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

Click here for Spring 2019 Events!

For registration and information: 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].

BEHIND THE HEADLINES: Digging Deeper into the Politics and Law Behind the News
It is likely that the Mueller Report will be released by the spring. Will the report recommend prosecution or impeachment? We’ll discuss the implications. Will the president be prosecuted by federal and/or state officials or will he be forced to resign from office? By the spring we will also be well into the 2020 presidential election season. We’ll also discuss the Constitution as an eighteenth century blueprint for democracy – and how its provisions are holding up under the stress of recent events. 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. He is also a former member of the electoral college.

3 Tues., 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
April 30, May 28, June 18
$30 mem / $36 non-mem

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!

5 Tues., 12:20 – 2:50 p.m.
April 9, May 7 & 21, June 4 & 11
$50 mem / $60 non-mem

Pirkei Avot is the best known and 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, including 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 Gettysburg College, York College of Pennsylvania, and St. John’s University.

*Students may wish to purchase Pirkei Avot: A Social Justice Commentary, by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, Central Conference of American Rabbis, NY, 2018.

4 Wed., 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
May 1 & 8 & 15 & 22
$36 mem / $44 non-mem

After the Holocaust, is it still possible to believe in an omnipotent and beneficent God? Many survivors and philosophers have struggled in the years since the Holocaust with the problem of evil. We will explore the approaches of some contemporary Jewish philosophers after this time of mass Jewish slaughter, including Abraham Joshua Heschel, Martin Buber, and Mordecai Kaplan.

A retired Reform rabbi, Rabbi Irwin Goldenberg has taught at Gettysburg College, York College of Pennsylvania, and St. John’s University.

4 Wed., 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
May 29, June 5 & 12 & 19
$36 mem / $44 non-mem

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!

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

5 Thurs., 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
April 4, May 2 & 23, June 6 & 13
$50 mem / $60 non-mem

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. Contact Peggy Kurtz, ext. 151 or [email protected].

Thurs., March 21 – Vivian Gornick, Fierce Attachments
Thurs., May 16 – Amos Oz, Dear Zealots
Thurs., June 20 – Wallace Stegner, Crossing to Safety

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 US? In addition to our ongoing tutoring program for women at the Women for Afghan Women Center in Fresh Meadows, volunteers are also needed to help Afghan children in the Center’s afterschool program, Monday through Wednesday afternoons. We are getting wonderful feedback from tutors and adult students, both of whom are finding these programs enormously rewarding.

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

Homework Help Project: Mon., Tues., and Wed., 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
At the Afghan Women Center. Van not available.

Adult Students: Fri: 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
At the Afghan Women Center. Van provided from Commonpoint Queens’ Central Queens, leaving at 10:45 a.m. and returning by 1:15 p.m.