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The New Reform
Judaism: Challenges
and Reflections


This is the book that American Jews and particularly American Reform Jews have been waiting for: a clear and informed call for further reform in the Reform movement.

In light of profound demographic, social, and technological developments, it has become increasingly clear that the Reform movement will need to make major changes to meet the needs of a quickly evolving American Jewish population. Younger Americans in particular differ from previous generations in how they relate to organized religion, often preferring to network through virtual groups or gather in informal settings of their own choosing.

Dana Evan Kaplan, an American Reform Jew and pulpit rabbi, argues that rather than focusing on the importance of loyalty to community, Reform Judaism must determine how to engage the individual in a search for existential meaning. It should move us toward a critical, scholarly understanding of the Hebrew Bible, that we may emerge with the perspectives required by a postmodern world. Such a Reform Judaism can at once help us understand how the ancient world molded our most cherished religious traditions and guide us in addressing the increasingly complex social problems of our day.

 

The New Reform Judaism: Challenges and Reflections,
Now Available at
www.bn.com and www.amazon.com.

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Contemporary American Judaism:
Transformation and Renewal


American Jews radically reconceive the beliefs and practices of an ancient faith.

No longer controlled by a handful of institutional leaders based in remote headquarters and rabbinical seminaries, American Judaism is being transformed by the individual spiritual decisions of tens of thousands of Jews living in all corners of the United States. A pulpit rabbi and American Jew, Kaplan follows this religious individualism from its postwar suburban roots to the hippie revolution of the 1960s and the multiple postmodern identities of today. From Hebrew tattooing to Jewish Buddhist meditation, his book describes the remaking of historical tradition in ways that channel multiple ethnic and national identities. While pessimists worry about the vanishing American Jew, Kaplan focuses on the creative responses to contemporary spiritual trends that have made a Jewish religious renaissance possible. The result is an exciting transformation of what it means to be a religious Jew in twenty-first century America.

"There is no better guide to the remarkable changes in American Jewish religion."—Nathan Glazer, Harvard University

"A tour de force that covers every important development in each of the branches of American Judaism, and Kaplan does it with a deep sensitivity to the issues involved."—Chaim I. Waxman, Rutgers University

"A pioneering and exciting study. Kaplan concentrates on the right themes, asks appropriate questions, and relies on a comprehensive collection of sources and literature. He also brings new approaches and original categories to the study of religious expression in America today. Kaplan should be highly commended for facing boldly and honestly the new realities of American Jewish life."—Yaakov Ariel, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dana Evan Kaplan is the Rabbi of Temple B'nai Israel in Albany, Georgia, and an adjunct associate professor at the Seigal College of Jewish Studies. His books include the Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, American Reform Judaism: An Introduction, Platforms and Prayer Books: Theological and Liturgical Perspectives on Reform Judaism, and Contemporary Debates on Reform Judaism: Conflicting Visions. Many of his publications can be found at www.DanaKaplan.com.

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Contemporary American Judaism

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The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism


Dana’s newest book is a comprehensive introduction to the most important and interesting historical and contemporary facets of Judaism in America. Written by twenty-four leading scholars from the fields of religious studies, history, literature, philosophy, art history, sociology, and musicology, the survey adopts an inclusive perspective on Jewish religious experience.

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The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, Now Available at www.bn.com and www.amazon.com.


 

American Reform Judaism


An exciting and up-to-date look at the American Reform movement, the largest American Jewish denomination. The Union for Reform Judaism has made a series of controversial decisions dealing with women, intermarried couples, gays and lesbians, and a new platform. The movement has been very successful but now struggles with an identity crisis brought on by its liberal theology. This is the first comprehensive description and analysis of contemporary Reform Judaism.

Brand new symposium about American Reform Judaism. From the quaterly journal published by The American Jewish Congress.

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American Reform Judaism, Now Available at www.bn.com and www.amazon.com.

 
 

 
 

Platforms and Prayer Books


Platforms and Prayer Books is a remarkable collection of essays that illustrates the Reform Jewish theological enterprise at work. Through lively discussions on theological and liturgical topics, noted scholars and rabbis trace the evolution of Reform Judaism, presenting innovative approaches and creative interpretations on theology, what Jews believe, and liturgy, what Jews pray.

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Platforms and Prayer Books, Now Available at www.bn.com and www.amazon.com.


 

Contemporary Debates In American Reform Judaism


A groundbreaking collection of controversial essays that argue for and against such topics as classical versus Neo-Reform Judaism; the role of Reform in relation to the Conservative and Orthodox movements; intermarriage and patrilineal descent; the role of women and feminism in Reform, particularly women rabbis; the impact of the 1999 Pittsburgh Principles; and interpretations of the latest census data for Reform Jews.

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Contemporary Debates In American Reform Judaism, Now Available at www.bn.com and www.amazon.com.


 

A noted Jewish studies scholar as well as a pulpit rabbi, Dana brings excitement and energy to synagogue scholar in residence programs, guest lectureships, and Jewish book fairs. His research interests are broad, from contemporary Reform Judaism to American Jewish history, from Judaism in contemporary film to Jewish humor.

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