Jewish Communal Services and the Jewish Future

By Mordecai M. Kaplan

Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA), National Conference of Jewish Communal Service, Fall 1964

Jews of the 1960s are wholly unable to define the essence of being Jewish. While some may view this as a sign of death, it may instead be an effect of a metamorphosis that will save Judaism from demise. This metamorphosis involves the acceptance of several pillars of a new Jewish orientation: Jews are a People with the Land of Israel as the center of its civilization, Jewish religion must be pluralistic, and Jews must be able to live in two civilizations simultaneously. Responding to the needs and dreams of American Jews, the author outlines his efforts over fifty years to reframe Judaism as a civilization that speaks to the needs of contemporary Jews, to reinstate a "kehillah" structure of American Judaism, to restructure the synagogue and the YMHA to be more communal and educational, to institute the Bat Mitzvah ceremony, and to found a University of Judaism. While some of these initiatives have succeeded, others remain ongoing projects for the Jews of the next generation to continue in order to usher in the greater Judaism that is in the making.

Topic: Continuity, Culture, Jewish Identification, Pluralism, Jewish Continuity, Religious Denominations, Communal Organization

Name of Publication: Journal of Jewish Communal Service

Editor: Sherman, Sanford N.

Volume/Issue: Vol. 41/No. 1

Page Number(s): 5-15

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Kaplan, Mordecai M. Jewish Communal Services and the Jewish Future. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA),National Conference of Jewish Communal Service. Fall 1964: 5-15.


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