• 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.

Project Contributors

Project Staff, Commentators, Partners, Participants in Preliminary Components


Project Staff


Dr. Jeffrey Schein, Senior Education Consultant, Project Director

Rabbi Erin Hirsh, Project Consultant, website and teaching material design



Vision Commentators

Many wise and thoughtful people studied the 21st Century Kaplanian Vision for Jewish Education and offered their questions, insights and responses.

We are grateful for their contributions to this project.

Rabbi James Greene George KelleyDr. Carol Loveman Morris 


Rabbi James Greene George Kelley Dr. Carol Loveman Morris Sue Penn Tara Saltzman Rabbi Isaac Saposnik


Rabbi Sid Schwarz Rabbi Toba Spitzer Jane Susswein Rabbi Elyse Wechterman Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman




Journal of Jewish Education


Reconstructing Judaism


RENA: Reconstructionist Educators of North America


Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association



Participants in Preliminary Components of this Project


Reconstructionist Educators of North America (RENA) – Kaplan Center Course


Facilitators: Dr. Jeffrey Schein and Sue Penn


Dr. Eric Caplan      George Kelley      Jackie Land      Dr. Carol Loveman Morris      Abby Reiken      

Renee Richards      Tara Saltzman?      Rabbi Jodie Siff      Cyd Weissman      Ariann Weitzman


Rabbi Jamie Arnold

Lynne Aron

Terri Bernsohn

Catherine Carmel

Arthur Finkle

Stacey Frank

Rabbi Dena Klein

Jackie Land

Barry Leshowitz

Yaakov Martin

Renee Richards

Susan Schaibly

Eri Svenson

Danielle Wiltchik



Reconstructing Judaism Kaplan Center Pre-Convention Workshop


Facilitator: Dr. Jeffrey Schein

Dr. Eric Caplan Rabbi Jeffrey Eisenstat Rabbi James Greene Rabbi Erin Hirsh


George Kelley Sue Penn Lori Rubin Rabbi Isaac Saposnik Jane Susswein Cyd Weissman


Rabbi James Greene

  • Rabbi James Greene is a 2008 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and NEW JOB is the Assistant Executive Director of the Springfield Jewish Community Center. He is a board member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and is a graduate of the Mandel Institute’s Executive Leadership Program.

Rabbi Erin Hirsh


George Kelley

  • George Kelley has been the Education Director of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis, since 2002.  He was recently elected chair of the Reconstructionist Educators of North America. George has had a career in education including working in and running early childhood programs, acting as an educational consultant, a professional storyteller and teaching at a university.   George believes that education should be more about learning than teaching.  For George all learning is a social activity and should make people not only feel challenged but encouraged. George lives in Westfield, IN with his wife Dianne.  


Dr. Carol Loveman Morris

  • Dr. Carol Loveman Morris has been the Director of Education at B’nai Havurah in Denver, Colorado since 2008.  Her over 25 year career connecting Jews to Jewish life in Colorado has been through education, disability inclusion and life cycle celebrations.   She is committed to creating Jewish educational programming that is engaging for the whole family, welcoming, meaningful and inclusive.  Carol lives in Centennial, Colorado with her husband, Marty, and they have 2 adult children and one canine child named Ziva.       


Sue Penn

  • Sue Penn is the Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue in Irvine, California where she oversees 6 different educational programs.  She is committed to providing positive Jewish educational experiences, building strong community and life -long engagement and identity. To this purpose, Sue has built a variety of innovative programs, meeting the needs of her congregants from 4 - 104 years old. Originally from South Africa, Sue now lives with her husband of 30 years and three wonderful children in California

Tara Saltzman

  • Tara Saltzman is the Director of Education at Congregation Beth Evergreen in Colorado. She moved to Colorado in 1998 after earning a Master’s in Social Science Education with Minors in Sociology and Psychology in Miami. Tara has spent over 30 years as a devoted religious school educator. Her passions include life-long learning, social justice, interfaith dialogue and singing. She seeks opportunities for students and adults to explore their curiosity together and discover strength and joy in shared Jewish goals and values along diverse paths.


Rabbi Isaac Saposnik

  • Rabbi Isaac Saposnik is executive director of Havaya Summer Programs: Camp Havaya, Havaya Arts and Havaya Israel. He is a graduate of Tufts University, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Executive Leadership Institute. A longtime camper and youth worker, he is passionate about creating engaging, meaningful and innovative Jewish experiences that celebrate children in all of their diversity and wonder.


Dr. Jeffrey Schein


Rabbi Sid Schwarz

  • Rabbi Sid Schwarz is a senior fellow at Hazon. He currently runs two national initiatives: a two year fellowship for rabbis on visionary leadership and change management called the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI); and Kenissa: Communities of Meaning Network, which identifies, convenes and builds capacity for new models of Jewish identity and community. He is the founding rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD, where he continues to lead services and teach. He is the author of three books including, Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews can Transform the American Synagogue.


Rabbi Toba Spitzer

  • Rabbi Toba Spitzer has served RJ affiliate Congregation Dorshei Tzedek since her graduation from RRC in 1997.  Toba has written curriculum for children and adults on a variety of topics, and is particularly interested in rethinking God language, bringing mindful Jewish practice into the lives of people of all ages, and fostering communities grounded in values of justice and love.


Jane Susswein

  • Jane Susswein was a kindergarten and science teacher. She helped start a public-private pre-K, and continues to serve on its board 21 years since its founding. She was president of the JRF and Education Chair. She is a member of Bnai Keshet in Montclair, NJ and continues to be active in the synagogue. She lives in Verona, NJ, is married to Harvey, and they have two daughters and four grandchildren.


Rabbi Elyse Wechterman

  • Rabbi Elyse Wechterman is the Executive Director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.  Prior to leading the RRA, she served as Rabbi and Educator at Congregation Agudas Achim in attleboro, MA where she ran an inclusive Hebrew School for children with a variety of learning needs.


Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman

  • Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman is the rabbi and education director at RJ affiliate Congregation Shaarei Shamayim for the last 16 years. She seeks to infuse both critical thinking and self-reflection into the vision and practice of Jewish education and congregational life and to continually experiment to make Judaism meaningful for the next generation of Jews. She is the author of Reframing Israel: Teaching Kids to Think Critically About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.