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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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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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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Aside from God, Moses is the single most dominant presence in the first five books of the Bible. But he defies simple characterization. Utilizing Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular literature, we will seek out a more complex and nuanced understanding of this leader and hero. Our three sessions will cover Moses’ birth, adult life, and death respectively.  

Schedule : Weekly - Mon 1:00 PM - 2:45 PM; 3 sessions; starting 5/8/2017, ending 5/22/2017

Tuition: $75.00

Location : Scarsdale Synagogue  Location : 
  Scarsdale Synagogue .

Instructor : Jeffrey Brown 



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Culinary historian and lecturer Alexandra Leaf shares some of the lesser-known aspects of Van Gogh’s oeuvre, his works that relate to food and dining.  The class will focus on Van Gogh’s still lifes of fruits and vegetables, sketches done on restaurant menus, paintings of Provencal vineyards, olive groves, flowering fruit orchards, and restaurant interiors of establishments he frequented in Paris, Provence, and Auvers.  Beginning with works on paper from the start of Van Gogh’s career in Holland in 1880, Leaf leads her audience on a journey of the senses through the artist’s Paris period (1886-1888), his sojourn in the south of France (1888-1890) and finally through the last phase of his life (May-July 1890) in Auvers.  Tea and conversation follow the lecture portion of the program.  

Schedule : Weekly - Wed 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM; starting 5/10/2017, ending 5/10/2017

Tuition: $30.00

Location : Scarsdale Public Library Location : 
  Scarsdale Public Library.

Instructor : Alexandra Leaf 



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From an early age, Queen Victoria’s artistic talents showed royal promise and she continued to enjoy painting in watercolor throughout her long reign.  This lecture follows her artistic progress and the many charming subjects she painted, including her royal family and the scenery of the Scottish Highlands.  She was also an enthusiastic patron of important Victorian artists and photographers whose works are fascinating records of royal taste.  We will look at the works and backgrounds of three of those favored artists: one who gave art lessons to the Queen and Prince Albert and who painted many images of her royal residences; W.P. Frith who commemorated royal celebrations and whose painterly advice much impressed Prince Albert; and Sir Edwin Landseer, renowned for his portrayals of royal pets as well as the famous image of Queen Victoria on her pony at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, which was exhibited in 1867.  The painting showed her faithful Scottish servant John Brown in such a close proximity to the monarch that it shocked the rigid royal protocols and etiquette of Victoria’s court and continues to intrigue us today.  

Schedule : Weekly - Fri 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM; starting 5/12/2017, ending 5/12/2017

Tuition: $25.00

Location : Scarsdale Public Library Location : 
  Scarsdale Public Library.

Instructor : Lorella Brocklesby 



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