Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Jewish Reconstructionism

  • Nicole GehlEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9254

Reconstructionism is the fourth major denomination of Judaism and was introduced by Lithuanian-born Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1881–1983) in the 1920s in America. It is the only major sect of Judaism to originate inside the United States, and the movement has had little reach beyond American borders. Rabbi Kaplan began his career as an Orthodox rabbi, but his dissatisfaction with Orthodoxy brought him to the Conservative rabbinical seminary where he retained a tenureship for 54 years. In this position, he taught Judaism as an ever-evolving civilization and asserted the need for Jewish people to reexamine the practices and customs of traditional Judaism in light of the changes and advances of the times. Kaplan sought to change the emphasis of Conservative Judaism so that it would appeal to Jews who had become psychologically and spiritually distant from their heritage. It was his belief that Judaism had persisted for thousands of years despite the adversities the Jewish people were...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Priory HospitalLondonUK