Kaplan, Mordecai (1881–1983). Taught at the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary for more than half a century. Kaplan is also the founder of the fourth denomination in American Jewish life, Reconstructionism. Kaplan maintained that traditional Judaism gets a vote, not a veto, on how contemporary Jews express their Jewish commitments. Kaplan promoted the idea that Judaism is a civilization and American Jews should strive to live in both the Jewish and American civilizations. Toward that end, Kaplan was an early supporter of the idea of Jewish community centers, where Jews could congregate for purposes other than religion. On matters religious, Kaplan was a forceful advocate of updating traditional rituals and ideas where possible and abandoning those that could not be updated, such as the idea of the chosen people.
Courtesy: Professor Shai Cherry