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Adult Learning Institute (ALI)

Course Schedule


Contact:,  703.537.3068;,  703.537.3066

Launched in September, 2013, ALI is an initiative of the JCCNV Adult Services Department. We offer classes on topics such as the arts and entertainment, history, literature, Israel, Jewish history and culture, and much more. Classes are usually held during the day on Mondays and Tuesdays.

ALI Fall 2016 Course Schedule

We are pleased to announce our Fall 2016 line-up of classes! The semester will run from Tuesday, September 6 through Tuesday, December 20.

NEW! Later Start Times and Longer Classes!

In response to your feedback, we are experimenting with some later class start times and some longer classes (1 ½ hours instead of 1 ¼ hours). With these new class times, please feel free to bring a meatless lunch to eat during class. We appreciate your input — please keep it coming!

Registration for the Fall 2016 semester is now open. There’s something here for everyone. Please take a moment to review the schedule below and sign up for one (or more!) of these fabulous opportunities to continue your lifelong learning at the J!
You may register at any time, by mail, phone, online, or by submitting registration forms and payment to the JCCNV front desk.

To Register:
By Mail
Mail completed registration form with payment, payable to “JCCNV,” to Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, 8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax, VA 22031.
By Phone
Call the JCCNV front desk at 703.323.0880 and be prepared to give a credit card number to secure your place in the course.
Register online at


Special Author Event with Leslie Rupley, Author of Beyond the Silk Mills
Monday, October 31
Instructor: Leslie Rupley, author and memoirist
One simple question about her grandmother’s past drove Leslie Rupley to undertake a tireless adventure to solve the riddle. The author’s quest led her to write Beyond the Silk Mills, an historically rich Jewish immigrant saga of love, obsession, and regret. With humorous details about crafting a plot and developing engaging characters, she will highlight her diligent research to ensure that the early 20th century Paterson, New Jersey setting is historically accurate, from the clothing, speech, and household furnishings to the political environment during the emerging post-industrial labor movement.
Fee: $18/ $12 J member
Code: #7491

Trip to People on the Move: Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series (All Panels Reunited!) at the Phillips Collection
Thursday, November 3, depart the J 9:30am; return approximately 3:30pm
This trip will be a follow-up to last winter’s Adult Learning Institute course on “Great Migrations: Jacob Lawrence, Julius Rosenwald, Edith Halpert, and a Vision for Black America” with LaNitra Berger, Ph.D., Director of Fellowships, Honors College, George Mason University. All are welcome! We will have a guided tour with a gallery educator (Ph.D. or master’s degree in Art History) to interpret this very special exhibition, so there’s no need to have taken the course beforehand. The Migration Series by Jacob Lawrence, one of America’s greatest painters of black life, is an iconic masterpiece graphically portraying the historic mass movement of African Americans from the deep South to the North in the early 20th century. A scholarship from Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald made it possible for Jacob Lawrence to begin work on this project. The exhibition is a rare opportunity to see all sixty panels of the series together in this area. Following our tour and some free time to explore the rest of the museum, we will enjoy lunch at the nearby Commissary Restaurant (a separate charge).
Fee: $28/ $24 J member (includes guided tour and bus transportation; lunch is a separate charge)
Code: #7492

Redemption: A Comparison of Chanukah and Purim
Mondays, November 7–28 (4 weeks)
Instructor: Gilah Goldsmith J.D., retired government attorney and leader of Beth El Hebrew Congregation’s weekly Torah study group
Chanukah and Purim are not often thought of together, but a comparison of these two rabbinic (created by the rabbis, not found in the Torah) holidays is actually quite instructive. In explaining these holidays and how they should be celebrated, the rabbis wrestled with conflicting ideas of the human role in redemption which have resonated throughout Jewish history. Why did the rabbis include the story of Purim, arguably a complete fiction, in the Tanach, but leave out I and II Maccabees, which are accounts of real historical events? Do these stories mean the same thing today that they meant during the Middle Ages? Do they mean the same in Israel, the U.S., and the rest of the diaspora? Prepare to see these winter holidays in a new light!
Fee: $48/ $32 J member
Code: #7493

Hineni (Here I Am): The Jewish-Black Partnership in the Civil Rights Movement
Mondays, November 7–14 (2 weeks)
Instructors: Bruce H. Turnbull and Stephen Horblitt, Co-Chairs, Civil Rights Task Force of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Washington Regional Office (Please note: This program is not sponsored by AJC)
When the civil rights movement called, the responses of Jews and Jewish groups were among the most prominent outside of the African American community — from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched arm-in-arm with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, to Rabbi Joachim Prinz, who spoke immediately before Dr. King at the 1963 March on Washington, to the lawyers who helped to fashion civil rights litigation and legislation, to thousands of young people, who came to the South as Freedom Riders, lunch-counter sit-in protestors, and Freedom Summer teachers and voter registration workers. Jewish organizations also answered the call, including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, NJCRAC (now the Jewish Council for Public Affairs), and many, many congregations throughout the country, South as well as North. This course will explore what happened and why during that critical time in our nation’s history. And it will look beyond the 1960s, to the 1970s and 1980s, when Jews and African Americans worked in partnership seeking to fulfill the promise of the 1960s, but also began encountering divisions for various reasons, and to the most recent era, when Black Lives Matter has attracted some Jewish participants but also has connected with Palestinians as “fellow oppressed peoples,” greatly complicating the Jewish-Black partnership. Stephen Horblitt has spent many years in the trenches, working as a key aide to former Washington, DC Congressman Walter Fauntroy, and serving on the boards of both Jewish and historically African American organizations. He will talk from experience and from the heart about what it has been like to help form and maintain this partnership. Bruce Turnbull will bring his legal perspective to the issues and struggles, along with his lifelong passion for civil rights causes.
Fee: $24/ $16 J member
Code: #7494

One Foot in Two Worlds: Reading Lolita in Tehran
Mondays, December 5–12 (2 weeks)
(snow make-up date Dec. 19)
Instructor: Linda Blair, Ph.D. in American Literature, retired Fairfax County high school English teacher, and English Department Chair
At the end of chapter one of Reading Lolita in Tehran, the author Azar Nafisi writes, “Against the tyranny of time and politics, imagine us the way we sometimes didn’t dare to imagine ourselves: in our most private and secret moments, in the most extraordinarily ordinary instances of life, listening to music, falling in love, walking down the shady streets or reading Lolita in Tehran. And then imagine us again with all this confiscated, driven underground, taken away from us” (p.6). The setting of this provocative memoir centers on the transformation of Iran into the first Islamic Republic, when Nafisi was ordered to wear the veil in all public venues including her university literature classes, when personal freedoms for all Iranians were taken away. Nafisi’s focus, however, is to maintain her ability to continue teaching American literature to some of her students, unveiled and in the freedom of her living room. This two-session course explores the memoir in terms of Nafisi’s personal and professional decisions and their connections to American literary works. Our discussion will underscore the profound and lasting influence of concrete and abstract concepts of literature itself.

The memoir is readily available on and in local public libraries. Handouts of passages to be discussed in class will be provided.
Fee: $24/ $16 J member
Code: #7495

Poems from the New Holocaust: Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century
Tuesdays, December 6–13 (2 weeks)
(snow make-up date Dec. 20)
Instructor: Eric Rozenman, Washington Director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
Following the Nazi annihilation of six million Jews in the Holocaust, anti-Semitism fell into disrepute and was not openly expressed by “respectable” people in the West. Currently, however, a virulent resurgence of anti-Semitism appears in Europe, the Middle East, and even in the United States. Is this the old anti-Semitism resurfacing, once again rearing its ugly head, or is this the rise of a new form of anti-Semitism? Through six to eight poems (ancient, 20th Century, 21st Century), several written by the instructor and published in journals, this class will explore the evolution of anti-Semitism and its more recent manifestations in the world today.

Copies of the poems to be discussed and some background reading materials will be e-mailed in advance to those who register, and will also be provided at the first class.
Fee: $24/ $16 J member
Code: #7496


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8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax, VA 22031
Phone: 703.323.0880 • Fax: 703.323.1993

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