What is Reconstructionist Judaism?
A brief overview ~
Reconstructionist Judaism, founded by Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan in the first half of the twentieth century, is a progressive, contemporary approach to Jewish life that integrates a deep respect for traditional Judaism with the insights and ideas of contemporary life.
As conceived by Rabbi Kaplan, Judaism is not only a religion, but is a civilization, characterized by beliefs and practices, as well as language, culture, literature, ethics, art, history, history, social organization, symbols, and customs.
Originating as a branch of Conservative Judaism, it broke off due to two major differences from these traditional beliefs:
Reconstructionism is not comfortable with the concept of "the chosen people", a superior and exclusionary sounding distinction. We believe it is the Jewish people who choose to live in a context of covenant, through which tradition becomes holy.
Reconstructionism does not support the belief that God is omnipotent and omnipresent. Rather, God is the source of meaning, the power within that urges us toward generosity, responsibility and self-fulfillment.
"Reconstructionism seeks to put gates through the fences that divide Jews into separate groups."
Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan
Generations of Jews have subtly reshaped our faith and traditions. We seek to nurture this evolution, and consider it the power that allows Judaism to continue as a dynamic tradition in every age. All Jews are encouraged to enhance their own lives by reclaiming our shared heritage and becoming active participants in the building of the Jewish future.
Reconstructionists believe the Jewish people share historical memory and destiny, a commitment to the Hebrew language and the land of Israel and are heirs to a rich legacy of thought, scholarship and ethics. We work towards a shared vision of Jewish peoplehood amongst a wide diversity of Jewish religious ideology and practice.