New Name for the Recon Movement

“Reconstructing Judaism” is the new name of the central organization of the Reconstructionist movement, replacing the former: Reconstructionist Rabbinical College & Jewish Reconstructionist Communities. The tag phrase is “Deeply rooted, boldly relevant,” which expresses our reverence for Jewish tradition and our constant quest to cultivate Jewish experiences that are meaningful.

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., president of Reconstructing Judaism, said that “More than ever, Judaism must be about doing, and our name is about doing.”

“Many of us grew up in a time when Judaism was simply a matter of being; we were Jewish because of the neighborhood we grew up in, the food we ate, the culture we absorbed. Not anymore,” said Waxman. “Our new name represents an active commitment to doing. ‘Reconstructing’ is the best expression of our approach to Judaism.”

Reconstructing Judaism was the memoir title of the late Rabbi Eisenstein: the first president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College who built on the ideas of his father-in-law, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, and launched Reconstructionist Judaism as a movement.

In arriving at this new identity, the organization employed a democratic Reconstructionist approach to decision-making, with a non-hierarchical focus on discussion, and the sharing of ideas. All told, more than 1,000 people—from Los Angeles to Montreal—shared their insights and ideas. “This was a deeply Reconstructionist process that drew on the ideas of many participants,” says Seth Rosen, chair of Reconstructing Judaism’s board of governors. “We gained a great deal of insight into what matters most to those who are drawn to Reconstructionist Judaism.”

This is going to be a busy year for Reconstructing Judaism and the movement as a whole. All whose lives have been impacted by a Reconstructionist rabbi will mark with pride the 50th anniversary of the seminary’s founding. Many of us will gather with fellow Reconstructionists from across the continent for the first Reconstructionist Convention in eight years from Nov. 15-18 in Philadelphia. The new Reconstructionist summer camp, Havaya Arts, opens on the West Coast as campers to return for another joyous summer at Camp Havaya on the East Coast. All the while, the nearly 100 affiliated Reconstructionist communities like ours—and more than 400 rabbis—will continue building a meaningful Jewish future and more perfect world.