Mordecai Kaplan, Founder of Reconstructionist Judaism

Religion and Theology / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
This paper describes the life and ideas of the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Mordecai Kaplan.

This paper examines the history and beliefs of Reconstructionist Judaism through the biography of its founder Mordecai Kaplan. The paper explains how this branch of Judaism perceives God and the supernatural, and how it differs from other forms of the religion.
“Mordecai Kaplan was born in Svencionys, Lithuania in 1881, and moved with his family to the United States when he was eight years old. He was educated at the College of the City of New York and Columbia University, and was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1902. When he left the Rabbinate in 1909, he was appointed principal of the Teachers Institute, and in 1947, became the dean emeritus.
Rabbi Kaplan is known as the founder of the Reconstructionist movement of Judaism, and ideology that views Judaism as a religious civilization. In 1922, he established the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, which became the core of Reconstructionism. In the Reconstructionist, a periodical he edited, Kaplan defined his movement as being dedicated to “the advancement of Judaism as a religious civilization, to the upbuilding of Eretz Yisrael [the land of Israel] as the spiritual center of the Jewish People, and to the furtherance of universal freedom, justice, and peace” (Kaplan, Mordecai Menahem).”

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