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A Year with Mordecai Kaplan: Wisdom on the Weekly Torah Portion

05 Apr
April 5, 2019

A Year with Mordecai Kaplan: Wisdom on the Weekly Torah PortionYou are invited to spend a year with the inspirational words, ideas, and counsel of the great twentieth-century thinker Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, through his meditations on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and eleven Jewish holidays.

A pioneer of ideas and action—teaching that “Judaism is a civilization” encompassing Jewish culture, art, and peoplehood; demonstrating how synagogues can be full centers for Jewish living (building one of the first “shuls with a pool”); and creating the first-ever bat mitzvah ceremony (for his daughter Judith)—Kaplan transformed the landscape of American Jewry. Yet much of Kaplan’s rich treasury of ethical and spiritual thought is largely unknown.

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, who studied closely with Kaplan, offers unique insight into Kaplan’s teachings about ethical relationships and spiritual fulfillment, including how to embrace godliness in everyday experience, our mandate to become agents of justice in the world, and the human ability to evolve personally and collectively. Quoting from the week’s Torah portion, Reuben presents Torah commentary, a related quotation from Kaplan, a reflective commentary integrating Kaplan’s understanding of the Torah text, and an intimate story about his family or community’s struggles and triumphs—guiding twenty-first-century spiritual seekers of all backgrounds on how to live reflectively and purposefully every day.

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“There is no greater sage than Mordecai Kaplan to walk us into an appreciation of how religion can add depth and insight to the experience of modernity, and no rabbi with greater sensitivity to guide us along the way that Steven Carr Reuben. Newcomers to Kaplan and longtime aficionados alike will revel in spending a year with Mordecai Kaplan. Relying on the spirit and smarts of these two rabbis not only enlightens us but elevates us.”
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University

“A Year with Mordecai Kaplan is inspirational. It reminds me of a less mystical Larry Kushner and a more anecdotal Harold Kushner.”>
—Rabbi Arnold Rachlis, University Synagogue, Irvine, California

“Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben’s selection of insightful passages from the writings of Mordecai Kaplan and illuminating commentary from Jewish tradition and his own life experiences generate a treasure trove of wisdom to delight the mind and move the heart. A Year With Mordecai Kaplan is a spiritual gift!”
—Rabbi David Ellenson, chancellor of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Miriam Wertleib & Zamba Nsimbi

15 May
May 15, 2018

A letter from Miriam & Zamba

Hi Steven! A week later and family has finally left town so we’re just catching our breath! We want to thank you for a truly beautiful cross-cultural ceremony. Your words and energy were so meaningful to us as we were present together in those moments of transition into marriage, but were also truly transformative and a blessing to seemingly each one of our family and friends who attended as well. We can’t tell you how many people have asked us how we found such an incredible Rabbi who could unify everyone as you did, and make them imagine a better world! You really set the tone, helped to open hearts and minds (some particularly from the East coast that needed a little nudge to know it’s okay to open a bit). It was a wonderful experience from start to finish, and we’re grateful for your part in ushering us through the preparations and into the event.

We hope to stay connected with you and send our love. We will be sure to send you our CD when it’s out in just a few weeks 😉