Read e-book online A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community PDF

By Jeffrey Gurock, Jacob Schacter

ISBN-10: 0231106262

ISBN-13: 9780231106269

Mordecai Kaplan, the founding father of the Reconstructionist circulate, was once the main influential and debatable radical Jewish philosopher within the 20th century. This publication examines the highbrow affects that moved Kaplan from Orthodoxy and analyzes the combo of non-public, strategic, and occupation purposes that stored Kaplan with reference to Orthodox Jews, posing a query the most important to the knowledge of any faith: Can a longtime non secular staff study from a heretic who has rejected its so much basic ideals?

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Extra resources for A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community

Example text

In the  account Kaplan alleged that his discomfort clearly began after he left the halls of . ”3 In other words, in the  version, we have the story of a young rabbi who, in , successfully dealt with his theological questions and was quite comfortable as an American Orthodox rabbi. Later on he lost his way. If this understanding is true, then Kaplan’s initial breaks must have taken place between  and . A vision of Mordecai Kaplan moving away from Orthodoxy while at Kehilath Jeshurun is also forthcoming from four other autobiographical reflections.

It differed only from Orach Chaim in that “Anshe Yeshurun,” as it was first called, early on attracted the neighborhood’s first East European elements. Indeed, one family tradition has it that three members of a single Polish Jewish family were among the founders and first trustees of this synagogue. Abbe Baum, Jacob Webster, and Theodore Crohn all arrived in this country before . Behaving much like most Central and East-Central European Jewish immigrants of the time, they first sought their fortunes out West, only to settle after  on the Lower East Side of New York, which was then predominately German Jewish.

20 To the Jewish general public, Kaplan was, rather, the paradigmatic young American Orthodox rabbi of his day. To the outside world, he was a bright young man who was living up to his family’s career aspirations. Kaplan was also making those within the downtown Orthodox community who supported the seminary feel good about their investment as he tried to apply what he had learned there to meet the needs of the newly acculturated, religiously confused young people of his day. To those not privy to his innermost thoughts, Kaplan’s major battles seemed not to be with his own soul but with old-fashioned congregants, who did not appreciate the aesthetic and social changes he advocated in synagogue life, and with residual elements of the transplanted East European rabbinate in America who did not accept him as an Orthodox rabbi.

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A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community by Jeffrey Gurock, Jacob Schacter


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