Eric Caplan

Eric Caplan
Associate Professor, Undergraduate Program advisor, Director of the Jewish Teacher Training Program

Cross-appointed to the Department of Integrated Studies in Education; Associate Member, School of Religious Studies.

Areas of Interest:

Jewish social activism, Mordecai Kaplan, American Judaism, Jewish education

Education:

 B.A. (University of Toronto), M.A. (Hebrew University), PhD. (McGill University)

Bio:

Eric Caplan received his B.A. in Jewish Studies and Religious Studies from the University of Toronto, where he graduated in 1985. Between 1986 and 1990, Eric lived in Israel and pursued M.A. studies at the Samuel M. Melton Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. His thesis dealt with the teaching of Judaism in the non-Orthodox Kibbutz movement. Eric received his Ph.D. from McGill University in the fall of 1998. He is the author of From Ideology to Liturgy: Reconstructionist Worship and American Liberal Judaism (Hebrew Union College Press, 2002). Eric continues to research liberal Judaism. He is currently working on two projects: 1. An anthology of writings of Jewish social activist thinkers covering the years 1850 to the present (Jewish Publication Society). 2. Editing and annotating the diaries of Mordecai Kaplan 1951-1978 (Wayne State University Press). Eric is the Vice-President of the Mordecai M. Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood.

Publications:

Books:

From Ideology to Liturgy: Reconstructionist Worship and American Liberal Judaism. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2002.

Articles:

“Mordecai Kaplan and Birmingham, 1963,” https://kaplancenter.org/erics-forum-2/ (2019).

(with Jeffrey Schein), “The Educational Philosophies of Mordecai Kaplan and Michael Rosenak: Surprising Similarities and Illuminating Differences,” Journal of Jewish Education, 80:4 (2014), 388-410.

“All is One? Current Theologies.” CCAR Journal, Fall 2012, pp. 213-222.

“Kaplan’s Approach to Prayer Appreciated and Challenged,” Crosscurrents, March 2012, pp. 50-60.

“Mitchell Silver’s A Plausible God: A Personal Response.” Reconstructionism Today, Winter 2008, pp. 11-13.

“Obligation vs. Possibility: Presentations of Ritual in the Reconstructionist Movement and Their Significance,” Conservative Judaism, V59:4 (Summer 2007), pp. 42-60.

“What Does It Imply? How Does It Apply? Reconstructionist Holiday Editorials, 1935-1955.” Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, V24:3 (Spring 2006) pp. 37-57.

“On Reinventing the Wheel: Fashioning a Liturgy we can pray with Integrity,” The Reconstructionist, Fall 2006, pp. 17-25.

“Jewish Tradition and Reconstructionist Decision Making: Giving Tradition a Clearer Voice,” Reconstructionism Today, Winter 2005-2006, pp. 1, 4-6.

“The Dangers of Privatized Jewishness,” Reconstructionism Today, Spring-Summer 2004, pp. 14-18.

Book reviews:

Darren Kleinberg. Hybrid Judaism: Irving Greenberg, Encounter, and the Changing Nature of American Jewish Identity. Religious Studies Review, Volume 45:4 (December 2019), 517.

Patricia Keer Munro. Coming of Age in Jewish America: Bar and Bat Mitzvah Reinterpreted. Religious Studies Review, Volume 44:4 (December 2018), 482-483.

Jeffrey A. Summit, Singing God’s Words: The Performance of Biblical Chant in Contemporary Judaism. Religious Studies Review, Volume 44:2 (June 2018), 233.

Jonathan B. Krasner, The Benderly Boys and American Jewish Education. The American Jewish Archives Journal, Volume LXIV (2012), pp. 164-166.

Zander Sherman. The Curiosity of School. The Montreal Gazette, August 10, 2012.

Jack Cohen. Democratizing Judaism. H-Judaic, August 25, 2011.

Harold Troper, The Defining Decade: Identity, Politics, and the Canadian Jewish Community in the 1960s. The Montreal Gazette, January 15, 2011, p. i7.

Rebecca T. Alpert, Whose Torah? A Concise Guide to Progressive Judaism and Or N. Rose, Jo Ellen Kaiser, and Margie Klein, eds. Righteous Indignation: a Jewish Call for Justice. CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Summer 2010, pp. 155-162.

Sue Fishkoff, The Rebbe’s Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch and Stephanie Wellen Levine, Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers: An Intimate Journey Among Hasidic Girls. CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Winter 2010, pp. 155-162.

Huston Smith, Tales of Wonder: Adventures Chasing the Divine. The Montreal Gazette, June 20, 2009.

Alex Pomson and Randal F. Schnoor, Back to School: Jewish Say School in the Lives of Adult Jews. Canadian Jewish Studies, Vol. 15 (2007), pp. 155-158.

Patrick Allitt, I’m the Teacher, You’re the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom. McGill Journal of Education, Vol. 40 No. 2 (Spring 2005) pp. 323-326.

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