Arts & Education: Sundays at JASA

Arts and Education: Sundays at JASA

Sundays at JASA is a one of a kind, college level continuing education program for adults 50+. Each semester offers a wide range of courses and lectures. Our instructors include luminaries from the worlds of politics, the arts, media, and more.

Join us for the Spring 2021  Semester - February 21 to May 9 - with courses held on Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays. The registration fee of $185 includes unlimited courses as well as the Lunchtime Lecture Series, curated by Norma Mosheim. Courses are held on Zoom. Dial-in audio-only options are available for most courses. 

To note, no classes March 28-April 4 for Passover and Easter.

For more information contact or 212.273.5304







9:00am - 10:00am Drawing Workshop with Pamela Koehler

Discover the joy of creative expression through drawing and works on paper. This course will introduce techniques including gesture, contour, and perspective drawing; and the expressive use of a variety of materials. Through demonstrations, discussion, and exploration of museum works, students will be encouraged to develop the habit of drawing. Inexpensive materials will be suggested during the first class. No previous art experience is necessary

10:05am - 11:05am Art in the City/Global Edition with Pamela Koehler

In this course we will explore the nature of visual expression and the ways in which artists transform ideas into works that communicate across time and culture. Through lively discussion and careful observation, we will engage with works of art from museums and collections around the world, and explore new ways to connect to them virtually.

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. 

11:15am – 1:00pm The Opera Companion: Touching Upon Romantic Era Operas and More with Jane Marsh

Join international renowned opera singer, Jane Marsh, for an in-depth tour of opera productions for the spring of 2021. This semester’s opera course will include a number of diverse operas under the theme of "The Romantic Era," including Wagner’s Middle Period operas, The Flying Dutchman and Tannhäuser, as well as interesting visits to certain Early and Middle Period Verdi operas and choice Verismo opera repertoire. Drawing from literary drama, novels, plays, poems, and politics, the classes will be diverse, entertaining and fun, all depicted through a plethora of apropos YouTube clips.

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 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. 

2:30pm – 3:30pm Get a Clue! Crossword Puzzle Construction with Natan Last and Andrew Kravis


Learn the 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. Nineteen puzzles have been featured in the Times thus far! Will Shortz has hailed this class as “one of a kind.”

Andrew Kravis is an Assistant Puzzles and Games Editor at The New Yorker. He co-founded and co-directs the Indie 500 Crossword Tournament in Washington D.C. and he constructs crosswords that have been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the app “Crosswords with Friends,” and many other outlets. 

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. 

3:00pm – 5:00pm Broadway Mixtape with Will Friedwald
This is a ten-part series focusing on the great work of musical theater. Each session tells the whole story of a classic show - the history and backstory, tracing its evolution from the origins (in the source material) up through the original Broadway production to subsequent revivals and film versions, as well as jazz and pop interpretations of these classic songs. All sessions are driven by great performances as captured on vintage film and video from original cast performers and other Broadway stars. Performances also include pop music legends like Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Sammy Davis, jazz giants like Erroll Garner and Louis Armstrong, and where possible, the composers and lyricists themselves. 

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, and Playboy magazine and reviews current shows for Citiview. He is the author of nine books including the award-winning A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers, Sinatra: The Song Is You, Stardust Melodies, Tony Bennett: The Good Life, Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies, and Jazz Singing. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.


9:00am - 9:40am Monday Morning Meditation with Larry Hurst

This is an opportunity to start the week with a fresh sense of being! In this short session, we learn to meditate experientially and take time to listen, unconditionally and empathically, for what may be calling for our attention. After a brief group check-in and guided entry into the process, we maintain a period of silence, after which there will be time for reflection. With mind and body working in tandem, we will have prepared ourselves to embark on new learnings and connections. 

Larry Hurst is a certified trainer and workshop leader with the International Focusing Institute and uses meditation as a means of renewal and source of inspiration. His background is in the health sciences. After retiring he helped in setting up a wellness network for the UK’s University of the Third Age. He has an ongoing interest in continuing professional development. 

10:00am – 11:00am Major Legal Controversies: Past, Present, and Future with Leora Harpaz
The law develops over time with past decisions serving as precedent to influence the outcome of current controversies. This course will examine current legal controversies as well as ones we can anticipate will confront the courts in the future. An important focus of this examination will be on how the outcome of these cases are likely to be shaped by Supreme Court precedent which the current Supreme Court will either adhere to, distinguish, or overrule.

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.

11:15am – 12:30pm Philosophy Made Easy with Mark Tursi: Exploring Philosophical Dilemmas through Thought Experiments, Fables, Anecdotes, Narratives, and Allegories
In an attempt to understand the human mind and the nature of reality in 1641, the great French philosopher René Descartes imagined the possibility that an evil demon of “utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive (him).” In doing so, Descartes embarked on a tradition that began with the Ancient Greeks to ‘do philosophy’ through thought experiments: short narratives, impossible scenarios, bizarre anecdotes, and other devices of the imagination designed to explore challenging philosophical problems. This includes ethical dilemmas, the nature of reality, difficult moral conundrums, personal identity, the existence of God, the structure of the mind, and much more. This is a fun and interesting way to study philosophy. In addition to learning about major concepts in the Western Philosophical Tradition, we will also meet a diverse cast of well-known philosophers like Plato, John Stuart Mill, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Immanuel Kant, as well as more recent thinkers like Robert Nozick, John Searle, Thomas Nagle, Philippa Foote, and David Chalmers. 

12:45pm – 1:45pm American History: Departures of 25, 30, and 50 years ago with Doug Brin
There are celebrities and world figures who remain vivid in our memory long after they're gone. An intriguing and entertaining examination of what brought them to the fore: from political icons on the order of Khrushchev, Degaulle, and Nasser, to entertainers ranging from the 'old style' of a Jimmy Durante to 'cooler' moderns on the order of John Lennon or Jim Morrison. This series will examine lesser-known facts, scandals, and controversies concerning their lives, what separated them from mere mortals, what made them tick, and what sorts of uniqueness made them special, not to mention memorable.

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.

2:00pm – 3:00pm Age Perfect Pilates with Dallas Fuentes
This class consists of seated and standing exercise sequences that are designed to strengthen and lengthen your musculature, lubricate your joints, increase flexibility, improve circulation through breathing, taper waistlines, and flatten the abdomen. In the Pilates world these muscles are referred to as “the Girdle of Strength” or the “Powerhouse.” You learn how to engage these muscles and move your body while maintaining the inner support that the  “Girdle of Strength” provides. As you move, you will keep in mind the six Pilates principles: concentration, control, centering, breath, fluidity, and precision. After a few sessions your awareness of how you sit, stand, and move through space will increase.  

Dallas Fuentes is a gerontologist, aging strategist, and certified Pilates instructor. She owns and operates Perfect Parts Pilates, a boutique Pilates studio, where she teaches the classical method of Pilates to the 50+ community in studio and virtually. Her research areas of interest are agelessness, healthy lifespans, living better longer, centenarians, aging in communities of color, “Vintage” Babes, and rebranding aging. She recently launched the AfroBoomers’ Salon, an online community of Baby Boomers of African descent and created (in prototype stage) a suite of services that include life-long learning on gamification platforms, virtual exercise instruction, and life planning for boomers and seniors. 

3:15pm – 4:15pm Creative Writing with 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. Writers are helped through writing prompts to help guide topics if needed. When it comes to writing, everything is on the table. 

4:30pm – 5:30pm Shakespeare’s Macbeth with Leo Schaff
Witchery, thy name is…The Scottish Play. Blood will have blood. Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered. The happiest marriage in the canon? Or “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  Stir the cauldron, conjure, and consider the ominous classic! Scene by scene, you may join in reading aloud, or simply listen and comment as our actor/instructor gets carried away…

Leo Schaff is an actor, singer, and songwriter. A longtime Bardolator, he also teaches at the 92nd Street Y and was NY1 New Yorker of the Week for his popular Shakespeare classes for seniors throughout the city. He co-wrote “Give Us Hope,” a song performed by the San Francisco Children’s Choir at President Obama’s first Inauguration.


9:15am – 11:00am Film Lecture Series with Max Alvarez

Join film historian Max Alvarez each week for a film lecture that explores a host of cinematic topics such as the First Couple of Film, Makers of the Red Shoes, Films that Seek Justice, Immigration on Film, Kurosawa, The News Media and TV, Banned Films, How Films Portray the Movie Business, and other topics. Using film footage and interviews, Max brings you closer into the world of cinema and explores the mysteries that keep us coming back for more.

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). 

11:00am – 12:30pm Masterpieces of Art: What They Tell Us About Life with Jim Smith

Great works of art illuminate the most important joys and sorrows of our lives. From the values and peaks of our love lives, to the complexities of the parent-child relationship, pieces like Shakespeare’s King Lear and Sondheim’s Company help us see and understand our own struggles in a new light.  We will delve into examples from music, painting, theatre, literature, and opera – with a strong focus on how these works are made in ways that make them so effective in moving us. Representative examples include Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait, Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, Keats’s Ode on a Grecian Urn, and Bizet’s Carmen. This course is open to new and continuing students; we cover new art pieces each term.

James Smith was the Executive Director of an educational and cultural non-profit in Cambridge, MA for many years and has taught in adult programs at the New School and CUNY.

12:45pm – 2:00pm New York Short Stories with Jennifer Gilchrist

New York is a city of millions of stories of hope, dreams, fear, pain, anger, exhaustion, luck, romance, creativity, humor, tragedy, and resilience. What better setting for the literary short story? Exercising and honing our skills of literary analysis, we will read and discuss short works by writers such as Edith Warton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Letham, Willa Cather, Cynthia Ozick, and E.L. Doctorow. 

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.

2:15pm – 3:15pm Restorative Chair Yoga/Yoga Nidra with Nan Goldstein

Focusing on a holistic approach to health, these classes are appropriate for anyone who would like to experience deep relaxation and restoration. The classes integrate a variety of techniques to relax the mind, body, spirit, and reduce stress. Techniques include: gentle chair yoga, breath awareness, guided meditation, sound meditation, and self-reiki (healing practice).

Nan Goldstein is a yoga teacher, yoga nidra teacher, reiki practitioner, sound healer and psychotherapist.

3:30pm – 4:30pm Drama in the Modern World with Joe George

In this course we will take a journey from the birth of the modern theater world with Henrik Ibsen and make our way through its development to present day drama with Suzan-Lori Parks. Each week, a scene or two from a dramatist will be explored from one of their plays to highlight their talent and its place in theater history. Plays and scenes from Shaw, Pirandello, O’Neill, Brecht, and Tennesee Williams among others will be discussed and explored.

Joe George has worked in education, theater, music, television, voice over and film for over 25 years. Joe is a founding member of the theater/dance troupe Witness Relocation, which toured in the U.S. and internationally. He has performed in just about everything from Shakespeare, commedia, Greek tragedy, rock musicals, downtown, and contemporary modern theater. He has been committed to creating new theatrical styles of performance that  challenge what’s possible in theater. He holds an M.F.A. from Harvard University and Moscow Art Theater School.  


February 21 

Suzy Perelman: Winter Recital 

Violinist Suzy Perelman is overjoyed to return to JASA. Suzy will play an hour of classical showpieces. You will enjoy familiar tunes of Elgar, Dvorak, John Williams, and a dozen other composers.

Suzy Perelman has been performing in Broadway orchestras for the past 16 years. A former member of both the Utah and San Antonio Symphonies, Suzy performs in orchestra concerts, recitals, and shows regularly throughout the NY, NJ, and PA area. Recent venues have included Merkin Hall, the 92nd Street Y, and Carnegie Hall. Recent shows have included The Unsinkable Molly Brown, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Evita, Phantom of the Opera and Cats. She is also the teacher of ten young violin students studying the Suzuki Method.

February 28

Council Member Ben Kallos: Seniors and the City. 

A discussion on services provided to seniors, local government, and civic participation. 

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos was praised by the New York Times for his “fresh ideas” and elected in 2013 to represent the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Roosevelt Island, and East Harlem along with all 8.6 million New Yorkers in the New York City Council.

Currently, as Chair of the Committee on Contracts, he now oversees procurement policies and procedures, government and collection agency contracts, as well as the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services and the Procurement Policy Board.

He has become a leading advocate for education, affordable housing, public health, sustainable development and transportation improvements and safety.

His office is open and transparent where constituents are invited to decide on how to spend one million dollars on local projects in the district. Constituents are either welcome to join him in a conversation on the first Friday of each month or he will go to their coop, condo, tenant association, or neighborhood association for “Ben In Your Building.”

March 7
Larry Lowenthal: Walt Whitman

At the very moment of challenge in American democracy, it seems almost imperative to revisit the life and work of Walt Whitman: “the bard of democracy,” the “primal voice of America,” and the greatest poetic genius of our literary tradition.

From inauspicious beginnings as a pedestrian journalist, newspaper editor, and failed novelist, Whitman found his voice in 1855 with the first publication of “Leaves of Grass,” a long series of twelve poems rendered in a unique, shocking, and highly charged poetic voice never seen before in American literature. 

Larry Lowenthal was born in New York City and grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey. He received his B.A. and M.A. in English from Northwestern University and his Ph.D in English from New York University. He taught literature at Washington State University and Gettysburg College before moving to Israel in 1970. He taught at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University before returning to America in 1976. Settling in Boston, he spent seven years as an Adjunct Professor at Northeastern University, teaching in both the Jewish Studies and English departments.

March 14

Mort Gerberg: “Mort Gerberg Cartoons: A New Yorker’s Perspective.”  

The program will consist of Mort showing and discussing how he created cartoons that appeared in his 2019 50-year retrospective at The New-York Historical Society and in its companion book, “On The Scene,” on subjects like life in New York City, social and political comment, women, music, and sports. He’ll also show a selection of topical cartoons that he posted on Twitter and Instagram, and the New Yorker Daily Cartoons over the past two years and talk about how real-life events that we remember all too well became the inspiration for his drawings.  

Mort Gerberg is a born-and-bred New Yorker who has documented the character of our city for decades with his insightful cartoons and writing. He is most celebrated for his work in The New Yorker and other major publications, and for his classic “Cartooning: The Art and the Business,” considered “the most authoritative book on the subject.” In addition to magazine cartoons, he has drawn syndicated comic strips, written or illustrated 45 books for adults and children, and contributed or performed for television and online sites. He also created animated fables and did live sketch reportage for magazines and newspapers, covering politics, sports, and travel. He taught cartooning for 15 years at New York City’s Parsons School of Design, and was a founder and president of the Cartoonists Guild. He was voted Best Magazine Cartoonist of 2007 and 2008 by the National Cartoonists Society and was a City College of New York Communications Hall of Fame Honoree for 2010. 

March 21

Millie Perkins

George Stevens, the acclaimed director, chose Millie Perkins out of a field of 10,000 candidates to play the title role in his landmark 1959 masterpiece, The Diary of Anne Frank. Perkins gained worldwide fame for her beautiful performance as Anne. In conversation with film historian Foster Hirsch, she will speak about the experience of making the film and the impact that playing Anne has had on her own life. 

After starring in The Diary of Anne Frank, Millie Perkins appeared in numerous films including Wall Street, At Close Range, Table for Five, Wild in the Streets, and The Chamber. She co-starred with Jack Nicholson in two cult Westerns, The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind. She co-starred with Elvia Presley in Wild in the Country and later, to great acclaim, appeared as Gladys Presley, the singer's mother, in the television series Elvis.

April 11

Gene Wisniewski: “The Place Of the Muses”: A Brief History of the Museum

It would seem as though museums have always been around, but in truth, they’re a fairly recent phenomenon. Beginning with the early proto-museums of the Renaissance, this compact yet comprehensive discussion traces the development of public art institutions from the “wonder rooms” of the Age of Exploration up through modern times, including the discovery of the ancient world’s only known museum in 6th-century BC Mesopotamia. 

Gene Wisniewski received his art education at Rutgers University, the New York Academy of Art, The National Academy of Design, The New School, and L’Ecole Albert Defois in Vihiers, France. He has exhibited in galleries nationwide, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. He has twenty years’ experience teaching and lecturing on visual art. His short stories have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Satellite magazine, and other publications. His first full-length book, The Art of Looking at Art, was released in October 2020 by Rowman and Littlefield publishers. He is currently working on screenplay adaptations based on two of his published short stories.

April 18

Joy Laydon: “Trans + Jewish = ?: The Sequel” 

Last spring, Joy Ladin offered an intimate glimpse of growing up Jewish and transgender and what it taught her about the connections and conflicts between those two very different kinds of minority identity. In this talk, she will turn from childhood to her adult experience of transitioning from living as a man to living as a woman at Yeshiva University, in her own shul, and in the broader Jewish world. She will also discuss what she has learned about how Jewish and transgender identities connect, collide, and can enrich one another.

Joy Ladin, Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University, the first (and still only) openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution, has published nine books of poetry; a memoir of gender transition, National Jewish Book Award finalist Through the Door of Life; and Lambda Literary and Triangle Award finalist, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective. She serves on the Board of Keshet, an organization devoted to full LGTBQ inclusion in the Jewish world.

April 25 

Tom Santopietro: “Why To Kill A Mockingbird Matters”

Following a successful Broadway run, writer Tom Santopietro comes to discuss his most recent book, Why To Kill A Mockingbird Matters. Tom takes on this beloved classic and its rightful place in the current times. The conscience of Atticus Finch could be heard around the world, but with today’s rapid globalization of selfies, social media, and the Kardashians, is it still heard? 

Tom Santopietro is the author of five books: The Sound of Music Story, The Godfather Effect: Changing Hollywood, America, and Me, Sinatra in Hollywood, Considering Doris Day (a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice), and The Importance of Being Barbra. A frequent media commentator in programs ranging from the PBS documentary The Italian Americans to the Jimmy van Heusen biography Swingin' With Frank & Bing, Tom conducts monthly interviews for Barnes and Noble and lectures on classic films. Over the past thirty years he has managed more than two dozen Broadway shows.

May 2

James Gavin: Carmen Miranda

Like coffee and the bossa nova, the Brazilian Bombshell Carmen Miranda - also known as the Lady with the Tutti-Frutti Hat - remains one of Brazil's most beloved exports. Award-winning journalist James Gavin will revisit the wacky, controversial life of a Hollywood icon who became an American household word as her own country disowned her. Aided by video clips that span her entire career, Gavin will tell the story of Miranda's rollercoaster rise, fall, and ultimate ascent into legend. Though dead at only 46, Miranda's sly smile, swiveling hips, and trademark songs ("South American Way," "Cuanto le Gusta?," "Mama Yo Queiro") are still a part of pop-cultural history.  

Biographer and music journalist James Gavin is the author of four acclaimed books and countless features in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, JazzTimes, and elsewhere. Gavin's Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne was chosen as one of Oprah Winfrey's Top 25 Summer Reads of 2009. The Times called Is That All There Is?: The Strange Life of Peggy Lee “fascinating, suspenseful, musically detailed and insightful.” The Hollywood Reporter proclaimed Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker “a landmark in entertainment biography.” Gavin’s debut, Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret, won a column-long rave from Liz Smith (“a treasure trove … a real beat of the heart of New York”). A two-time winner of ASCAP's Deems Taylor-Virgil Thomson Award for excellence in music journalism, Gavin is now completing a biography of George Michael.

May 9

Joshua Halberstam: Self Deception and Our Hidden Biases

Do you sometimes lie to yourself? If you say never…well,  that’s not the truth right there. In fact, we all engage in self-deception now and then. But what is the actual process of  self-deception? What are some of the more forceful biases to which we all sometimes succumb? In this discussion, we will review some of the intriguing recent work in philosophy and psychology that address these common human habits and how best to deal with them.    

Joshua Halberstam is a Professor at BCC/City University of New York where he teaches communication and philosophy. Before teaching at BBC, Halberstam taught at Teachers College, Columbia University, and New York University. He has published widely in the areas of epistemology, ethics, the philosophy of religion, and Jewish studies. He is also the author of a novel, A Seat at the Table, and most recently, The Blind Angel: New Old Chassidic Tales, a translation of Chassidic tales from the Yiddish. Dr. Halberstam lectures regularly at  educational and organizational venues and has been a frequent guest on television and radio.