Sundays at JASA

Fall 2017 Semester Course Descriptions

Courses: Sundays, October 8 – December 17 (no courses November 26)
Location: John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street, New York City (Map)
Open House: Sunday, October 1, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Click Here to register online for the Fall Semester
Click Here to download the full NextAct Catalog
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Jump to:
Political and Societal Issues
Computer Courses
Healthy Mind and Body
The Sylvia Polokoff Bridge Program
The Sanford Goldstein Arts Program

Denotes new courses

Political and Societal Issues

Current Events

10:00 to 10:55am Instructor: Eric Alterman
Discuss the major issues of our time and current breaking news with background provided by a moderator knowledgeable in national and international trends. Experience the latest news up close and personal!

Pondering Politics: What Can I Do? Activism and Advocacy

This course will examine how an individual can help to bolster a cause, express an opinion in an effective manner – in other words, how to make your voice heard and counted. Is there a difference between activism and advocacy and, if so, what are those differences? Our speakers will come from organizations involved with senior issues, women’s rights, hunger relief, homelessness, LGBT, and more.

Notable Personalities

1:00 to 1:55pm Instructor: Doug Brin
Examine a pantheon of people who provoked, fascinated, inspired, or entertained throughout history. Among the personalities to be discussed are Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, the Hanover and Windsor Kings (and Queen), Sir Laurence Olivier, and Frank Sinatra. A complete outline of the course is available upon request.

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Computer Courses

Navigating Computer and Internet (+) iPhone and iPad

10:00 to 10:55am Instructor: Paulina Buczanska
Learn essential skills to use the computer and internet with confidence. Topics include: search engines, document organization, keyboard commands, word processing, email, PowerPoint, website design, and using iPhones and iPads.

Everything You Want to Know About the Internet

11:00 to 11:55am Instructor: Kamil Buczanski
Learn about internet communication beyond email. Topics include: social media, blogging, Skype, shopping online, creating photo albums, transportation directions, checking weather, finding travel deals, using search engines, and more. Basic computer and internet experience is required. A test will be administered to qualify students for the course.


12:00 to 1:00pm Instructor: Paulina Buczanska and Kamil Buczanski
The computer lab is open to registered computer course members for practice and help as needed. No registration required.

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Healthy Mind and Body

Sunday Morning Workout

9:00 to 9:55am Instructor: Caroline Grant
Take part in a series of gentle movements to music that can be done standing or sitting. This exercise is designed to enhance flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination.
2:30 to 3:30pm Instructors: Natan Last and Andy Kravis
Learn principles of crossword puzzle construction – basic history, finding a theme, making a usable grid, and creating the fill. A group puzzle will be submitted to the New York Times. Twelve puzzles have been featured in the New York Times thus far! Will Shortz hailed this course as “one of a kind.”
Check out the recent article in the New York Times about our latest crossword!

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The Sylvia Polokoff Bridge Program

Beginner Bridge

11:00am to 1:00pm Instructor: Mark Hyman
Taught by one of the finest bridge teachers in New York, this course is intended for beginners and for those needing a refresher course. If you haven’t played for years, this is the class for you.

Intermediate/Advanced Bridge

1:00 to 3:30pm Instructor: Steve McCann

Each class will begin with a bridge hand that reflects a playing or bidding problem. Supervised play will follow the lesson.

The 26th Sylvia Polokoff Memorial Bridge Tournament will take place on Sunday, November 26, at Cooper Square, 200 E. 5th Street. Registration is required.

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The Sanford Goldstein Arts Program

Poetry is For Everyone

9:00 to 9:55am Instructor: Frances Richey
Students of all levels will read the works of well-known poets, and write and share their own poems. Focus will be on voice, language, syntax, image, and meaning. Members of the class will read their works at the Riverside Library (Amsterdam Avenue and 65th Street) at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

Crime and Punishment

9:00 to 9:55am Instructors: Beth Karas and others

Investigative journalist Beth Karas will alternate weeks teaching this provocative course with representatives from various city, state and federal agencies involved in crime prevention. Karas is a former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney who has covered many highly publicized homicide trials and will expose what goes on behind the scenes. Other agencies will address Ponzi schemes, SEC rules, fraud alerts, elder abuse, legal ramifications and criminal law and how to best protect yourself from being a victim. A complete list of speakers and subject matters will be available in October.

Drawing Workshop

9:30 to 10:55am Instructor: Pamela Koehler

Beginner and experienced students will focus on observational drawing / learning to see, and will sharpen their skills in the direct observation of the world around us through the study of works of great master artists. Topics will include gesture, contour line, simple perspective, and the expressive use of a variety of drawing materials. No previous art experience is necessary.

Shakespeare: An Actor Speaks

10:00 to 10:55am Instructor: Leo Schaff

Julius Caesar: Timely? Timeless? A play for the ages. A tragedy of the personal and the political. Dictatorship, friendship, honor, ambition, the fate of the Republic, the power of persuasion, the mystery of prophecy, the malleable mob. Think you already know this play? Friends…lend me your ears.

Calling the Shots: How Filmmakers Portray the World

10:00 to 11:55am Instructor: Max Alvarez

Movies have the power to take our minds off reality and create pure escapism. They can also acknowledge the world around us and challenge us to view our planet and its people in profound and sometimes provocative ways. Join film historian Max Alvarez for a compelling and colorful study of how moviemakers have portrayed the world during the past century. Topics include the Jewish experience on film; racism and race relations; immigration; the evolution of women’s roles; post-World War II censorship battles; accurate and inaccurate “biopics” of legendary world figures; the class struggle; the triumphs and excesses of big business; and how Hollywood depicts itself in its own movies. A week by week schedule of topics and film excerpts will be available in October.

The Opera Companion: Metropolitan Opera 2017/18 Season

10:00 to 11:55am Instructor: Jane Marsh

The Met Opera 2017-18 Season offers plentiful operatic diversity and includes several new productions, plus Verdi’s Requiem. Drawing from the pool of history, literary drama, novels, plays, poems and politics, the class will be descriptive and include audio and visual examples.

Art in the City

11:00 to 11:55am Instructor: Pamela Koehler

New York City contains an amazing variety of museums, galleries, architecture, historic houses, and public art. Discover the latest exhibitions and explore both familiar and lesser known treasures from different parts of the City. An additional behind the scenes field trip will be planned.

Jewish Book Club

11:00 to 11:55am Instructor: Amy Weiss

This course analyzes short stories or book excerpts with Jewish characters and themes. Readings for each week, including works by authors such as S. Y. Agnon, Sholem Aleichem, Etgar Keret, Cynthia Ozick, Philip Roth, and Anzia Yezierska, will be handed out in advance.

In collaboration with JASA, JBI International (formally known as The Jewish Braille Institute) can make it possible for people who are visually impaired or blind to participate in Jewish course topics by preparing relevant reading materials in audio, large print, or braille format, free of any charge.

Creative Writing 101

11:00 to 11:55am Instructor: Leo Schaff

This course calls on writers of all stripes, persuasions, and experiences. Memoirs, poetry, short stories, song lyrics, and letters-to-the-editor are all welcome. Find inspiration through art, music, current events, or simply hearing each other’s work. Members of the class will read their works at the Riverside Library (Amsterdam Avenue at 65th Street) at the end of the spring 2018 semester.

Masterpieces in Art: What They Say about Life

1:00 to 2:30pm Instructor: Jim Smith

In each of the arts there are creations that fill us with awe and wonder. Dig into works like Rembrandt’s Bathsheba, Chekhov’s Lady with the Dog, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Mozart’s Figaro, Balanchine’s Apollo, and Keats’ Grecian Urn, and discuss what makes them all so powerful.


1:00 to 3:00pm Instructor: Scott Klavan

Prepared monologues, scenes, and improv exercises introduce students to the concepts of modern acting, and hone the skills of the more experienced student. Students will present their work in a show at the end of the semester.

Everybody Needs a Laugh: Late Postwar American Humor in Essay and Story

2:30 to 3:30pm Instructor: Andrew Dickos

Humor is serious business. To make someone laugh ruefully, knowingly, with insight and sympathy, requires no less writerly skill than to generate hearty laughter by spotlighting life’s absurdities and nonsense. This course presents the essays, aphorisms, interviews, and short stories by those writers who helped shape the humorous sensibility of our culture and politics over the last half century. Learn about and read the work of David Sedaris, Jean Shepherd, Nora and Delia Ephron, Fran Lebowitz, Grace Paley, Al Franken, Woody Allen, Josh Lieb, Andy Borowitz, and Ian Frazier. Course requirement: Must possess a broad sense of humor.

Philosophy – Contemporary Issues, and Film

2:30 to 3:30pm Instructor: Gina Martinez

This course will use film as a vehicle for engaging philosophically in contemporary issues in ethics: cultural relativism, the proper relation between religion and ethics, abortion, global injustice and globalization, environmental ethics, and animal rights.

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