Cultural Arts & Jewish Heritage Events

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

The Hevesi Speaker Series

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.

Click here for Spring 2020 Classes


Spring 2020 EVENTS


Suggested Donation: $6 member / $10 non-member

POSTPONED – Prof. Stephen Pekar
Monday, March 30, 1:30 p.m.

This event has been postponed until further notice. For more information, please contact Peggy Kurtz at [email protected] or call 718-268-5011 ext. 505.

Photo Credit: Clarion Staff

Over a year ago, the UN International Panel on Climate Change issued a stunning report stating that we have 12 years or less to avert far more serious climate disruption. Already we are seeing climate disruption all around us: catastrophic fires consuming large areas in Australia and California, extreme storms wreaking destruction in the Caribbean, and widespread historic flooding in the Midwest. Climate scientist Prof. Stephen Pekar will explain the science, the dramatic steps needed to address climate change fast enough, and steps all of us can take today as individuals.

Dr. Pekar is a Professor at Queens College School of Earth & Environmental Sciences. His research has taken him on expeditions around the world, including Antarctica.


Please check back at a later date for information on whether the following events will be postponed:

Holocaust Memorial Day

Jack Hersch
DEATH MARCH ESCAPE: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust
Monday, April 20, 1:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Robert Ammirati

By April 1945, eighteen-year-old Dave Hersch had already survived nearly a year in the hell of Mauthausen, rated by the Nazis as the most monstrous concentration camp in the entire Reich. Though emaciated and barely alive, he was then ordered onto a 34-mile death march. He never reached his destination. Instead, he escaped. Recaptured a short while later, he was inexplicably not killed but instead was returned to Mauthausen. Put on another death march a week later, Dave did the impossible: he escaped again.

Author Jack Hersch tells his father’s story.


Edward Berenson
THE ACCUSATION: Blood Libel in an American Town
Monday, April 27, 1:30 p.m.

berenson-edward CULTURAL ARTS
Photo Credit: Steven Branda

In September of 1928, Barbara Griffiths, age four, strayed into the woods surrounding the upstate village of Massena, New York. Hundreds of people searched for the child but could not find her. At one point, someone suggested that Barbara had been killed by Jews, and as the search continued, policemen and townspeople alike gave credence to the quickly spreading rumors. The allegation of ritual murder, known to Jews as “blood libel,” soon gripped the town. Historian Edward Berenson tells the disturbing story of one American town’s embrace of this antisemitic myth and what it reveals about antisemitism in the United States today.

Edward Berenson is Professor of History and Director of the Institute of French Studies at NYU. 


Prof. Mark Rosenblum
MIDDLE EAST IN CRISIS: Putin, Trump, Netanyahu, Uprisings and Chaos
Monday, May 4, 1:30 p.m.

Mark Rosenblum cultural arts

We are witnessing a dramatic reshaping of the Middle East. Week after week, uprisings fill the streets in Tehran, Baghdad, and Beirut. Vladimir Putin reasserts a much stronger and often brutal role in the region. Trump and Netanyahu put forward a unilateral peace plan, while Palestinians increasingly look to a one-state, binational solution. As a longtime expert observer in the Middle East, Prof. Mark Rosenblum will share his insider’s perspective on the hard questions: Is it time for the U.S. to back out of the Mideast? How can Israel safely navigate this turbulent political maze? What are the threads of hope for an Israeli-Palestinian long-term solution?

Mark Rosenblum is Director of the Queens College Ibrahim Student Leadership and Dialogue Middle East Program.


Margalit Fox
CONAN DOYLE FOR THE DEFENSE: How Sherlock Holmes’s Creator Turned Real-Life Detective and Freed a Man Wrongly Imprisoned for Murder
Monday, May 11, 1:30 p.m.

Fox Margalit cultural arts
Photo Credit: Ivan Farkas

A sensational Edwardian murder. A scandalous wrongful conviction. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the rescue—a true story. After a wealthy woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow home in 1908, the police found a convenient suspect in Oscar Slater, an immigrant Jewish cardsharp. Though he was known to be innocent, Slater was tried, convicted, and consigned to life at hard labor. Outraged by this injustice, Arthur Conan Doyle, already world renowned as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, used the methods of his most famous character to reinvestigate the case, ultimately winning Slater’s freedom.

Formerly a senior writer at The New York Times, Margalit Fox is also an award-winning author.


Jamie Bernstein
FAMOUS FATHER GIRL: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein
Monday, May 18, 1:30 p.m.

Jamie Bernstein cultural arts
Photo Credit: Steve Sherman

The composer of West Side Story, chief conductor of the NY Philharmonic, friend of the powerful, and the life of every party, Leonard Bernstein was an American celebrity and an iconic 20th-century American musician. But to his eldest daughter, Jamie, he was above all the man in the scratchy brown bathrobe who smelled of cigarettes, the jokester, and the compulsive teacher who enthused about Beethoven and the Beatles. He taught his daughter to love the world in all its beauty and complexity. In public and private, Lenny was larger than life.

On the centennial of his birth, Jamie Bernstein remembers her father and shares an intimate look at the world in which she grew up, which included the Kennedys, John Lennon, and more.   


Sarah Rose
D-DAY GIRLS: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II
Monday, June 1, 1:30 p.m.

rose-sarah cultural arts
Photo Credit: Maria Smilios

In 1942, the Allies were losing, Germany seemed unstoppable, and every able man in England was on the front lines. The Allies were forced to recruit women as spies. Thirty-nine answered the call. Sarah Rose tells the thrilling story of three women, including Andrée Borrel, a scrappy Parisian who blew up power lines with the Gestapo hot on her heels, and Lise de Baissac, a fiercely independent French society woman. Together, they destroyed train lines, ambushed Nazis, plotted prison breaks, and gathered crucial intelligence—laying the groundwork for the D-Day invasion that proved to be the turning point in the war.  


Please register for trips by calling (718) 268-5011 ext. 151, emailing [email protected], or online at

Thursday, May 14, 11:00 a.m.

Check out our Cultural Arts And Jewish Heritage Classes And Events

Art historian Harry Weil is back for his very popular walking tour through a selection of galleries, showcasing painting and sculpture, installation, and video art. Afterward, we’ll relax together with an optional light lunch.

Space is very limited so reserve early! 

Cost: $20 per person (lunch not included), $8 additional for van. 



Afternoon of Israeli Short Films
Monday, June 8, 1:00 p.m.

Afternoon of Israeli Films
Still from “Swing”

Our very popular Afternoon of Israeli Short Films is back, featuring different aspects of everyday life in Israel. In one short film, a young pregnant woman uses an unusual way to face her fears about the next phase of her life. In another, a young man returns from military service but is haunted by traumatic experiences. In a third, an Israeli soldier forms an unlikely connection with a Palestinian boy over social media. Each of our films tells a very full story, with a hint of how much lies beneath the surface, all within the limits of the art of the short film. Participants will vote for the Audience Favorite.



Iftar dinner

Share dinner and conversation with your neighbors at a “Break the Fast” Ramadan Dinner, while learning about Ramadan customs. 

This year we are invited to participate in the Turkish Cultural Center’s big outdoor event in Sunnyside on May 17 through May 19, at 6:30 pm, Queens Blvd. and 45th St. 

We will also have a limited number of spaces in homes of families who are hosting Iftar dinners. Space for family dinners is  limited and RSVP is required. FREE.