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Benjamin Franklin’s Virtues, Freemasonry, and Judaism

April 27, 2019 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


When he was in his twenties, Benjamin Franklin resolved to perfect his character, devising a self-improvement method to help him with the challenging work of becoming virtuous. He also intended to form an international fraternity whose members would commit to using this method, and planned to write a book expounding on his “Art of Virtue.” Although he did not accomplish either of those goals, his system for self-improvement became part of Jewish practice through the publication in 1808 of Rabbi Mendel Lefin’s “Book of Spiritual Accounting,” which introduced Franklin’s method to a Hebrew-reading Jewish audience.

This is a historical development that Judaic scholars, including rabbis, have often been confused about or uncomfortable acknowledging, and to which Franklin specialists have been largely oblivious – and in which Freemasonry may have played a role.

This talk by Shai Afsai is made possible through funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.


April 27, 2019
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Ezekiel Bates Lodge
71 North Main St.
Attleboro, MA 02703 United States
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(508) 639-0357
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