Between the Lines: Communings of the Spirit

Date: Dec 07, 2020 - Dec 07, 2020

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Sponsor: The Library

Location: Online

Category: Book Talks Library Events

Part of Between the Lines: Author Conversations from the Library of JTS 

An online discussion with Dr. Mel Scult

Monday, December 7, 7:30 p.m. ET

Mordecai M. Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionism, and the rabbi who initiated the first Bat Mitzvah, also produced the longest Jewish diary on record. In 27 volumes, running from 1913 to 1978, Kaplan shares with us not only his reaction to the great events of his time, but also his very personal thoughts on every aspect of religion and Jewish life.

In this volume, editor and Kaplan biographer Mel Scult presents Kaplan contemplating the momentous events of the 1940s. We experience Kaplan’s horror at the persecution of the European Jews as well as his joy at the founding of the State of Israel. Above all else, Kaplan was concerned with the survival and welfare of the Jewish people. And yet he also believed deeply that the wellbeing of the Jewish people was tied to the safety and security of all peoples.

Join us for an online conversation with Dr. Scult as he discusses how the Kaplan we encounter in this book is deeply passionate as well as reflective, even philosophical—a man of contradictions, but because of that, all the more interesting and important.


This event is sponsored by The JTS Library. Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, JTS, will serve as moderator.

See more Between the Lines events

About Dr. Mel Scult

Dr. Mel Scult is Professor Emeritus at the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. He is a graduate of the Seminary College and holds a PhD from Brandeis University. He has published a biographical study of Mordecai M. Kaplan, as well as three volumes of selections from the 27-volume diary of Kaplan. He has also published an essay on The Jewish Theological Seminary entitled Schechter’s Seminary in the two-volume work Tradition Renewed. Other publications include studies on Mathilde Roth Schechter and Henrietta Szold. He is vice president of the Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood and holds honorary doctorates from The Jewish Theological Seminary and from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.