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Reconstructionist Judaism

Learn about the philosophy of Reconstructionist Judaism in this self-paced, three-unit program. Explore the thinking of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, who understood Judaism as an evolving religious civilization. Find out how Reconstructionist Judaism differs from other branches of progressive Judaism. Hear the thoughts of real-world Reconstructionist rabbis and congregants. No Hebrew is required. You will discover the concept of Judaism as an “evolving religious civilization” and examine questions such as:

  • Are the Jews a “chosen people?”
  • In a scientific age, how do I understand evil and suffering?
  • What obligation do I have to help heal the world (tikkun olam)?
  • How do I decide which Jewish holidays or rituals to observe?

Each unit presents one of the fundamental perspectives of Reconstructionist Judaism established by the movement’s intellectual founder, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan: belonging, believing and behaving.

Your guide for the program is Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Ph.D., ’82, director of multifaith studies and initiatives at RRC. You have opportunities to read, question and reflect on Judaism in the 21st century, as you move through at your own pace and explore probing questions.

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You have opportunities to read, question and reflect on Judaism in the 21st century, as you move through at your own pace and explore probing questions.

Learn about belonging, behaving and believing as fundamental concepts in Reconstructionist Judaism in this short video lecture by Rabbi Richard Hirsh, RRC '81. Hirsh then offers a deeper explanation of Reconstructionist approaches to faith and God.

Learn about the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism on RRC's website.  http://www.rrc.edu/resources/mordecai-m-kaplan

View a searchable archive of Kaplan’s diaries from 1913–1972, collected by the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary. (On the left side of the page, type in “Kaplan Diaries” in the search box.)  These offer a window into his thoughts on 20th century Judaism and the development of the Reconstructionist movement.

In this speech Strassfeld addresses many issues relating to a Reconstructionist approach to spirituality. He tells his own journey which goes from rejecting Hasidic texts to embracing them. He lauds a Reconstructionist "anti-fundamentalist" approach which asks its adherents to embrace life's unknown and not need or desire singular answers. The text and audio of this speech are both available.
Type: Speech

The Role of Non-Jews in Reconstructionist Congregations

In February, 2008, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation released a summary of their report on the "Boundaries and Opportunities" report on the role of non-Jews in affiliated Reconstructionist congregations
Type: Policy

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