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Shabbat Lunch & Learn “Judaism as a civilization, Chapter IV, The Modern Ideology” Presented by Dr. Martin Israel

Saturday, July 13, 2019 10 Tammuz 5779

12:30 PM - 2:00 PMCommunity
July 13, 2019 
Shabbat Lunch & Learn
12:30 pm, after Kiddush
Sponsored by Kol Rinah Verein Discussion Group
Mordecai M. Kaplan Founder of the Reconstructionist movement.

Mordecai Menahem Kaplan (June 11, 1881 – November 8, 1983),
was a rabbi, essayist and Jewish educator and the co-founder of Reconstructionist Judaism along with his son-in-law Ira Eisenstein. From 1893 to 1902 he studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. After graduating from CCNY in 1900 he went to Columbia University studying philosophy, sociology and education receiving a master’s degree and a Doctorate. Majoring in philosophy, he wrote his Masters thesis on the ethical philosophy of Henry Sidgwick. His lecturers included the philosopher of ethical culture Felix Adler and the sociologist Franklin Giddings. 

Kaplan began his career as an Orthodox rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, a synagogue in New York. In 1912, he was an advisor to the creators of the Young Israel movement of Modern Orthodox Judaism, together with Rabbi Israel Friedlander. He was a leader in creating the Jewish community center concept, and helped found the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. 

He held the first public celebration of a bat mitzvah in the United States, for his daughter Judith Kaplan, on March 18, 1922, at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, his synagogue in New York City. Judith Kaplan recited the preliminary blessing, read a portion of that week’s Torah portion in Hebrew and English, and then recited the closing blessing. From 1934 until 1970 Kaplan wrote a series of books in which he expressed his Reconstructionist ideology, which centered on the “concept of Judaism as a civilization”. He was a prolific writer, keeping a journal throughout most of his life.

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Sun, July 21 2019 18 Tammuz 5779