What is Reconstructionism?

Based on the teachings of Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881-1983) and his followers, Reconstructionist Judaism understands Judaism as the "evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people." For Reconstructionist Jews, a sense of belonging to the Jewish people and tradition is equally, if not more important than personal religious belief.

  • Reconstructionist Judaism is participatory and engaging. We seek to empower each member to seek out his or her niche in the spectrum of Jewish expression. We attract those who, regardless of their background, are searching for a way to engage with Judaism from an intergenerational perspective.
  • Reconstructionist Judaism is creative. We believe that by preserving our sacred traditions we sustain our connection to past generations and to Jews around the world. At the same time, we believe we must creatively reinterpret our traditions so that they remain vibrant and meaningful for ourselves and future generations.
  • Reconstructionist Judaism is searching. We understand Judaism as a way to seek out meaning in life, and maintain an awareness of life’s sacred dimension.
  • Reconstructionist Judaism is humanistic. We recognize the human authorship of all religious traditions, including Judaism. We believe no tradition has a monopoly on religious truth.  Affirming Judaism as our own tradition implies no sense of superiority regarding others. We welcome dialogue with persons of good will in all traditions, both within and outside of Judaism.

For additional information about Reconstructionist Judaism, also see the following websites:

You may also enjoy this short video:


West End Synagogue is affiliated with


190 Amsterdam Avenue (at 69th Street)
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 579-0777
Fax: (212) 579-2669
Email: office [at] westendsynagogue.org
Affiliated with the Jewish Reconstructionist movement, Reconstructing Judaism

Find us on Facebook

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter