Religion: Unity in Diversity

Mordecai Menahem Kaplan was the rabbi of a Manhattan congregation at 22, but he was torn between his own theological liberalism and the unbending Orthodox Judaism he preached. "I worked hard," he said later, "to say something in my sermons that I believed and that would also appeal to the people in my congregation." Discouraged, he seriously thought at one point of switching to selling life insurance.

Last week Dr. Kaplan, a courtly, white-goateed scholar with almost half a century in the rabbinate behind him, walked into the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria. Fifteen...

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