|September 21, 2012 / 5 Tishri, 5773
Thirteen Wants of Mordecai Kaplan Reconstructed
We continue this week the commentary by Prof. Mel Scult on the writings of Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881-1983), who was ordained at JTS and served as a member of its faculty for over fifty years. He is also the founder of Reconstructionism.
In 1926 Mordecai Kaplan formulated what he called the "Thirteen Wants" as a way of expressing the fundamentals of his life as a Jew. Perhaps the word ideal is more fitting than the word “wants.” Kaplan certainly had in mind a modern version of Maimonides Thirteen Principles of Faith. I have taken the liberty of reconstructing these "wants" in language perhaps more fitting for the present. Kaplan thought of substituting the word pray and hope in some of the wants. The original "wants" are found in the 1945 Kaplan Siddur on page 562.
Kaplan’s own estimation of the Thirteen Wants some twenty years after he wrote them follows:
Kaplan Diary. December 6, 1949
This morning, as Lena and I were reading our prayers together at home, I concluded them with the reading of the “Thirteen Wants.” I was so impressed as I always am by their relevance and comprehensiveness as well as their aptness in setting forth what a Jew should experience to be a good Jew that I remarked to Lena, "When I am gone, I do not want any eulogies delivered at my funeral. All I would ask is the recital of the Thirteen Wants. Insofar as a person's wants [ideals ed.] constitute his real self, these Thirteen Wants constitute my selfhood as a Jew."
1. We pray that Judaism may help us to find meaning and direction in our lives.
2. We hope that our community may be a source of support in times of trouble.
3. We pray that Judaism may help us to use our blessings for just and righteous ends.
4. We are committed to using our leisure to the best advantage- physically, intellectually and spiritually.3. We pray that Judaism may help us to use our blessings for just and righteous ends.
5. We hope that our homes will be a warm safe haven and a stimulating place to live and grow.
6. We pray that our children may flourish morally and spiritually. We want to enable
7. We pray that our synagogues enable us to worship God in sincerity and truth.
8. We want our religious traditions to be understandable and to be made relevant to our present day needs. We want to find new and creative ways to incorporate Jewish ideals into our daily lives.
9. We are committed to strengthening the State of Israel as the center of the Jewish people and as the expression of the Jewish spirit.
10. We hope that Judaism will find new and compelling expressions in philosophy, literature and the arts.
11. We hope that all Jewish organizations will accomplish their goals within the sphere of the ethical and the spiritual.
12. We hope that all Jews will be ready to help each other in time of need and to cooperate in furthering Jewish life.
13. We want Judaism to advance the cause of justice freedom and peace.
'The Thirteen Wants Reconstructed" will also be found in the forthcoming book by Mel Scult entitled "The Radical American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan- A Twentieth Century Heresy," which will be published in 2013 by Indiana University Press. (C) Mel Scult USA
Mel Scult, Kaplan’s biographer, is professor emeritus from the City University and the editor of selections from Kaplan’s twenty–seven volume diary entitled "Communings of the Spirit."
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|Understanding the Haftarot:|
An Everyperson's Guide
In this stimulating and unusual book Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of FJMC, provides the reader with the context to understand how the haftarot were organized, why they might have been selected and suggests reasons for finding meaning and value.
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Intermarriage: Concepts & Strategies for Families and Synagogue Leaders
If family members and community leaders wish to become engaged in the process of Keruv they often need to ask, "Does Keruv have an ideology and theology? And if so what is it?" Then they need to learn how to respond to intermarriage from the perspective of both gender and religion. This publication reflects the most current thinking about intermarriage to date and attempts to provide family members and community leaders with the needed understanding to effectively work with intermarrieds or potential intermarrieds.
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|It's time for Build-A-Pair
The best way to teach about tefillin!
The "Build a Pair" Program is a comprehensive and fun learning program to introduce 5th, 6th or 7th graders to the joy and mitzvah of Tefillin in Jewish life.
Multiple components interplay to explore the religious significance, the construction of, and the practice of "laying" Tefillin.
A comprehensive education program with videos helps the religious school teach students the meaning of Tefillin in Jewish life and practice.
Students practice writing their Hebrew/Jewish names and the SHEMA (first line) to insert into pre-made wooden Tefillin boxes.
Students decorate the boxes in any creative way they wish, allowing for personal expression.
Students either compete or cooperate in writing a "wRAP" song to sing at a Big Event.
The Big Event can be the World Wide Wrap (WWW), sponsored by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (FJMC), held annually on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. The WWW program is designed to introduce and re-introduce Jewish men [and women] to the significance of "laying" Tefillin.
The "Build a Pair" student program attracts the parents to see their children in their model Tefillin sing the "wRap" songs, allowing two generations (or more!) to join in the mitzvah together, and to let the students' sing their "wRAP" song for an appreciative audience.
World Wide Wrap is Sunday, February 3, 2013
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