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Prof. Mordecai M. Kaplan “excommunicated” by Orthodox Rabbis, His Prayer Book Burned

June 14, 1945
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, leader of the Reconstructionist movement, which attempts to reinterpret the Jewish religion so as to check the escapism which, it asserts, is prevalent in contemporary Juduism, was “excommunicated” last night by a group of 200 rabbis at a “cherem” ceremony held at the Hotel McAlpin.

The ceremony, arranged by the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, concluded with the public burning of the revised Prayer Book issued by Prof. Kaplan, to which the orthodox rabbis objected, declaring it is contrary to the principles of the Jewish religion. The ban on Prof. Kaplan and his prayer book was preceded by a speech by Rabbi Israel Rosenberg, president of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, urging the “excommunication.”

Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency to comment on the rabbis’ action. Prof. Kaplan said: “It is just too bad that men who call themselves rabbis should in this day and age resort to the barbarcus procedure of outlawing a man without giving him a hearing, and to the Nazi practice of burning books that displease them. God save us from such leadership and from the disgrace it is likely to bring upon us Jews.”

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