Osher Marin Adult Learning and Living | Osher Marin Jewish Community Center

Welcome to Adult Learning & Living

 Join us for fun, educational, engaging, social, and sometimes delicious activities. Now with our growing virtual programming, it's easy! Center members, non-members, residents near or far, people of all backgrounds, faiths, ethnicities, fashion styles, chocolate preferences—all are welcome!  Come along and we'll explore the arts, build a broader understanding of our world, taste a few treats together, and possibly pick up a new skill or two. We'd love to have you.


Upcoming Programs For October
Date Day Time Event Name Description Cost For Tickets & Registration
Oct 1-22 Thursday 1pm Exploring Opera: 
Aria Ready? 
(4-part Series)

Join James Sokol & vocal coach Ron Valentino for a unique journey through opera history via the exploration of arias.

$65  Click here 
Oct 1 Thursday  1pm 

Exploring Opera:
Aria Ready? – The Baroque & Classical Periods

Join James Sokol & vocal coach Ron Valentino for a unique journey of opera history via the exploration of arias by Monteverdi, Handel & Mozart.

$20  Click here 
Oct 5-26  Monday   12:30pm

Great Presidential Elections in American History

Four Mondays


Join Professor Emeritus Don Schwartz to examine past presidential elections that had a dramatic historic impact, which will serve as a basis for understanding the crucial 2020 election.

$50  Click here 
Oct 5 Monday  3pm  Learning Zoom
Practice Forum

Join Danielle Vierra for a review of skills taught in our Zoom manuals and an open forum to ask focused questions about using Zoom.

 FREE Click here 
 Oct 5  Monday  5pm 

Book Fest:
Eric Furda & Jacques Steinberg, The College Conversation

From an Ivy League dean & a college admissions expert, a guide to help parents support their children as they navigate their way to college.

$6-36   Click here
Oct 6  Tuesday   1pm

Coffee Talk: 
Sharing Stories

Grab a cup of coffee & bring a story that is fun, funny, touching or represent an uplifting experience to share and discuss with Paula Love and others.

FREE Click here 
Oct 6  Tuesday  5pm 

Book Fest:
Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee 

The first book by this The New Yorker writer is a New York Times bestseller and named one of the best books of 2019 by Time, Glamour, O Magazine, Town and Country & more! $11-24 Click here 
Oct 7 Wednesday 1pm

Virtual Music & Morsels:
The Romantic Piano

Bring your coffee/tea & dessert, take a front row seat at your computer, and join pianist Ian Scarfe for a live recital of Chopin, Brahms, Liszt & more. Q&A follows. FREE  Click here 
Oct 8  Thursday  1pm 

Exploring Opera:
Aria Ready? – The Bel Canto Period

Join James Sokol & vocal coach Ron Valentino for a unique journey of opera history via the exploration of arias by Rossini, Donizetti & Bellini. $20   Click here  
Oct 8  Thursday  5pm 

Book Fest:
Colin Quinn, Overstated: A Coast-to-Coast Roast of the 50 States

In Quinn's new book, the popular comedian, SNL alum, social commentator, and star of the shows Red State Blue State and Unconstitutional tackles the condition of our union today.

$11-36   Click here
Oct 12  Monday  3pm  Learning Zoom Practice Forum

Join Danielle Vierra for a review of skills taught in our Zoom manuals and an open forum to ask focused questions about using Zoom.

FREE  Click here 
Oct 13 Tuesday 1pm

Coffee Talk:
"Book Banter”

Join Danielle Vierra & others for a "no reading book discussion!" Gather to hear and share recommendations, commentary & connections.

 FREE Click here 
 Oct 14, 28  Wednesday 1pm 

Learning Unlimited:
The Art & Business of Theatre
w/Lee Sankowich”

As an art, theatre is a complex medium, not to mention business of its own.  Lee will offer insights into these complexities!

FREE   Click here for 10/14

 Click here
 for 10/28
Oct 15 Thursday 1pm

Exploring Opera:
Aria Ready? – The Romantic Period

Join James Sokol & vocal coach Ron Valentino for a unique journey of opera history via the exploration of arias by Meyerbeer, Verdi, Wagner & Massenet.

$20  Click here 
Oct 15  Thursday  5pm 

Book Fest:
Steve Madden, The Cobbler

In conversation with Holly Firfer, CNN Journalist 

Steve Madden’s name & shoes may be familiar, but not his story. In this raw, intimate, and ultimately inspiring book, he shares his bumpy journey to success and the lessons learned along the way.

Click here
Oct 16 Friday 9:30am

Book Fest:
Yotam Ottolenghi, Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook

The 7-time New York Times best-selling cookbook author teams up with his test kitchen’s Ixta Belfrage to reveal how flavor is created and amplified through 100+ innovative, super-delicious, plant-based recipes. $45  Click here 
Oct 18 Sunday 4pm

Terrific Tastings: 
Nicasio Valley Cheese

Bring your wine & crackers and join our fun, interesting & delicious "happy hour" experience!

Varies Click here 
Oct 19 Monday  3pm 

Learning Zoom Practice Forum

Join Danielle Vierra for a review of skills taught in our Zoom manuals and an open forum to ask focused questions about using Zoom.

FREE Click here 
Oct 19  Monday 5pm 

Book Fest:
Jonathan Safran Foer, We Are the Weather

The New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Safran Foer offers a mind-bending and potentially world-changing call to action on climate change.

$11-25  Click here 
Oct 20 Tuesday  1pm 

Coffee Talk:  Documentaries & Discussions
“The Social Dilemma”

Watch the assigned documentary, then bring your reactions, ideas, point of view & questions to join Paula Love & others for an interactive discussion.

FREE  For details
Click here 

Watch trailer
Click here

Watch documentary 
Click here
Oct 21   Wednesday 1pm 

Learning Unlimited:  REFLECTIVE WRITING

Join us for a no-pressure, free-flowing, guided-writing session with writer/professor Marianne Rogoff. You'll be given a prompt to get you going, write for a short time, then read what you wrote and discuss it with the
group, or not.

FREE  Click here 
Oct 22  Thursday  1pm  Exploring Opera:
Aria Ready? – The Verismo & Modern Periods

Join James Sokol & vocal coach Ron Valentino for a unique journey of opera history via the exploration of arias by Puccini, Strauss & others.

$20  Click here
Oct 22 Thursday 5pm

Book Fest:
Judy Gold, Yes, I Can Say That

In Conversation with Mara Davis

Uninhibited and bold, Gold is as skilled at making readers laugh as she is at exposing uncomfortable truths about our culture and society. In this era of partisan politics and gaping inequalities, this book is the refreshingly candid, wickedly funny and deliciously blunt manifesto we need. 


Click here 
Oct 25  Sunday   5pm

Book Fest:
Harlan Coben, The Boy From the Woods

In Conversation with Emily Giffin, New York Times Bestselling Author

A man with a mysterious past is asked to find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 31 novels.

$23   Click here
Oct 27  Tuesday 1pm 

Coffee Talk:
"Whatcha Watchin'?"

Join Danielle Vierra & others to share entertaining, interesting, educational, or uplifting treasures of what you are watching, plus favorite resources and biggest surprises!

FREE  Click here 
Oct 27 Tuesday 5pm

Book Fest:
Nancy Grace, Don’t be a Victim

In conversation with John Lemley, Sirius Radio Host 

Discover gripping true crime stories and the surprising tools you need to keep you and your family safe — from this iconic legal commentator, TV journalist, and New York Times bestselling author. $11-36  Click here 
Oct 29 Thursday 1pm

Exploring Opera:
Open Forum

Bring your burning (or, at least, smoldering) questions about opera, repertoire, singers, the voice, life behind the curtain, etc. to this open discussion with James Sokol. $8-12 Click Here
Oct 29 Thursday 5pm

Book Fest:
Mike Leven, Can’t Do It Yourself

In this part memoir/part business book, hotel executive Mike Leven recounts a range of fascinating stories from growing up in a multi-generational Russian-Jewish household through his career as an executive for noteworthy hotel chains.

$11-36   Click here

Subscribe to enjoy our newsletter.

Contact James directly at jsokol@marinjcc.org.

Moments of Joy, Laughter & Learning!
These uplifting, themed emails provide interesting insights and links to video clips, perfect for fans of Broadway, pop, opera, classical music, comedy & more. And, watch for the lagniappe (re: “a little something extra”).

Subscribe to receive notices of upcoming programs, special events, and our newsletter Moments of Joy. Send your name, email address, and city of residence 

To increase the probability of our emails reaching your inbox, please add James’ email above to your eAddress book.

Subscribe here.

Fill your senses.
Join us for exciting online events with custom concerts, thoughtful films, and local food tastings. These are one-of-a-kind, not-to-be-missed events!

Virtual Music & Morsels
Bring coffee/tea & dessert to your computer, take your front row seat, and join us for a 1-hour live concert with a special guest artist who will not only perform, but also offer insights into the program’s pieces. Live Q&A enriches the experience! Your ticket purchase helps support not only our programs, but also our guest artists(s) whose schedule(s) and income(s) have been severely cut by this challenging period.

Terrific Tastings
Partnering with family-owned businesses, many of which may be struggling during this challenging period, we are delighted to create our live, online, educational tasting experiences. Each month features a different specialty & a different guest who bring unique insights to the tasting. Come for the treats, stay for the fun!

Still Traveling
Would you like to still travel? Now you can without leaving your home – just stay still! Let us whisk you away for an interesting, educational & fun live, guided group tour in a destination beyond your front door! Join a guide from one of our popular Cultural Arts Trips to explore a topic or site at a distant destination as (s)he Zooms across the time zones to lead us. Live Q&A, photos, graphics and video clips (when available) will transport us to the destination! Your ticket purchase helps support not only our programs, but also our special guests – professional guides – who are mostly or completely out of work.

Share your thoughts.

Drop into Coffee Talk. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea, or whatever), pull up a chair, and join others for an engaging chat.​ 


Book Banter
Join our "no reading book discussion" to hear and share recommendations, commentary & connections! Whatcha reading?  Fiction?  Non-Fiction?  Best sellers?  Short works?  Share your latest, greatest find, champion an old/classic favorite or just hear what others are reading.

Documentaries & Discussions
Dive into new worlds & experiences through factual storytelling about real people, places & events. Discover an unusual, interesting or unknown topic; gain a new perspective. Documentaries offer engaging, often thought-provoking journeys. Watch this month’s recommendation, then bring your reactions, ideas, point of view & questions to our interactive discussion.

Stories of the Passed
Think of a wonderful, funny, inspiring, endearing and/or treasured memory of friends, family, colleagues or others who are no longer. Whether about a funny conversation, a memorable travel moment, a first date, a hilarious misunderstanding or other uplifting situation, come tell a story, honor memories of dear ones by sharing and hearing "stories of the passed." 

Watcha Watchin’?
With countless web offerings, TV channels & streaming services, chances for viewing new & classic films, shows, one-offs, mini-series and on-going programs are myriad. Join us to share & compare what you are watching, favorite resources and biggest surprises! Learn about entertaining, educational, or uplifting treasures and recommend your favorites.

Expand your mind.

With Learning Unlimited, you can revisit a favorite subject or pick up a skill by diving into something new at our one-time lectures w/Q&A on a variety of subjects.


Exploring Opera with James Sokol

Whether an opera newcomer or a long-time fan, join us for a single session or a full series of our popular classes. Put down your opera glasses, take your front row seat, and explore this gorgeous, if sometimes intimidating, art form. Join James Sokol who started his career under Beverly Sills at NYCOpera, worked on projects with Opera Company of Philadelphia, then moved to work at San Francisco Opera. With years of in-theater and teaching experience, backstage anecdotes, beautiful video performance clips, and a down-to-earth perspectives, Sokol creates classes that always delight.



Keep an eye on our upcoming events for presenters and educators who are regularly scheduled to share their expertise on a variety topics—from current events to local art installations to financial and legal education.


Broadway Backstage

Let us sneak you in the Stage Door to go backstage on Broadway! A different, special guest theater professional who brings his/her unique expertise, experiences, and insights to our discussion will be featured at each of these exclusive, behind-the-scenes visits. Live Q&A and photos/video clips (when available) will enrich our experience. Your ticket purchase helps support not only this program, but also our special guests – theater professionals – who are mostly or completely out of work.

Opera Behind the Scenes

Let former opera professional & instructor James Sokol pull back the curtain and take you on exclusive, behind-the-scenes visits to the opera. Meet a different special guest opera professional, who brings his/her unique expertise, experiences & insights to our discussion. Live Q&A and video clips highlight our visit. Your ticket purchase helps support not only our programs, but also our guests – opera professionals – who are, mostly or completely, out of work. Come learn, off-stage, what makes the magic happen on-stage!


Adult Learning & Living Donors

 A special thanks to the donors who through their commitment to quality programs, care for the community, and the generosity of their gifts, are helping to make this season's Adult Learning & Living programs possible.

July 1, 2019 - July 15, 2020

Ursula Gropper
Melanie & Peter Maier
Kurland Family Foundation
Hilda Namm
Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco
The Peninsula, Marin & Sonoma Counties

Annette & Richard Delaney, Nancy Ellenbogen & Joel Lurie, Michael & Lori Ferguson, Gail & Harold Glassberg, Jean & Alan Kay, Janet Gallin/The Kelter Foundation, Harriet Kossman, Judith & David Layne, Margarite Olmos, Edie Pankratz, Barbara Sachs-Senn, Jackie & Larry Slayen, Carla Sokol, Michele Spitz/Woman of Her Word.
 Anonymous, Lorraine Barry, Marilyn Beller, Joanne Chappell & George Hagan, Carolyn & Richard Cogan, Dimensions in Travel, Jeanne Gnuse, Liz & Joe Greenberg, Christine & Ron Grossi, Nancy Hemmenway & Thomas Welsh, Joan & Jim Kirsner, Susan Kolb, Susan & Mark Lachtman, Levi Strauss Foundation, Sue Moriguchi, Kim & Marc Press, Melanie Sperling, Ruthellen Toole/Cindy Tollin, Lorraine Voskanian.
Elizabeth Austin, Faith Barry, Dolores Bartning, Lee & Frank Battat, Janet Braff, Gloria Cote, Dwight Daley, Barbara Dembo, Mary & Oak Dowling, Carol Durham, Judith Einbinder, Bernice Greene, Nancy Hemmenway & Thomas Welsh, Gail & Jerry Jacobs, Marjorie Jules, Iris & Alvin King, Julie Klein, Sheri & Jerome Langer, Joan Lithgow, Jeanie E Merriman, Jane Merryman, Emiko Moore & Gary Smith, Joyce Pavlovsky, Jeanne Radtke, Joyce Ratner, Steven Reynolds, Joyce & Gary Rifkind, Donna & Mark Saberman, Judie & Leonard Shaw, Damien Keller & James Sokol, Gregory Spencer & Ben Isaacs, Neva Turer, Hollace Vaughan, Beth Vivio, Judy Whellan, Marilyn Rae Williams, Diane Williams, Sondra Wuthnow.
Alicia Allen, Lauri Arbeit, Marilyn Bagshaw, Marion & Wayne Bulette, Jody & Ed Cale, Karen Carmody, Betsy & Chuck Cordes, Jim Cox, Carol Cuzner, Marilyn de Guzman, John & Martha Denison, Jill Denney, Etty Dolin, Jane Epel, Ronnie & William Feldman, Barbara Fopp, Carole & Mark Friedlander, Shirley Gallagher, Carlotta Gonzalez, Michael Gorton, David Gowdey, Rosemary Greenberg, Catherine Gross, Marc Horowitz, Diane Hyde, Susan Kelly, Lamar Leland, Jerrold Levine, Gerald Lopatin, Judith Mandelbrot, Elaine McKenna, Holly Middleton, Sonja Miremont, Dorothy Nirenstein, Judith & Neil O'Hanlon, Pamela Rand, Donald Reinberg, Jack Rengstorff, Crissy Davis Roach, Lois Roach, Wendy Robbins, David Rose, Dolores Rubin, Marilyn Schneider, Carole Shaw, Judie & Leonard Shaw, Marjorie Siegel, Lexie Sifford, Nina Komiakoff Smith, Peter Snoek, Melanie Sperling, Philip & Rebecca Susser, Maureen Tarpey, Delore Veenstra, Jane Wallace, Carol Wolfe, Rhea Wolkowitz.

Make a donation of any amount at
and designate your gift to "Adult Learning & Living"

Thank you for your support!