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Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach (Expanded and Updated)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  6 reviews
This substantially revised and updated edition of the 1985 classic is ideal for everyone who wants to know more about Judaism. Whether you are a long-time participant in the Jewish community, a newcomer or someone who has struggled to find a home in Jewish life, this introduction to Jewish thought and practice from a Reconstructionist perspective will offer inspiration and ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by The Reconstructionist Press (first published 1985)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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C. Varn
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This introduction to Reconstructionist Judaism is easy to read and makes it clear the differences between Orthodox and Conservative Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism as well as the differences with classical Reform Judaism. However, the incorporation of halakhah as option and tradition into Reform has made some of the differences between Reconstructionist Judaism and Reform less separated than in the 1980s when this book was written. Alpert and Staub do an excellent job of distilling the bas ...more
Josh Horowitz
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
I feel the need to justify my negative review of this book, as someone who was raised at a Reconstructionist synagogue and who still considers myself a Reconstructionist. I think that this is a clear, relatively concise introduction to Kaplan-derived ideology, albeit a little out of date in the twenty years since its come out.

My negative review is due to the flippant zionism of this book. It is almost painful how wide the social justice minded, Tikkun Olam-loving authors miss their own mark. The
...more
drew
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am converting reconstructionist so I wanted to learn more about the movement and this was the perfect introduction! It is mostly an overview so it doesn’t teach you everything, but it is certainly a good start if you want to know more about the movement.
Michael Lewyn
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a simple introduction to Reconstructionist Judaism. A few key points:

*Unlike Conservative and Orthodox Judaism, Reconstructionism does not accept halakhah (traditional Jewish law) as binding. But unlike Classical Reform, it accepts halakhah as relevant. The ideal Reconstructionist Jew or congregation researches halakhah and then decides how and whether to apply it. The authors write: "If God is not the commander of these [ritual] acts, God nonetheless is reflected through them." Wha
...more
Rachel
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Perhaps nothing made me feel more Jewish at my BCI retreat than choosing, on my own, to order this book, have it shipped to me, and read it while my contemporaries practiced their Torah portions for Shabbat or what have you. I don't read Hebrew, but this was something. :p

I was born into Reconstructionist Judaism and still have a deep affinity for it, though I remember this book feeling a little alien at BCI. Maybe because the experience was so overly spiritual, and Alpert and Staub spoke to a J
...more
Claire S
This book describes and illustrates comprehensively yet pithily the major facets of Reconstructionist Judaism. It is written by Rebecca Alpert, a Rabbi who was formerly Dean of Students and current member of the faculty at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and currently also Director of the Women's Studies Program at Temple University. And its co-author is Jacob Staub, Dean and Director of Medieval Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
This book is short (88 pages) an
...more
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