Season Ends – Spinozium Videos Arrive!

An amazing season has come to a close.  We’re still huffing and puffing, auditioning and mailing, planning and striking, and in the midst of all the summer pivoting from one intensity to the next, we do finally take the time to finish editing and now sharing with you some highlights from the season, including the videos from our April 1st Spinozium.  Who could ever forget our vote!?

And now we have 8 wonderful videos to share from the day-long proceedings. 

The Vimeo Spinozium Album is just one way to take in the day of debate.

The other way is through our website, at New Jerusalem: Spinozium

Let us know what you think!


Students Debate Spinoza’s Fate, Mortera’s Motives, and Ives’ Agenda in Portraying the Authorities of Amsterdam

Here was the program at today’s Post-Show Discussion — A student debate
Three Universities Debate Spinoza’s Fate
(Universities of Michigan, California at Berkeley, and Notre Dame)
In the comments section, we’ll be collecting student arguments and then constructing from the comments a transcript of today’s enriching, impressive debate:

Question 1:
(in anticipation of next week’s Spinozium)
Should the excommunication of Spinoza be reversed?
• Was the decision appropriate and right for its time?
• Did Spinoza prove he was sufficiently adhering to and abiding by tenets of the Jewish faith?
• Is Spinoza’s excommunication the equivalent of a modern day blacklisting?

Team Arguing Affirmative: That the Excommunication SHOULD be reversed — Zena Brenner (UC), Katie Jennings (UM), Meg Savel (UM), Kristen Dittus (UM)
Team Arguing in the Negative: The Excommunication SHOULD NOT be reversed — Anne Murkowski (UM), Katie Sauter (UM), Will Scheffer (UM), Gabe Egan (UM)

Question 2
Does the Rabbi have Spinoza’s best interests at heart?
• Does the Rabbi excommunicate Spinoza for the Rabbi’s self-preservation?
• Does the Rabbi’s rejection reflect his desire to save Spinoza or to protect the community?
• Does the Rabbi truly find Spinoza blasphemous?

Team Arguing in the Affirmative: That the Rabbi DID have Spinoza’s interests at heart — Andrea Alajbegovic (UM), Jaqui Duarte (UM), Tiffany Henton (UM), Demitri Tarabini (ND)
Team Arguing in the Negative: The Rabbi did have NOT Spinoza’s interests at heart — Sarah Alsaden (UM), Nora Goebelbecher (ND), Sara Berg (UC), Selene Hakobyan (UC)

Question 3
Was David Ives’ treatment of the Dutch Authority fair?
• Does Ives ridicule the Dutch Authority, failing to appreciate its tolerance of Jews?
• Is Valkenberg cast as a cruel villain or a reasonable protector?
• Was the Dutch Authority acting mercifully or coercively by setting the hearing under the auspices of the Jewish community?

Team Arguing that Ives’ Treatment was UNFAIR (essentially, an indictment and uncharitable) –Michael French, Will Reising, Anne McCarthy, Jenna Nizamoff (All ND)
Team Arguing that Ives’ Treatment was FAIR (rounded and portraying an enlightened, tolerant community) — Hasan Zahid (UC), Rafi Shi (UC), Kevin HAWRYLUK (UM), Tobias Franz (UM)

Each team had four minutes to present their sides, followed by two minutes each of rebuttal, followed by one minute each conclusion. Each rounded lasted a total of 14 minutes, with one minute after the opening rounds for audience questions or clarifications, followed by one minute for audience voting at the end of each round.

A great job was done by all the participants — and a very appreciative audience of 65+ stayed to appreciate the efforts. Results on the audience voting to be shared after compiling of a transcript.


…and Alexander Strain is holding court, and on trial, and taking questions from the audience after last night’s stirring preview! We’re rolling out lots of ways to talk-back to this play and let your voice be heard. Let’s start with a first wave of reactions to the play — from those who saw it 20 months ago – and for new-comers taking the play in for the first time!

For more edification on the kind of conversations we had in 2010, check out other blog postings about how our first run here. And all the exciting programming around this year’s Month of All Things Spinoza can be found on our website here.