Cultural Arts & Jewish Heritage Classes/Volunteer Opportunities

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

Click here for Fall 2019 Events

For registration and information about events or trips: Email [email protected] 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.


To register, click HERE.  

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


The oldest and strongest blueprint in the world for governing a democracy, the U.S. Constitution, is a model that is now under threat as a result of modern day politics. This course will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the Constitution and its potential for survival in the context of this year’s electoral 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, and is also a former member of the electoral college.

3 Tues., 1:00-2:15 p.m.
9/24, 10/29, 12/3
$30 member / $36 non-member


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!

6 Tues., 12:20-2:50 p.m.
9/17, 11/5, 11/12, 11/19, 12/10, 12/17
$60 member / $72 non-member

Attend a class on Jewish responses to the Holocaust
We’ll explore seven decades of Israel’s history through its exceptionally rich literature. From the founding years on, the focus will be on understanding the Israeli experience, decade by decade. We’ll discuss the visions and difficulties of the early years through the poetry of beloved poets such as Leah Goldberg, Yehuda Amichai, and Natan Alterman, and also the pain and beauty of Mizrachi experiences. Finally, we’ll read contemporary writers to hear the voices of Israel today. We’ll use a course developed by Rachel Korazim, a Shalom Hartman Institute faculty member. For those who are afraid of poetry, please know that the focus will be on understanding the Israeli experience rather than on poetry.

Rabbi Irwin Goldenberg is a retired Reform Rabbi who, after serving several congregations, has taught at Central Queens for 10 years and at Gettysburg College and York College of Pennsylvania.

8 Wed., 1:00-2:15 p.m.
9/18, 9/25, 10/2, 10/16, 10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13
$72 member / $88 non-member


We’ll continue 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 always welcome. No experience needed, just a spirit of curiosity and adventure! Ready for something a little different? Use the class to help guide you to explore other techniques too.

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

7 Thurs., 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
9/26, 10/10, 10/24, 11/7, 11/21, 12/5, 12/19
$70 member / $84 non-member


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.

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

FREE, but advance registration strongly suggested. Please contact Peggy Kurtz at (718) 268-5011 ext. 151 or [email protected].

Thursday, September 19, 12:15 p.m.  Richard Powers, The Overstory

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2019. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2018. New York Times bestseller. A wondrous, exhilarating novel about nine strangers brought together by an unfolding natural catastrophe.

Thursday, October 17, 12:15 p.m.  Alfred Kazin, A Walker in the City 

Kazin’s memorable description of his life as a young man as he makes the journey from Brooklyn to “americanca”—the larger world that begins at the other end of the subway in Manhattan. A classic and beloved portrayal of the Jewish immigrant culture of the 1930s.

Thursday, November 21, 12:15 p.m.  Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries  

How can one define a life well lived? If we had a chance to have our life story written, and then told through the eyes of those who were closest to us, what would they say about us, and more interestingly, how accurate would they be in truly understanding the inner nuances that make each of us tick? What is extraordinary about this book is that one can look at a life in so many ways. Was Daisy Goodwill’s life uneventful, lacking the excitement and freedom of her more worldly friends? Or was it a full, rich life? Only the reader can make this determination.

Thursday, December 19, 12:15 p.m.  Grace Paley, short stories

Grace Paley’s stories are known for her rich use of language as well as her extraordinary insight into and compassion for her characters, moving from the hilarious to the tragic and back again. Whether writing about the love (and conflict) between parents and children or between husband and wife, or about the struggles of aging single mothers or disheartened political organizers to make sense of the world, she brings the same unerring ear for the rhythm of life as it is actually lived. The Collected Stories is a 1994 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.


Volunteer Opportunities:


Our extremely successful tutoring program continues! 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.? One day a week, volunteers tutor women at the Women for Afghan Women Center in Fresh Meadows. We have received wonderful feedback from tutors and students, both of whom find these programs enormously rewarding.

Space is limited and advance registration is required! Contact Peggy Kurtz at (718) 268-5011 ext. 151 or [email protected].

Fri. beg. 9/27, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Van provided from Commonpoint Queens’ Central Queens, leaving at 10:45 a.m. and returning by 1:15 p.m.