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Idea of “chosen People” Not Justifiable Now, Dr. Mordecai Kaplan Tells Conference

“The idea of the Chosen People was justifiable religious doctrine in ancient Judaism,” but “today it is not merely untenable, but also detrimental to a normal adjustment of the Jew to his environment,” Dr. Mordecai M. Kaplan, declared today at the annual conference of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, Inc., held at the Hotel McAlpin.

“That idea is warrented, to be sure, in the realm of opinion as an assertion of Judaism’s contribution to the religion of mankind in the past,” Dr. Kaplan continued “But it is not as such on opinion that it is included in the traditional Prayer Book. There it is in the realm of dogma and is meant to affirm that the Jewish people has been chosen to occupy forever the central place in the divine scheme of salvation. As such it neither is nor can be any longer accepted by modern-minded Jews.”

Dr. Kaplan stated that it is an illusion, however, to believe that Jews have had only one type of religion. “The fact is that they have had at least three dominant types,” he said. “Recently the Reform movement added a fourth and now Reconstructionism is adding a fifth type.” To prevent the different types of religion from being divisive, Jews must find their common denominator in their tradition and in a united effort to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine for those who want to or must go there, he declared.

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