Often seen as resurgent paganism or Gnosticism, the modern movement has more recent roots in 19th-century spiritualism and in the 1960s counterculture, which rejected materialism in favor of Eastern mysticism and preferred direct spiritual experience to organized religion. Techniques for self-improvement and the idea that the individual is responsible for and capable of everything from self-healing to creating the world, have found applications in health care and counseling as well as in sports, the armed forces, and corporations and have provoked debate in religious and other circles.
Holistic thinking has influenced attitudes about medicine, the environment, the family, work, regional planning, and world peace, among others. Ideas frequently associated with the New Age movement include anthroposophical teachings, inner transformation, reincarnation, extraterrestrial life, biofeedback, chanting, alchemy, yoga, transpersonal psychology, shamanism, martial arts, the occult, astrology, psychic healing, extrasensory perception, divination, astral travel, acupuncture, massage, tarot, Zen, mythology, and visualization.
Mordecai Menahem Kaplan (1881-1983), American rabbi, who founded Reconstructionism, a movement based on the view that Judaism is essentially a religious civilization.
Kaplan was born in Šven?ionys, Lithuania. At the age of eight, he was brought to the United States. After studying at the College of the City of New York and at Columbia University, he was ordained (1902) at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he later became principal (1909) of the teachers institute, dean (1931), and dean emeritus (1947).
In 1916 he established the Jewish Center in New York City, where he served as rabbi until 1922. He then established the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, which became the core of Reconstructionism. The movement was defined in the Reconstructionist, a periodical he edited, that was dedicated to “the advancement of Judaism as a religious civilization, to the upbuilding of Eretz Yisrael [the land of Israel] as the spiritual center of the Jewish People, and to the furtherance of universal freedom, justice, and peace.” Among Kaplan’s writings that define the movement are Judaism as a Civilization (1934) and The Religion of Ethical Nationhood (1970).