Sundays at JASA

Spring 2018 Semester Course Descriptions

Courses: Sundays, March 4 – May 15 (no courses April 1)
Location: John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street, New York City (Map)
Open House: Sunday, February 25, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Click Here to register online for the Spring Semester
Click Here to download the full NextAct Catalog
Click Here to donate

Jump to:
Political and Societal Issues
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: Ageism and Elder Abuse

11:00 to 11:55am Instructors: TBA
This course will explore the ways in which we have all been subjected to ageism, and how ageist behaviors are exhibited in both directions. Does ageism play a role in elder abuse? How can we alert ourselves to potentially harmful practices and how can they be overcome? A list of speakers will be available in March.

The Golden Age of American Movies

1:00 to 1:55pm Instructor: Doug Brin
The studio system and its contract stars reached their zenith in the 40s and 50s, but faced an inexorable decline in the 50s. This course explores the history of one of the country’s most glamorous industries.

America and You: An Historical Relationship

1:00 to 1:55pm Instructor: Avram Jezer
From the 1950’s to the present, the United States has gone through radical transformations. We will use texts, music, and first-hand accounts to help you explore how America’s stories and your stories intertwine.

Back to top

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. They are designed to keep the body mobile, boost immunity, and improve cognitive function by enhancing flexibility, strength, balance and coordination.

Living Well

10:00 to 10:55am Instructor: TBA
Our new course will introduce options for a healthy lifestyle, including classes on nutrition, memory, balance, volunteering, employment, finance, and simple living opportunities in retirement and as we age. A list of speakers will be available in March.
2:00 to 3:00pm 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. Fourteen puzzles have been featured in the New York Times thus far! Will Shortz, New York Times Crossword Puzzles Editor, hailed this course as “One of a Kind.”

Back to top

The Sylvia Polokoff Bridge Program

Beginner Bridge

1:00 to 3:00pm Instructor: Mark Hyman
Taught by one of the finest bridge teachers in New York, this course is a continuation from the fall for beginners, but also intended 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 27th Sylvia Polokoff Memorial Bridge Tournament will take place on Sunday, June 3, at St. Martin’s Tower, 65 W. 90th Street. Registration is required.

Back to top

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 semester.

Crime and Punishment

9:00 to 9:55am Instructors: Beth Karas, Michael Lissner, Others TBA

Investigative journalist Beth Karas will return to teach this provocative course along with representatives from agencies involved in crime prevention. Karas is a former Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan who has covered many highly publicized homicide trials and will expose what goes on behind the scenes. Other speakers will encompass investigative agencies, such as the FBI, anti-terrorism units, and criminal law. A list of speakers and subject matters will be available in March.

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 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

Part Two of Julius Caesar: No worries if you missed Part One. We will review! Much mayhem to come...with great film as well. Dictatorship, friendship, honor, ambition, the fate of the Republic, the power of persuasion, the mystery of prophecy, the malleable mob are all part of this play. Think you know what it is? Countrymen...lend me your ears...

The Magic of Moviemaking: Tricks of the Cinematic Trade

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

In this course, author and film historian Max Alvarez discusses the major elements of world filmmaking. These include the behind-the-scenes roles of screenwriters, cinematographers, composers, editors, and directors, as well as the on-camera achievements of costumers, set designers, and stunt people. Each 2-hour session features memorable scenes and archival images from classic and recent films.

The Opera Companion: Historical and Stylistic Eras – Artistic, Musical, Literary, and Political Influences

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

The Met Opera Spring Season 2018 offers plentiful operatic information, including new productions and famed opera personalities’ biographies. Drawing from the pool of history, literary drama, novels, plays, poems and politics, the class will be descriptive and diverse, showcased in 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 Judaic Studies courses by preparing relevant reading materials in audio, large print, or braille format, free of 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 semester.


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.

Timeline of Theatre

2:00 to 3:00pm Instructor: Tyler Bogen

Tyler Bogen will take this class on a journey through the years of theatre, tracing its development from ancient Greek drama to the current shows running on Broadway. Theatre has always reflected and poked fun at what was currently happening in history and we will look at how theatre has done so with fun and creativity by watching clips, playing games and reading a few scenes relevant to what we’re learning.

Back to top

Find a Program in your area

Join our mailing list: 

  • 90% of our mom’s life is coming to JASA. She’s happy and engaged, you can’t put a price tag on the quality of life she has coming to JASA.
    - Lou & Sol (sons of Evelyn)