Marie Kondo and Martin Buber Walk into a Bar...

desk clutter
Event Time
1:00 PM
Dan Schifrin


Event Details


Marie Kondo and Martin Buber Walk into a Bar...

Tuesdays, 1pm-2:30pm PST

Prerequisite Note: Due to the virtual setting of this class, you must have computer capability, including internet access, in order to participate. A camera is also optimal but not required.

What do the Jewish philosopher and Japanese organizing guru have in common? A deep well of skepticism about the value of things in the larger framework of human relations.

In this two-part mini-course, we will explore how artists and spiritual thinkers in recent decades have studied “things,” from sacred ritual objects to sentimental tchotchkes to high-priced art.

During the pandemic, trapped in our homes with all of our stuff, many of us have begun to evaluate the relative value of our possessions. What, in the end, do we really need? What brings us joy, or is truly useful? What moves us forward, or holds us back?

Judaism and artistic practice can work together to offer answers, by giving us frameworks for evaluating and describing our physical environments. We will lean into Martin Buber’s I-Thou framework for interpersonal relations; the art of Helene Aylon; and Jewish rituals such as Tashlich and Genizah to inspire us.

A combination of teaching, conversation and writing prompts, this experience aims to help reimagine our material environment, engage it in dialogue (a la Marie Kondo), and perhaps create some physical and emotional room for what comes next.


dan schrifin

Daniel Schifrin is a writer, teacher and curator of conversation. He has taught at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University, been a visiting scholar at Stanford University, writer in residence at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and a curator for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exhibition "Beyond Belief: 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art."  His public conversations with thinkers writers and artists have taken place at City Arts & Lectures, Berkeley Repertory Theater, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and the 92nd St. Y, among other places. Dan's fiction and essays have appeared in McSweeney’s, the Los Angeles Times,  and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the winner of the 2016 Wilner Award for Short Fiction from San Francisco State University, a winner of the 2018 Anne and Robert Cowan Writers Award, and the runner-up for the 2015 Sequestrum New Writer Award. Dan is currently finishing a book of short stories, and a memoir about parenting; his first play, “Sweet and Sour,” received staged reading at Z Space in the spring of 2018.

Event Contact
Contact Name
The Whizin Center for Continuing Education
Phone Number
(310) 440-1572