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The SAJ as a Civilization: From Radical Vision to Community Based Innovation | A Symposium For All

June 12, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT


Join us for a full-day conference featuring a keynote talk and three discussion panels with esteemed scholars and rabbis, honoring the history and influence of the SAJ. We will explore themes of community, peoplehood, Jewish history, the Jewish future, and more through the unique lens of SAJ’s evolution and impact. Enjoy refreshments between sessions and stay for a happy hour reception following the program.

Come for all or part of the day, free of charge!

Zoom participation available!

Welcoming Remarks and Keynote Lecture, SAJ as the Vision of Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan,” , 1 PM: — Dr. Mel Scult has devoted his life to the study of Rabbi Kaplan, perhaps the most significant American rabbi of the 20th century, and will honor our centennial celebration with a keynote lecture on SAJ as the legacy of Kaplan’s life and thought.

Panel #1: “SAJ in Time & Space,” 2:30 PM: Three prominent scholars of American Jewish history will introduce the conference by placing SAJ into historical-, urban-, neighborhood-, and spatial context.
Panelists: Deborah Dash Moore, Jeffrey Gurock, David Kaufman
Moderator: Ira Schachner

Panel #2: “SAJ as a ‘Society,” 4 PM: — A key aspect of Rabbi Kaplan’s thought was the ‘reconstruction’ of the synagogue as more than a house of worship, as a multi-valent ‘organic community.’  This panel brings together longtime members of the congregation and subject experts to discuss how multiple aspects of congregational culture–leadership, education, social life, the arts, political activism, etc.–bind together to form such a complex religious/secular/cultural/intellectual community. Panelists: Ruth Messinger, Rabbi Simkha Weintraub, Judy Marlow, Dan Woods, Herb Kaplan
Moderator: Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann

Panel #3: “SAJ as an ‘Advancement in Judaism,” 5:30 PM — SAJ was the flagship congregation of the Reconstructionist movement–and since Reconstructionism has been so broadly influential in American Jewish theology and religious practice, SAJ can be seen as a seminal influence in the history of American Judaism. Three leading scholars and innovators will explore the liturgical, spiritual, and ideological influence of SAJ, and how its influence continues to mold the tradition.
Panelists: Noam Pianko, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Hila Ratzabi, Rabbi Michael Strassfeld
Moderator: Rabbi Steve Gutow
Closing Blessing, followed by a Happy Hour Reception, 6:45 – 8 PM


June 12, 2022
1:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
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SAJ 100


15 W 86th St, New York, NY 10024, USA
15 W 86 St United States + Google Map
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