My Account Sign up for eNews

Judaism as a Civilization
Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life

By Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (author)

A transformative work on modern Judaism

Read the recent review of this important book in the Wall Street Journal

“…This classic work is widely considered the genesis of the Reconstructionist Movement, and remains one of the most original and stimulating contributions to modern Jewish thought.”- International Journal of Jewish Education Research

Judaism as a Civilization is widely considered the genesis of the Reconstructionist Movement, representing a watershed moment in modern Judaism.

In this classic book, Mordecai Kaplan introduced a new way of looking at Judaism: as an evolving religious civilization. His approach required innovation in liturgy and ritual, elimination of obsolete customs, and adjustment in light of prevailing social, political, and cultural conditions. Kaplan felt that all Jews—traditional and liberal, religious and secular—could play a part in this “reconstruction.”

Judaism as a Civilization, first published in 1934, remains one of the most original and thought-provoking contributions to modern Jewish thought.

Check out the Kaplan blog sponsored by the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation and visit for more on Kaplan and Reconstructionism.

About Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan

Mordecai Kaplan was born in Lithuania and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1889. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), and received a master’s degree from Columbia University. He first served as associate rabbi of Kehillath Jeshurun, an Orthodox synagogue in New York, and later joined the faculty of JTS. Kaplan continued teaching and writing until his death in 1983, at the age of 102.