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Dr. Mordecai Kaplan Honored on 85th Birthday; Greeted by Johnson

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More than 600 persons gathered here tonight at dinner celebrating the 85th birthday of Dr. Mordecai M. Kaplan, founder of the Jewish Reconstructionist movement. Congratulatory messages were read by Melvin Dubin, chairman of the dinner committee, from President Johnson, Israel President Zalman Shazar, Israel’s Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Dr. Nelson Glueck, president of the Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion, and Rabbi Louis Finkelstein, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. The principal address at the event was delivered by Dr. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress.

In an address responding to the laudations, Dr. Kaplan reaffirmed the Reconstructionist interpretation of an “authentically religious” person as one who identifies with the term “God with some definitely communicable experience.” He stated that the perpetuation of Jewish life is dependent solely on “authentically religious Jews.” He declared that the significance of the Jewish Reconstructionist movement is that “its method of dealing with problems of the spirit is valid also for other religions” that are in a state of crisis.

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