What is Reconstructionist Judaism?
JewishRec.org tells us that "Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, the intellectual founder of Reconstructionism, viewed Judaism as the evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people. Each generation is responsible for guiding that evolution in order to meet the needs of contemporary Jews. Kaplan promoted democracy in the synagogue community and respect for the religious opinions of individuals." (read more about the movement)
Why Are We Reconstructionists?
Reconstructionist Judaism is passionate Judaism.
At Kehillath Shalom Synagogue we constantly experiment with new ways of worshiping, studying, and strengthening community not to be different, but to make our journeys more meaningful.
We are secure enough to be flexible, yet humble enough to treasure the legacy we have inherited.
Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, whose vision and interpretation became the Reconstructionist movement, wrote, "The past has a voice but not a veto." We look to our ancient texts but not always for governance. Alongside prayer and study, there is always discussion, and we emphasize acts of social justice as the third pillar supporting our spiritual practice.
Progressive, egalitarian, democratic, welcoming of interfaith and non-traditional families, pluralistic, participatory, innovative... Reconstructionism leavens the wisdom of traditional Judaism with modern philosophical, psychological, and social insights not available to our grandparents.
We feel privileged to enter the conversation that has been going on for generations, and to speak up for what we believe. For many of us who would not have otherwise found our way to a religious community, the Reconstructionism of Kehillath Shalom Synagogue has served as a gateway, enriching and inspiring us, renewing us, making us more complete.
As Reconstructionists, we hold diverse ideas about God but embrace Godliness - the hopes, values, and beliefs that impel us to work for a better world, that give us strength and solace in times of need, that challenge us to grow, that deepen our joy, that inspire and encourage us.
Reconstructionist Judaism isn’t what you expect, and the surprise will delight you.
We are not what you expect
We are not what you expect.
We are colorful and creative,
Spiritual and introspective,
Educated and informed;
We are embracing and encouraging,
Opinionated and sometimes irreverent,
Determined and committed.
We are social workers and doctors;
We are lawyers, teachers, and entrepreneurs,
We are physicists and engineers,
Chefs and hair stylists.
We are dreamers and doers.
We speak several languages if you add us all together.
We break down, reconstruct, rebuild, and strengthen.
We go in many directions but never lose sight of each other.
We are not what you expect,
But we are probably what you are looking for.
We are Kehillath Shalom.
- Judith Herbst