We'll begin this session by connecting our last meeting's conversation about tzedakah to Chapter 7's concentration on education. We'll pay particular attention in this weekend's meeting to Sacks' call for investing in new Internet-based technologies to increase access to educational opportunities for the world's poor. To introduce that part of the conversation, we'll look at a key excerpt from Plato's Phaedrus which criticizes writing (and text-based learning).
From my vantage point, the Jewish response to Plato rests in the notion of the dialogue (albeit not a Socratic one) that takes place on a printed page of Talmud. Click on the image below for a link to an interactive "guided tour" of a page of Talmud.
At the heart of our conversation, we will examine three different texts that meditate on the intersection between Judaism and learning: one from the Talmud, one from Maimonides, and the third a Yiddish folktale. We'll then move to Sacks' conclusion, where he once again makes a strong case for the use of technology as a fundamental principle of worldwide education reform.
For me, Sacks' concluding comments about technology called to mind the incredible Khan Academy. Everyone should know about them! To learn more about their mission and vision, check out this 20 minute TED Talk video.