Here are the latest Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes:

Jews in the Catskills during and after the Holocaust

Historian and sociologist Phil Brown will examine the lives of local residents and resort owners, guests and workers in the Catskills summer resorts through the lens of the Holocaust in an online webinar from 4 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

A summer haven for both Holocaust survivors and those who had arrived earlier, the Catskills offered Jews ways to release their rising fears and ongoing anxieties during and after the war by engaging in community life while living beside the disaster.

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) brought new arrivals to the Catskills while labor Zionist/socialist Zionist groups set up training camps in the Catskills to prepare Jews to move to Israel.

Learn how Jews began to vacation without guilt in “The Mountains,” launching the “Golden Era” of the resort area in the 1950s and 1960s and how Yiddish language and culture (including Yiddish jokes) in the Catskills were a form of resistance.

Brown will also discuss the many works of fiction and non-fiction dealing with this era.

This online webinar is presented by the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Visit and/or for more information and registration.

‘Elements of the Victorian Dinner Table’ (A virtual program)

Gibson House Museum (137 Beacon St.) will virtually present “Elements of the Victorian Dinner Table” from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 25 via Zoom.

The Victorians used a lot of tableware for their meals, often much more than people do today. Etiquetteer Robert B. Dimmick and Gibson House Museum Curator Meghan Gelardi Holmes will use the museum’s collection to set an everyday table in the Gibson House dining room, highlighting things we don't often use today. Sharing information about Victorian table manners and menus, they'll explore the dining habits of the Gibson and Warren families and the roles played by servants.

Visit for more information and registration. ($10 - members, $12 - nonmembers)

Book Group for Adults on the Spectrum

A monthly online book discussion group for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related conditions or who identify as such is held from 6 to 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month hosted by the Boston Public Library and the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE).

Each month the attendees will read a novel, short story, memoir, self-help book, or essay, etc. of their choice and report back to the group.

For Aug. 25 the group will focus on short stories.

Visit for more information and the link to Zoom.

Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Online Book Group

The Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group at the Boston Public Library's Central Library is geared toward young adults in their 20s and 30s and meets every fourth Tuesday of the month from 6 to 7 p.m. on line. They cover a wide variety of genres including historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, nonfiction, among others.

The Aug. 25 book will be The Song of Achilles by Nadeline Miller.

Visit for more information, including the video chat link.

Just Writing: A Poetry Workshop

When the world gets delayed and your truth sits silent inside, just write!

Join the Boston Public Library for Just Writing, an online poetry writing workshop hosted by Toni Bee – storyteller, community advocate and Poet Populist emeritus, of Cambridge from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays from Aug. 26 through Sept. 16.

Topics will include nature, free writes, Prince and “the things you miss.”

Visit for more information and registration.

‘Running Toward Abolition’

Evan Turiano (CUNY) will present “Running Toward Abolition: Fugitive Slaves, Legal Rights and the Coming of the Civil War” from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27 hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

This talk tells the story of the long political fight over the legal rights of accused fugitive slaves in the United States. That conflict – fought as often in Congress as before local judges – revealed fundamental weaknesses in the Constitution’s ability to keep peace in a half-slave, half-free nation. Abolitionists saw this opportunity and thrust the fight into electoral politics. It was central to the long- and short-term origins of the American Civil War.

This online event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested at

Kanopy Club: ‘The Bookshop’

The Boston Public Library invites you to watch the film The Bookshop on bookshop and then join the discussion from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27 on Zoom.

About The Bookshop: England, 1959. Free-spirited widow Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) risks everything to open a bookshop in a conservative East Anglian coastal town. While bringing a surprising cultural awakening through works by Ray Bradbury and Vladimir Nabokov, she earns the polite but ruthless opposition of a local grand dame (Patricia Clarkson) and the support and affection of a reclusive book loving widower (Bill Nighy).

As Florence's obstacles amass and bear suspicious signs of a local power struggle, she is forced to ask: is there a place for a bookshop in a town that may not want one?

Visit for more information, including registration. A Zoom invite will be emailed to you once you register.

Late night at Emmanuel: Summer sessions

Emmanuel Music will present five virtual concerts of newly recorded and/or newly contextualized performances of music spanning nearly three centuries as follows:

Aug. 27: Schlummert Ein...

Soprano Kristen Watson presents a new arrangement of Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen, the touching central aria of Bach’s Cantata BWV 82, Ich habe genug. Supported by the audio production of husband Eric Reustle, Watson presents this aria both as soloist and accompanist, redeveloping and recording the instrumental parts with her voice. Watson and Reustle will present this work alongside another new project they have developed and share insights into their recording and editing process.

Videos of these wide-ranging concerts will be available on: Facebook Live at 9 p.m. and on YouTube and the following day.

Concerts in the Courtyard Series (Online)

The Boston Public Library, in the spirit of their annual Concerts in the Courtyard series, will stream the performances on their YouTube page from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays as follows:

Aug. 28: Ken Field & Blake Newman

Visit for more information, including a description of each concert.

Boston Project Podcast

The Boston Project is SpeakEasy’s new works initiative that supports the creation of new plays set in Boston. In an effort to reach a wider audience and engage with new work even while in quarantine, SpeakEasy has launched a new wing of this program – the Boston Project Podcast.

The SpeakEasy will bring people the first series of the podcast – a fully adapted, episodic version of The Usual Unusual by MJ Halberstadt, recorded by local artists, with one episode released a week.

The podcasts will be available at as well as on all your favorite podcast streaming platforms.

‘The Struggle for Freedom: Patriots of Color at Bunker Hill’

The Shirley-Eustis House Association, Boston National Historical Park and the Gibson House Museum will host an online presentation highlighting the lives of four Black men - some enslaved, some free - who fought against the British at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775. Barzillai Lew, Cuff Blanchard-Chambers, Cuff Whittemore and Jude Hall were among the thousands of men of color who chose to fight with the Patriots in a war that seemed to hold no explicit promise of liberty for Black people.

The online presentation will take place at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 15 and at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24. It is free of charge and open to the public.

Boston National Historical Park staff members Merrill Kohlhofer and Gabriella Hornbeck have combed through archival records and recent research to piece together the stories of these four men and their reasons for supporting the Patriot cause. The presentation offers a sample of the growing efforts among historians to revisit and revise the conventional stories we tell about the American Revolution.

As Shirley-Eustis House Education and Events Committee member Jeanne Richardson notes: “Even though we’re looking closely at only four of the 100 men of color who fought at Bunker Hill, this is an excellent opportunity to gain insights into the complicated personal stories of free and non-free African-Americans at the birth of our nation.”

A question-and-answer session will follow the webinar to allow participants to ask in-depth questions about the soldiers' lives. The session will also provide more information on the resources available for others wanting to explore this thread of American history.

The webinar is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

To register for the program visit , or contact the Shirley-Eustis House at 617-442-2271 or, or visit

Boston Athenæum re-opening

Boston Athenæum, 10½ Beacon St. offers many activities online free of charge, serving their members, the Boston community, and beyond.

At the same time, their building has re-opened for members to use the reading rooms (by appointment) and take advantage of book pick-up and drop-off in the lobby following COVID-19 protocols. Please phone (617) 720-7604 with questions and to reserve time in the building.

Library hours: Mondays through Thursdays - 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit for more information.

Esplanade Association 2020 Moondance Gala

Based on the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic, the Esplanade Association has made the difficult decision to cancel the beloved Moondance Gala in 2020. After many conversations with chairs Carolina Säve-Natale, Bryan Natale, Margo Newman and Fred Newman, the safety of friends and supporters is their top priority. In addition, they determined it was not fiscally responsible to take on the financial risk associated with planning an event that could likely need to be cancelled at a later date.

The group thanks people who have considered making a gift to the Esplanade Association. People’s support of EA is more critical than ever before as this event typically makes up 50 percent of their operating revenue. All donations are fully tax deductible and people can use any means to send their support, including Donor Advised Funds.

Make gifts by using the secure online donation website below, using the Donor Advised Fund, giving appreciated securities or sending a check (payable to Esplanade Association) to Jim Diverio, Director of Development, Esplanade Association, 575 Boylston St., Suite 4R, Boston, MA 02116.

Call Jim Diverio at 617-837-2870 or visit for more information.

Early literacy playgroup (on Zoom)

Parents and caregivers with children, ages 3 years old and younger (although older siblings are welcome as well), to join Boston Public Library for an interactive program that includes playtime, conversation, and early literacy information from 11:30 a.m. to noon on Mondays through Aug. 31 on Zoom.

Visit for more information, including required registration. Zoom link will be sent to registered participants.

Facebook Live Story Time: Tuesday Tales

Join Librarian Laura for a live-streamed story time for children, ages 2 to 4 years old, from 10:30 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays through Aug. 25 at

Visit for more information.

Jackbox Party Gaming for Teens on Twitch

Teens in grades 6 through 12 are invited to join the BPL Teen Librarians for Jackbox Party Gaming on Twitch from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays through Sept. 2 in the Virtual Teen Room.

They’ll host a series of wacky, irreverent online games, all of which are designed to be played by large audiences.

Visit for more details, including registration.

Facebook Live: Story and a craft

What will people create today? Children, ages 4 to 8, are invited to join the Boston Public Library for a live-streamed story time and craft from 3 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27 at www/

Visit for more information.

Virtual Jazz Coffee House

The Virtual Jazz Coffee House, featuring the Willie Sordillo Ensemble, will be live streamed from the Old South Church in Boston from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays at

Breakdancing workshop for youth

Teens (Ages 13-18) are invited to join the Boston Public Library from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays through Aug. 28 for breakdancing led by Oliver Arias, a member of the Floorlord - the longest-running hip hop dance troupe in the US.

Each week people will learn new dance moves which will get difficult as the weeks move on. No previous dancing experience required.

Visit for more information, including registration. A link to the Zoom meeting and password will be sent via email on the day of the program.

HOH Virtual Game Night Series

Join Havurah on the Hill at the Vilna Shul - Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture - to laugh, engage and connect through social clue-giving games such as Codenames, Just One and Pictionary at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29.

These virtual entertainment experiences are professionally produced by Eureka: On the Spot.

The event will also include candle lighting, Hamotzi and Kiddish.

HOH events are designed specifically for people in their 20s and 30s. For those who were born after the debut of the Rubik Cube, register in order to receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link.

Visit for more information.

Community Boating program

The 2020 Community Boating program (21 David G. Mugar Way) has been adjusted to account for safety regulations put in place by state and federal government. CBI is currently operating their Adult Program and paddling rentals on an appointment basis.

Visit for more information.

Summer on the Emerald Necklace goes virtual

The Emerald Necklace signature series of summer programs will be offered online as a variety of live and on-demand events – including virtual tours and concerts, contests, online yoga and more.

Make the most of your summer by exploring, connecting with and learning more about one of the many historic parks that make up the Emerald Necklace and the natural world. Whether at home or on a socially distanced stroll in a favorite park, they have an activity for everyone.

New resources and live virtual events will be released regularly throughout the summer.

Visit frequently for the latest announcements.

Free Bluebikes passes for essential workers

To assist re-opening efforts, the City of Boston is offering free Bluebikes passes to help people get to work at hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, or at restaurants and retail establishments in Boston (and other nearby areas) through Sept. 30.

Visit for more information, including pass applications.

Two new exhibits at Pucker Gallery

Two new exhibitions will be on view at the Pucker Gallery, 240 Newbury St. (third floor) through Sept. 20.

A booklet with colorful illustrations outlining the exhibition of Ongoing Conversation: Birds in the Art of Samuel Bak and a fine collection of art depicted in Fine Choices 2020 are available for perusing online for the gallery viewing.

Visit for more information, including gallery hours.

‘BENDING LINES: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception’

From 17th century attempts to woo European settlers to the New World with maps that exaggerated natural resources, to a 2019 Sharpie-enhanced weather map designed to reshape the politics of disaster planning, maps and visual data have always been tools for manipulating reality.

In a wide-ranging, year-long initiative comprising exhibitions, programs and educational activities, “BENDING LINES: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception” at the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map & Education Center (Copley Square), offers a critical look at how to understand the world as it appears in geographic representations.

The show features historical and contemporary documents and interactive displays designed to show visitors the power of persuasive mapmaking and will be on view through May 2021.

Visit for more information.


The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. is a non-profit organization devoted to preserving and promoting the history of public transportation in the Greater Boston area and New England since 1959.

The group typically meets on the first Saturday of the month. Their online store is open.

Rollsign, a bi-monthly publication on New England transit news and history, is also available.

Visit for more information, including the status of their Sept. 12 (online) meeting.

BPL To Go and more

The Boston Public Library has launched the new “BPL to Go” program at 22 of the 26 locations.

Using the library website, phone line or the “BPL to Go” iPhone app, patrons will be able to “order” (place a hold on) items such as books, DVDs, and CDs and pick them up at the library. BPL has “Printing to Go” as well.

All branches will continue to offer a wide range of digital events and online resources.

Visit to learn more.

Copley Square Farmers Market open

The Copley Square Farmers Market – Boston’s biggest and busiest – will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays through Nov. 24.

The Farmers Market will offer a vibrant selection of local and delicious produce and meat from more than two dozen Massachusetts farmers.

Copley Square vendors accept SNAP/EBT/HIP/Nutrition Vouchers for all eligible products.

Visit for more information - including shopping protocol.

Boston Ballet online

Enjoy a variety of behind-the-scenes videos, performance clips, and articles on along with exclusive, ballet videos at


Support Boston Ballet at

Genealogy for the next generation

Several free, easy-to-do fun activities that will keep kids entertained and get them thinking about their family history are available at

These exercises are designed to teach critical skills while encouraging kids to explore their personal connection to the past. Studies show that young people who know facts about their heritage have a stronger sense of self, which can help them perform better in school and life.

Huntington @ Home

Huntington @ Home, a series of new programs to connect with their audiences, includes:

- Special online performances and messages from artists

- One-on-one phone calls with staff – they’ll bring you a short monologue about past productions or a conversation about how the theatre created one of their plays or musicals

- Huntington@HomeSchool for distance learning and short classes, educational resources and virtual performance opportunities for students and other artists

Visit for more information.

Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen

The Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen BBMSK (“Bumsk”) is a group of young adults who minister to the homeless on the streets of Back Bay. They take sandwiches, fruit, socks and Rosaries to distribute, and take time to listen to the stories of the men and women they encounter.

The group meets Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. on the front steps of the St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine, 1105 Boylston St.

They are always looking for donations (money/gift cards, toiletries, socks, and supplies) and volunteers to help prepare and package the food.

Contact Eli at 703-638-2019 or visit for more information.

Common Cathedral and Boston Warm programs need help

Common Cathedral and Boston Warm programs under the umbrella of Ecclesia Ministries at Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury St.) needs partners to help them serve the increasing number of homeless and underserved during this critical time.

There are three specific ways that you can help make a difference:

1) Donate supplies listed on their Amazon account.

2) Donate individually wrapped homemade or purchased sandwiches, soft fruits and granola bars.

3) Donate your time, your treasures (donations) and your prayers – they are always welcomed and valued.

Visit for other information, including links to keep this mission alive.

Friday Night Supper Program emergency appeal

The Friday Night Supper program (FNSP) at the Arlington Street Church – the longest running program in Boston – has served more than 13,000 meals a year to more than 130 guests from all over Boston since 1984.

Your donations make a difference in the lives of people in need, whether through philanthropic dollars or individual gifts of money, clothing, toiletries and gift cards. Help fill the gap with their Emergency Appeal so they can continue their mission.

Visit to make a donation.

Support Women’s Lunch Place

Women’s Lunch Place, 67 Newbury St. continues to serve women while maintaining all three of their core services areas – healthy meals, direct care and advocacy.

WLP is open every day from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and provides one take out package that contains a nutritious breakfast and lunch with extra snacks to sustain their guests.

Women’s Lunch Place needs donations – money, gift cards, toiletries, underwear and other basic necessities – to keep their mission going.

Visit for more information.

Free summer ‘grab-and-go’ meals for children and adults

The City of Boston, in partnership with Project Bread, YMCA of Greater Boston, Boston Centers for Youth and Families and other community organizations, will provide free “grab and go” meals for Boston residents (adults and children) in need. No ID required.

Visit and/or for a list of meal sites. There will also be a list of food pantries and soup kitchens.

Phone 617-635-3717 or email with questions or concerns or for other information.

If you need additional food resources, contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333.