Reconstructionist Judaism was founded by Mordecai Kaplan, and grew out of a progressive branch of the Conservative movement in the 1920s. Kaplan believed that traditional Jewish beliefs and practices were important, but that their relevancy should be examined closely. While traditional Judaism asserts that beliefs and practices are important because G-d commands them, Reconstructionist Jews believe that they are important because many people believe and practice them together as a community. Kaplan thought of Judaism as a civilization instead of a religion because it includes language, art, culture, ethics, history, and other elements essential to civilization.
Traditional Jewish beliefs and practices are examined in light of both their historical and their present-day context. Reconstructionist Judaism has some important main beliefs, such as the belief that Jewish people should carefully examine their beliefs in order to fully understand them. G-d is the source of all meaning in life and religion is a way to try to understand that meaning. Reconstructionist Judaism also supports the humanist view of religion, which means that people create religions rather than receiving them fully formed from a divine source. The humanist view also recognizes the validity of other religions and encourages communication and goodwill between them.
To learn more about Reconstructionist Judaism, visit the Reconstructing Judaism website: www.reconstructingjudaism.org