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Author: Eliyahu Stern

Abstract

This essay charts the connections and the flow of kabbalistic ideas circulating between European and American intellectuals at the turn of the twentieth century. It describes the ways in which Eastern European Jewish intellectuals developed and transported a pragmatic version of Kabbalah to American shores. This version of the Kabbalah would be adopted and developed by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan with the goal of highlighting the material dimensions of the Jewish tradition and furthering his project of Jewish Peoplehood. Far from being a relic of a distant mystical past, Kaplan’s version of the Kabbalah, as reservoir of specifically Jewish symbols, was easily assimilated into the social theory of the Progressive Era.

In: Kabbalah in America
In: Time and Eternity in Jewish Mysticism
In: Talmudic Transgressions
In: Studia Islamica