Communings of the Spirit, Volume 1
The Journals of Mordecai M. Kaplan, 1913-1934
Edited by Mel Scult
American History, Autobiography, History, Jewish Studies, Jewish Thought
Pages: 560 Size: 6x9
Illustrations: 21 black and white images
Reading Mordecai Kaplan's diaries is like standing over the shoulder of a brilliant and troubled man as he struggles to define his emerging philosophy of Judaism, while at the same time attempting to conceal from disapproving eyes the heterodox views he was formulating.”
— Rabbi Ira Eisenstein
Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881-1983), founder of Reconstructionism, is the preeminent American Jewish thinker and rabbi of our times. His life embodies the American Jewish experience of the first half of the twentieth century. With passionate intensity and uncommon candor, Kaplan compulsively recorded his experience in his journal (some 10,000 pages).
This first volume of Communings of the Spirit covers Kaplan's early years as a rabbi, teacher of rabbis, and community leader. Kaplan, who trained rabbis for half a century, gives us an inside picture of life at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the center of Conservative Judaism in America. He records his masterful weekly sermons, which were attended regularly by his students. With unflinching candor, he reveals his successes and failures, uncertainties and self-doubts. Undeterred by attacks on his radical beliefs, he never wavered in the pursuit of a more dynamic Judaism.
Communings of the Spirit is a wonderful book to dip in and out of, to feel the power of a fine thinker, well educated in Jewish, American, and Western thought, to get a sense of where American Judaism was in his day as a way to look at it in out own.
– American Jewish World
Reading Mordecai Kaplan's diaries is like standing over the shoulder of a brilliant and troubled man as he struggles to define his emerging philosophy of Judaism, while at the same time attempting to conceal from disapproving eyes the heterodox views he was formulating.
– Rabbi Ira Eisenstein, Founder and First President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College