The New Reform Judaism: Challenges and Reflections

The New Reform Judaism: Challenges and Reflections

by Dana Evan Kaplan
     
 

This is the book that American Jews and particularly American Reform Jews have been waiting for: a clear and informed call for further reform in the Reform movement.

In light of profound demographic, social, and technological developments, it has become increasingly clear that the Reform movement will need to make major changes to meet the needs of a quickly

Overview

This is the book that American Jews and particularly American Reform Jews have been waiting for: a clear and informed call for further reform in the Reform movement.

In light of profound demographic, social, and technological developments, it has become increasingly clear that the Reform movement will need to make major changes to meet the needs of a quickly evolving American Jewish population. Younger Americans in particular differ from previous generations in how they relate to organized religion, often preferring to network through virtual groups or gather in informal settings of their own choosing.

Dana Evan Kaplan, an American Reform Jew and pulpit rabbi, argues that rather than focusing on the importance of loyalty to community, Reform Judaism must determine how to engage the individual in a search for existential meaning. It should move us toward a critical scholarly understanding of the Hebrew Bible, that we may emerge with the perspectives required by a postmodern world. Such a Reform Judaism can at once help us understand how the ancient world molded our most cherished religious traditions and guide us in addressing the increasingly complex social problems of our day.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/14/2013
The stresses that challenge Reform Judaism, America’s largest Jewish denomination, are examined by Kaplan, a Reform rabbi and author of three previous books. Now the rabbi of a congregation in Kingston, Jamaica, Kaplan was previously the rabbi of a temple in Albany, Ga. After chapters on the need for a Reform Jewish theology and the history of the Reform movement, Kaplan explores its confrontation with contemporary issues of worship, practice, values, and ethics. He argues for theological clarity—an impossible objective, according to the introduction by Eric H. Yoffie, president emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism. An afterword by current president Rick Jacobs sides with Yoffie, questioning the need for a “unifying theology.” Kaplan critically considers congregational membership, patrilineal descent, conversion, Humanistic Judaism, Messianic Jews, Jubus (Jews interested in Buddhism), meditation, Jews for Jesus, “virtual congregations,” creative spirituality, and wilderness Judaism. He concludes by asserting that Reform Judaism is the best form of ethical monotheism. (Nov.)
Jewish Book Council - Barbara M. Bibel

"[The New Reform Judaism] is a useful resource for clergy as well as for synagogue and academic libraries."—Barbara M. Bibel, Jewish Book Council
Booklist - Francisca Goldsmith

"Rabbi Kaplan's accessible and compelling exploration of the makings, markings, and current state of Reform Judaism provides an informative, comprehensive tour for both those new to the subject and those familiar with it."—Francisca Goldsmith, Booklist
Rabbi Rick Jacobs

“Judaism is at a crossroads. . . . Those eager to understand and participate in this exciting new chapter in Jewish history will find extensive background and stimulation in The New Reform Judaism, a valuable contribution to this evolving discourse.”—Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president, Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
“Dana Evan Kaplan has become the chronicler of contemporary Reform Judaism. In this fascinating book, he takes us on a journey through the complexities of a modern liberal faith that is now confronting a period of great upheaval . . . an upheaval that impacts all Jews and all religious Americans.”—Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780827609341
Publisher:
The Jewish Publication Society
Publication date:
11/01/2013
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.40(d)

What People are saying about this

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
“Dana Evan Kaplan has become the chronicler of contemporary Reform Judaism. In this fascinating book, he takes us on a journey through the complexities of a modern liberal faith that is now confronting a period of great upheaval . . . an upheaval that impacts all Jews and all religious Americans.”—Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Rick Jacobs

“Judaism is at a crossroads. . . . Those eager to understand and participate in this exciting new chapter in Jewish history will find extensive background and stimulation in The New Reform Judaism, a valuable contribution to this evolving discourse.”—Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president, Union for Reform Judaism

Meet the Author

Dana Evan Kaplan is the rabbi of the United Congregation of Israelites in Kingston, Jamaica, and former rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel in Albany, Georgia. He is the author of Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal, The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, and American Reform Judaism: An Introduction. Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie is president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism. Rabbi Rick Jacobs is president of the Union for Reform Judaism.

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