• 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.

Exploring the 21st Century Vision through the Lens of its Challenges

In addition to engaging with our 21st Century Vision by close study of specific words and ideas within the text, we can explore the Vision in terms of the Jewish Educational Challenges it raises or fails to raise. 

Indeed, it seems almost self-evident that a credible and effective "updated Kaplanian Vision" must offer both the past and the present "a vote." Surely there must be some identifiable through-lines from the original vision to the new vision. To what extent does Kaplan's 20th Century Vision address the same challenges as the 21st Century Vision? At the same time, we know that civilizations evolve and so we also must contemplate whether there are Jewish educational challenges in the 21st Century Vision that are unique to the present moment in our history. 

Many of the reflections and comments that the rabbis and educators who we initially invited to respond to our 21st Century Vision for Jewish education did so in terms of specific educational challenges. We have designed some of their thoughtful contributions in terms of four enduring Jewish educational challenges.  

The Challenge of Educational Goals: Language, Concept, and Context 

The Challenge of Authenticity and Relevance 

The Challenge of New Paradigms 

The Challenge of Assessment & “Measuring Up” (Kaplanian Report Card)

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