Jack J. Cohen
Series: Reference Library of Jewish Intellectual History
ISBN: 9781936235162 (hardcover)
Pages: 306 pp.
Publication Date: December 2010
Democratizing Judaism is a two-part examination of the Reconstructionist philosophy of Mordecai M. Kaplan. Part I is largely devoted to a defense of Kaplan against several serious critics. It also provides new insight into Kaplan's theology through reference to as as-yet unknown passages in his Diaries. Part II provides a critical analysis of the contemporary Reconstructionist movement and explores how a Kaplan disciple treats problems of democracy in Israel and issues of ethical theological concern.
Rabbi Dr. Cohen had a long career as an educator, author and public servant. Before settling in Israel in 1961, he served as the Educational Director of Park Synagogue in Cleveland, Ohio, as the Director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, and as the Rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. During the last six and a half years of his tenure in the States, he also taught courses in the philosophy of religion and education at the Jewish Theological Seminary.In Israel, Dr, Cohen served for 23 years as the Director of the Hillel Foundation at Hebrew University, taught an annual seminar for students of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and taught a course in Jewish thought at the David Yellin College of Education. Dr. Cohen was widely published in Jewish journals and was the author of a number of books, among them The Case For Religious Naturalism, Jewish Education in Democratic Society, The Reunion of Isaac and Ishmael, Guides for an Age of Confusion, and Major Philosophers of Jewish Prayer in the 20th Century. Dr. Cohen passed away in 2012 in Jerusalem.
Table of Contents
A Personal Introduction
Part I. Mordecai M. Kaplan Reexamined
Ch. 1 Theorist and Activist
Ch. 2 The Rational Mystic
Ch. 3 Toward a Theology of Experience
Ch. 4 Religious Education for Democracy
Ch. 5 On the Theology of Election
Ch. 6 Other Critics
Ch. 7 Naturalism and Supernaturalism
Ch. 8 Ethical Values in the Thought of Bertrand
Russell and Mordecai M. Kaplan
Part II. Reconstructionism Reexamined and Applied
Ch. 9 Reconstructionism Revisited
Ch. 10 A State with a Jewish Majority
Ch. 11 The Concept of a Jewish State
Ch. 12 What Is a Zionist State?
Ch. 13 The Western Wall
Ch. 14 A Theology of Ethics
Ch. 15 “Is This the Meaning of My Life?”
Ch. 16 A Rational Approach to the Idea of God
Ch. 17 When a Judge Steps off the Bench