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RELIGION LIBRARY

Reconstructionist Judaism

Reconstructionist Judaism (also known as Reconstructionism) is a 20th-century American Jewish movement based on the teachings of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. Based on Kaplan's understanding of Judaism, Reconstructionism is both a movement and an ideology that teaches that Judaism is a human, naturalistic culture and that it represents an evolving religious civilization of Jewish peoples. In this, Reconstuctionism rejects the traditional Jewish understanding that the Jewish people are in a covenantal relationship with the transcendent God. In a similar vein, Reconstructionist doctrine rejects the Hebrew Bible as the inspired word of God. These and other teachings are found in Kaplan's book, Judaism as a Civilization (1934). Reconstructionists form intentional communities in which contemporary Jews can embrace their Jewish heritage. This ideology attempts to unify the Jewish people because all Jews are welcome to celebrate their common heritage. Reconstructionism has a great respect for diversity and believes all Jews can participate in Jewish life, which has led to the equality of females and males as well as the inclusion of gay and lesbian Jews. Reconstructionist communities are noted for their activity in social justice issues as well as their highly energetic worship services including prayer, singing, and meditation. Reconstructionist Judaism has its own institutions and universities, but most other forms of Judaism do not recognize Reconstructionism as legitimate.

Quick Facts

Formed 1954
Adherents 150,000
Deity God (impersonal force)
Sacred Text Torah, Tanakh (Hebrew scriptures), Talmud
Origin United States
Headquarters Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), Philadelphia, PA (USA)
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