Winter Virtual Cultural Arts & Jewish Heritage Speakers & Authors



Take time out to learn something new, be inspired and stay connected to your community.

Your registration fees help to fund these programs and Commonpoint Queens’ services to the community.

Registration required for each event. Registration will open soon!


Upcoming Winter 2022 Speakers:

All speakers are $8 members / $10 non-members

The Socrates Express

Eric Weiner
THE SOCRATES EXPRESS: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers
Monday, January 10, 2022 – 12:00pm

Eric Weiner combines his twin passions for philosophy and global travel in a pilgrimage that uncovers surprising life lessons from great thinkers around the world, from Rousseau to Nietzsche, Confucius to Simone Weil. Traveling by train, Weiner journeys thousands of miles, making stops in Athens, Delhi, Wyoming, Coney Island, Frankfurt, and points in between, to reconnect with philosophy’s original purpose: teaching us how to lead wiser, more meaningful lives. From Socrates and ancient Athens to Simone de Beauvoir and twentieth-century Paris, Weiner’s chosen philosophers and places provide important signposts as we navigate today’s chaotic times. In The Socrates Express, Weiner, a former foreign correspondent for NPR, invites us to voyage alongside him on his life-changing pursuit of wisdom and discovery as he attempts to find answers to our most vital questions.

Daniel SokatchCan We Talk About Israel
CAN WE TALK ABOUT ISRAEL?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted
Monday, January 24, 2022 – 12:00pm

Can We Talk About Israel? is an attempt to grapple with a century-long struggle between two peoples that both perceive themselves as (and indeed are) victims. And it’s an attempt to explain why Israel (and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) inspires such extreme feelings – why it seems like Israel is the answer to “what is wrong with the world” for half the people in it, and “what is right with the world” for the other half.  We will have the opportunity to hear from Daniel Sokatch, the Chief Executive Officer of the New Israel Fund, as he asks whether there is any other topic about which so many intelligent, educated, and sophisticated people express such strongly and passionately held convictions, and about which they actually know so little?

Black History Month Event
Andrew FeilerA Better Life for their Children
A BETTER LIFE FOR THEIR CHILDREN: Julius Rosenwald, Booker T. Washington, and the 4,978 Schools That Changed America
Monday, February 7, 2022 – 12:00pm

This is a story of how two very different people came together to make a difference in the world. Julius Rosenwald, born to Jewish immigrants, rose to lead one of the world’s largest retailers – Sears, Roebuck & Company – and Booker T. Washington, born into slavery, became the founding principal of Tuskegee Institute. In 1912 the two men launched an ambitious program to partner with Black communities across the segregated South to build public schools for African American children. Of the original 4,978 Rosenwald schools built during 1912-1937 across 15 states, approximately 500 survived. To tell this story visually, Andrew Feiler drove 25,000 miles, photographed 105 schools, and interviewed dozens of former students, teachers, and preservationists. A fifth-generation Georgian, Feiler will share some of the photographs capturing interiors and exteriors, schools restored and yet-to-be-restored, and portraits of people with compelling connections to these schools.

Anne SebbaEthel Rosenberg
ETHEL ROSENBERG: An American Tragedy
Monday, March 7, 2022 – 12:00 p.m.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union in the 1950s despite the fact that the US government was aware that the evidence against Ethel was shaky and was based on the perjury of her own brother. With Ethel’s profound love for and loyalty to her husband, she refused to incriminate him despite government pressure, and then faced the death penalty. We will hear from Anne Sebba about new evidence that recently surfaced on Ethel Rosenberg through the revelation of prison letters Ethel exchanged with her husband, her lawyer, and her psychotherapist over a three-year period while in confinement. We will learn more about Ethel’s struggles with the social mores of the 1950s, longing to be a good wife and perfect mother to her two small boys while battling the political paranoia of the McCarthy era, antisemitism, misogyny, and a mother who never valued her. Anne Sebba is a prize-winning biographer, lecturer, and former Reuters foreign correspondent.

The Unexpected Spy

Women’s Month Event
Tracy Walder
THE UNEXPECTED SPY: From the CIA to the FBI, My Secret Life Taking Down Some of the World’s Most Notorious Terrorists
Monday, March 21, 2022 – 12:00 p.m.

Tracy Walder, a Jewish American woman recruited by the CIA straight from her sorority at the University of Southern California, tells a thrilling tale of clandestine meetings in clandestine locales with spies and embedded civilians from other countries and of following trails across North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, shutting down multiple attacks. She watched al-Qaeda members with drones as President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Colin Powell looked over her shoulder. She tracked chemical terrorists and searched the world for weapons of mass destruction. In The Unexpected Spy, Walder shares the riveting story of her tenure at the CIA, and later, in counterintelligence at the FBI.


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