Reconstructionist Judaism

Reconstructionist Judaism (Hebrew: יהדות רקונסטרוקציוניסטית‎, romanizedyahadút rekonstruktsyonistit or יהדות מתחדשתyahadút mitkhadéshet) is a modern Jewish movement that views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization and is based on the conceptions developed by Mordecai Kaplan (1881–1983). The movement originated as a semi-organized stream within Conservative Judaism and developed from the late 1920s to 1940s, before it seceded in 1955[1] and established a rabbinical college in 1967.[2]

There is substantial theological diversity within the movement. Halakha, the collective body of Jewish Law, is not considered binding, but is treated as a valuable cultural remnant that should be upheld unless there is reason for the contrary. The movement also emphasizes positive views toward modernity, and has an approach to Jewish custom which aims toward communal decision-making through a process of education and distillation of values from traditional Jewish sources.[3]

Origin

Reconstructionism was developed by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1881–1983) and his son-in-law, Rabbi Ira Eisenstein (1906–2001), over a period of time spanning from the late 1920s to the 1940s. After being ridiculed by Orthodox rabbis for his focus on issues in the community and the sociopolitical environment, Kaplan and a group of followers founded the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (SAJ) in 1922. Its goal was to give rabbis the opportunity to form new outlooks on Judaism in a more progressive manner. Kaplan was the leader of the SAJ until 1945, when Eisenstein took over. In 1935, Kaplan published his book, Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American Jewish Life. It was this book that Kaplan claimed was the beginning of the Reconstructionist movement. Judaism as a Civilization suggested that historical Judaism be given a "revaluation… in terms of present-day thought."[4]:180–81 Reconstructionism was able to spread with several other forms of literature, most notably the New Haggadah (1941) which for the first time blended Kaplan's ideologies in Jewish ceremonial literature.

Although Kaplan did not want Reconstructionism to branch into another Jewish denomination, it was on the inevitable track of becoming one. At the Montreal conference in 1967, Reconstructionist leaders called for a rabbinical school in which rabbis could be ordained under the Reconstructionist ideology and lead Reconstructionist congregations. By the fall of 1968, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College was opened in Philadelphia. Along with the establishment of the college, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association formed, which gave rabbis a strong network in the religious leadership of Reconstructionism.[4]:192–93 The founding of these institutions were great strides in its becoming the fourth movement in North American Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative and Reform being the other three).

Reconstructionist Judaism is the first major movement of Judaism to originate in North America; the second is the Humanistic Judaism movement founded in 1963 by Rabbi Sherwin Wine.

Theology

Kaplan believed that, in light of advances in philosophy, science and history, it would be impossible for modern Jews to continue to adhere to many of Judaism's traditional theological claims. In agreement with Orthodox theology (articulated by prominent medieval Jewish thinkers including Maimonides), Kaplan affirmed that God is not anthropomorphic in any way. As such, all anthropomorphic descriptions of God are used metaphorically. Kaplan's theology went beyond this to claim that God is not personal, in that God is not a conscious being nor can God in any way relate to or communicate with humanity. Furthermore, Kaplan's theology defines God as the sum of all natural processes that allow people to become self-fulfilled.

To believe in God means to accept life on the assumption that it harbors conditions in the outer world and drives in the human spirit which together impel man to transcend himself. To believe in God means to take for granted that it is man's destiny to rise above the brute and to eliminate all forms of violence and exploitation from human society. In brief, God is the Power in the cosmos that gives human life the direction that enables the human being to reflect the image of God.[5]

Most "classical" Reconstructionist Jews (those agreeing with Kaplan) reject traditional forms of theism, though this is by no means universal. Many Reconstructionist Jews are deists, but the movement also includes Jews who hold Kabbalistic, pantheistic (or panentheistic) views of God, and some Jews who believe in the concept of a personal God.[6]

Kaplan's theology, as he explicitly stated, does not represent the only Reconstructionist understanding of theology and theology is not the cornerstone of the Reconstructionist movement. Much more central is the idea that Judaism is a civilization, and that the Jewish people must take an active role in ensuring its future by participating in its ongoing evolution.

Consequently, a strain of Reconstructionism exists which is distinctly non-Kaplanian. In this view, Kaplan's assertions concerning belief and practice are largely rejected, while the tenets of an "evolving religious civilization" are supported. The basis for this approach is that Kaplan spoke for his generation; he also wrote that every generation would need to define itself and its civilization for itself. In the thinking of these Reconstructionists, what Kaplan said concerning belief and practice is not applicable today. This approach may include a belief in a personal God, acceptance of the concept of "chosenness", a belief in some form of resurrection or continued existence of the dead, and the existence of an obligatory form of halakha. In the latter, in particular, there has developed a broader concept of halakhah wherein concepts such as "Eco-Kashrut" are incorporated.

Jewish law and tradition

Reconstructionist Judaism holds that contemporary Western secular morality has precedence over Jewish law and theology. It does not ask that its adherents hold to any particular beliefs, nor does it ask that halakha be accepted as normative. Unlike classical Reform Judaism, Reconstructionism holds that a person's default position should be to incorporate Jewish laws and tradition into their lives, unless they have a specific reason to do otherwise. The most important distinction between Reconstructionist Judaism and traditional Judaism is that Reconstructionism concludes that all halakha should be categorized as "folkways" and not as religious law.

Reconstructionism promotes many traditional Jewish practices. Thus, the commandments have been replaced with "folkways", non-binding customs that can be democratically accepted or rejected by the congregations. Folkways that are promoted include keeping Hebrew in the prayer service, studying Torah, daily prayer, wearing kippot (yarmulkes), tallitot and tefillin during prayer, and observance of the Jewish holidays.

Beliefs

In practice, Kaplan's books, especially The Meaning of God in Modern Jewish Religion and Judaism as a Civilization are de facto statements of principles. In 1986, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA) and the Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations and Havurot (FRCH) passed the official "Platform on Reconstructionism". It is not a mandatory statement of principles, but rather a consensus of current beliefs.[7] Major points of the platform state that:

Judaism is the result of natural human development. There is no such thing as divine intervention; Judaism is an evolving religious civilization; Zionism and aliyah (immigration to Israel) are encouraged; Reconstructionist Judaism is based on a democratic community where the laity can make decisions, not just rabbis; The Torah was not inspired by God; it only comes from the social and historical development of Jewish people; The classical view of God is rejected. God is redefined as the sum of natural powers or processes that allows mankind to gain self-fulfillment and moral improvement; The idea that God chose the Jewish people for any purpose, in any way, is "morally untenable", because anyone who has such beliefs "implies the superiority of the elect community and the rejection of others."

Most Reconstructionists do not believe in revelation (the idea that God reveals his will to human beings). This is dismissed as supernaturalism. Kaplan posits that revelation "consists in disengaging from the traditional context those elements in it which answer permanent postulates of human nature, and in integrating them into our own ideology…the rest may be relegated to archaeology".[8]

Many writers have criticized the movement's most widely held theology, religious naturalism. David Ray Griffin and Louis Jacobs have objected to the redefinitions of the terms "revelation" and "God" as being intellectually dishonest, and as being a form of "conversion by definition"; in their critique, these redefinitions take non-theistic beliefs and attach theistic terms to them. Similar critiques have been put forth by Rabbis Neil Gillman,[9] Milton Steinberg,[10] and Michael Samuels.[11]

Reconstructionist Judaism is egalitarian with respect to gender roles. All positions are open to all genders; they are open to lesbians, gay men, and transgender individuals as well.

Jewish identity

Reconstructionist Judaism allows its rabbis to determine their own policy regarding officiating at intermarriages. Some congregations accept patrilineal as well as matrilineal descent, and children of one Jewish parent, of any gender, are considered Jewish by birth if raised as Jews. This contrasts with the traditional interpretations of Jewish law of both Rabbinical Judaism, in which a child is Jewish by birth if its mother was Jewish; and of Karaite Judaism, in which a child is Jewish by birth if its father was Jewish.

The role of non-Jews in Reconstructionist congregations is a matter of ongoing debate. Practices vary between synagogues. Most congregations strive to strike a balance between inclusivity and integrity of boundaries. The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF) has issued a non-binding statement attempting to delineate the process by which congregations set policy on these issues, and sets forth sample recommendations. These issues are ultimately decided by local lay leadership.[12] Mixed Jewish/Non-Jewish couples, however, are welcome in Reconstructionist congregations.

In 2015 the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College voted to accept rabbinical students in interfaith relationships, making Reconstructionist Judaism the first type of Judaism to officially allow rabbis in relationships with non-Jewish partners.[13] In making the decision, the movement considered that “many younger progressive Jews, including many rabbis and rabbinical students, now perceive restrictions placed on those who are intermarried as reinforcing a tribalism that feels personally alienating and morally troubling in the 21st century.”[14] In April 2016 nineteen Reconstructionist rabbis announced they will form an offshoot group in part to protest the decision to allow rabbis to have non-Jewish partners.[15]

Organizations

Over 100 synagogues and havurot, mostly in the United States and Canada, were affiliated with the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. As of June 3, 2012 the Reconstructionist movement has been restructured. A joint institution consisting of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the congregational organization is now the primary organization of the movement.[16][17] The movement's new designation was first "Jewish Reconstructionist Communities," and in 2018 became "Reconstructing Judaism."[18][19] Rabbi Deborah Waxman was inaugurated as the president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities on October 26, 2014.[20] As the president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, she is believed to be the first woman and first lesbian to lead a Jewish congregational union, and the first lesbian to lead a Jewish seminary; the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College is both a congregational union and a seminary.[21][22] Waxman is a 1999 graduate of RRC.[23][24] [25]

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College educates rabbis. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association is the professional organization of Reconstructionist rabbis. The Jewish Reconstructionist youth organization is named No'ar Hadash.

Relation to other Jewish movements

Originally an offshoot of Conservative Judaism, Reconstructionism retains warm relations with Reform Judaism. Orthodox Judaism, however, considers Reconstructionism to be in violation of proper observance of interpretation of Jewish law.[26] The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation is a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, in which it gained an observer status in 1990.

Notes

  1. ^ Kaplan, Mordecai M. (2010). Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life. Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society. pp. i–viii. ISBN 978-0-8276-1050-7. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  2. ^ Karesh, Sara E; Hurvitz, Mitchell M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Judaism. New York City, NY: Infobase Publishing. p. 417. ISBN 978-0-8160-6982-8. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  3. ^ "FAQs on Reconstructionist Approaches to Jewish Ideas and Practices". Jewish Reconstructionist Communities. Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b Lee, Raphael Marc. Profiles in American Judaism: the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist traditions in historical perspective (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA. pp. 180–11. ISBN 0-06066801-6. OCLC 11090853.
  5. ^ Sonsino, Rifat. The Many Faces of God: A Reader of Modern Jewish Theologies. 2004, page 22–23
  6. ^ "BBC - Religions - Judaism: Reconstructionist Judaism". Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  7. ^ See the FRCH Newsletter, Sept. 1986, pages D, E.
  8. ^ The Meaning of God in Modern Jewish Religion
  9. ^ Sacred Fragments, p. 200
  10. ^ Milton Steinberg: Portrait of a Rabbi by Simon Noveck, Ktav, 1978, p. 259–260M
  11. ^ The Lord Is My Shepherd: The Theology of a Caring God, 1996
  12. ^ Can Halakha Live? by Rabbi Edward Feld, The Reconstructionist, Vol.59(2), Fall 1994, p. 64-72
  13. ^ Lisa Hostein (October 1, 2015). "Reconstructionists give green light to intermarried rabbinical students". Jweekly. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  14. ^ 7 Reconstructionist Rabbis Quit as Synagogues Debate Intermarried Rabbis The Forward, 8 January 2016
  15. ^ Reconstructionist offshoot forms over intermarried rabbis, BDS JTA, April 8, 2016
  16. ^ http://www.rrc.edu/node/1193, "Movement Restructuring FAQs", Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, June 4, 2012
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2012-06-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link), "Do the Jewish Streams Have a Future?", The Jewish Exponent, May 09, 2012
  18. ^ "Reconstructionist Rabbinical School Changes Name to Reconstructing Judaism".
  19. ^ "Jewish Reconstructionist Community".
  20. ^ "Waxman Inaugurated as Head of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College". Jewish Exponent.
  21. ^ "Reconstructionists Pick First Woman, Lesbian As Denominational Leader - The Jewish Week". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  22. ^ "RRC Announces New President Elect" (PDF) (Press release). Wyncote, PA (USA): Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. 2013-10-09. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
  23. ^ http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/national-news/reconstructionists-pick-first-woman-lesbian-denominational-leader "Reconstructionists Pick First Woman, Lesbian As Denominational Leader". The Jewish Week.Retrieved 2013-10-12.
  24. ^ http://forward.com/articles/185252/trailblazing-reconstructionist-deborah-waxman-reli/?p=all "Trailblazing Reconstructionist Deborah Waxman Relishes Challenges of Judaism –". Forward.com. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
  25. ^ http://www.jewishexponent.com/change-of-top-leadership-at-recon-movement "Change of Top Leadership at Recon Movement" Jewish Exponent. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  26. ^ Robinson, George (2000). Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals. New York City, NY: Simon & Schuster. p. 232. ISBN 0-671-03480-4.

References

  • Platform on Reconstructionism, FRCH Newsletter, Sept. 1986, pages D, E
  • Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach, Rebecca Alpert and Jacob J. Staub, The Reconstructionist Press, 1988
  • David Griffin's article in Jewish Theology and Process Thought, Ed. Sandra B. Lubarsky and David Ray Griffin, State University of New York Press, 1996
  • Louis Jacobs God, Torah, Israel: Traditionalism Without Fundamentalism Hebrew Union College Press, Cincinnati, 1990;
  • Judaism As a Civilization Mordecai Kaplan, The Jewish Publications Society, 1994
  • Mordecai Kaplan "The Meaning of God in Modern Jewish Religion", 1962
  • Liebman, Charles S. “Reconstructionism in American Jewish Life.” The American Jewish Year Book 71 (1970): 3–99. Available at https://www.bjpa.org/search-results/publication/1925

External links

Alpert

Alpert is a variation of the Jewish surname Heilprin, and may refer to:

Alpert of Metz (died 1024), Benedictine chronicler

Bradley Alpert, American computational scientist

Daniel Alpert, American investment banker

Herb Alpert (born 1935), American musician

Hollis Alpert (1916–2007), American film critic and author

Jane Alpert (born 1952), American radical who conspired in the bombings of eight New York City buildings in 1969

Jenni Alpert, American pop singer-songwriter

Jon Alpert (born c. 1948), American reporter and documentary filmmaker

Max Alpert (1899–1980), Soviet photographer

Michael Alpert (born 1955), Jewish entertainer

Mordechai Dovid Alpert (1850–1918), Lithuanian Jewish rabbi

Nisson Alpert (1928–1986), rabbi, disciple of Moshe Feinstein

Rebecca Alpert (born 1950), American Jewish reconstructionist-Judaism thinker

Richard Alpert (born 1931), American Jewish spiritual teacher and writer

Trigger Alpert (1916–2013), American jazz double-bassist

Yakov Lvovich Alpert (1911–2010), Russian physicistAlpert as a fictional character may refer to:

Richard Alpert (Lost), in the American television series LostAlpert may also refer to:

Alpert Awards in the Arts

Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Brit rechitzah

Brit Rechitzah (covenant of washing) is an alternative ceremony to Brit milah performed by progressive Jews who are opposed to circumcision as a blood ritual. It is often a part of the liturgy of ceremonies such as brit shalom ('covenant of peace') or brit b'lee milah ('covenant without cutting'). Those who perform it include rabbis in the Reform, Conservative, Renewal, and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism.

Rechitzah involves the washing of the baby's feet and has its origins in an account in Genesis where Abraham washes the feet of angels who appear as strangers to visit him. This is thought of as a way of welcoming a Jewish boy into the faith in a peaceful way.Moshe Rothenberg has developed Jewish liturgy that includes Rechitzah and has popularized this Jewish welcoming ritual.

Brit shalom (naming ceremony)

Brit shalom (Hebrew: ברית שלום ("covenant of peace"), also called alternative brit (or bris in Yiddish and Ashkenazi Hebrew), brit ben, brit chayim or brit tikkun, is a naming ceremony for newborn Jewish boys that does not involve circumcision. It is intended to replace the traditional brit milah, and is promoted by groups such as Beyond the Bris and Jews Against Circumcision. The term is generally not used for girls, since their naming ceremony does not involve circumcision.Brit shalom is recognized by organizations affiliated with Humanistic Judaism like the Society for Humanistic Judaism, The Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations, and the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, but not by any of the major denominations in Judaism. The reform movement rabbis welcome these families in their community, but do not advertise this in public.

Ira Eisenstein

Rabbi Ira Eisenstein (November 26, 1906 – June 28, 2001) was an American rabbi who founded Reconstructionist Judaism, along with Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, his teacher and, later, father-in-law through his marriage to Judith Kaplan, over a period of time spanning from the late 1920s to the 1940s. Reconstructionist Judaism formally became a distinct denomination within Judaism with the foundation of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1968, where he was the founding president.A native of Manhattan, New York, Rabbi Eisenstein held a bachelor's degree and a doctoral degree from Columbia University. In 1931, he was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he first met and married Judith Kaplan Eisenstein, daughter of founder Mordecai Kaplan.

After his ordination, Rabbi Eisenstein became associate rabbi and then rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, the first Reconstructionist congregation, which Kaplan founded in 1922. He also served as religious leader of the Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago, as well as the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore on Long Island, N.Y.

A former president of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly of America, Rabbi Eisenstein served as president of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation from 1959 to 1970. From 1935 to 1981, he was editor of The Reconstructionist, the movement's magazine."

Alongside Rabbi Jack Cohen, Rabbi Milton Steinberg, and Rabbi Eugene Kohn, he was one of Kaplan's main disciples.

Ira Eisenstein was the grandson of Julius (Judah D.) Eisenstein.

Jewish Reconstructionist Federation

The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF), founded in 1955, was the synagogue arm of Reconstructionist Judaism, serving more than 100 congregations and havurot spread across North America. As of June 3, 2012, the JRF web site was no longer being updated and was re-directing users to the new web site of the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement.In June 2012, the Reconstructionist movement underwent a restructuring that brought JRF into closer relationship with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC). RRC became the primary national organization of the movement, headed at the time by Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, a 1989 graduate of the College.In January 2014, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, became the RRC president.

Judaism as a Civilization

Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life is a 1934 work on Judaism and American Jewish life by Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism.

The book is Kaplan's most notable work and has influenced a number of American Jewish thinkers. Kaplan work centers around the concept that Judaism ought not to be defined as the religion of the Jews, but the sum of Jewish religion, culture, language, literature and social organization.

Kehillat Israel

Kehillat Israel is a reconstructionist congregation in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. They are one of two reconstructionist synagogues in greater Los Angeles (the other being the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue). Their senior rabbi is Amy Bernstein.

Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism

The Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism, also known as the LCCJ, is a council made up of members of the various arms of the Conservative movement, a formal movement within the Jewish denomination of Conservative Judaism.

LCCJ representatives meet twice a year at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, in New York City, to co-ordinate on issues of movement-wide concern.

One of the first projects approved by the LCCJ was Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism, published in 1988. For much of the Conservative movement's history, the movement avoided publishing systematic explications of faith. This was a conscious attempt to hold together a wide coalition. This concern largely became a non-issue after the left-wing of the movement seceded in 1968 to form the Reconstructionist Judaism movement, and after the right-wing seceded in 1985 to form the Union for Traditional Judaism. In 1988, the nascent LCCJ gave its imprinteur toEmet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism. In accord with classical rabbinic Judaism, it agrees that Jews must hold certain beliefs. However, since the Jewish community never developed any one binding catechism, it is impossible to pick out only one person's formal creed and hold it as binding. Instead, Emet Ve-Emunah allows for a range of Jewish beliefs that Conservative rabbis believe are authentically Jewish and justifiable.

Over time the LCCJ came to include all of the following organizations

Cantors Assembly, Hazzan Steven Stoehr, President

Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, Dr. Robert Braitman, President

Jewish Educators Assembly, Lonna Picker, President

Jewish Theological Seminary, Prof. Arnold Eisen, Chancellor

Masorti Foundation, Gloria Bieler, Earl Greinetz, Co-chairs, Board of Directors

Masorti Olami, Alan H. Silberman, President

Mercaz USA, Rabbi Vernon Kurtz, President

NAASE, Susan Kasper, President

Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbi Alvin Berkun, President

National Ramah Commission, Camp Ramah, Morton Steinberg, President

Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Rabbi David Golinkin, President

Solomon Schechter Day School Association, Andrew Cohen, President

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Dr. Raymond B. Goldstein, President

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, Gloria Cohen, President

Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Dean

List of places in Jerusalem

This article lists significant public places in the city of Jerusalem.

Mordecai Kaplan

Mordecai Menahem Kaplan (June 11, 1881 – November 8, 1983), was a rabbi, essayist and Jewish educator and the co-founder of Reconstructionist Judaism along with his son-in-law Ira Eisenstein.

Progressive Reconstructionism

Progressive Reconstructionism is a loosely-knit interfaith community found principally at this time in the developed world. It comprises activist adherents of Reconstructionist Judaism (and of some other Jewish traditions) and the Christian left, of progressive Hindus, Buddhists Muslims, left-leaning Neopagans, Wiccans, and members of other faiths, as well as of progressives who follow a spiritual practice but adhere to no particular religion or tradition, considering themselves to be "spiritual but not religious" (among these are included even agnostics, non-theists, and secular humanists). Some of the key current proponents are Michael Lerner, Starhawk, and Matthew Fox.

Among the seminal ideas leading to Progressive Reconstructionism have been Jewish Renewal, the Social Gospel and Liberation Theology, Reclaiming Wicca, and Creation Spirituality. Some of the main centers of study and organizing in this movement are the Network of Spiritual Progressives, Wisdom University, Naropa University, The Chaplaincy Institute, California Institute of Integral Studies, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Reclaiming, Muslim WakeUp! magazine, and the Yahoo! independent catholic Blog (called, "The Old-Catholic Churches").

As an interfaith and progressive movement, it is not to be confused with Dominion Theology, the so-called "Christian Reconstructionism" and Theonomy of such right-wing millennialists as R.J. Rushdooney and his colleagues, North, Bahnsen, et al. Progressive Reconstructionism is also different from the Polytheistic Reconstructionist religions, though both movements include individuals and groups who identify as Polytheists or Pagans, and the Polytheists and the Progressives have more in common with one another than does either group with the "Christian Reconstructionists".

Reconstructionism

Reconstructionism may refer to:

Christian Reconstructionism, a Calvinistic theological-political movement

Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism, a revival of ancient Greek religion

Polytheistic reconstructionism, an approach to Neopaganism

Progressive Reconstructionism, an interfaith community

Reconstructionist Judaism, a modern American-based Jewish movement

Zalmoxianism, a rebirth of ancient Dacian religion

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA) founded in 1974, is the professional association of rabbis affiliated with Reconstructionist Judaism. It has approximately 300 members, most of whom are graduates of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. The association is a member of a number of national coalitions including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.In 2007 Rabbi Toba Spitzer became the first openly lesbian or gay person chosen to head a rabbinical association in the United States when she was elected president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. Its current president as of June 2017 is Rabbi Seth Goldstein.. Its executive director is Rabbi Elyse Wechterman.

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) is a Jewish seminary in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. It is the only seminary affiliated with Reconstructionist Judaism. It is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. RRC has an enrollment of approximately 80 students in rabbinic and other graduate programs.As of June 3, 2012 the Reconstructionist movement was restructured. RRC is now the primary organization of the movement, headed by Rabbi Deborah Waxman. She is believed to be the first female rabbi and first lesbian to lead a Jewish congregational union, and the first woman and first lesbian to lead a Jewish seminary; the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College is both a congregational union and a seminary.

Religious Jews

Religious Jews are Jews who practice and observe Judaism. They may be affiliated with:

Orthodox Judaism, including

Haredi Judaism

Modern Orthodox Judaism

Conservative Judaism

Reform Judaism

Reconstructionist Judaism

Same-sex marriage and Judaism

Same-sex marriage in Judaism has been a subject of debate within Jewish denominations. The traditional view among Jews is to regard same-sex relationships as categorically forbidden by the Torah. This remains the current view of Orthodox Judaism, but not of Reconstructionist Judaism, Reform Judaism and Conservative Judaism, which started changing its position to same-sex unions in 2006.

As the issue of same-sex marriage has broached the forefront of social and political consciousness in the United States over the past few years, it has also become more prevalent in the Jewish community as well. Certain branches of Judaism that had until recently been less open to gay rights have made organizational changes on the issues. The Conservative Movement was the last of Judaism’s liberal streams to adopt a more progressive streamlined approach to dealing with issues related to homosexuality. Even within the insular Orthodox community, there is a small, but growing population of individuals and leaders who are actively engaged in the struggle for same-sex marriage as a secular institution in America. Rabbi Steven Greenberg is an openly gay Orthodox rabbi who is leading the charge among open-minded Orthodox and traditionally-observant Jews around the world. Leading Orthodox rabbis have denounced reparative therapy and have embraced a much more toned down approach to homosexuality in Judaism. Each year dozens of observant Jewish students "come out of the closet" and many have increasingly remained involved in organized Jewish life.

Organizations have been established to assist Jews struggling with the perceived dichotomy between living a traditional Jewish life and being homosexual. Eshel was established by Rabbi Greenberg as a platform to advocate for greater acceptance of LGBT Jews in Orthodox life. Jewish Queer Youth (JQY) also exists as a platform to connect with and advocate for LGBT rights within Jewish communities across the United States.

Secular theology

The field of secular theology, a subfield of liberal theology advocated by Anglican bishop John A. T. Robinson somewhat paradoxically combines secularism and theology. Recognized in the 1960s, it was influenced both by neo-orthodoxy, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Harvey Cox, and the existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Secular theology digested modern movements like the Death of God Theology propagated by Thomas J. J. Altizer or the philosophical existentialism of Paul Tillich and eased the introduction of such ideas into the theological mainstream and made constructive evaluations, as well as contributions, to them.John Shelby Spong advocates a nuanced approach to scripture, as opposed to Biblical literalism, informed by scholarship and compassion which he argues can be consistent with both Christian tradition and a contemporary understanding of the universe. Secular theology holds that theism has lost credibility as a valid conception of God's nature. It rejects the concept of a personal God and embraces the status of Jesus Christ, Christology and Christian eschatology as Christian mythology without basis in historical events.The movement chiefly came about as a response to general dissatisfaction with the Christian establishment's tendency to lapse into "provincialism" when presented with the "unusual" theological ideas common during the 1960s. The movement also suggested the legitimacy of seeking the holy outside the church itself. Thereby it suggests that the church did not have exclusive rights to divine inspiration. In a sense, this incorporated a strong sense of continuous revelation in which truth of the religious sort was sought out in poetry, music, art, or even the pub and in the street.Certain other religions besides Christianity have developed secular theologies and applied these to core concepts of their own traditions. Notable among such movements has been the Reconstructionist Judaism of Mordecai Kaplan, which understands God and the universe in a manner concordant with Deweyan naturalism.In Hinduism, the Advaita school of theology is generally regarded as non-theistic as it accepts all interpretations of God or Ishvara.

Society for the Advancement of Judaism

The Society for the Advancement of Judaism is a synagogue and Jewish organization in New York City, on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Founded in 1922 by Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, the synagogue is affiliated with the Reconstructionist Jewish movement.

The current rabbi is Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, who succeeded Michael Strassfeld on 1 July 2015.Moshe Nathanson, composer of Hava Nagilah, was Cantor of the SAJ during Kaplan's tenure.

The first American Bat Mitzvah was held at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism on Saturday morning, March 18, 1922, for Judith Kaplan, daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan.

Women's Torah Project

The Women's Torah Project (WTP) was an initiative to have the first Torah scroll scribed entirely by women. The project began in 2003 and was completed in Seattle in 2010. Wendy Graff was the leader of WTP. The WTP was commissioned by the Seattle-based Kadima Reconstructionist community.

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