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Mordecai Kaplan was born in Lithuania and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1889. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and received a master's degree from Columbia University. He first served as an associate rabbi of Kehillath Jeshurun, an Orthodox synagogue in New York, and later joined the faculty of JTS. Kaplan continued teaching and writing until his death in 1983, at the age of 102. Mel Scult, professor emeritus of Judaic studies at Brooklyn College, is the author of Judaism Faces the Twentieth Century: A Biography of Mordecai Kaplan and the editor of Communings of the Spirit: The Journals of Mordecai M. Kaplan, Volume l 1913-1934. — biography from Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life… (more)
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Rabbi Kaplan held the first public celebration of a Bat Mitzvah in the United States in 1922. During the period from the 1920s to the 1940s, he and his son-in-law, Rabbi Ira Eisenstein, helped develop Reconstructionist Judaism into a major movement in North American Judaism.
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