Commonpoint Queens is refusing to let social distancing slow down its spring events — instead, interactive programs, classes and events are moving online via Zoom.
“During this very difficult time, cultural programs are more important than ever,” said Peggy Kurtz, director of Cultural Arts & Jewish Heritage Programs. “Some of us are working, others are not. But each of us is hunkered down most of the day inside, on our own little island, whether it’s with children or a partner, or alone ... These [cultural] events take us out of ourselves and connect us again with the world. They provide us with the nourishment we especially need for our spirit in this difficult time. They reconnect us with what we love most.”
Cultural arts classes are available in the virtual space and range from art history to film discussion and book discussion groups. Commonpoint Queens will also make its popular Jewish Heritage classes, such as the Many Meanings of God in Jewish Tradition, electronically accessible.
Similarly, the organization’s cultural arts events will be streamed live, beginning with “Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust” on Monday, April 20 in honor of Holocaust Memorial Day. Running from 12 to 1:15 p.m., it sees author Jack Hersch discussing the incredible story of his father, Dave Hersch, who survived the Jewish concentration camp Mauthausen twice during the second world war. Hersch’s talk is based on his book of the same title.
To celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, Professor of Law at Pace University and Director of Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic Karl Coplan will lead the discussion, “What does it mean to live a sustainable life?” From 12 to 1:15 p.m., Coplan will discuss whether it is possible to live within a truly sustainable carbon footprint while still living well, and whether an individual can make a true difference by sharing his own personal journey to cut back on his own carbon emissions without decreasing his quality of life. Coplan’s discussion is based on his own book, “Live Sustainably Now: A Low-Carbon Vision of the Good Life.”
As part of its “Israel Independence Day Series,” Commonpoint Queens will air two afternoons of Israeli short films, on Wednesday, April 29 from 12 to 1:15 p.m. and again on Wednesday, May 6 during the same time. Each session will include three short films that depict different aspects of everyday life in Israel — one features a young pregnant woman who uses an unusual way to face her fears about the next phase of her life, while another features a young man who returns from military service but is haunted by traumatic experiences. Each program will be followed by a brief interactive discussion.
“These events also help to create a stronger sense of community,” said Kurtz. “People are connecting with their neighbors, with others who love good film, for example, or others who share a love of good literature.”
The Queens Chronicle will not be publishing What’s Happening — our Community Calendar for the time being. We look forward to resuming publication as soon as possible.