Humanities >> History, Culture and Current Events

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History, Culture and Current Events

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Engage in stimulating conversation with a group of curious, well-informed and friendly news junkies. Meet each week to discuss a variety of challenging topics, including popular culture, politics, media issues and other items in the news — at the local, national and international levels. Bring your observations and an open mind. The round-table discussions will be facilitated by cultural historian Alfred Hunt. 

Schedule : Weekly - Wed 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM; 12 sessions; starting 3/22/2017, ending 6/21/2017 ; Class Skip Dates : (No class on 4/12/2017, 5/31/2017)

Tuition: $225.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Alfred Hunt 



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Engage in stimulating conversation with a group of curious, well-informed and friendly news junkies. Meet each week to discuss a variety of challenging topics, including popular culture, politics, media issues and other items in the news — at the local, national and international levels. Bring your observations and an open mind. The round-table discussions will be facilitated by cultural historian Alfred Hunt. 

Schedule : Weekly - Thu 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM; 12 sessions; starting 3/23/2017, ending 6/15/2017 ; Class Skip Dates : (No class on 4/13/2017)

Tuition: $225.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Alfred Hunt 



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Engage in stimulating conversation with a group of curious, well-informed and friendly news junkies. Meet each week to discuss a variety of challenging topics, including popular culture, politics, media issues and other items in the news — at the local, national and international levels. Bring your observations and an open mind. The round-table discussions will be facilitated by cultural historian Alfred Hunt. 

Schedule : Weekly - Thu 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM; 12 sessions; starting 3/23/2017, ending 6/15/2017 ; Class Skip Dates : (No class on 4/13/2017)

Tuition: $225.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Alfred Hunt 



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We all cherish the freedoms guaranteed to us in the American Constitution and, more specifically, in the Bill of Rights.  Classes will focus on the text of the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments and the difficulties and controversies defining some of these freedoms today.  Freedom of speech and the press: what are the limits to this freedom and under what circumstances is censorship justified?  Freedom of religion: how can we reconcile the basic right to the free exercise with the anti-establishment clause?  The right to bear arms: what does the Second Amendment actually say and how do the NRA and others interpret it?  The right against unreasonable searches and seizures: how do social media, browsing history, GPS tracking, and electronic payment systems impact the right against government intrusions?  The right to a fair trial: do the judicial due process protections afforded by the Fifth Amendment still work today?  In the spirit of the Bill of Rights, class discussions will be open and free in the hope of understanding differing interpretations.  

Schedule : Weekly - Fri 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM; 5 sessions; starting 3/31/2017, ending 5/5/2017 ; Class Skip Dates : (No class on 4/14/2017)

Tuition: $125.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Yoel Magid 



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Kabbalah derives from ancient Jewish interpretations of the Bible and not, as is commonly believed, mysticism.  Through the study of essential Jewish mystical and Kabbalistic source texts dating back to the second century B.C.E, including Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation), Sefer HaBahir (Book of Illumination), the Zohar, and many other fundamental Kabbalistic texts, this course will explore Kabbalah’s history, evolving rituals, traditions, and intriguing personalities.  We will end by surveying Kabbalah’s relevancy to us today and answer the question whether pop star Madonna is a Kabbalist.  

Schedule : Weekly - Tue 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM; 4 sessions; starting 4/18/2017, ending 5/9/2017

Tuition: $100.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Ze'ev Aviezer 



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From biblical times to the present, Jews have always enjoyed their particular cuisine, whether kosher or not.  Think rye bread, pastrami, bagels and, in certain Mediterranean countries, a passion for eggplant dishes.  There were all sorts of stories behind the development of each one.  Jewish cuisine was so distinctive that, during the time of the Inquisition, a family’s culinary habits became a telltale way to reveal a secret Jew.  Why was this so?  How did the idea of “Jewish food” develop?  How is that now changing among Israeli chefs?  How do the laws of kashrut measure up to modern scientific scrutiny?  And, most unexpected of all, how did the favorite foods of a small minority, like the Jews, became so popular among the wider world?  

Schedule : Weekly - Thu 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM; 2 sessions; starting 4/20/2017, ending 4/27/2017

Tuition: $50.00

Location : Scarsdale Public Library Location : 
  Scarsdale Public Library.

Instructor : Andrée Aelion Brooks 

Call 914-723-2325 to register


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Was President Obama correct when he refused to use the term Islamic terrorism?  Are recent terrorist attacks grounded in Islamic religious beliefs or have the perpetrators capitalized on interpretations of religious writings to suit their political and economic motivations?  Students will examine source materials to formulate their own conclusions.  Documents to be analyzed include Muhammad’s revelations in the Quran, historically important fatwas (religious decrees) dating back to the thirteenth century Mongolian conquest of Arabic lands, and writings of important contemporary Islamic personalities such as Osama Bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared ISIS caliph.  

Schedule : Weekly - Thu 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM; 4 sessions; starting 4/20/2017, ending 5/11/2017

Tuition: $125.00

Location : Mid-Westchester JCC Location : 
  Mid-Westchester JCC.

Instructor : Ze'ev Aviezer 



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We often think nostalgically about our lives, but we seldom seize the opportunity to consider our experiences from an historical perspective.  These six sessions will explore the events that influenced our times from the 1940s to the 1980s, assessing whether history’s traditional accounts accurately reflect our personal remembrances of the events that shaped our lives.    

Schedule : Weekly - Wed 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM; 6 sessions; starting 4/26/2017, ending 6/7/2017 ; Class Skip Dates : (No class on 5/31/2017)

Tuition: $120.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Alfred Hunt 



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Hudson River School painters, such as Thomas Cole, Asher Brown Durand and Jasper Francis Cropsey, celebrated America in paintings that combined heroic grandeur with detailed realism.  The luminists, including Fitz Hugh Lane, John Frederick Kensett and Martin Johnson Heade, often turned away from the panoramic views and specific sites of the Hudson River School.  Instead, they shared a sensitivity to the tranquility of light in their paintings.  Both visions of these nineteenth century landscape artists offered a romantic look at a still new country, a nostalgic reminder of yesterday's optimism.  

Schedule : Weekly - Thu 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM; starting 4/27/2017, ending 4/27/2017

Tuition: $25.00

Location : Scarsdale Public Library Location : 
  Scarsdale Public Library.

Instructor : Lynne Mayocole 

Call 914-723-2325 to register


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In the exhilarating decade of the 1920s, American patronage and creativity emerged on the world stage of design and decoration.  The Jazz Age, running at Cooper Hewitt from April 7 through August 20, 2017, will focus on American tastes during the period, with the United States as consumer and originator, while considering Eastern and Western European influences to define an emerging language of modern design.  The exhibition will examine the strong connections between France, primarily for luxury, and Austria with the United States, as talent and craftsmanship, urbanity and experimentation, including in the world of jazz and cinema, flowed back and forth across the Atlantic.  

Schedule : Weekly - Fri 10:15 AM - 11:00 AM; starting 4/28/2017, ending 4/28/2017

Tuition: $35.00

Location : T.B.D. Location : 
  T.B.D..

Instructor : N.A. 

Call 914-723-2325 to register


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The old Lower East Side comes alive in this walking tour.  Central to the tour is the Jewish neighborhood, whose teeming tenements formed the heart of the most crowded place in the late nineteenth century world, including stops before a gloriously restored historic synagogue and the Jewish-owned bank tower where struggling immigrants built their nest eggs.  We also briefly visit the surrounding wards, marked at the time by gangs, flophouses, homeless newsboys and the noisy, smoke-belching elevated railway, as well as the seventeenth century Jewish cemetery that is the oldest human site in Manhattan.  Along the way, Velona tracks unforgettable photographs by Jacob Riis and others to the exact spots they were taken, portraying the struggles and desperation of immigrant lif  

Schedule : Weekly - Sun 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM; starting 4/30/2017, ending 4/30/2017

Tuition: $50.00

Location : T.B.D. Location : 
  T.B.D..

Instructor : Jess Velona 



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Jasper Cropsey, 1823-1900, was a member of the Hudson River School and one one of America's finest nineteenth-century landscape artists.  His home, Ever Rest, located in Hastings-on-the-Hudson is included on the National Register of Historic Places in New York.  Also on the property is the Gallery of Art, which houses a permanent collection of Cropsey's works.  Our visit will consist of a guided tour of Ever Rest and the permanant collection in the Gallery of Art.  Currently on exhibit, until June 6, is Jasper Francis Cropsey - Reminiscenes of a Life.  The show highlights works that have not been publically displayed, including works that are not often attributed to Cropsey such as small still life paintings and scenes of New York City.  Students can remain on site after the guided tours to view this exhibit on their own. 

Schedule : Weekly - Fri 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM; starting 5/5/2017, ending 5/5/2017

Tuition: $40.00

Location : Ever Rest Location : 
  Ever Rest.

Instructor : N.A. 



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