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June 12, 1981 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-06-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Mordecai Kaplan 100 Years Old

-

By RABBI IRA
EISENSTEIN

President. Reconstructionist
Rabbinical College
(Copyright 1981, JTA, Inc.)

On June 11, Mordecai
Kaplan became 100 years
of age. When he entered
upon his centennial year
last June, he received num-
berless messages of
gratitude from Jews all over
the Jewish world, for he is
recognized as the one man
who has taught at least
three generations of Jews
iow to thinkabout Judaism
_
the modern world.
RABBI KAPLAN
The century which his life
has spanned has been, for Judaism, from without
the world at large, and for and from within. He rec-
the Jewish people in par- , ognized very early that
ticular, an extraordinary this was a period through
one, a century which began which Jews would ex-
_ with the May Laws of 1881 perience unprecedented
in Czarist Russia. These problems, problems of
cruel edicts caused waves of hate and self-hate, prob-
Jewish immigration to the lems of theological
new world, and led to the doubts, problems of
creation of a new, prosper- counter-acting the cen-
ous and powerful American trifugal forces of power-
Jewry. But in Europe, they ful and attractive non-
were the harbingers of an Jewish cultures, prob-
anti-Semitism which led to lems growing, out of the
the death camps and the gas failure of Jews them-
chambers, destroying one- selves to understand the
third of the Jewish people. It nature of the Challenges
was a century which pro- and the nature of the
duced the state of Israel.
Judaism which they pur-
One month after the. is- ported to save from dis-
suance of the May Laws integration.
All his voluminous writ-
in 1881, Mordecai Kaplan
was born. The tidal wave ings center upon the need
of immigration brought for, and the method of re-
his family and himself to constructing Jewish life.
America a few years la- "Judaism As a Civiliza-
ter. From that moment tion," published originally
on, his life and the life in 1934, and now appearing
and destiny of the Jewish with a new introduction by
people were united. Per- Dr. Arthur Hertzberg
haps no man ever became (Jewish Publication Society
more obsessed with a and the Reconstructionist
cause than he; for him the Press), was his first major
cause was the survival of work; it remains today,
the Jewish people, physi- among all his writings, the
cally, spiritually, cultur- definitive statement of his
philosophy and program.
ally.
Being a seminal thinker,
From heder to yeshiva,
he has inspired numerous
from public school to uni-
versity, from the Jewish
works by disciples, who
with him, launched The Re-
Theological Seminary to the
constructionist magazine,
Reconstructionist Rabbini-
and spurred thousands of
cal College, he clung to his
American Jews into incor-
single purpose, the recon-
struction of Judaigm for the porating into their institu-
20th Century.
tions the basic approach of
the master.
Every discipline became
grist for the mill; history,
As a result, a new and
.sociology, ,psychology, vigorous movement has
ethics, anthropology, litera-
taken root on the American
ture, whatever he could
soil, the Reconstructionist
learn from any source was
enlisted in the cause of sav-
ing Judaism from the "acids AJC Pamphlet
of modernity."
Hits Arms Sale
In his teaching and his
NEW YORK — An
learning, his preaching and American
Jewish Commit-
his public activity, living tee pamphlet on the pro-
and working in New York or,
in Jerusalem or in Los posed U.S. arms sale to
Saudi Arabia urges the
Angeles, he never allowed United States to "stop ... let-
's attention to wander ting Saudi Arabia dictate
his chosen goal. He policy to us" and asserts
suppressed his temptation that the sale,-if carried out,
to develop his talent for f would not protect U.S.
sculpture; he forced himsel
interests in the Persian
to turn a deaf ear to the Gulf but would "intensify a
seductive sounds of music— dangerous arms race in an
unless from art and music already
unstable region"
and drama he might draw and constitute a threat to
strength for his battle Israel's
security.
against the steady disinte-
Entitled
"15 Questions
gration of Jewish life.
and Answers on U.S. Arms
His total preOccupa- for Saudi Arabia," the pam-
tion with the problem of phlet can be obtained, for a
Judaism grew out of his
nominal fee, from the
clear and unflinching American Jewish Commit-
view of the dangers to the tee, 165.E. 56th St., New
Jewish people and to York, N.Y. 10022.

-

Friday, June 12, 1981

DAD'S
THE WORD.

movement, with its federa-
tion of Reconstructionist
congregations and havurot,
its Reconstructionist Rab-
binical College and its Re-
constructionist Rabbinical
Association.
Mordecai Kaplan has
warmth and passion and
the courage to assign to
the past only a "vote," but
not a "veto"; he had the
vision and the honesty to
sound the alarm, to rouse
the complacent, to incur
the wrath of the "defen-
ders of the faith."
All Jews wish Mordecai
Kaplan the health and the
strength to reap the harvest
of tribute and appreciation
which this centennial year
is yielding.

Dad deserves the besr: and Tennis
Time has jr.- Boldly handsome
rennis ourfirs by ellesse, Fila, TFM,
Head, Paul Sullivan, Adidas and
John Newtombe.
Pick our a gifr for Dad and well
wrap it for free.

Monday rhrough Scrurdov 9:30 ro 6:00.

tennis time

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