Course Descriptions

In-Person Classes: July 9th through July 30th
Marlene Meyerson JCC
 (334 Amsterdam Ave 76th St, New York, NY 10023)

The Opera Companion: The Ring Cycle
10:00am – 11:45am Instructor: Jane Marsh

Join internationally renowned opera singer, Jane Marsh, for an in-depth view of Wagner’s RING CYCLE Der Ring des Nibelungen. This summer’s course will include Wagner’s complete four RING CYCLE operas, Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung, also offering insight into the legendary Norse sagas that influenced Richard Wagner. The classes will be entertaining and showcased through DVD and audio sound clips. Knowledge of music and opera is not needed for this class.

Jane Marsh was the first singer to win the Gold Medal in Moscow’s International Tchaikovsky Competition. Among Verdi, Strauss, and Bel Canto, her repertoire includes the signature Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov heroines. She has appeared as a performer and M.C. in international and U.S. radio and television venues and since 2007, has presented Metropolitan Opera Guild lectures and master classes on Bel Canto, Verdi, Puccini, Wagner, Mozart, Strauss, and the Russian repertoire. She was awarded the New York Handel Medaille for exceptional contribution to the world of music.

Cinema Lecture Series
12:00pm – 1:30pm Instructor: Max Alvarez

Sundays at JASA film historian, Max Alvarez, will host discussions and provide film footage to document a four-part cinema series. Join Max as he explores the careers of movie greats Burt Lancaster, Bette Davis, Martin Scorcese and Robert DeNiro collaborations, and Alfred Hitchcock. Each class will also include their personal development as artists within the film industry, how they became giants with stories, and film footage documenting their journeys.   

Max Alvarez is a film historian who has been presenting multimedia cinema history courses for Sundays at JASA since the fall of 2013. He is the author of The Cinéphile’s Guide to the Great Age of Cinema (2020), The Crime Films of Anthony Mann (University Press of Mississippi 2013), and a major contributor to Thornton Wilder/New Perspectives (Northwestern University Press 2013).

Law and The Movies
1:45pm – 2:45pm Instructor: Leora Harpaz

This course will discuss four major movies about an aspect of law. The first class will be about Paper Chase, a film about the experience of being a law student at Harvard Law School in the 1970s. In the second class, we’ll discuss On the Basis of Sex, a movie about the early career of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Third, we’ll talk about The Post, starring Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham, the publisher of the Washington Post, and the paper’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers. The final film will be Confirmation, about the confirmation of Clarence Thomas and the testimony of Anita Hill. While information about how to watch the films will be provided, the use of film clips in the classes will make it possible for students to participate without viewing the films in advance. A fun visual way to learn about the marriage between law and Hollywood. 

Leora Harpaz is an emeritus professor of constitutional law at Western New England University School of Law as well as founder of the annual Supreme Court Conference where she has been a speaker for over 20 years. Since receiving emeritus status, she has been an instructor in several senior learner programs and taught undergraduate law courses in the political science department at Hunter College. She received her B.A. from Stony Brook University and has law degrees from both Boston University and New York University.

The Roosevelt Dynasty
3:00pm – 4:00pm Instructor: Doug Brin

An unparalleled trio of leaders in our history. Join historian Doug Brin for a close look into one of America’s most iconic political families. Theodore: bombastic, charismatic, unstoppable, a force of nature who revolutionized the presidency he inherited. Franklin: a confident leader who won an unprecedented four terms, while leading a nation through TWO exponential crises. Eleanor: she broke the mold for women on innumerable fronts while overcoming a plethora of adversities, which ultimately lead women into gaining rights, respect, and justice personally and legally. 

Doug Brin facilitates weekly discussion groups at the 92nd Street Y and several independent senior residences, and lectures at the JCC. He is a former feature writer for the New York Daily News and both a history and ethics teacher at the prestigious Dalton and Ethical Culture Schools. As a visual artist, his work has been exhibited in major neighborhood galleries in Manhattan.

Virtual Classes: July 12th through August 2nd

Contemporary Jewish Literature
10:00am – 11:00am Instructor: Amy Weiss

Participants in this interactive class will read and discuss the latest works of contemporary Jewish fiction. Short stories for each week, including works by authors such as Nathan Englander, Omer Friedlander, Dara Horn, Tova Mirvis, Gary Shteyngart, and Ayelet Tsabari will be provided in advance (and are expected to be read prior to the session in which they will be discussed).

Amy Weiss holds the Maurice Greenberg Chair of Judaic Studies and is an Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies and History at the University of Hartford. She is also a Faculty Fellow in Ethnic Studies for UHart’s Center for the Humanities and a Center for Jewish History—Fordham University Research Fellow. She previously held the Thomas and Elissa Ellant Katz Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. She is currently writing a book manuscript on the evolving relationships American Jewish communal organizations have forged with evangelicals on issues relating to Israel. Weiss received her PhD from the departments of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and History at New York University.

Sizzling Summer Shorts
11:15am – 12:30pm Instructor: Jennifer Gilchrist

Sex! Murder! Madness! Revenge! Exotic locales and fantasy! Summer reading is quintessentially sensational. In this mini summer course, we will explore the baser instincts through short works by masters of the craft.

Jennifer Gilchrist is a veteran New Yorker who now resides in Metro Detroit. She taught literature courses at Hunter College and has published articles in Twentieth-Century Literature and Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. In addition to her instruction at JASA, she is the review editor of Supernatural Studies: A Journal of Art, Culture, and Media. With a specialty in modernist narrative, she received her Ph.D. in twentieth-century American and British literature from Fordham University in the Bronx.

Art in the Italian Renaissance
12:45pm – 1:45pm Instructor: Pamela Koehler

The Italian Renaissance was a time of extraordinary artistic innovation and experimentation. From paintings and sculptures to books, tapestries, and architecture, this period produced works that continue to influence and inspire us today. During this session, we will highlight key works of Italian Renaissance art, in a variety of media, that were created for public, domestic, or court settings, explore workshop practices and techniques, and examine the roles of artists, guilds, and patrons.

Pamela Koehler is an adjunct professor of art and art history at Adelphi University. As a teaching artist, she has presented lectures, talks, and workshops at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Morgan Library, the Whitney, and the Dahesh Museum.

Rodgers & Hammerstein – A Deep Dive
2:00pm – 3:15pm Instructor: Kim Breden

Join Instructor, Kim Breden, for an in-depth examination and celebration of the wonderful musicals written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.  During this four-week class, participants will learn about the original Broadway productions, cast members, synopses, performance details, and musical numbers from shows including Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific, The King & I, and, of course, The Sound of Music.  There will also be a focus on lesser-known shows such as Allegro, Flower Drum Song, Me and Juliet, and Pipe Dream. Through the use of live performance videos, sound recordings, still photographs, and historical lectures, participants will enjoy a deeper look into the creation of these treasures, as well as biographical information about the production teams involved. This class will offer the opportunity to listen to an array of show-tune favorites and perhaps join in a sing-along.

Kim Breden is the founder and executive muse of Be Mused Productions which specializes in educational entertainment. Be Mused Children’s Theatre Company has offered musical theatre workshops for children, preschool through teen in Westchester and Dutchess Counties. In addition to directing and producing these workshops, Kim provides music programs celebrating Broadway’s greatest hits, for museums, libraries, and nearly 50 Senior Residences in the tri-state area. Kim is a volunteer teaching artist and facilitator with Rehabilitation through the Arts (RTA). For the past 16 years, she has directed full musical productions and workshops in maximum and medium security prisons in New York State.

Crossword Class
Virtual Classes: July 12th through August 16th
Separate registration required

Get A Clue! Crossword Construction
4:00pm – 5:30pm Instructor: Natan Last

Learn the principles of crossword puzzle construction through basic history, determining a theme, making a usable grid, and creating the fill. A group puzzle will be submitted to the New York Times. More than twenty puzzles have been featured in the Times thus far! Will Shortz has hailed this class as “one of a kind.” Registration is capped at 25 students.

Natan Last published his first crossword puzzle in the New York Times when he was 16, then the youngest constructor to appear in the Times. Last wrote a book of crosswords, Titled Word. He has a B.A. with honors in Economics and Literary Arts from Brown University

For more information contact or call 212.273.5304 to register.