah congregant Joel Smith also moved South from New York, but was brought into the Humanistic Judaism fold through his Ohio in-laws, he said. His mother is Jewish, his father is not.

Since getting married, Smith had a desire to identify culturally with being Jewish. He didn’t have a bar mitzvah, but his son did through Kol Haskalah.

“Growing up without having that, it was something I missed, but I wasn’t comfortable with more formal forms of the Orthodox and Conservative movements I’d been exposed to,” Smith said. His son’s involvement was to give him that sense of community.

Some families leave the congregation after children are bat mitzvahed, Smith said, but they haven’t.

“Most people in the congregation enjoy celebrating with other people and with their Jewish cultural identity,” he said.



Rosh Hashanah: Evening service at 5 p.m. Sunday at Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Road, Durham. Children’s service at 10 a.m. Sept. 23 at UNC Murphey Hall, Chapel Hill.

Tashlik service: 1:30 p.m. Sept 23 at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St., Durham. Meet in the garden parking lot and walk to running water. Bring bread and lunch.

Yom Kippur: Kol Nidre service at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 with guest tenor Lev Zilberter and guest speaker poet Alan R. Shapiro. Adult discussion at 2 p.m. Sept. 26. Nizkor service followed by breakfast potluck at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 26. All events at ERUUF, 4907 Garrett Road, Durham.

For tickets to Rosh Hashanah evening service and Yom Kippur Kol Nidre, call 919-968-7888 or visit

Share this story online!