• Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881-1983) was one of the most influential Jewish thinkers of the 20th century.  We believe that his thought may be even more important in the 21st century.

Education Corner

Reclaiming and Reconstructing Kaplan’s Educational Legacy

The Kaplan Center is excited to be partnering with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Jewish Reconstructionist Communities to stage a two-act “play” re-envisioning contemporary Jewish education. 

The first act:  A six-session online seminar, titled “Jewish Education for an Evolving World,” beginning January 9, 2018, facilitated by Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Schein, the Kaplan Center's Senior Education Consultant, and Sue Penn, the Director of Education at University Synagogue in Irvine, California.  The course asks the question, “What Would a Reconstructed Reconstructionist Jewish Education Look Like?”  Educators, rabbis, and lay leaders are invited to reconsider Kaplan’s vision of Jewish education from Judaism as a Civilization, with an eye toward evaluating how his dreams and goals have fared over the 83 years since he articulated this vision in the final chapter of that great book.  

During these six sessions, some of the most exciting contemporary educational innovations will be explored.  Such innovations as the design thinking emanating from Stanford’s school of education will be studied.  Out of the rich Reconstructionist tradition of considering both the “truths” that come out of Jewish tradition and the “truths” that emerge from contemporary social science research will come our rewriting of this chapter of Kaplan’s book as a set of design principles for 2018 and beyond.     

The second act:  The critical questions coming out of the course will engage a think tank of educators participating in the Reconstructionist Movement Convention that will take place in Philadelphia on November 15-18, 2018.  In partnership with The Reconstructionist Educators of North America (RENA), a series of educational experiments conducted in the spring of 2018 will help ensure that this renewed vision has its roots in real Reconstructionist communities.  

The seminar will take place on Tuesday afternoons, from1:30-3:15 Eastern time, on January 9, 16, 23, and 30 and on February 6 and 13.  More information, as well as a registration link, is available at: https://www.jewishrecon.org/networks/2017/education-evolving-world.

Please feel free to contact Jeffrey Schein with questions, at [email protected].