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By Jeffrey Gurock, Jacob Schacter

Mordecai Kaplan, the founding father of the Reconstructionist move, used to be the main influential and arguable radical Jewish philosopher within the 20th century. This ebook examines the highbrow impacts that moved Kaplan from Orthodoxy and analyzes the mix of private, strategic, and occupation purposes that saved Kaplan on the subject of Orthodox Jews, posing a question the most important to the certainty of any faith: Can a longtime non secular workforce examine from a heretic who has rejected its so much basic ideals?

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Extra resources for A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community

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Kaplan summed up his feelings in  when he wrote, at age twenty-five: O God! 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.

22 Nor was this class of uptown Jews necessarily or uniformly enamored or attuned to the Reform Judaism that reigned supreme among the Schiff, Sulzberger, and Lewisohn crowd. Indeed, two of the congregations established on the Upper East Side in the s—Kehilath Jeshurun and Orach Chaim—were strictly Orthodox in their ritual and less than fully American in their social orientation. Orach Chaim, founded in , and initially situated in rented quarters on th Street and First Avenue, followed the “German Ashkenazic custom” and earned the praise of one downtown Hungarian-born rabbi as “a congregation .

11 Moreover, they had no second thoughts about him studying with the likes of Rabbis Kohut and Joffe. After all, the elder Kaplan had carried with him from Russia a letter of introduction to the former. 12 And whatever Joffe’s deviations were from tradition, they were not Gurock CH 2  10/16/96 8:13 AM Page 22 • TRAINING AT THE SEMINARY nearly as profound as had been those of Kaplan’s household friend, Arnold Ehrlich. Eliezer Robison, principal of the Machzike Talmud Torah, Kasriel Sarasohn, editor of the Yiddish weekly, the Yiddishe Gazetten, and the daily, Yiddishes Tageblatt, and a number of important lay leaders of the Kaplans’ own home congregation, Kehal Adath Jeshurun of Eldridge Street, had no problem understanding Israel and Anna’s decision.

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