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Judaism Reading List: Reconstructionist Judaism (Pt. VI)

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Mar 17, 2003, 2:07:03 PM3/17/03

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Selected Sources for Additional Reading on Judaism
Part VI: Reconstructionist Judaism
[Last Change: $Date: 1995/10/19 15:21:35 $ $Revision: 1.3 $]
[Last Post: Mon Mar 17 11:07:03 US/Pacific 2003]

This message is intended to provide readers of soc.culture.jewish with
a list of references to allow them to learn more about the current
practices, past practices, beliefs, and history of the
Reconstructionist Judaism Movement.

Reconstructionist Judaism is the small "fourth movement" of American
Judaism. It was founded by the Conservative Rabbi and philosopher
Mordecai Kaplan. It emphasizes "Judaism as a civilization" (i.e., the
integration of selected Jewish beliefs with the Jewish people's
culture and folkways).

Reconstructionist Jews are willing to question conventional answers
and keep open minds. They believe that a Jew need not and ought not
sacrifice intellectual integrity for the sake of his/her Jewish
identity. Reconstructionists are Jews who take the Jewish traditions
seriously and live Jewish lives even through they don't believe in the
divine supernatural origin of the Torah. Reconstructionists believe
that, just a Jewish civilization has adapted to new circumstances
throughout Jewish history, so must it adapt to late twentieth-century
North American society. Reconstructionists tend to conduct more
intimate worship services in which everyone is involved and the
rabbi--if there is one--does not dominate.

The membership body of the Reconstructionist Movement is the [6]Jewish
Reconstructionist Federation ([7] The association
of the reconstructionist Rabbis is the Reconstructionist Rabbinical
Association. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College publishes
Raayonot as its rabbinical journal.

Where Can I Get The Books

* Many of these books are available through general bookstores or
Judaica bookstores. A list of links to these may be found in the
[8]sources section of the [9]General Reading List (if you are
reading this at [10], you can simply click on the
"Sources" button in the header navigation bar).
* Publications of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, the
Reconstructionist Press, etc. may be obtained from:

Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Beit Devora
7804 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 9
Elkins Park, PA 19027-2649
Phone (215) 782-8500
Fax (215) 782-8805
E-mail [11]
Reconstructionist Press toll free order line: (877) JRF-PUBS or
(877) 573-7827

[Amazon Associate] The S.C.J Reading List has established an affiliate
relationship with Amazon.Com. ([13] Now you
can complete your Reconstructionist Jewish library and support the
continued development of the Reading Lists at the same time, for many
books on Reconstructionist Judaism are available through Amazon. For
those reading this at [14], you can
click the link to the left to browse Amazon's selections.
Alternatively, if you enter Amazon using the URL
sh, the reading lists will get credit for your entry. Additionally,
when you see the Amazon graphic [16][If you were at,
the graphic would be here] (or "[Buy at Amazon: http:...]") on an
entry in the reading list, this indicates that the specific book is
available for purchase at Amazon. Click on the graphic/link to go to
Amazon and purchase the book.

Reproduction of this posting for commercial use is subject to
restriction. See Part 1 (general) for more details.


This reading list is organized as follows:
* [8]Introduction to this Reading List
* [9]Philosophy Of Movement
* [10]Reconstructionist Education
* [11]Reconstructionist Liturgy
* [12]Credits


Subject: Philosophy of Movement

Alpert, Rebecca T. and Staub, Jacob J. Exploring Judaism: A
Reconstructionist Approach Reconstructionist Press, New York.
1985. ISBN 0-935457-00-3.

Cohen, Jack J. The Case for Religious Naturalism.
Reconstructionist Press, New York. 1958.

Eisenstein, Ira and Kohn, Eugene. Mordecai M. Kaplan: An
Evaluation Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, New York. 1952.
Out of Print.

Goldsmith, Emanuel S.; Scult, Mel; Seltzer, Robert M. The
American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan. New York Univ Pr; 1991.
Paperback. ISBN 0-814730-52-3. [6][Buy at Amazon:

Kaplan, Mordecai M. Judaism as a Civilization.
Reconstructionist Press, New York. 1934. Jewish Publication
Society; 1994. Paperback. 640 pages. ISBN 0-827605-29-3. [One
of the most original contributions toward creating a
comprehensive program for creative Jewish life. Kaplan here
offers his now famous concept of Judaism as an evolving
religious civilization. For Judaism to survive and grow, Jews
must continue to reconstruct their heritage in response to
changes in social, political, and cultural conditions.]
[7][Buy at Amazon:

Kaplan, Mordecai M., Ed. The Jewish Reconstructionist Papers.
Behrman's Jewish Book House, New York. 1936. Out of Print.

Kaplan, Mordecai M. The Future of the American Jew.
Reconstructionist Press, New York. 1948. Out of Print.

Kaplan, Moredecai M. Questions Jews Ask: Reconstructionist
Answers. Reconstructionist Press, New York. 1956. Out of Print.

Kaplan, Mordecai M. The Greater Judaism in the Making
Reconstructionist Press, New York. 1960. Out of Print.

Kaplan, Mordecai;Goldsmith, Emanuel S. (ed); Scult, Mel (ed).
Dynamic Judaism: The Essential Writings of Mordecai M. Kaplan.
Fordham Univ Pr; 1991. Paperback reprint edition. ISBN
[8][Buy at Amazon:

Kaplan, Mordecai, M. The Meaning of God in Modern Jewish
Religion. Wayne State Univ Pr; 1994. Paperback reprint. ISBN
0-814325-52-1. [Kaplan's most easily understood theological
work. It is organized around the Jewish holidays but actually
is an elaboration of the basic concepts of his theological
system. This edition includes a new introduction, in which
Kaplan's thought is put in a historical perspective.]
[9][Buy at Amazon:

Neusner, Jacob (ed). Conserving Conservative Judaism:
Reconstructionist Judaism (Judaism in Cold War America,
1945-1990, Vol. 7). Garland Pub; 1993. Hardcover. ISBN
[10][Buy at Amazon:

Prell, Riv-Ellen. Prayer and Community: The Havurah in American
Judaism. Wayne State Univ Pr; 1989. Paperback. ISBN:
0-814319-35-1. [Reconstructionist]
[11][Buy at Amazon:

Scult, Mel. Judaism Faces the Twentieth Century: A Biography of
Mordecai M. Kaplan (American Jewish Civilization Series). Wayne
State Univ Pr; 1994. Paperback. ISBN 0-814322-80-8.
[12][Buy at Amazon:


Subject: Reconstructionist Education

Staug, Jacob and Schein, Jeffrey eds. Creative Jewish
Education: A Reconstructionist Perspective. Rossel Books and
Reconstructionist Rabbinic Council Press, New York. 1985. Out
of Print.


Subject: Reconstructionist Liturgy

Teutsch, David A. (ed). Kol Haneshamah: Shirim Uvrahot: Songs
and Blessings. The Reconstructionist Press, 1991. Jewish
Reconstructionist Federation; 2000. Hardcover. ISBN
0-935457-44-5. [Songs, Blessing and Rituals For the Home --
includes music; also available is an audio tape to accompany
the book.]
[6][Buy at Amazon:

Teutsch, David A. (ed). Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim. The
Reconstructionist Press, 1994. Jewish Reconstructionist
Federation; 1996. Hardcover. 3rd ed. ISBN 0-935457-46-1.
[Sabbath and Holidays Prayerbook; includes a revised version of
the Erev Shabbat book]
[7][Buy at Amazon:

Teutsch, David A. (ed). Kol Haneshamah: Limot Hol (Daily Prayer
Book). The Reconstructionist Press, Wyncote, Pennsylvania,
1996. pages Jewish Reconstructionist Federation; 2000. Reprint
edition. ISBN 0-935457-47-X. [Contains readings for use in a
house of mourning and throughout the year]
[8][Buy at Amazon:

Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations and Havurot. Kol
Haneshamah: Nashir Uneverah. Enlarged Second Edition. The
Reconstructionist Press, Wyncote PA, 1993. [Songs and Grace
After Meals -- words, but not music]

Kaplan, Mordecai M. (ed); Kohn, Eugene (ed); Eisenstein, Ira;
Gerirtz, Gila (ed). Hagadah Shel Pesah: The New American
Haggadah Behrman House; 1999. Paperback. Revised edition. ISBN
[9][Buy at Amazon:

Teutsch, David (ed); Rosenberg, Joel (trans). Kol Haneshamah:
Mahzor Leyamim Nora'Im. Jewish Reconstructionist Federation;
2000. Hardcover. ISBN 0-935457-48-8.
[10][Buy at Amazon:

Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation. The New Haggadah. Jewish
Reconstructionist Foundation, New York. 1941. Out of Print.
[Passover Liturgy]

Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation. The Sabbath Prayer Book.
Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, New York. 1945. Out of
Print. [This is been superceded, but gives an idea of the early

Kaplan, Mordecai M. High Holiday Prayerbook: Yom Kippur. Jewish
Reconstructionist Federation; 1948. Hardcover. ISBN
[11][Buy at Amazon:

Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation. Festival Prayer Book.
Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, New York. 1958. Out of
Print. [Festival Liturgy]


Subject: How do I obtain copies of the Reading Lists?


There are a number of different ways to obtain copies of the Reading
* WWW. If you are reading this on Usenet, and would like to see an
online, hyperlinked version, go visit [2]
This is the "web" version of the FAQ; the version posted to Usenet
is generated from the web version. Note that the
version is a copy of the actual master version; if you want to
access the master, visit [3]
Alternatively, if you would like to see the posted version through
the web, visit [4] The
FAQ is in the subdirectory "FAQ"; the reading lists are in the
subdirectory "rl".
* Email. also provides an autoretriever that allows one
to obtain a copy of the reading lists by return Email. To use the
autoretriever, you send a retrieval request to
[5] with the request in the body of the
message. A more reliable way to retrieve these files is through
the [6]FAQ autoretriever
([7] For the FAQ, the
request has the form:

send faq partname
For the reading list, the request has the form:

send rl partname
"Partname" is replaced by the name of the part, as shown in the
general index. The following is a short summary of the mapping of
partnames for the Reading Lists:
+ [8]general: Introduction and General. Includes book sources,
starting points for beginners, starting points for non-Jewish
readers, General Judaism, General Jewish Thought, General
Jewish History, Contemporary Judaism, Noachide Laws, Torah
and Torah Commentary, Talmud and Talmudic Commentary,
Mishnah, Midrash, Halachic Codes, Becoming An Observant Jew,
Women and Judaism, and Science and Judaism.
+ [9]traditional: Traditional Liturgy, Practice, Lifestyle,
Holidays. Includes Traditional Liturgy; Traditional
Philosophy and Ethics; Prayer; Traditional Practice; The
Household; Life, Death, and In-Between; and The Cycle Of
+ [10]mysticism: Kabbalah, Mysticism, and Messianism. Includes
Academic and Religious treatments of Kabbalah, Sprituality,
and the Jewish notion of the Messiah.
+ [11]reform: Reform/Progressive Judaism
+ [12]conservative: Conservative Judaism
+ [13]reconstructionist: Reconstructionist Judaism
+ [14]humanistic: Humanistic Judaism (Society for Humanistic
+ [15]chasidism: Chassidism. Includes general information on
historical chassidism, as well as specific information on
Lubavitch (Chabad), Satmar, Breslaw (Breslov), and other
+ [16]zionism: Zionism. Includes Zionism and The Development Of
Israel, The Founders, Zionistic Movements, and Judaism in
+ [17]antisemitism: Antisemitism. Includes sections on
Antisemitism, What Led to The Holocaust, Medieval Oppression,
Antisemitism Today (Including Dealing with Hate Groups),
Judaism and Christianity, and Judaism, Freemasonry and other
+ [18]intermarriage: Intermarriage. Includes sections on "So
You're Considering Intermarriage?", The Traditional
Viewpoint, Conversion, and Coping With Life As An
+ [19]childrens: Books for Jewish Children. Includes sections
on Birth and Naming, Raising a Child, Family Guidebooks,
Upsheren, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Holiday Books for
Children, Liturgy for Children, Bible and Torah for Children,
Jewish History for Children, Jewish Theology for Children,
Israel, Learning Hebrew, and Jewish Stories.
The following is a short summary of the mapping to partnames for
the FAQ:
+ [20]01-FAQ-intro: Section [21]1: Network and Newsgroup
+ [22]02-Who-We-Are: Section [23]2: Who We Are
+ [24]03-Torah-Halacha: Sections [25]3, [26]4: Torah; Halachic
+ [27]04-Observance: Sections [28]5, [29]6, [30]7, [31]8:
Jewish Holidays; Jewish Dietary Law and Kashrut; Sabbath and
Holiday Observance; Woman and Marriage
+ [32]05-Worship: Sections [33]9, [34]10, [35]11: Jewish
Worship; Conversion, Intermarriage, and "Who is a Jew?";
Miscellaneous Practice Questions
+ [36]06-Jewish-Thought: Section [37]12: Jewish Thought
+ [38]07-Jews-As-Nation: Section [39]13: Jews as a Nation
+ [40]08-Israel: Section [41]14: Jews and Israel
+ [42]09-Antisemitism: Sections [43]15, [44]16, [45]17: Churban
Europa (The Holocaust); Antisemitism and Rumors about Jews;
Countering Missionaries
+ [46]10-Reform: Section [47]18: Reform/Progressive Judaism
+ [48]11-Miscellaneous: Sections [49]19, [50]20: Miscellaneous;
References and Getting Connected
+ [51]12-Kids: Section [52]21: Jewish Childrearing Related
+ [53]mail-order: Mail Order Judaica
Alternatively, you may send a message to
[54] with the following line in the body
of the message:
send usenet/news.answers/judaism/(portionname)
Where (portionname) is replaced by the appropriate subdirectory
and filenames; for example, to get the first part of the reading
list, one would say:
send usenet/news.answers/judaism/reading-lists/general
* Anonymous FTP: All portions of the FAQ and of the reading lists
are archived on [55] and are available for anonymous
FTP from the pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism/FAQ directory (URL
Similarly, the parts of the reading lists are stored in the
pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism/reading-lists directory (URL:
ts). Note that the archived versions of the FAQ and reading lists
are the posted versions; that is, they are each one large ASCII


Subject: Credits

This list is based on research done at the University of Judaism in
January 1993 by Contributions were also made by
Sharon Morrison and Aaron Seidman. It was remodeled in July 2000.
Suggestions for additions or deletions are welcome, as are brief
annotations for the entries.

A special thank you... Special thanks for her patience and
understanding go to my wife, Karen, who put up with me hiding at the
computer for the two months it took to complete the July/August 2000
remodel of the entire soc.culture.jewish FAQ and Reading Lists. If you
think the effort was worth it, drop her a note c/o

Please mail additions or corrections to me at

End of Judaism Reading List Part VI (Reconstructionist) Digest

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