Jul 29

Shakespeare and Sacred Texts: A Midsummer Retreat
July 25-29, 2022
UCI Campus, various locations
Seminars in Humanities Gateway 1010
Performances at New Swan Shakespeare Theater, next to the Langson Library

Co-hosted by the Orange County Jewish Collaborative and the New Swan Shakespeare Center

Event featured in OC Jewish Life

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), Rabbi Marcia Tilchin (JCoOC), and Pulitzer-Prize winning author Jack Miles. The evenings will include lectures, performances, and interfaith meals, including opportunities attend two plays and a Shakespearean concert at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater, an intimate open-air stage on the UC Irvine campus.

Cantor Matt Austerklein is a prayer leader, musician, and scholar exploring the religious meaning of Jewish musical forms. A congregational cantor for over a decade, Matt has worked in diverse pastoral, lifecycle, and educational settings. He serves as a mentor to new and student cantors, and works on projects shaping the Jewish musical future. Matt is is a multi-genre artist of contemporary and classic Jewish music. He is currently a PhD candidate in Jewish Studies at Halle-Wittenberg University (Germany), where he is writing his dissertation on the professionalization of Ashkenazi cantors in early modern Europe. Matt is the featured visiting scholar for the project.

Registration through the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County.
Cost to attend the retreat: $200-$400 for the week.

Seminars and lectures at UCI are free to UCI students, faculty and staff. Contact Julia Lupton, jrlupton@uci.edu, to register as a UCI participant (does not include evening meals and performances).
Virtual participation is free and open to all.

Sign up here for Zoom participation (free and open to all): https://uci.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYrcemhpjIuGtAMO_f7boHRnIZO81bz4y21

Parking at UCI: https://parking.uci.edu/

Monday, July 25, 6:00pm: Festive meal at private home for registered participants
Tuesday, July 26, 1:00-5:00pm: Seminars with Cantor Austerklein and Prof. Jack Miles, HG1010 (and streaming)
Tuesday, July 26, 8:00pm: "Shakespeare's Fool," performance by Jason Feddy with other actors and performers at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater (ticketed event).
Wednesday, July 27, 1:00-4:30pm: Seminar and demonstrations, HG1010  (and streaming).
Wednesday, July 27:  5:00-6:30pm: Matt Austerklein, public lecture, "Jewish Music in the Age of Shakespeare"
Thursday, July 28, 1:00-5:00: Seminar and demonstrations, HG1010 (and streaming).
Thursday, July 28, 8:00-10:00pm: The Comedy of Errrorrs at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater (ticketed event).
Friday, July 29, 5:00-7:30pm: Interfaith Shabbat, HG 1010, led by Rabbi Tilchin and Cantor Austerklein for registered participants
Friday, July 29: 8:00-10:00pm: Pericles, Prince of Tyre at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater (ticketed event).


July 25


July 26


HG 1010

Prophesy of Errors: Shakespeare and the Book of Jonah with Cantor Austerklein

HG 1010

Deep Dive into Jonah, public talk by Jack Miles, Professor Emeritus of English, UCI



8:00pm: “Shakespeare’s Fool,” concert-performance hosted by Jason Feddy and Ava Burton, New Swan Shakespeare Theater, UCI Campus


July 27


HG 1010

One Flesh or Two? "The Comedy of Errors" and Jewish Marriage Law with Cantor Austerklein

HG 1010 Plaza -- outdoors

The Comedy of Errrorrs with director Eli Simon and actors



“Jewish Music in the Age of Shakespeare,” public lecture by Matt Austerklein



July 28


HG 1010

Of Spells and Spirits: Witchcraft and Magic in "The Comedy of Errors" and Jewish Tradition with Cantor Austerklein

HG 1010

“Shakespeare as an Interfaith Artist”
discussion led by Julia Lupton and Rabbi Tilchin

New Swan Shakespeare Theater

Performance of The Comedy of Errrorrs



July 29

HG1010 Plaza -- Outdoors

Interfaith Shabbat led by Rabbi Hazzan Marcia Tilchin and Hazzan Matt Austerklein

8:00 pm:
New Swan Shakespeare Theater

performance of Pericles, Prince of Tyre


This event is made by possible by grants from the Association for Jewish Studies; the Albert and Rhoda Weissman Arts Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County and the Jewish Federation of Orange County; and the generous support of participants and community donors.