What’s New ? מה חדש

It is often observed that for Mordecai Kaplan democracy was the religion of America. 

The Kaplan Center appreciates our grant from A More Perfect Union: Jewish Partnership for Democracy. This grant allows us to embark on a “religious” journey from this February through next October. Each month we will select and distribute to our friends and partners a passage from Mordecai Kaplan or one of his students and collaborators.

This month features an excerpt from Kaplan’s The Future of the American Jew

On Democracy and Education

What the democratic peoples then lacked and still  lack, is a clear recognition of power as that around the use of which any educational system, that is to help them live, must be built. A democratic system of education should train the young to regard all power which the individual possesses and acquires as misused, unless, it is somehow shared with all mankind. That is to be taken literally, and not merely as a pious wish.


  • In what way is the power of democratic learning as much a privilege and responsibility as a right?
  • Progressive education is here being critiqued by Kaplan for not only starting with the individual but stopping with her.  Do you concur?
  •  Kaplan also argued that “peoplehood” goes wrong when democracy and individuality overwhelm?  Do you agree? 
  • To paraphrase another great American, ask not what your skills and passions can do for you but how can they also be put to the uses of Jewish Peoplehood.  Why is this such a hard question to ask?

Join the Conversation…

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View our June 9 webinar

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Kaplanian Scholarship

Looking to deepen your knowledge of Mordecai Kaplan’s life and philosophy?  

Visit Reconstructing Judaism to explore the way Kaplan’s influence has become woven deeply into the fabric of a major North American Jewish movement.

Kaplanian Voices

Our Kaplanian voices series seeks to sensitize us to the unique ways many of us experience the very notion of Peoplehood  in 2023. Below are excerpts from conversation between Rabbis Jeffrey Eisenstat, founding director of our movement’s Camp Havaya, and former camp counselors about their initial exposures to the philosophies of Mordecai Kaplan a decade ago and its present meaning to them as young adult Jews in their thirties.

Yael Kurganoff on the power of Camp Havaya connections to Israel
Josh Davidson on the essence of peoplehood

Visit the Ira Eisenstein portal where you will find….

  • Introductions by Rabbi Richard Hirsh to Ira Eisenstein’s books Creative Judaism and What We Mean by Religion with digital copies of those currently out-of-print volumes now available on our website
  • Explore the full set of resources related to teaching Mordecai Kaplan through Ira Eisenstein’s writings with these resources
  • Reflections about Ira Eisenstein as theologian and wise leader by Rabbis Dennis Sasso and Jeffrey Schein
  • A recording of Rabbi Eisenstein’s contributions that was hosted by the SAJ:Judaism that Stands For All as part of its centenary celebration