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Table Talk

  Related project: All the rest is commentary... an art exhibit which presents the Golden Rule from 12 world religions.
Financial Reform Table Talk with Finance Experts at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
Financial Reform Table Talk with the Public at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
Israel and the Golden Rule Table Talk with Jewish Artists

Table Talks or intimate dialogs have been published and widely disseminated since the 3rd century. Notable published table talks include Martin Luther, John Milton, Beethoven, Napoleon, Goethe and George Bernard Shaw.

The Golden Rule. Nearly every world religion has a version of it as its primary principle. Yet we forget to live by it. All the Rest is Commentary* is a Table Talk** dialogue using the Golden Rule as a keystone question. How would our world change politically, what would commerce look like, what kinds of communities would we have, how would our family structures change – if we treated others as we want to be treated ourselves?

For this project, I invite selected groups of three people to re-envision their worlds from different perspectives, by joining me in one of a series of twelve different conversations on topics such as the environment, hunger, health care, gay marriage, violence, feminism, etc. As the project progresses, fresh combinations of people from different backgrounds will ensue, stimulating more thoughts and insights, especially in the context of the Golden Rule.

Our two-hour table talks will be audio recorded as we sit around a white-clothed table with the Golden Rule hand-lettered along the edges. As we speak and contemplate, we will draw/doodle images and make notes about our thoughts on the table cloth. The cloth and the recordings will document the conversation, highlight the visions and record the moral dilemmas and struggles concerning personal and social action. Ultimately, I envision installing these table cloth and sound documents in a public restaurant or public dining space. Viewers will walk into a space with engaged and hopeful conversations emanating from under the tables.

*My title is a reference to a quote by Rabbi Hillel, who once said of the Golden Rule, "This is the law: all the rest is commentary."