Commonpoint Queens virtual cultural arts speaker series returns next month

Meeting over a video call in office post pandemic
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As part of Commonpoint Queens’ virtual programming, the nonprofit announced the return of a Zoom speaker series at the start of next month.

The organization’s Fall 2021 Virtual Cultural Arts Program kicks off on Monday, Oct. 4, featuring an engaging lineup of speakers covering cultural, Jewish and other contemporary topics.

Monday, Oct. 4

Longtime BBC Middle East Editor and author Raffi Berg will be the series’ first speaker at 1 p.m., discussing his book “Red Sea Spies: The True Story of Mossad’s Fake Diving Resort.” The story takes place in the early 1980s on a new luxury holiday resort on a remote part of the Sudanese coast, where the staff served as undercover spies for Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. Berg’s book, which inspired the Netflix drama “The Red Sea Diving Resort,” tells the tale of how thousands of Ethiopian Jews in refugee camps were secretly evacuated to Israel.

Thursday, Oct. 14

At 7 p.m. on Oct. 14, child psychologist Harold Koplewicz will host a talk on his book “The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety.” During this virtual talk, Koplewicz will explain how to prevent and counteract anxiety and “emotional fragility” in today’s youth, introducing new parenting philosophies and strategies that give young people the tools to flourish on their own.

The event is free but registration is required.

Monday, Oct. 18

At noon on Oct. 18, former Flotilla 13 commando, Medal of Valor recipient and retired Admiral Ami Ayalon will share his thoughts and philosophy on what Israel needs to do to achieve relative peace and how it can sustain itself as a Jewish homeland and a liberal democracy. Professor Mark Rosenblum will moderate the discussion surrounding Ayalon’s book “Friendly Fire: How Israel Became Its Own Worst Enemy,” which discussed how a “sustainable and democratic Jewish homeland” can only be achieved “side-by-side with a Palestinian state.”

Monday, Nov. 1

On Nov. 1 at 12 p.m., Commonpoint welcomes speaker Gwen Strauss, author of “The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany.” The nine women, all under 30 years old, joined the resistance during World War II. One of these women was Strauss’ great aunt Hélène Podliasky, who participated in smuggling arms through Europe, trekking escape routes through Spain and hiding Jewish children in scattered apartments. Podliasky led her eight friends from a German forced labor camp on a 10-day journey across the front lines and back to Paris.

Monday, Nov. 15

Scholar Leah Garrett will discuss her book “X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II” on Monday, Nov. 15 at 12 p.m. The book follows Winston Churchill and his chief of staff, who formed a commando unit of Jewish refugees who had escaped to Britain. Named “X Troop,” this group of intellectuals, artists and athletes from Germany and Austria had taken on fake British identities and were trained in counterintelligence and advanced combat to fight against the Third Reich.

Tickets for these virtual events — excluding the free Harold Koplewicz lecture — are $8 for Commonpoint members and $10 for non-members. All events will be virtual on Zoom and registration can be found on www.commonpointqueens.org/program/cultural-arts-and-jewish-heritage-events.

For more information, email kstrauss@commonpointqueens.org or visit www.commonpointqueens.org/cultural.

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