By Jeffrey Gurock, Jacob Schacter

ISBN-10: 0231106262

ISBN-13: 9780231106269

Mordecai Kaplan, the founding father of the Reconstructionist move, was once the main influential and arguable radical Jewish philosopher within the 20th century. This booklet examines the highbrow impacts that moved Kaplan from Orthodoxy and analyzes the mix of private, strategic, and occupation purposes that saved Kaplan just about Orthodox Jews, posing a query an important to the knowledge of any faith: Can a longtime spiritual team research from a heretic who has rejected its such a lot primary ideals?

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Extra info for A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community

Sample text

When the seminary graduate applied for the position of its spiritual leader in , the synagogue was just coming into its own as a commodious synagogue attractive both to Yorkville’s long-time German and East-Central European Jews and to the newly affluent and acculturating immigrants and their youngsters who had more recently moved into the neighborhood. And the candidate was, like most of his seminary teachers and classmates, anxious to show “young men and women” that they need not attend “reform temples in order to hear a sermon in the vernacular,” [that] “an enlightened orthodoxy, with a clean decorous services [and with] rabbis and ministers who will ever keep in touch with the young .

Charles Kauvar, Herman Abramowitz, Elias L. Solomon, and Phineas Israeli were to be Kaplan’s schoolmates throughout his educational career. These four boys, like Kaplan, were born in Lithuania and brought as children to the United Gurock CH 2 10/16/96 8:13 AM Page 25 TRAINING AT THE SEMINARY •  States. They met up with Mordecai in Public School No. 30 In any event, many years later Kaplan would recall that, during the – school year, he and Solomon “moved away from our parents’ homes and lived in the seminary dormitory.

But now, to his own shame, he was nothing less than an Orthodox rabbi who preached about and supported traditional teachings and ideas to which he personally no longer subscribed. He prayed that his parents would release him—as it were—from his vows. But they did not appear to understand the pain he experienced. Kaplan summed up his feelings in  when he wrote, at age twenty-five: O God! What an inveterate hypocrite I have become! My sin weighs me down. My heart is torn by the conflict, and all for the sake of my parents!

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