What is Reconstructionism in two minutes or less?

Reconstructionism is a branch of Judaism born and bread out of the United States in the early part of the 20th century. Reconstructionism grew out of the Conservative movement and based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan.  The Reconstructionist Movement prides itself on Inclusivity:
  • In 1984 the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College became the first rabbinical college to admit openly gay and lesbian students
  • Reconstructionist Judaism is Egalitarian
  • Recognizes patrilineal descent so that people with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers are fully accepted into the community
  • Reconstructionist communities are characterized by a high degree of democratic decision making
  • non-Jews are welcomed into the community

Some Basic beliefs are

  • Judaism is not just a religion; it is an evolving religious civilization.
  • Reconstructionist Judaism differs from other movements: it sees Jewish culture, religion and tradition having been created by the Jewish people throughout history, rather than given by God at Mt. Sinai; we see our tradition as having grown from the ground up, and not from the (mountain) top down. Richard Hirsh
  • Rejects the idea of any such supernatural being who dispenses reward and punishment
  • and rejects  the concept of God’s ‘chosen people’.
  • Jews must always regard themselves as members of two civilization – the Jewish civilization and the civilization of the secular state in which we live.
  • Judaism and working for social justice are inseparable
  • tikkun olam – which means ‘repairing the world’ through social action – is a way to live out Jewish values

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