Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., shared this kavannah that affirms the miracle of creation, constantly renewed, for the first High Holy Days of her presidency of the Reconstructionist movement (5775). She was inspired by her experience on the zip line at Camp JRF.
Learn about the philosophy of Reconstructionist Judaism in this self-paced, three-unit program. Explore the thinking of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, who understood Judaism as an evolving religious civilization. Find out how Reconstructionist Judaism differs from other branches of progressive Judaism. Hear the thoughts of real-world Reconstructionist rabbis and congregants. No Hebrew is required. You will discover the concept of Judaism as an “evolving religious civilization” and examine questions such as:
Are the Jews a “chosen people?”
In a scientific age, how do I understand evil and suffering?
What obligation do I have to help heal the world (tikkun olam)?
How do I decide which Jewish holidays or rituals to observe?
Each unit presents one of the fundamental perspectives of Reconstructionist Judaism established by the movement’s intellectual founder, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan: belonging, believing and behaving.
Your guide for the program is Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Ph.D., ’82, director of multifaith studies and initiatives at RRC. You have opportunities to read, question and reflect on Judaism in the 21st century, as you move through at your own pace and explore probing questions.
Only by sitting in the center—keeping our hearts open and holding onto the complexity of the tragedy—can we stay constructively engaged with Israel in times of crisis. The links below include resources and reflections that are designed to help (1) deepen your understanding of what it’s like to be in Israel under attack and (2) increase your individual and communal dialogue skills when people of good will hold sharply differing views.
View a searchable archive of Kaplan’s diaries from 1913–1972, collected by the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary. (On the left side of the page, type in “Kaplan Diaries” in the search box.) These offer a window into his thoughts on 20th century Judaism and the development of the Reconstructionist movement.
Here are a few things I learn each year from my garden: I do not think of what I do as gardening. I call it “horticultural therapy” and it has become my most profound spiritual experience. It allows me to engage with nature in a primal and tactile way.
Look Into My Eyes: Coming Face to Face with Disability, a mini-course held at RRC, was designed to help participants increase their capacity to work with people of differing abilities. We’ve recreated it here in video and articles that offer insights from Jewish tradition, explorations of the heart, and teachings from rabbis who are leaders in serving diverse communities. This course resides on the website of the Reconstrucitonist Rabbinical College. Go directly to the course.
In the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis, Congregation Dorshei Emet in Montreal campaigned to sponsor four refugee families. We were happy to hear that the first of the four families arrived in Canada last month.