A Year with Mordechai Kaplan Wisdom on the Weekly Torah Portion

About the Book

Publication Date: April 2019

You are invited to spend a year with the inspirational words, ideas, and counsel of the great twentieth-century thinker Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, through his meditations on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and eleven Jewish holidays.

A pioneer of ideas and action—teaching that “Judaism is a civilization” encompassing Jewish culture, art, and peoplehood; demonstrating how synagogues can be full centers for Jewish living (building one of the first “shuls with a pool”), and creating the first-ever bat mitzvah ceremony (for his daughter Judith)—Kaplan indispensably transformed the landscape of American Jewry. Yet much of Kaplan’s rich treasury of ethical and spiritual thought is largely unknown.

Rabbi Steven Reuben, who studied closely with Kaplan, offers unique insight into Kaplan’s teachings about ethical relationships and spiritual fulfillment, including how to embrace the Godliness in everyday experience, our mandate to become agents of justice in the world, and the human ability to evolve personally and collectively. Quoting from the week’s Torah portion, Reuben presents Torah commentary, a related Kaplan quotation, a reflective commentary integrating Kaplan’s understanding of the Torah text, and an intimate story about his family or his community’s struggles and triumphs—guiding twenty-first century spiritual seekers of all backgrounds on how to live reflectively and purposefully every day.

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben (Ph.D., Sierra University; ordination, 1976) is Senior Rabbi of Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation in Pacific Palisades, California (the largest Reconstructionist congregation in the world) and is a past President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. He is the author of numerous books, including Raising Jewish Children in a Contemporary World (1992), Making Interfaith Marriage Work (1994), Raising Ethical Children (1994, Prima Publishing), Children of Character: Leading Your Children to Ethical Choices in Everyday Life (1997, Canter & Associates), A Nonjudgmental Guide to Interfaith Marriage (2002), A Parent’s Guilt-Free Guide to Raising Jewish Kids (2002, Xlibris Corporation), There’s an Easter Egg on Your Seder Plate: Surviving Your Child’s Interfaith Marriage (2008, Praeger Publishing) and Becoming Jewish: The Challenges, Rewards, and Paths to Conversion (2011, Roman & Littlefield).

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