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Shakespeare and Sacred Text: A Midsummer Retreat, July 25-29, 2022

This program is a partnership of the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County and the UCI New Swan Shakespeare Center.
Partial funding provided through grants from the Association for Jewish Studies,
Jewish Community Foundation Orange County, and Jewish Federation Orange County.

Program seminars will be held on the UCI campus Register Here
To attend virtually (1:00pm seminars only) register here.

Click here to view the complete schedule.

Retreat Information and Schedule

Program Description: Two bodies of writing, the Bible and the plays of Shakespeare, have received an outsized share of interpretive attention in the Western tradition. Approached as sources of wisdom, as treasuries of poetic imagery, as inquiries into human psychology, and as collections of dramatic stories and national history, Shakespeare and the Bible have been analyzed and emulated by many generations of readers and writers. Shakespeare himself was immersed in a Biblical culture defined by both the fluency of everyday worship and the controversies of the Reformation. In plays combining Catholic, Protestant, Judaic, and classical source materials, Shakespeare struggled to think beyond the confessional divisions of his day. His plays are thus a rich resource for interfaith exploration.

This three-day adventure in text study and the performing arts, bracketed by two festive meals, brings together Shakespeare and the Bible, with a focus on The Comedy of Errors. Participants will attend three workshops with visiting Jewish Studies scholar, Cantor Matt Austerklein. Other presenters include Julia Lupton (UCI English), Eli Simon (UCI Drama), and Rabbi Marcia Tilchin (JCoOC). The evenings will include lectures, performances, and interfaith meals, including opportunities attend two plays and a Shakespearean concert at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater, and an intimate open-air stage on the UC Irvine campus.

Seminar Instructors include:

Hazzan Matt Austerklein is a musician, scholar, and innovator in the American cantorate. He fell in love with the cantorial arts while studying abroad in Vienna, Austria, where he also studied voice with mezzo-soprano, Paulette Vineyard Herbich.

​Matt graduated summa cum laude from the College of William & Mary in Virginia with a BA in Music. He went on to receive a Master of Sacred Music and cantorial ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Over his past decade as a congregational cantor, he has cultivated diverse skills to support Jewish communities, including pastoral care, teaching Jewish text and traditions, communal  song leading, music education with guitar, event programming, playwriting, fundraising, choral directing, and strategic planning. He serves as an ongoing mentor to new and student cantors, and currently serves on the Cantorial Coaching Faculty of Hebrew College.

​Matt is blessed to be married to his holy partner, Rabbi Elyssa Joy Austerklein. They have two musical and creative children. To read more about Matt click here.

Professor Julia Lupton is the author or co-author of five books on Shakespeare, including "Citizen-Saints: Shakespeare and Political Theology," "Thinking with Shakespeare: Essays on Politics and Life," and "Shakespeare Dwelling: Designs for the Theater of Life." Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and an ACLS Fellowship. At UCI, she is a Lauds and Laurels honoree and the recipient of several teaching awards.  Her current book project, “Shakespeare’s Virtues,” explores the many capacities developed by Shakespeare’s plays, including hope, courage, trust, and respect. She has taught at UCI since 1989.

As co-director of the UCI Shakespeare Center, Julia Lupton organizes seminars and lectures for UC Irvine’s New Swan Shakespeare Festival. She also runs a county-wide series of book clubs and helps create innovative events such as The Hamlet Trial, featuring Dean Erwin Chemerinsky (Berkeley Law) and Dean Song Richardson (UCI Law). The event combines law, society and culture in a public humanities format. Read more about Julia here.


Shakespeare Midsummer Retreat  ~ JLife Magazine Feature Article

Read about JCoOC's Shakespeare and Sacred Text summer retreat in the June issue of JLife Magazine.

"In plays combining Catholic, Protestant, Judaic, and classical source materials, Shakespeare struggled to think beyond the religious divisions of his day. He also narrated the rise and fall of kings using the lives of David, Solomon, and Saul as guides. These factors make his plays a rich resource for interfaith study and personal healing as well as psychological and historical analysis."

This program is a partnership between JCoOC and the New Swan Shakespeare Theater at UCI. Partial funding for this program is provided through grants from the Association of Jewish Studies and the Albert Weissman and Rhoda Yvette Weissman Arts Endowment Fund grant - a joint program of Jewish Community Foundation Orange County and Jewish Federation Orange County.

Overview of Events

Click here to access the most current schedule available on the New Swan Website.

Monday, July 25, 6:00pm: Welcome dinner and study session with our scholars at a private home. Registration required.

Tuesday, July 26, 1:00-5:00pm
1:00-3:00pm: Prophesy of Errors: Shakespeare and the Book of Jonah with Cantor Austerklein
3:30-5:00pm: Deep Dive into Jonah, public talk by Jack Miles, Professor Emeritus of English, UCI

Tuesday, July 26, 8:00pm: "Shakespeare's Fool," performance by Jason Feddy, Ava Burton and friends. (ticketed event).

Wednesday, July 27, 1:00-5:00pm
1:00-3:00pm: One Flesh or Two? "The Comedy of Errors" and Jewish Marriage Law with Cantor Austerklein
3:30-4:30pm: The Comedy of Errrorrs with director Eli Simon and actors
Wednesday, July 27: 5:00pmMatt Austerklein, public lecture, "Jewish Music in the Age of Shakespeare"

Thursday, July 28, 1:00-5:00
1:00-3:00pm:  Of Spells and Spirits: Witchcraft and Magic in "The Comedy of Errors" and Jewish Tradition with Cantor Austerklein
3:30-5:00pm: “Shakespeare as an Interfaith Artist”  Discussion led by Dr.Julia Lupton and Rabbi Marcia Tilchin

Thursday, July 28, 8:00-10:00pmThe Comedy of Errrorrs at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater (ticketed event).

Friday, July 29, 5:00-7:30pm: Interfaith Shabbat service and dinner on the UCI campus led by Rabbi Tilchin and friends. Registration required.

Friday, July 29: 8:00-10:00pmPericles, Prince of Tyre at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater (ticketed event).  

Register Below

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Mon, April 22 2024 14 Nisan 5784