WSJ: When Orthodox Rabbis Burned a Sabbath Prayer Book

An Orthodox rabbi neighbor of mine likes to use the epithet, "naval birshut HaTorah (the degenerate within the Torah’s framework)" to demean and disparage people he does not agree with.

We were reminded of that phrase when we read this recent article which recalls what some "degenerate" "rabbis" did to the prayer book of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan in 1945.
Invented the Bat Mitzvah, Rejected a Supernatural God
Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan and his Reconstructionist ideas.
In June of 1945, with memories of Nazi book-burning still vivid, a group called the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada excommunicated Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, after which they burned his newly published Sabbath Prayer Book. Although Kaplan is less known (and less read) today than his contemporaries Martin Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel, he was in many ways the most radical Jewish philosopher or theologian of his era. So it is good to see that his first book, the influential "Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life," has just returned to print. Published by Rabbi Kaplan in 1934, it is a masterpiece of 20th-century Jewish thought...more...

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