Unless otherwise noted, online registration closes 3 business days prior to the start date. After this time, please call the Welcome Desk at 914-366-7898 to register. Many of our programs can be pro-rated after they begin as long as space is available.
Registration for September ’19 – June ’20 programs opens on 8-21 for Members and 8-23 for Non-members.
The Renard Lecture Series is made possible in part by a grant from the Henry H. Renard Foundation, sponsors and program participants.
Musical concerts and first-person accounts are combined with traditional lectures by scholars and experts in their fields. Presenters offer stimulating, informative, engaging, and unique insights in music, literature, art, history, sports, take out film, archeology, and pop culture, and more. The series is open to all and geared toward people 50 years of age and older seeking a cultural and intellectual experience. Join us once or participate each week!
Mondays, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM; Doors open at 9:30 AM
No program on September 30, October 14, October 21, November 11, December 23
Winter / Spring dates to be announced
Fee $5 per person, per presentation/Library
Monday, September 16, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
Open House Special: Members & Non-Members, Free of Charge
Gary Solomon and Loren Korevec perform classic songs from the bygone era of Frank Sinatra, George & Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and many others. Gary Solomon, a native New Yorker, has been an internationally touring musician for over 40 years. Loren Korevec, who hails from California, was the “house pianist” at Elaine’s, one of New York’s most popular restaurants for the rich and famous, for 12 years.
Monday, September 23, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
In Ethiopia, there is a community of over nine thousand Jews. They speak Hebrew, keep kosher and have relatives in Israel, yet Israel continues to deny their appeals for aliyah—the Jewish birthright to become a citizen of Israel. The Passengers tells the story of the Ethiopian Jews, and of the struggle for this final community to immigrate to Israel. It follows the amazing journey of two young men, Demoz and Gezi, as they represent their abandoned community on a fateful mission in America.
Ryan S. Porush is a documentary filmmaker and journalist based in Los Angeles. He has produced, filmed and edited documentaries and short films around the world. His award-winning first film, Two Hundred Percent, about one young man’s journey to Israel to reunite with his forgotten father screened at film festivals in 2016. Most recently, he has collaborated with Endeavor Films, VICE, GQ, Vocativ, and National Geographic.
Monday, October 7, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
From the 1920s through the 1960s, more than 5 million American blacks left the agrarian south for better lives in the industrial north. Sometimes called “The Great Migration” this historic transfer of people and their culture transformed American music. In cities like Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit the music absorbed its urban surroundings and birthed three generations of popular music. Join us as we listen to and discuss some of the Mississippi Delta’s urban progeny that includes Muddy Waters, Albert King, and John Lee Hooker among others.
Michael Shamosh is a musician and historian of American music. He is a lecturer at Westchester Community College Collegium for Lifelong Learning.
Monday, October 28, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
While Picasso and the Cubists gained the support of art critics, curators and art dealers, a few conservative critics tried to block their ascendance through racist, nationalist and anti-Semitic commentary. This slide lecture provides a short, easy-to-understand introduction to Cubism, their network of supporters, and the anti-Semitic criticism which tried to destroy them.
Art historian and Director of the New York Arts Exchange, Beth S. Gersh-Nešic, Ph.D., has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in NY, RI, and MA. Most of her publications are on Cubism, Picasso and the poet/critic André Salmon. She contributes to the magazine Bonjour Paris.
Monday, November 4, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
This 2002 documentary, containing newly discovered archival material and exclusive interviews, describes the heroic efforts of the young Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi deportation and death during WWII. Through clever and courageous action, time and again during his stay in Budapest, Wallenberg was able to thwart efforts by Adolph Eichmann to broaden the Holocaust’s toll. He was taken into custody by the Soviet Red Army just before the liberation of the Hungarian capital, January 17, 1945, and never seen in the free world again. Exactly what happened to him remains one of the major mysteries of the Twentieth Century. This film will be followed by a discussion with Mr. Kimmel.
The producer of the documentary and its major writer, Robert Kimmel, of Tarrytown, has a journalism career of more than 50 years, and includes positions such as Director of NBC Network Radio News, Assistant News Director of WINS Radio, writer and reporter at WABC Radio & TV, and correspondent in Paris and Frankfurt for the American Forces Network. He was Chairman of the Editorial Board of The Hudson Independent, and continues as a member while being Vice President of the Hudson Valley News Corps., its parent company. Fee $5.00 per person.
Monday, November 18, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
The early 1960s come alive in Jess Velona’s fast-paced review of that era’s great speeches, which inspired a nation to believe it could be better. Relive the Catholic JFK confronting a roomful of hostile Protestant ministers, the young president’s timeless inaugural, his bold call for civil rights, and Martin Luther King’s dream. Along the way, Velona takes us behind the scenes to reveal who really wrote those speeches, the lines that were left out and why, and how last-minute events almost prevented some of those speeches from being delivered at all. He also explores how Kennedy and King deftly targeted different audiences within the same speech, and unveils the rhetorical tools they used to make their words unforgettable even a half-century later.
Jess Velona has practiced law for more than 25 years and is also a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School, where he teaches oral advocacy and written communication skills. He has published on the relationship between law and politics. Jess was a one-time candidate for public office in Manhattan, surrogate campaign speaker for Bill Clinton, and an aide who drafted speeches for Senator Daniel
Monday, November 25, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
We are often introduced to the literary classics before we’ve had enough life experience to appreciate them fully. As a literature major at Columbia College many years ago, the speaker fell in love with Anna Karenina having only an undergraduate’s understanding of the book, the characters, and the vicissitudes of love. One of his lifetime goals has been to return to Tolstoy’s masterpiece with enough Russian to read it in the original language and a lifetime of life’s lessons illuminating the story page by page. He will be sharing his progress toward that goal in the hope that others may undertake their own journeys of rediscovery.
Bill Costanzo is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of English and Film and has taught at Westchester Community College for more than forty years. He has published six books on writing and film, including “Great Films and How to Teach Them” (NCTE, 2004),“The Writer’s Eye: Composition in the Multimedia Age” (McGraw-Hill, 2007), and “Reading the Movies” (now available on Kindle), and his latest book, “World Cinema Through Global Genres”.
Monday, December 2, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
The mastery of fire may well be the turning point in human history. Not only did it save mankind from probable extinction, but it was the prime mover in man’s physical and societal evolutions. In this lecture, we will cover these developments and many more.
Marty O. Cohen of Tappan lectures on Jewish History, Bible, Science, and Civilization at the JCC of West Nyack, The Learning Collaborative, Synagogues and Culture Clubs. Fee $5.00 per person.
Monday, December 9, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
The Passenger Steamboat General Slocum was a side-wheel passenger boat taking over 1,300 people, mainly from the lower East Side, on a day’s outing to Oyster Bay on June 15, 1904. Tragedy struck the boat soon after departing from lower Manhattan with over 1,000 people perishing. It was the greatest loss of life from a single event in New York’s history until 9-11. The lecture will discuss the horrible incident which is less well known than the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire or the sinking of the Titanic, other disasters occurring less than a decade later.
Eugene Boesch, of Mahopac, has undertaken archaeological investigations in the Hudson Valley area for 30 years. His work has primarily focused on Native American cultures and adaptations in the Eastern Woodlands of North America and on early Euro-American settlement in the Hudson Valley region. He has also worked in Israel, California, and the Illinois River Valley. Dr. Boesch teaches at Adelphi University and Westchester Community College, and is a member of the Westchester County Historic Preservation Advisory Committee and the Putnam County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission.
Monday, December 16, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
Food is essential in Jewish tradition! Take a Jewish culinary journey around the world: Explore the food and food customs of Jewish communities from Poland to India. Learn about hallah and hamin (Sephardic cholent), manna and matza, potatoes and pilaf, and much more. Listen to songs that feature food that are sung in Hebrew, English, Yiddish and Ladino, for occasions from Shabbat and holidays to ordinary days.
Rahel Musleah is an award-winning journalist, author, singer, speaker, and educator, Rahel is the seventh generation of a Calcutta family who traces her roots to seventeenth century Baghdad. Her multimedia visual, song, and story presentations offer a rare and intimate view of a rich culture little-known to most. She also leads tours of Jewish India informed by her distinctive “insider’s” perspective.
Monday, January 6, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Strangers in a strange land were the Jewish immigrants who landed at Ellis Island in the early 20th century. They wore their shtetl clothes and spoke Yiddish. And they were prime subjects of early silent film, whose main audiences were immigrants on the Lower East Side of NYC. To introduce this series, we will present films that depict the early immigrant experience and the stereotypes that were created by gentile film makers.
Arthur Aldrich is a media historian and founder, editor, and publisher of “Our Town” newspaper. In the 1950s, he worked in radio and was stage manager of an off-Broadway theater and technical director of the Folksbiene Theater on the Lower East Side. He was an adjunct professor at Rockland Community College and taught more than 60 Elderhostel and adult education courses. He teaches at the Learning Collaborative in Rockland County.
Monday, January 13, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
This presentation explores how music and visual images work together. We measure light and sound in terms of frequencies – for example sound increasing from low to high, colors increasing from dark to light. We also experience ways they work together, simultaneously, in performance and in film /video. We will hear Shem and his violin playing, and he will guide us through an exploration of how light and sound work together in art that transforms our experience.
Shem Guibbory is an internationally acclaimed, award winning musician, and creator of mixed-media performance art. Since 1992, Mr. Guibbory has been a member of the first violin section of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Beethoven Halle Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony and the Symphony of the New World.