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 stream, used to be the main influential and debatable radical Jewish philosopher within the 20th century. This publication examines the highbrow impacts that moved Kaplan from Orthodoxy and analyzes the mix of non-public, strategic, and profession purposes that saved Kaplan with reference to Orthodox Jews, posing a query an important to the knowledge of any faith: Can a longtime spiritual workforce examine from a heretic who has rejected its so much primary ideals?

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44 But, in fact, Kaplan learned much from Drachman. As a leader of the Jewish Endeavor Society (), Kaplan acquired the skills, experiences, and sensitivities that helped him become an effective Orthodox rabbi in the years after he was graduated from the seminary in . And it was Drachman who founded that group in . His target audience then was the Jewish adolescents and young adults of downtown who were increasingly uncomfortable with the style of Judaism practiced in their neighborhood’s synagogues.

Menahem Max Eichler and Henry M. 28 Then, of course, there was young Mordecai’s group of four friends from the old Lower East Side neighborhood. 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.

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! . I ask not for riches, I ask not for fame, only that God should open the eyes of my parents to see how they are slowly permitting my soul and spirit to die within me. . [My parents] believe that my ideas will change . . but I tell [them] that ideas are as subject to natural law as bodies , and it is by the fatality of things that I believe as I do, and can never change.

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