Mordecai M. Kaplan began his life's journey with the confines of a small Lithuanian town on the outskirts of Vilna. He was born on a Friday evening in June of 1881. Kaplan's submergence in a total Jewish atmosphere is illustrated by the fact that he knew his day of birth only by the Jewish calendar until he went to the New York Public Library as a young man to look up the corresponding date. Kaplan's family was a traditional one in every aspect, and his father, Israel Kaplan, was a learned man.
The late Mordecai M. Kaplan was the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, the fourth branch of contemporary American Judaism. Reconstructionism eschews belief in a supernatural deity but stresses the ethnicity, folkways, and cultural aspects of the Jewish faith. This intelligently organized anthology contains excerpts from Kaplan's basic writings which elucidate his theology, teachings, and suggestions for the con tinuance and survival of the Jewish reli gion. An excellent introduction to Re constructionism for general readers and should be in most Judaica collec tions. Robert A. Silver, Shaker Heights P.L., Ohio
EMANUEL S. GOLDSMITH is Associate Professor of Yiddish and Jewish Studies at Queens College, CUNY. MEL SCULT is Professor of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College, CUNY and author of the forthcoming Mordecai M. Kaplan: Prophet of Renewal, 1881-1934.