Kaplan, Mordecai Menahem

Kaplan, Mordecai Menahem

(môr`dĭkī' mənäkh`əm kăp`lən), 1881–1983, American rabbi, educator, and philosopher, b. Lithuania, grad. College of the City of New York, 1900, M.A. Columbia Univ., 1902. He came to the United States when he was eight years old. In 1909 he became principal and in 1931 dean of the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In 1922 he founded the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. He is best known, however, as the originator and leader of the Reconstructionist movement (see JudaismJudaism
, the religious beliefs and practices and the way of life of the Jews. The term itself was first used by Hellenized Jews to describe their religious practice, but it is of predominantly modern usage; it is not used in the Bible or in Rabbinic literature and only rarely
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). Among his many books are Judaism as a Civilization (1934, rev. ed. 1957), The Meaning of God in Modern Jewish Religion (1937), Judaism without Supernaturalism (1958), And If Not Now, When? Toward a Reconstitution of the Jewish People (1973).

Bibliography

See I. Eisenstein and E. Kohn, ed., Mordecai M. Kaplan (1952); R. Libowitz, Mordechai M. Kaplan and the Development of Reconstructionism (1984); E. S. Goldsmith et al., ed., The American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan (1992).

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