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Reconstructionist College Gets $1 Million Challenge Grant

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College here has received a $1 million challenge grant from Marjorie and Aaron Ziegelman of New York, it was announced by college president Ira Silverman at a commemoration at the college in honor of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, the founder and leader of Reconstructionism. The grant was made in memory of Kaplan.

The gift, when matched by other donors, will create an endowment fund which will insure the financial stability of the 16-year-old college, Silverman said. It will create an inviolable account which will earn annual income for the college’s operating expenses.

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, which trains both men and women, offers an innovative program which includes preparation for the rabbinate “through course in personal skills, dynamism and an outlook concerned with the continuing renewal of American Judaism, “according to a statement issued by the college.

The Ziegelmans came to the Reconstructionist movement after along absence from Jewish activities. In describing the return to Jewish activities, Aaron Ziegelman said;

“The Yom Kippur War aroused in me feelings of ‘Why am I not helping?’ I began to think about why someone with my background — educated in a yeshiva in Poland — didn’t identify with Jewish institutions. I had moved away from Orthodoxy and not found anything to replace it until I discovered Reconstructionism.” Ziegelman, a New York real estate entrepreneur, is vice chairman of the college’s Board of Governors.

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