The Truth About Reconstructionism
Both the philosophy and program of reconstructionism have evidently proved challenging. However, the considerable recent discussion of the meaning of Reconstructionism has not been as clarifying as one might have hoped. Even such distinguished writers as Waldo Frank, Ludwig Lewisohn, and most recently, Mordecai Grossman, in the preceding issue of Commentary, have reacted, each in his own way, to this or that formula in the philosophy of Reconstructionism. They may have an adequate understanding of the basic motivation and intention behind the movement and of the relation of the particulars to the total idea, but their strictures fail to convey any such understanding. It is therefore the purpose of this article to put the philosophy of Reconstructionism in its proper prospective. This will reveal the errors in much that has been said about the movement more clearly than if I were simply to refute specific criticisms.
Reconstructionism endeavors to answer the question: What, under conditions of modem life, must Jews do, if they want Jewish life to be an asset to them, an opportunity for growth and happiness, rather than a liability, an impediment to the achievement of their personal ideals?
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