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Reconstructionist Judaism: The Thirteen Wants

A prayer composed by Mordecai Kaplan in 1926 for the dedication of the new headquarters of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (SAJ), the following were included in the Sabbath prayer book as "The Criteria of Jewish Loyalty."


1.We want Judaism to help us overcome temptation, doubt and discouragement.

2.We want Judaism to imbue us with a sense of responsibility for the righteous use of the blessings wherewith God endows us.

3.We want the Jew so to be trusted that his yea will be taken as yea, and his nay as nay.

4.We want to learn how to utilize our leisure to best advantage, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.

5.We want the Jewish home to live up to its traditional standards of virtue and piety.

6.We want the Jewish upbringing of our children to further their moral and spiritual growth, and to enable them to accept with joy their heritage as Jews.

7.We want the synagogue to enable us to worship God in sincerity and in truth.

8.We want our religious traditions to be interpreted in terms of understandable experience and to be made relevant to our present­day needs.

9.We want to participate in the upbuilding of Eretz Yisrael as a means to the renaissance of the Jewish spirit.

10.We want Judaism to find rich, manifold and ever new expression in philosophy, letters and the arts.

11.We want all forms of Jewish organization to make for spiritual purpose and ethical endeavor.

12.We want the unity of Israel throughout the world to be fostered through mutual help in time of need, and through cooperation in the furtherance of Judaism at all time.

13.We want Judaism to function as a potent influence for justice, freedom and peace in the life of men and nations.

Sources: Mel Scult, Judaism Faces the Twentieth Century: A Biography of Mordecai M. Kaplan (MI: Wayne State University Press, 1993), Documents of Jewish Belief