A modern Jewish movement based in the United States. Reconstructionism was founded by the rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, whose teachings were the inspiration behind the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, opened in New York City in 1922. Kaplan taught that Judaism was a continuously evolving civilization, not a timebound or historical tradition requiring Jews to continually look backward. Recon- structionist communities emphasize intensive and participatory study, allowing members to immerse themselves in Jewish religious thought and practice.
According to the movement's main text, the Sabbath Prayer Book published in 1945, Jews should downplay such ideas as the Exodus and the belief that they are God's chosen people. As of 1998 there were some one hundred Reconstructionist groups, and the movement featured such institutions as the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, both based in Philadelphia. SEE ALSO: Orthodox Judaism; Reform Judaism; TorahShabbat | Bet Am Shalom – A Reconstructionist Synagogue, White ….