Cultural Arts and Jewish Heritage Classes and Events

The Cultural Arts & Jewish Heritage Programs Department presents events and classes on Jewish and other cultures, interfaith programs, and tutoring for immigrants.

Sponsored by Cord Meyer

For registration and information: Email or call
(718) 268-5011 ext. 151.

The Cultural Arts & Jewish Heritage Programs Department presents a wide variety of cultural events, classes, interfaith programs, and a tutoring program for immigrants.  We aim always to bring you programs that open up new ideas and foster a richer appreciation of Jewish and other cultures and current affairs, and offer answers to your questions about the world today. Food for the mind and for the soul.

Winter 2019 Events

Interfaith Discussion
CLIMATE CRISIS:  Healing the Planet
Thursday, February 7, 7 pm
At the First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills
70-35 112th Street, Forest Hills, NY 11375

Worried? Or Hopeful? How are we responding to the very serious news on climate? We’ll discuss how faith and community can lead to constructive action and how we can work together as interfaith partners for the dramatic policy and lifestyle changes needed to heal our planet. We’ll also share the spiritual tools we can use to cope with the challenges of climate change.

FREE.  Advance registration requested.

With Mehmet Kilic
Monday, March 4, 1:30 p.m.
At Commonpoint Queens’ Central Queens
67-09 108th Street, Forest Hills, NY 11375

Queens and Brooklyn are home to a growing population of Turkish refugees fleeing a humanitarian crisis and an increasingly authoritarian government at home. Since about 2013, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has consolidated his grip on power, shutting down opposition parties and independent media. Tens of thousands of public sector employees have been dismissed without cause, including teachers, healthcare workers, and academics. Children have been jailed along with parents. The populist Erdogan has targeted especially one minority group, the Hizmet movement, as a threat to the Turkish people. Mehmet Kilic represents the Journalists and Writers Foundation of the Turkish Cultural Center at the United Nations.

Suggested donation, $5.

Thursday, March 28, 7 pm
At Commonpoint Queens’ Central Queens
67-09 108th Street, Forest Hills, NY 11375

The Passover seder is a feast that combines symbolic foods, songs, and the telling of the story of the exodus of Moses and the Jews from Egypt.  It is a celebration of freedom for all. Share the Passover seder customs and a kosher and halal vegetarian meal with your neighbors! We’ll keep it short enough to leave plenty of time for discussion. Learn, or help us explain, the history behind this very special holiday. Come taste the bitter and the sweet (horseradish and haroset, a sweet relish) with us. Everyone is welcome, including children.

Space is limited. RSVP is strongly suggested.  Click HERE to register. Or call (718) 268-5011 ext. 151 or email

Cost TBD.


Sunday, April 7, 10:00 am & 1:00 pm
Monday, April 8, 1:00 pm

Each spring the ReelAbilities Film Festival features powerful films about the lives of people with physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities and their families. Discussions follow each film, often with the filmmaker. These films will move you, make you laugh, and change the way you understand disabilities.

Winter 2019 Classes

To register, click HERE.  

For more information or to register, you can also contact us at: (718) 268-5011 ext. 151 or

BEHIND THE HEADLINES: Digging Deeper into the Politics & Law Behind the News

In 2018, voters in many states repudiated the Trump agenda, leading to the election of a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Voters worried about problems facing our society, such as accelerating climate change, voter suppression, threats to Medicare and Social Security, the possibility of a recession, and attacks on the Constitution and the rule of law. At each session, we’ll dig deeper into an issue in the news, including the history, legal background, and politics.

A former NY State and City Comptroller, Assemblyman, and Professor of Political Science, Alan Hevesi is a seasoned veteran of political campaigns and politics. Alan Hevesi is also a former member of the electoral college.

3 Tues.: Jan. 29, Feb. 26, March 26
1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
$30 members / $36 non-members


Watch some of the greatest films of the last century and enjoy lively discussions with film critic Matthew Weiss. You’ll learn to see the kinds of things most of us miss when we watch a movie. How do great films defy our expectations of character, narrative, identification, and editing, and deepen our experience of the world? Matthew Weiss has done everything on a film set from acting and producing to directing. He has appeared in productions along with Sarah Silverman, Janeane Garofalo, and Rosie Perez and has done improv comedy in NY. Bring your lunch. We’ll provide cookies, coffee, and food for thought!

4 Tues.: Feb. 12, 19, March 5 & 19
12:20–2:50 p.m
$40 members / $48 non-members

A Guide for Social Justice

Pirkei Avot is the most beloved text from the Talmud. Over the centuries, Pirkei Avot has been interpreted in many ways, such as a guide to personal and communal ethics. We will focus on the text through the lens of social justice, primarily using a commentary by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, who regards this as “the first recorded manifesto of social justice in Western civilization.” We’ll discuss the text in the context of broader ethical questions such as how our society treats the poor, the homeless, the environment, and women, and how it understands justice, truth, and peace. A retired Reform rabbi, Rabbi Irwin Goldenberg has taught at St. John’s University and several colleges.

8 Wed.: Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30, Feb. 6 & 27, March 6 & 13
1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
$72 members / $88 non-members

Watercolors Without Fear

We’ll continue with our exploration of the simple techniques of watercolor to create landscapes from imagination or from photographs. This is a no-failure class! Learn to play with color, form, and texture to create beautiful images. Newcomers are welcome. No experience needed, just a spirit of curiosity and adventure!

A working artist, Susan Ross taught art for 40 years in the public school system.

5 Thurs.: Jan. 10 & 24, Feb. 7 & 28, March 28
11:15 am – 12:45 p.m.
$50 members / $60 non-members
$15 materials fee, if needed

Book Group

Third Thursday of each month, 12:15 – 2:15 p.m.

Thursday, January 17 – The Secret Agent, by Joseph Conrad

A spellbinding story of a terrorist plot in 19th century London that goes horribly awry.

Thursday, February 21 – Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

This beloved 1937 love story sparkles with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, or fear, it is the story of a fiercely independent woman.

Thursday March 21 – TBD

FREE, but advance registration strongly suggested. Call Peggy Kurtz, ext. 151 or email

Come find out why this book group has such a devoted following! Thoughtful, lively, provocative discussions focus on the best new and classic literature and non-fiction. Moderated discussions dig into the books to get the most from them, yet we also have a lot of fun. New participants are always welcome.

Volunteer Opportunities

Kids Homework Help

Mon., Tues., and Wed., 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. (except for Jewish holidays). At the Afghan Women Center. Van not available.

Adult Students

Fri., 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Van provided from Central Queens, leaving at 10:30 a.m. and returning by 1:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact Peggy Kurtz, Director of Cultural Arts and Jewish Heritage, at

English Tutoring for Immigrants

Do you have skills to offer which could help immigrants in exchange for the personal rewards of helping people get a positive start in the U.S.? We are getting wonderful feedback from tutors and students, both of whom are finding these programs enormously rewarding. Space is limited and advance registration is required! For more information and to register, please contact Cultural Arts at (718) 268-5011 ext. 151 or