Past Programs

Past Programs

Sept-Dec 2020 - Shakespeare, King Lear

King Lear is treasure-rich tragedy about political decay originating in personal offense or resentment. That aspect of the play is noticeable, at least, to anxious observers of American politics. "'Tis the times' plague, when madmen lead the blind." (IV,1) But rather than superimposing contemporary problems onto the play, we'll mine the play for a deeper understanding of the relationship between the personal and the political. Its language alone transports us out of this inarticulate world to a place of poetic insight; its cosmic narrative puts all false narratives to rest.

New and returning readers are invited to participate in this Fall's "slow read." With an experienced facilitator, we look carefully at the text and discuss the issues that interest us, especially from a Jewish perspective. As is our custom, we read aloud for 10-15 minutes, which provides a focus for conversation and a chance to revisit details. Participants are encouraged to read one act per week, and to enjoy any of the audio or video productions available.

August 2020 - Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice


June - July 2020 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Reveries of the Solitary Walker

Reveries. Socratic Paths will feature a second program with a decidedly independent spirit. Born out of more poetic or musical works, it is for those who might consider social distancing and solitude a welcome respite from the workaday rat race. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Reveries of a Solitary Walker, provokes us to begin to think about how separation from community can be an opportunity to reflect on solitude and individualism, and to revive whatever gives our lives some dignity: reading, walking, meaningful work, freedom of thought, music, love and friendship, family.

April - May 2020 Xenophon, Memorabilia

Memorabilia. Some paths through Jewish life look to outside sources to assist efforts in self-understanding. The Socratic path is in lively tension with the Biblical and rabbinic traditions. In Xenophon's Memorabilia, Socrates is presented as a guide of the semi-perplexed; and the work provokes inquiry into the relationship between philosophy and piety (or popular opinion, or tradition) that reverberates today in unexpected ways. The Memorabilia is down-to-earth and full of hidden gems that can be discovered in conversation with others.