Page 98 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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92
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
Told
by Z. Raban. In the book entitled
Intelligent Philanthropy,
edited by Ellsworth Faris, Ferris Laune and Arthur J . Todd for
the University of Chicago Press in 1930, the article “Jewish
Philanthropy: Traditional and Modern” is by Dr. Kaplan.
After the demise of the
S.A.J. Review,
a number of articles by
Dr. Kaplan appeared in
Opinion, Jewish Education, Jewish
Quarterly Review, Menorah J o u r n a l T h e Homiletic Review,
Yearbook of the Central Conference of American Rabbis,
and
Proceedings of the Rabbinical Assembly.
These treated such
subjects as adult education, the Jewish method in homiletics, the
relation of the synagogue to Jewish communal life, the place of
dogma in Judaism, rabbinic training for our day, and evolution
in Judaism.
His Books
The results of a quarter century of creative thinking and
writing were summarized in his first book,
Judaism as a Civiliza­
tion: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jew ish Life.
Orig­
inally published in 1934, again in 1935, later in 1957, and with a
Spanish translation in 1944 in the Argentine, it still remains the
classic exposition of Dr. Kaplan’s views, although he has since
modified and elaborated some of its ideas. After analyzing the
factors making for the disintegration of Jewish life and the
counter-balancing ones making for its conservation, the author
evaluates the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox versions. He
offers his own interpretation of Judaism, not only as a religion
but also as the civilization of the living and evolving Jewish
people; and then presents a program for its reconstruction. In
his preface to the 1957 edition, Dr. Kaplan points out that his
aim is to have American Jews meet these needs: the reaffirmation
of Jewish peoplehood, the revitalization of the Jewish religion,
the creation of a network of organic communities, the strength­
ening of the State of Israel, the encouragement of Jewish cul­
tural creativity, and cooperation with the general community
in all efforts affecting freedom, justice and peace.
Judaism as a
Civilization,
says the author, is “intended to motivate in Jews
a maximum and not a minimum indentification with Jewish
life.” It is “not intended as a slogan to abet laxity in ritual
observances or indifference to religion.”
The second liturgical work by Dr. Kaplan was also published
in 1934. The United Synagogue of America printed his
Supple­
mentary Prayers and Readings for the High Holidays,
a collec­
tion of contemporary
piyyutim
which attempt to “translate the
religious aspirations of our ancestors into terms of present-day
experience.”
Two years later
Judaism in Transition
appeared. The author
reaffirms his major thesis that Judaism must be conceived as the