Senior Adult Jewish Experience

Ann Freifeld, Director of Lecture Series ext. 122
Sheila Weber, Administrative Assistant, ext. 138,

See program descriptions.

Jewish Experience Lecture Series 2014-15   


Lunch and Learn Series


The Jewish Experience

is a Celebration of Jewish Life:

its History, Heritage and Hope.


One Friday per month,

10:30am - 2:00pm,

September 2014 - June 2015


Subscribe to the Full Series

and get the 10th lecture free.



Series Fees:

Y Members - $162   Chai Members - $171

JASA and Non-Members - $180

(Includes Lunch and Lecture)



If the Series is not sold out,

registration will open for Individual Lectures.


Individual Lecture Fees:

Y Members - $18    Chai Members - $19

JASA and Non-Members - $20

(Includes Lunch and Lecture)



A buffet dairy lunch, including dessert, coffee

and tea, is included in the above registration fees.



Limited registration may be available at the door.  Registration at the door does NOT include lunch.


Fees at the Door (If space is available): 

Y Members - $13    Chai Members - $14

JASA and Non-Members - $15




For further information, please call Ann Freifeld,

Senior Adult Director, at 631-462-9800, ext. 121.


Please Note: Jewish Experience programs

are subject to change or cancellation.

Refunds cannot be given and credit

cannot be applied to a future date.


September 19 - “Behind the Headlines

in Israel and Washington

   Guest Speaker: Doug Bloomfield, Washington Lobbyist, Consultant and Syndicated Columnist


   We see the newspaper, Internet and television coverage, but what is really going on Behind The Headlines? We hear what all the players are saying, but what does it really mean? Is Israel an issue in the upcoming elections? What about the rest of the Jewish agenda? How will the election results affect America’s Jews? Where do US-Israel relations stand? What”s really happening in the peace process? Are either or both sides ready to make the tough historic decisions? Is there movement in the peace process or just motion?

   Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. His weekly column appears in the Jerusalem Post and many other American-Jewish papers, and he also writes a regular blog for the New York Jewish Week. Mr. Bloomfield spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In this position, he was responsible for developing and guiding strategy on Capitol Hill to secure military and economic aid for Israel and strengthen US-Israel relations. As the World Jewish Congress representative in Washington, he helped coordinate the Swiss banks and Nazi gold investigations and U.S. Government support for restitution of Jewish properties seized by former Nazi and Communist regimes. Mr. Bloomfield is a Capitol Hill veteran who served as a senior advisor to Congressman Benjamin S. Rosenthal of New York and a legislative assistant for Senator Hubert H. Humphrey. He also has served as a consultant on Middle East affairs to members of the House and Senate as well as candidates for Congress.


October 31 - Judaism’s Encounter

with American Sports

Guest Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey Gurock,

Professor of Jewish History, Yeshiva University

   Through the experience of Jews within the American world of sports, this lecture will explore the issues of acceptance of Jewish athletes in the United States and the contemporary challenges facing the Jewish sports community.

   Dr. Jeffrey S. Gurock is the Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University and chair of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society. Dr. Gurock served from 1982-2002 as associate editor of American Jewish History, the leading academic journal in that field. He is the author or editor of fifteen books. His latest book, Jews in Gotham, won the Jewish book of the Year award (2012) from the Jewish Book Council.


November 21 - Jews and American Film:

Politics in the Industry and on Screen

Guest Speaker: Dr. Stephen Greenwald,

Director of Film and Media, Wagner College


   Jewish businessmen founded the American film industry and dominated it well into the 1950’s. But the period from the late 1930’s to the early 1950’s was fraught with peril for Jewish movie moguls and artists; first from attacks by isolationists, many anti-semitic, opposed to U.S. involvement in the looming war in Europe; and then, after the war, from anti-communist zealots looking for “reds” and singling out the movie business and Jews in it.

   This lecture will discuss this period and the impact of these political movements on Jewish filmmakers and the films they made. It will explore the schisms that grew between the Jewish moguls and the artists; brother against brother. Excerpts from films that defined the period and the struggle will be shown and discussed: Body and Soul, Force of Evil, Mission to Moscow, The Song of Russia, Crossfire, Confessions of a Nazi Spy, Gentlemen’s Agreement and others.

   Dr. Stephen R. Greenwald is a lawyer, educator, media executive, consultant and a non-profit association leader and activist. He is currently the Director of Film and Media Initiatives at Wagner College and an adjunct professor and scholar-in-residence at Fordham University Law School. Dr. Greenwald is a past president of Metropolitan College of New York.

   Dr. Greenwald has worked in the media industry since 1980 and has been the CEO of several motion picture companies. He is the co-author of This Business of Film, published in 2009 by a division of Random House.


December 19 - On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the “Magic of Cacao”

Guest Speaker: Rabbi Deborah Prinz, Director, Program

and Member Services and Director, Joint Commission on Rabbinic Mentoring, Central Conference of American Rabbis


   This lecture will draw from Rabbi Prinz’s world travels and research on the trail of chocolate to enchant chocolate lovers as she unwraps stories of the trade, retail and manufacture of chocolate since it was first introduced to Europeans. Activate your inner “choco-dar” on this delectable journey through the history of chocolate - a real treat! Explore the surprising religious connections to chocolate in this gastronomic adventure. The next time you pick up a piece of chocolate, consider that you are partaking in a religious expedition.

   Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz is author of the book, On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao and she has also had articles published in scholarly, professional and popular journals. Rabbi Prinz was awarded several prestigious fellowships to pursue the research for her book. She travelled to many countries and the book spans several cultures, countries, centuries, and religions, in its exploration of how traditions share consumption, ritual and business interests in chocolate. She now lectures about chocolate and religion around the world. Rabbi Prinz currently serves on the Central Conference of American Rabbis as Director of Program and Member Services and the Director of the Joint Commission on Rabbinic Mentoring.


January 23 - Myths of the Holocaust

 Guest Speaker: Dr. Marcia Haddad Ikonomopolous,

Director, Kehila Kedosha Janina Museum


   Now that almost seventy years have passed since the liberation of the concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust, how important is it to correct the myths? This lecture will examine those myths, how they arose, their importance and whether they should be corrected.

   Dr. Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos has lectured extensively on subjects of Jewish interest. She acts as a liaison between the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Greek Jewish Communities in the United States. Dr. Ikonomopoulos is also President of the Association of Friends of Greek Jewry, is the former Director of Special Projects at Sephardic House and currently is a member of the Editorial Committee for Publications of Greek Holocaust Memoirs. 

   Dr. Ikonomopoulos is a Judaic Studies teacher and translator of Greek Jewish Holocaust Memoirs, as well as an author. Among her publications are: Remembering the Jews of Corfu, Your Guide to Jewish Greece, Your Guide to Jewish Italy and The Names of the Jews of Ioannina as well as the article “The Romaniotes,” which appeared in Viewpoints. Dr. Ikonomopoulos helped create the exhibit at the Nassau County Holocaust and Tolerance Museum in Glen Cove on the Holocaust of Greek Jewry for which she received a citation from Nassau County for “rendering significant contributions for the enhancement of our community and the betterment of our residents.”


February 27 - American Artists

and Designers with Jewish Roots

Guest Speaker: Debbie Wells, Vice-Chairperson,

Art League of Long Island


   Some of these artists and designers are household names, some not, but their works of art have all touched our lives in some way. Most are alive and well and still very active in their respective fields. Here are the six creative people that will be covered in this presentation:
Stan Lee - The mastermind behind Marvel Comics and characters such as Spiderman, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, etc.
Milton Glaser - Born and bred in the “Little Russia” section of the Bronx, this graphic designer created the famous “I Love New York” logo and much more!
Al Hirschfeld - Originally from St. Louis, he became known for his unique linear caricatures of Broadway stars and other celebrities. You will also learn about his special “Nina” messages.

Peter Max - He is a colorful painter legendary for his influence on the popular culture of the 1960’s. He grew up in Shanghai and Israel before he came to the US - a very unusual childhood! His work was recently displayed at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Long Island.
Judith Leiber - This designer of luxury bejeweled handbags has her own fascinating story that took her from Holocaust-era Budapest all the way to her present home in East Hampton. She and her artist husband even created her own museum on their Long Island property to display her beautiful handbags and fashion accessories.
Ralph Lauren - Lauren has created a fashion empire by pursing his dream of selling his brand/image to the world. From creating his first ties from rags, he now is one of the richest men in the world. His daughter, Dylan, has followed in his entrepreneurial footsteps by starting her own business that all kids know and love - Dylan’s Candy Bar.

   Debbie Wells is a founding partner of the Artful Circle with museum curator and art expert Franklin Hill Perrell, a company that provides guided art gallery visits, lectures on art topics and more. She is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and an award-winning graphic designer and photographer. She is currently a Trustee at Temple Chaverim in Plainview and the Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills. Not a stranger to the Jewish community in New York and Long Island, she has also worked at the South Shore/Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC in Oceanside and the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills as a graphic designer. Wells also curated the Impressions of Israel photo exhibition, which has been on view at Temple Chaverim and the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library, as well as the winner of the AZRA biennial photo competition in Washington, DC.


March 27 - “The Brownsville Boys:

Jewish Gangsters of Murder, Inc.”

Guest Speaker: Dr. Larry Sullivan, Associate Dean and Chief Librarian, John Jay College

of Criminal Justice and Professor of Criminal Justice, Graduate School and University Center, CUNY


   This lecture about the luminaries of New York’s infamous contract killer organization, “Murder, Inc.,” will focus on crime in New York before World War II, when criminal rackets were very ethnically diverse. Jews, Italians, and the Irish controlled both the manufacturing and labor sides of most industries, including garment, movie, baking, narcotics and contract murder. Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, co-head of “Murder, Inc.” (headquartered in Brownsville, Brooklyn) was one of the most powerful criminals in New York history. Most of the assassins who worked for Murder, Inc. were Jewish, but until the Attorney General brought Lepke to justice in the 1940s, Lepke and his boys had their hands in most mob business. 

   Larry E. Sullivan is Associate Dean and Chief Librarian at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the largest and most comprehensive criminal justice library in the world. He is also Professor of Criminal Justice in the doctoral program at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York where he teaches graduate and doctoral-level courses in Advanced Criminology, Philosophy of Punishment, and a seminar on Philosophy of Science for Ph.D. students. Before going to John Jay, he was Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections of the Library of Congress and is also an independent appraiser. 

   Dr. Sullivan became involved in the criminal justice system when he worked at the Maryland Penitentiary in the late 1970s. Subsequently, he wrote the books, The Prison Reform Movement: Forlorn Hope and Bandits and Bibles: Convict Literature in Nineteenth-Century America. He is the author, co-author, or editor of over fifty books and articles in the fields of American and European history, penology, criminal justice, art history and other subjects. Dr. Sullivan’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement, of which he was Editor-in-Chief, is the first such reference work and is unique in its comprehensive coverage of worldwide law enforcement. Dr. Sullivan is the editor-in-chief of the new annual, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Studies: Global Perspectives. His book, The Brownsville Boys: Jewish Gangsters of Murder, Inc., is an artists’ book focusing on the luminaries of New York’s infamous contract killer organization, “Murder, Inc.”

April 24 - Challenges Jewish Chaplains Faced

in World War II

Guest Speaker: Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, Ph.D., Author


   During World War II, hundreds of American rabbis served as chaplains in the United States military. Led by leading American rabbis of virtually every segment of religious American Jewry, the rabbi chaplains were charged with providing for the religious needs of over half a million American Jews serving in the US armed forces during the WW II/Holocaust era. Most significantly, the rabbinical chaplaincy was a pan-denominational effort including Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis. This multi-denominational group addressed issues ranging from the creation of a wartime system of halachah, (Jewish law), providing kosher food and arranging worship opportunities for the Sabbath and the holidays for American Jewish military personnel. The examination of the World War II rabbinical chaplaincy provides insights into the structure of American Judaism in the middle of the twentieth century that was organized both on denominational and sectarian lines. Negotiating, intra-Jewish conflicts, halachic challenges, logistical realities, and the impact of the Holocaust; the global, World War II rabbinical chaplaincy project nonetheless represents the height of pan-denominational collaboration in American Jewish history.

   Daniel M. Bronstein is an ordained rabbi and holds a Ph.D. in Jewish history with over twenty years experience in Jewish education.  Following his ordination at the Hebrew Union College‑Jewish Institute of Religion in 1996, Rabbi Bronstein went on to earn his doctorate in Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. His dissertation, Torah in the Trenches: The Rabbi Chaplains of World War II, 1940‑1946, examined intra‑Jewish relations in the context of World War and the Holocaust. Rabbi Bronstein is the author of Our Journey: Congregation Beth Elohim at 150 Years. Rabbi Bronstein has also published a variety of topics, ranging from Jewish humor to theology, editing and contributing articles to many different publications.


May 22 - From Tenement to McMansion:

Hearth and Home in American Jewish Humor

Guest Speaker: Ted Merwin, Associate Professor

of Religion and Judaic Studies, Dickinson College


   From vaudeville routines about overcrowded life on the Lower East Side to postwar comic novels and films, to 21st century sitcoms like Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Goldbergs, the Jewish move to suburbia has been a major theme of popular entertainment. This lecture will show how our nation’s comedy has reflected the bumpy ride to home ownership and the attainment of the “American Dream” for Jewish Baby Boomers and their children.

   Ted Merwin is an associate professor of religion and Judaic studies at Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA), where he directs the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life. A native New Yorker, he has moonlighted for the last 12 years as theater columnist for the New York Jewish Week, the largest-circulation Jewish newspaper in the nation. His articles on Jewish culture have also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Moment, Hadassah, and many other newspapers and magazines.

   His first book, “In Their Own Image: New York Jews in Jazz Age Popular Culture” dealt with the reflection of second generation Jewish life in vaudeville, theater and film. He is currently finishing an illustrated history of the deli, “Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the New York Jewish Delicatessen.”


June 19 - Lessons You Didn’t Learn in College

Guest Speaker: Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, Chairman, Religious Affairs Committee, Pratt Institute


   This lecture will discuss some of the issues that people deal with at different stages of their lives.  With humor it will provide a unique perspective, actionable advice and practical approaches to resolving these problems.

   Rabbi Simcha Weinstein is an internationally known, best-selling author of Up, Up and Oy Vey! How Jewish History, Culture and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero and Shtick Shift: Jewish Humor in the 21st Century.

   Some of Simcha Weinstein’s earliest memories involve comic books and superheroes and his devotion to them only grew stronger as he grew older. This led him to earn his bachelor’s degree in Film History and become an associate for the British Film Commission.  During this time, he was responsible for site coordination and major production elements on several hundred feature films throughout the United Kingdom.

            They say that “when man makes plans, God laughs.” As Simcha began to rediscover his spiritual roots, his path veered from show business to the yeshiva, and he eventually became a rabbi. Today he chairs the Religious Affair’s Com

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