Rabbi Peter Schweitzer
A Humanistic leader
Rabbi Peter H. Schweitzer is one of the most respected and admired secular rabbis in America. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Humanistic Judaism and the former president of the Association of Humanistic Rabbis. He is the author of The Liberated Haggadah: A Passover Celebration for Cultural, Secular, and Humanistic Jews, a frequent contributor to Moment Magazine, and a former columnist for Jewish Currents. He has been called upon to offer the perspective of an atheist rabbi for media outlets such as The New York Times, New York magazine, The Washington Post and National Public Radio.
Rabbi Schweitzer is also recognized as a preeminent collector of Jewish Americana. In 2005 he donated his treasure trove of more than 10,000 artifacts to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.
Rabbi Schweitzer’s Jewish journey
Rabbi Schweitzer grew up in Scarsdale, New York, attended Oberlin College, and was ordained in the Reform movement in 1979 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He served a congregation in Indianapolis for several years but left the rabbinate after he began to have doubts about the message he was espousing. He returned to New York City where he found a new career as a clinical social worker for the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. In 1992, Rabbi Schweitzer joined the young City Congregation as a member and took on the role of volunteer rabbi. He was officially hired for the position in 2005.
Read Rabbi Schweitzer’s article about his journey to Humanistic Judaism.
A champion of Jewish inclusiveness
Rabbi Schweitzer believes that Jewish civilization has thrived by embracing the world at large and adapting to the ever-changing needs of the Jewish people. Jews throughout the New York City area seek him out to officiate at interfaith weddings, gay weddings, secular funerals, and baby namings for parents who choose not to circumcise.