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

By Jeffrey Gurock, Jacob Schacter

Mordecai Kaplan, the founding father of the Reconstructionist flow, used to be the main influential and debatable radical Jewish philosopher within the 20th century. This ebook examines the highbrow affects that moved Kaplan from Orthodoxy and analyzes the combo of private, strategic, and occupation purposes that stored Kaplan with reference to Orthodox Jews, posing a query an important to the knowledge of any faith: Can a longtime non secular workforce examine from a heretic who has rejected its so much basic ideals?

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Why, he asked, must we continue to request rabbis from overseas, if we can produce our own here in the United States who understand the environment? The rabbis who do come over, he averred, often do not understand American culture, its language, or the outlooks of native-born Jews. 5 Turning to the specific seminary, the , Israel and Anna Kaplan had chosen for their son, Eisenstein was much calmer than the correspondent for the Yiddishe Welt was about the faculty young Mordecai would encounter there.

Rabbi Peikes’s stance only momentarily stymied the insistent congregational leaders. ” This variant reading of the true intentions of Peikes’s letter forced the European-trained rabbi to face the reality of who governed synagogue life in America. The congregation’s minute book records that “during this discussion [over what Peikes meant Gurock CH 3  10/16/96 8:40 AM Page 42 • PROMOTING AMERICAN ORTHODOXY in his letter] a regular application was received from Dr. ” Indeed, one wonders whether Peikes was standing in the anteroom, calculating his support and awaiting the decision.

Kaplan did not know that  was not overly concerned that its candidates for the preparatory class possess the strongest of Judaic backgrounds. It wanted bright young gentlemen whom they would provide with the appropriate ministerial training. ” The seminary administration was more anxious that prospective rabbis coming uptown “be able to speak the English language” than reflect a facility in Hebrew and Judaic texts. From Kaplan’s account of the oral examination he took, it is clear that he was not overwhelmed by the depth of his questioner’s inquiries.

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