Do Reconstructionists Believe in God?

From the Keddem Outlook, June 1999 (Sivan/Tamuz 5759

Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, founder of what became the Reconstructionist movement, thought of God as a Process, rather than a Person, within the universe. This is the idea that informed the early days of Reconstructionism, and that causes many people to ask the question above.

However, a most important aspect of Reconstructionist Judaism as a movement is that it allows all of us to find our own answers to the question, "to Whom do we pray?" There is no "correct response;" leaders will be found within the movement who believe strictly in the Kaplanian "God as Process," others who feel much more directly the presence of a personal God in their lives.

There is, perhaps, a more important question: Why do we pray? In Judaism, it is not the primary purpose of prayer to petition God. In fact, the Hebrew verb to pray (lehitpallel) is a reflexive verb, grammatically a word that would indicate an action performed by oneself, for oneself. Prayer is for us! However we perceive God, we pray to unite ourselves with the One that works within us.

As Reconstructionists, we worship together as a way to express our sense of Jewish community. We come together, as Jews, to connect to the past and to look to the future, as together we speak our hopes, aspirations, and frustrations.

So, what's the answer to the question above? What's your answer? That's the answer that matters!

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