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Reconstructionist Reading List Introduction

This message is intended to provide readers of soc.culture.jewish with a list of references to allow them to learn more about the current practices, past practices, beliefs, and history of the Reconstructionist Judaism Movement.

Reconstructionist Judaism is the small "fourth movement" of American Judaism. It was founded by the Conservative Rabbi and philosopher Mordecai Kaplan. It emphasizes "Judaism as a civilization" (i.e., the integration of selected Jewish beliefs with the Jewish people's culture and folkways).

Reconstructionist Jews are willing to question conventional answers and keep open minds. They believe that a Jew need not and ought not sacrifice intellectual integrity for the sake of his/her Jewish identity. Reconstructionists are Jews who take the Jewish traditions seriously and live Jewish lives even through they don't believe in the divine supernatural origin of the Torah. Reconstructionists believe that, just a Jewish civilization has adapted to new circumstances throughout Jewish history, so must it adapt to late twentieth-century North American society. Reconstructionists tend to conduct more intimate worship services in which everyone is involved and the rabbi--if there is one--does not dominate.

The membership body of the Reconstructionist Movement is the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation ( The association of the reconstructionist Rabbis is the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College publishes Raayonot as its rabbinical journal.

Where Can I Get The Books

[Amazon Associate]The S.C.J Reading List has established an affiliate relationship with Amazon.Com. ( Now you can complete your Reconstructionist Jewish library and support the continued development of the Reading Lists at the same time, for many books on Reconstructionist Judaism are available through Amazon. For those reading this at, you can click the link to the left to browse Amazon's selections. Alternatively, if you enter Amazon using the URL, the reading lists will get credit for your entry. Additionally, when you see the Amazon graphic [If you were at, the graphic would be here] (or "[Buy at Amazon: http:...]") on an entry in the reading list, this indicates that the specific book is available for purchase at Amazon. Click on the graphic/link to go to Amazon and purchase the book.

[Got Questions?]Our goal is to keep this list useful for its readers. To that end, suggestions of books to add to the list are always welcome. In your suggestion, please be as complete as possible; we need author, title, publisher, publishing date, and ISBN number. We also welcome a one paragraph short summary of why the book is of interest. Please send your suggestions to the FAQ maintainer at

The soc.culture.jewish Reading Lists have associations with and Artscroll. The presence of an Amazon ([Buy At Amazon: URL...]) or Artscroll ([Buy at Artscroll: URL...]) tag on a list item means the item is available from the indicated vendor. There is always the possibility that the items status has changed since the tag was added; in particular, items may have moved to special order, backorder, or on-order status. If you have corrections to the tag, or want to provide a synopsis of the book, please drop a note to

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© (c) 1993-2001 Daniel P. Faigin <>