Sunday, September 20, 2020

JCC University offers the opportunity for people to rekindle past passions, ignite new interests, meet new people and stay involved in the developments that shape today’s world. Top professors and experts present on topics ranging from literature, art and film to science, psychology and politics. The JCC is now taking enrollment for a four-session winter term.

January 25:

The United States and North Korea—A Tense Relationship

Professor A. Tom Grunfeld, who has personally been to North Korea, returns to JCC U to discuss the country dynamics from a true insider’s perspective. He will examine the history and politics of both North and South Korea and then analyze U.S./Korea relations, especially the issues surrounding North Korea’s nuclear program and the American attempt to prevent its development.

Jewish Comedy: A Serious History


Columbia professor Jeremy Dauber will trace the origins of Jewish comedy and its development from biblical times to the age of Twitter. Both scholarly and funny, this talk will explore the ways Jewish comedy has dealt with persecution, assimilation and Diaspora through the ages. From Talmudic rabbi jokes to “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” from Franz Kafka to Jon Stewart, we will look at a broad range of comedic masterpieces.

February 8:

The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius

Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist, columnist, best-selling author and television commentator, will profile famous geniuses who have been diagnosed with “disabilities.” She will also look at lay individuals to show how the sources of our greatest struggles can be the origin of our strengths. Saltz uses the latest neuropsychiatric research to make her case.

The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums

Author of nine books on music and popular culture, feature writer for the Wall Street Journal, Will Friedwald will present curated clips and discuss the great albums of our time. A crucial part of music history, albums were designed and promoted so that listeners heard and interpreted music in a particular way. Friedwald will explain what makes this format so special.

February 22:

Everybody Lies: What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

Local author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former Google Data scientist and current lecturer at Wharton, will explain how search terms provide insight into what people are actually thinking and doing. Big data can reveal personal biases, anxieties and hidden desires, which can be quite surprising.

The Hollywood Star System

From Mary Pickford to Meryl Streep, movie actors have always played a crucial role at the box office. Professor Brian Rose will look at how Hollywood relies on star power to draw an audience and examine the history of movie stardom, how the major studios manufacture stars and how the stratospheric salaries (often over $20 million per film) commanded by movie celebrities are justified.

March 8:

Looking at Israeli Art—A Full-Day Event With Tobi Kahn

Tobi Kahn, renowned painter, sculptor and art lecturer whose work is exhibited in major museums and corporate and private collections, has been wowing JCC art lovers for years with his perpetually sold-out art tours to the newest exhibits in Manhattan. His unique teaching style always provides wholly new ways of viewing art. In honor of Israel’s 70th birthday, this full-day lecture will focus on Israeli art. In the morning, Tobi will focus on nine internationally known Israeli photographers who have reinterpreted the boundaries of this medium. In the afternoon, he will concentrate on seven contemporary Israeli artists who work in painting, sculpture and installation art.

JCC U takes place on Thursdays with coffee and conversation beginning at 10:30 a.m. Morning presentation runs from 10:45. to 12 p.m.; lunch (buy or bring your own) from 12 to 12:45 p.m.; and afternoon presentation from 12:45 to 2. Fee for four sessions is $115 for JCC members, $145 for non-members; individual sessions: $35 for JCC members, $42 for the public, per event. To register, visit www.jccotp.org or call Kathy Graff at 201.408.1454.