Lectures & Learning

Our lectures and learning programs bring subjects alive through the enthusiasm of our instructors and their passion for the material.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”–Harry S Truman 


Artist Ruth Patir in Conversation with Art Connect Group’s Ronnit Vasserman on Zoom
The New York-born, Tel Aviv-based, Ruth Patir is a multimedia artist and filmmaker, who combines historical and national narratives with her own personal experiences to explore gender and power dynamics. Patir will be representing Israel at the 2024 Venice Biennale. 

Anyone that signs up will receive a recording so don’t worry if this time doesn’t work with your schedule. We will provide the Zoom link when we receive your registration.

Tuesday, September 26 10:30 am

JCC U – Keep Learning

Fall Term 2023 In Person
Top professors and experts present a diverse array of topics. Rekindle previous passions, ignite new interests, meet new people, and stay involved in the developments that shape today’s world.

October 12
The Heroes Who Risked Their Lives to Save Jews During The Holocaust
Amid the darkness of the Holocaust, there were glimmers of light. Richard Hurowitz, entrepreneur, and author of In the Garden of the Righteous, will discuss the extraordinary acts of individuals who acted courageously at a time when the moral choices were stark, the threat immense, and the passive apathy of millions predominated. *   This talk will be moderated by Professor Thorin Tritter

Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew
From Catskills comic to one of the few to have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards, Mel Brooks dominated 20th century American comedy. Columbia professor and author of Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew, Jeremy Dauber will share how the director of Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein morphed from being solely for niche audiences into an essential part of the mainstream. *

October 26
Music of the Woodstock Generation  
with What Makes It Great Creator Rob Kapilow
Composer, conductor, author, NPR and PBS commentator Rob Kapilow will mix history, research, and fantastic classic rock audio clips to bring to life the decade that culminated in the legendary Woodstock Festival. We’ll hear the drum fills, bass lines, trumpet licks, and background vocals that made songs like “Dancing in the Street” great – and discuss the racial, cultural, and social turmoil that led to a new musical voice for America.

The Resurgence of Nationalism 
The dictionary defines Nationalism this way: Identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations. Sarah Lawrence history professor Matthew Ellis returns to JCC U to focus on this topic. We’ll start with the origins of nationalism in the late-1700s and 1800s and conclude with the resurgence of nationalism in Great Britain and the United States in the 21st century.** 

November 9 
Justice on Screen: Films with Riveting Courtroom Scenes
Film historian Max Alvarez returns to JCC U to take us on a cinematic journey through courtroom dramas. Real life social justice issues, like slavery and discrimination, war crimes, Holocaust revisionism, environmental corruption, and international political justice are brought to life on screen. We will explore the different ways movies have portrayed the litigation of these important subjects.
Note: this program is a replacement for Andrew Meier’s talk on the Morgenthaus.

Murderabilia: A History of Crime in 100 Objects 
Step into the world of true crime with Harold Schechter, the renowned master of the genre. He will share his new book Murderabilia: A History of Crime in 100 Objects. Schechter explains the dark fascination of true crime fans while presenting a historical timeline of how and why we continue to be captivated by the most sensational crimes and killers among us.  

10:30 am Coffee and Conversation 
10:45 am-12 pm Morning Presentation 
12-12:45 pm Lunch (buy or bring your own) 
12:45-2 pm Afternoon Presentation 

First 10 participants to register for the full JCC U series will receive Richard Hurowitz’s book In the Garden of the Righteous: The Heroes Who Risked Their Lives to Save Jews During the Holocaust 

Each session includes two talks:
Mornings            10:30 am-12 pm
Afternoons         12:45 pm-2 pm

3 Thursdays, 10/12, 10/26, 11/9, 10:30 am-2 pm $38/$45 per session, all 3 $100/$120

*Co-sponsored with the James H Grossmann Memorial Jewish Book Month Endowment Fund   
**Sponsored in part by the Berit and Martin Bernstein Open Forum Endowment Fund 

Special Event! We Need to Talk About Anti-Semitism 
With Millennial Rabbi and Author Diana Fersko  
As we all know, antisemitism is on the rise in America, both subtly and overtly. It is critical that we understand modern antisemitism and learn the right tools to combat it. Rabbi Diana Fersko is the Senior Rabbi at the Village Temple in Greenwich Village, and she will share the guidance she gives her congregants, and anyone interested in social justice. Rabbi Fersko brings a fresh perspective – she is not your grandfather’s rabbi. * 

Thursday, 11/16, 11am, $12/$15

*Co-sponsored with the James H Grossmann Memorial Jewish Book Month Endowment Fund  

Book Club
Facilitated by Kathy Graff
Step out of your own world for a little, and journey with us into the lives of literary characters. Read for pleasure and then share. Everyone is encouraged to participate. Attendees should read the book in advance of the meeting.
The selection for December is The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Wednesday, 12/13, 11:30 am, $12/$15

Community Health Seminar
Honest Aging with Rosanne M. Leipzig, MD, PhD
Join Dr. Leipzig, a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai for a discussion about common health concerns as we age like memory, energy, mood, sleep, weight and sex. She will provide practical advice on optimizing aging. Her new very comprehensive book on this topic, Honest Aging: An Insider’s Guide to the Second Half of Life will be available for purchase. Bring your questions-she has the answers.   Book sales and signing. *
Monday, 12/4, 11:00 am, Free and Open to the Community

*Sponsored in part by the James H. Grossmann Memorial Jewish Endowment Fund

The History of American Song
With Gary Negbaur, musician, composer and educator
This interactive presentation and performance celebrates the unique, diverse repertoire of
American music including Jazz, Blues, Country, Folk, Broadway and Rock- and -Roll. 
Come learn about these genres and enjoy live performance with Gary on the piano throughout the program.
Wednesday, 10/18, 11:30 am, $17/$20

Musical Theater
With John Kenrick, Entertainment Historian  
John is back by popular demand to present:

11/28 Billy Wilder: “Nobody’s Perfect” – He fled Nazi oppression and became the most versatile and successful screenwriter-director in Hollywood. He infuriated some colleagues and was deeply beloved by others. How did the genius behind the tragic Sunset Boulevard also create the classic mystery Witness for the Prosecution and the timeless comedy Some Like It Hot?

12/5 Judy Garland: “The Things That You Dare to Dream” – In vaudeville from age 2,
by age 17 she won the world’s heart in The Wizard of Oz, becoming Louis B. Mayer’s top
musical star. By age 28, MGM tossed her aside as a “has been.” With fascinating behind the
scenes stories and exciting video clips of Garland in action, we see how this powerhouse
performer’s demons kept her teetering between triumph and tragedy.
2 Tuesdays, 11/28 & 12/5, 11 am, $45/$55, $23/$29 per session

Lifelong Learning programs are sponsored by the Millicent and Harold May Family Endowment for Lifelong Learning in memory of Edward J. Newman, M.D. and the Michael J. Levitt Family Endowment Fund for Lifelong Learning.