RRC Logo

Get Email Updates!

Kaplan biographer Mel Scult interviews Kaplan in 1972.

Introduction
Mel Scult provides the context of his conversations with Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan in June 1972.

Background
Scult takes us from Kaplan's early years in Vilna, Lithuania, to his immigration to America. His education and work as a rabbi is introduced.


Kaplan's 1960 Speech
Addressing congregants at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City, Kaplan speaks passionately about belief in God and the manifestation of divinity in human experience.


Living in Two Worlds
Kaplan discusses the Hebrew date of his birth which, for many years, was the only date he knew.  This story serves as a reference point to Kaplan's emerging philosophy.

 


Day of His Birth
Kaplan's birth on Erev Shabbat was marked as a momentous occasion by his father.


Kaplan's Mother
Anna Kaplan educated herself in the teachings of Judaism, regularly reading from a sophisticated translation of the Psalms.


Kaplan's Attendance at Heder
Jewish education is recounted through young Kaplan's experiences. He notes his father's desire to educate both Mordecai and his sister Sophie, and cites the elder Kaplan's beginning conceptualization of Jewish civilization and peoplehood.


Kaplan as Chief Rabbi
Why Kaplan declined the opportunity to become chief rabbi of the British Empire.


Kaplan and Rabbi Joseph Hertz
A lighthearted encounter between Kaplan and Chief Rabbi Joseph Hertz is shared.