What Is Reconstructionism?

2 Reconstructionist Jews, 3 opinions of what is Reconstructionism

Based on the teachings of Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881-1983) and his followers, Reconstructionist Judaism understands Judaism as the “evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people.” For Reconstructionist Jews, a sense of belonging to the Jewish people and tradition is equally, if not more important than personal religious belief.

Reconstructionist Judaism is community oriented. Decisions are made communally using tradition as a resource, though not a decisor. Using Rabbi Kaplan’s language, “the past has a vote, not a veto.” Everything we do tries to be in service of the community.

Reconstructionism is participatory and engaging. We hope to empower each member to seek out his or her niche in the spectrum of Jewish expression. We attract those who, regardless of their background, are searching for various ways to engage with Judaism with questions, spirituality, intellectual learning, play, and song.

Reconstructionist Judaism is creative. We believe that by preserving our sacred traditions we sustain our connection to past generations and to Jews around the world. At the same time, we believe we must creatively reinterpret our traditions so that they remain vibrant and meaningful for ourselves and future generations.

Reconstructionist Judaism is searching. We understand Judaism as a way to seek out connection with others, search the meanings in life, and maintain an awareness of life’s sacred dimension.

Reconstructionist Judaism is humanistic. We recognize the human authorship of all religious traditions, including Judaism. We believe no tradition has a monopoly on religious truth.  Affirming Judaism as our own tradition implies no sense of superiority regarding others. We welcome dialogue with persons of good will in all traditions, both within and outside of Judaism.

Visit “Our Values” to learn more about Mishkan Ha’am.

For additional information about Reconstructionist Judaism, see the following websites:

Jewish Reconstructionist Movement (JRM)

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC)

Ritualwell.org (a website of new and creative Jewish rituals produced by Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies of RRC

For a list of Reconstructionst Synogogues in your area: http://www.jewishrecon.org/directory