The Wyncote-based central organization of the Reconstructionist movement in Judaism is changing its name to, it says, more accurately and succinctly reflect its philosophy.
Formerly known as the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, the organization that represents at least 40,000 Jews in North America will now be known as Reconstructing Judaism.
The change does not affect the name of the Reconstructionist movement itself, but the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College will become the College for Reconstructing Judaism after the end of the current academic year.
The central organization's new name replaces a lengthy one that had served as a placeholder when the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, which trains the movement's rabbis, and the association representing the tradition's 100 congregations and meeting groups merged in 2012.
Changing the name from a focus on the word Reconstructionist, a noun and adjective, to Reconstructing, a verb that conveys action, is in keeping with the philosophy of a tradition that sees Judaism as a constantly evolving civilization, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, the college's president, said Monday in a conference call announcing the change.
"We are very excited that this new name reflects our mission in our name and communicates to the world that we are, have been, and continue to be about actively engaging and creating Jewish life," Waxman said.
The movement is the smallest of the four Jewish movements, which also include the Conservative, Reform and Orthodox.
Reconstructionism was founded by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan in the early 20th century as a philosophy that viewed Judaism as a faith rooted in tradition, but constantly evolving and adapting as the world changes.
The name change comes as the college, which was founded in North Philadelphia, prepares this year to celebrate its 50th anniversary.