The New Reform Judaism


The New Reform Judaism

Challenges and Reflections

Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan
Foreword by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
Afterword by Rabbi Rick Jacobs

384 pages
36 photographs, glossary, 1 timeline


November 2013


$39.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
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April 2020


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eBook (PDF)
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November 2013


$39.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

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.

Author Bio

Dana Evan Kaplan is the rabbi of the United Congregation of Israelites in Kingston, Jamaica, and former rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel in Albany, Georgia. He is the author of Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal, The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, and American Reform Judaism: An Introduction. Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie is president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism. Rabbi Rick Jacobs is president of the Union for Reform Judaism.


“Judaism is at a crossroads. . . . Those eager to understand and participate in this exciting new chapter in Jewish history will find extensive background and stimulation in The New Reform Judaism, a valuable contribution to this evolving discourse.”—Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president, Union for Reform Judaism

“Dana Evan Kaplan has become the chronicler of contemporary Reform Judaism. In this fascinating book, he takes us on a journey through the complexities of a modern liberal faith that is now confronting a period of great upheaval . . . an upheaval that impacts all Jews and all religious Americans.”—Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism

"[The New Reform Judaism] is a useful resource for clergy as well as for synagogue and academic libraries."—Barbara M. Bibel, Jewish Book Council

"Rabbi Kaplan's accessible and compelling exploration of the makings, markings, and current state of Reform Judaism provides an informative, comprehensive tour for both those new to the subject and those familiar with it."—Francisca Goldsmith, Booklist

Table of Contents

Foreword by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
Introduction: Understanding the New Reform Judaism
Chapter 1. In Search of a Reform Jewish Theology
Chapter 2. A Brief History of the American Reform Movement
Chapter 3. To Observe or Not to Observe?
Chapter 4. A New Reform Revolution in Worship and Practice
Chapter 5. A New Reform Revolution in Values and Ethics
Chapter 6. Who Is a (Reform) Jew?
Chapter 7. On the Boundaries of Reform
Chapter 8. Seeking the Spiritual
Conclusion: The Promise of Reform Judaism
Afterword by Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Timeline of Significant Events

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