Latest Spinozium Vote Tally

After an entirely Sold Out weekend of performances and huge response from ticket-buyers, and 3 great post-show discussions (one on Thursday night and two on Sunday — notes hopefully to be posted soon), we return to the poll we’ve been asking audiences to respond to in ballots at the theater and on line — a question which will be more fully debated on April 1st at our “Spinozium…”


The Background:  In 1952, David Ben-Gurion, in between terms as Israel’s prime minister, appealed to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to cancel the “cherem” (the religious banishment) on Spinoza. The Rabbinate rejected the appeal, arguing that they were not competent to overrule the wisdom of the rabbis who signed the original writ in Amsterdam on July 27, 1656.  Theater J now turns to its own audience to ask, “if you had the power, would you move to reverse Spinoza’s excommunication?”

As of 6 pm, March 11, 2012, votes from theater-goers and online follows are:

331 YES

51 NO

3 NO POSITION TAKEN (but comments given)


(YES) But that does not address the responsibility to the Jewish community in relation to the state

(No Vote at all ) Food for thought! Is this ‘vote’ any different than Mormons baptizing Jews after death?

(NO)  The word of God is the Spirit of man.  The discussion of man is or is not God takes away from studying the word of God as a way of life.

(NO) reversal would not be consistent with Spinoza’s philosophy of causation

These vote totals, which are to be tallied daily until April 1, 2012, are to be entered into the amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs during Spinoza’s re-trial at our SPINOZIUM, April 1, 2012.

For a full Spinozium schedule, click here.   

To cast your own vote on Spinoza’s posthumous fate, click here.


One thought on “Latest Spinozium Vote Tally

  1. I find myself in the minority in terms of whether the excommunication of Spinoza should be lifted or not, but my reasons lie not so much in the views of Spinoza, but the importance that the excommunication has played in the story of Spinoza. To un-excommunicate Baruch Spinoza, in my eyes, would be a valueless gesture with an almost tasteless result.

    As one of the highlighted comments pointed out, the un-excommunication of Spinoza would be as logical as the Mormon baptism of deceased Jewish people. Or consider yet another example: Imagine if someone decided to kick you out of a party because you were hitting on all the girls he was interested in and they were losing interest in him. The very next day, he comes up to you and says, “Hey, sorry about that. My jealousy got the better of me. You are invited to the party again.” But the party is over. The gesture is meaningless, and now your friend seems to think that all is forgiven. Although this may be a loose example, I think the general theme remains the same. What’s done is done. It was done for a reason that, at the time, seemed like a legitimate one. And the party is over (or in the case of Spinoza, his life has ended). And ultimately, the host has to live with the decision he made, no matter how bad it looks now.

    In reality, the un-excommunication of Spinoza would just be a gesture of change and a sign of moving forward in acceptance. But I don’t think the community necessarily needs that. I feel the community, from what I can see as someone who is not Jewish, is already quite open and accepting today. The excommunication is viewed in the context of the time period. No one should assume that Spinoza would be excommunicated today. Spinoza’s excommunication was a significant event in history, and the excommunication provied a event which makes us aware of him today. It also provided a historical event on which to base Spinoza’s ideology and philosophy on. If we un-excommunicate him now, he would still, in terms of time, remain excommunicated in his time era. History has occured. It cannot be changed. But that also means it will not be forgotten and we can learn from it.

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