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By Jeffrey Gurock, Jacob Schacter

Mordecai Kaplan, the founding father of the Reconstructionist flow, was once the main influential and arguable radical Jewish philosopher within the 20th century. This booklet examines the highbrow impacts that moved Kaplan from Orthodoxy and analyzes the mix of private, strategic, and occupation purposes that stored Kaplan with reference to Orthodox Jews, posing a query an important to the certainty of any faith: Can a longtime spiritual crew examine from a heretic who has rejected its so much primary ideals?

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Sample text

Among them Jews of Russian, Polish, Hungarian, German and other ancestry. The Congregation was . . ”26 The East European Jews who settled near Kehilath Jeshurun shared many of the same hopes that those who affiliated with Zichron Ephraim held for theirs. Solomon Bachrach, who “owned a jewelry and silverware store on Grand corner of Norfolk Street,” wanted Kehilath Jeshurun to exceed in beauty and in modern tenor Kehal Adath Jeshurun, where he previously had been a member. He saw how his acquaintance from Eldridge Street, Sender Jarmulowsky, had also moved uptown and linked himself with Zichron Ephraim.

And assuming that they maintained an interest in traditional synagogue life—they could, of course, attempt to gain membership in one of the elite Reform temples— they wanted to affiliate with an Orthodox synagogue that reflected their advancement beyond new immigrant status. So disposed, they either transported their synagogues from the Lower East Side to Yorkville, joined with the more Americanized segments of the indigenous congregations in that neighborhood, or created new synagogues uptown with their own social interests fully in mind.

With not an original idea in his head . . who taught . . ”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.

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