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Different reconstructionists.

I noted your recent article by John Sugg on Christian Reconstructionism, the right-wing and theocratic movement that is opposed to a pluralistic society ("Warped Worldview," July/August Church & State).

However, I wanted to alert your readers that the Christian Reconstructionists are in complete contrast with another movement with a similar name, Reconstuctionist Judaism. Unfortunately, there is no "truth in advertising" law in religious movements, but Reconstructionist Judaism is older. It was founded as a liberal Jewish school of thought in the 1930s; last year, the widely respected journal The Reconstructionist marked its 70th anniversary.

Reconstructionist Judaism pioneered gender equality. Rabbi Kaplan helped create the modern bat mitzvah ceremony for 13-year-old girls in 1922, and the movement accepted women as rabbis from the opening of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1968. Reconstructionist Judaism, a liberal movement with over 100 affiliated congregations and 250 rabbis, has a strong commitment to gay rights, religious pluralism, supporting democracy as a religious value and viewing Judaism as an evolving religious civilization that should include both contemporary and traditional voices.

In short, despite an unfortunate similarity of names, Reconstructionist Judaism is a complete contrast to the Christian movement you highlighted. More information is available on the websites of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation ( or the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (

--Rabbi Robert Tabak, Ph.D.

Melrose Park, Pa.

(Note: Rabbi Tabak edits the newsletter of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. He is the author of articles on The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and on the RRA in the forthcoming revised Encyclopedia Judaica. The views expressed are his own.)
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Author:Tabak, Rabbi Robert
Publication:Church & State
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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