Eric Caplan

Professor Eric CaplanDepartment Chair, Associate Professor, 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


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

Current research

I am assembling an anthology of Jewish social activist thought in North America, 1860-2021 (Jewish Publication Society) and preparing for publication the final volume of excerpts from the diaries of Mordecai Kaplan, 1951-1981 (Wayne State University Press). My book, From Ideology to Liturgy: Reconstructionist Worship and American Liberal Judaism (Hebrew Union College Press, 2002), was reissued in 2022 with an extensive new preface. I am a founder and Vice-President of the Mordecai Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood which aims—through conferences, on-line seminars, and an ever-expanding website to stimulate conversation about the Jewish issues that were of core concern to Kaplan.

Select Publications


From Ideology to Liturgy: Reconstructionist Worship and American Liberal Judaism. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2002. HUC Reprint Edition with a New Preface (2022).


“Teaching Judaism and Social Justice,” AJS Perspectives, Fall 2022. 96-97.

Revaluation and Transvaluation,” (2022)

“Jewish Ritual and Social Justice in America,” Routledge Handbook on Jewish Ritual and Practice, Oliver Leaman, ed. Routledge, 2022. 257-274.

Mordecai Kaplan and Birmingham, 1963,” (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.

“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.

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.

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