Cultural Arts and Jewish Heritage

Contact Peggy Kurtz 718.268.5011 ext 151

The Hevesi Speaker Series

For upcoming Spring events, click here!

$5 suggested donation for members / $8 suggested donation for non-members (unless otherwise noted)

Alan Hevesi


Mon., January 9, 1:30 p.m.

The US constitution was intended to unite 13 colonies and create a new national government.  It has evolved into the supreme law of the longest-lived democracy in history and the world’s most powerful nation.  How well does an 18th century document apply to modern circumstances?  What are the document’s strengths and weaknesses?  What actions can be taken by a president alone, without any checks or balances?   What would need to be done to change our Electoral College system?  We’ll read and discuss a selection of the Constitution’s most significant clauses in order to understand how we have been able to resolve issues such as civil rights, freedom of speech, and religious freedom.



Mark Levy

THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IS NOT OVER: Reflections of a Freedom Summer Veteran

Monday, January 16, 1:30 p.m.

Mark Levy’s first civil rights involvement was as a teenager in 1957, when he organized a boycott of an all white barbershop in Ohio.  As a Queens College student Mark Levy organized a bus to the historic March on Washington and in 1964 Levy and his wife went to Mississippi to participate in Freedom Summer.  These experiences as a young man changed his life forever.  In the summer of 1964, Levy and his wife taught and lived in Meridian Freedom School, in Meridian, Mississippi and they returned the following summer to Jackson, Mississippi to work in an NAACP desegregation project.  Mark Levy will talk about his experiences those two summers and the lessons he carried forward into his lifetime of work as a teacher and union organizer. Teaching in the Freedom School taught him, “Once a student learns to ask ‘Why?’—the system is starting to change.” He’ll also discuss the Jewish values he grew up with shaped his civil rights involvement. 


Julie Tarney

MY SON WEARS HIGH HEELS: One Mom’s Journey from Clueless to Raising a Gender Creative Child

Thursday, January 26, 7:00 p.m.

$5.00 voluntary donation requested

In 1992, Julie Tarney’s only child, Harry, told her, “Inside my head I’m a girl.” He was two years old.  

Julie had no idea what that meant. She was disoriented. Wasn’t it her role to encourage and support her child? Surely she had to set some limits to his self-expression—or did she? Would he be bullied? Could she do the right thing? What was the right thing?

Lacking a positive role model of her own, and fearful of being judged as a mom who was making her son “too feminine,” Julie embarked on an unexpected parenting path. Despite some missteps, and with no map to guide her, she learned to rely on her instincts. She listened carefully, kept an open mind, and as long as Harry was happy, she let him lead the way. Julie eventually realized that Harry knew who he was all along. Her job was simply to love and support him unconditionally, allowing him to be his authentic self. This story of a mother embracing her child’s uniqueness and her own will resonate with all families.  Julie Tarney is an educator, speaker, writer, and an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth.   

To read the review of My Son Wears Heels in the Huffington Post, click here.





Save the Dates for the 9th Annual


March 5th & 6th!

The Central Queens Y and the Samuel Field Y are proud to once again host the ReelAbilities Film Festival, bringing an outstanding selection of international films and filmmakers to the community.  ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.  Post-screening discussions  with filmmakers and actors bring the community together to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.



Cynthia Kaplan Shamash

Lessons in Exile from One of Iraq's Last Jews

Monday, March 27, 1:30 p.m.

As we struggle with the question of political refugees, Cynthia Kaplan Shamash’s story makes real the personal struggles of the refugees, themselves.  As Iraqi Jews, Cynthia Kaplan Shamash’s family tried to escape Iraq in 1963, but they were captured and jailed for five weeks.  When they were eventually able to flee, they struggled to start over and fit in, in one country after another. 




Interfaith Passover Seder – Thurs., March 30, 7:00 p.m.

The Passover Seder is a favorite holiday in many Jewish families, a feast that combines symbolic foods, songs, and the telling of the story of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, a celebration of freedom for all. Share the Passover Seder customs and a traditional kosher meal with your neighbors!  The Passover Seder will be led by a rabbi.  We’ll keep it short enough to leave plenty of time for talking.  Learn or help us explain the history behind this very special holiday.  Come taste haroset (a sweet relish), with varieties from three continents.  Everyone is welcome, but space is limited!


$20 in advance. RSVP required.

Purchase your tickets at




  Jewish Book Council


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Central Queens Y
67-09 108th Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Telephone: 718-268-5011
  Samuel Field Y
58-20 Little Neck Pkwy
Little Neck, NY 11362
Telephone: 718-225-6750

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