We host hundreds of community programs each year with advocacy, social justice and education at the forefront of our work. We hold forums on key social issues, host discussions on ethics and philosophy, and partner with other organizations to hold programs that serve the public good. Issues of war, social policy, and human rights have been discussed here by Al Gore, Paul Krugman, Cornell West, Naomi Klein, Toni Morrison and many others.

Our building is also a thriving home for arts and culture, with films, theatrical events, book discussions, and writing, music and art workshops.  Our Concert Hall comes alive with a variety of popular, jazz, and other music programs, including the American Classical Orchestra, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center, the Juilliard School and WFUV’s concert series.

COVID-19 Notice: Please note that due to the pandemic, all of our programming has moved online, and many programs have been rescheduled for weekdays or postponed indefinitely. Please visit our events calendar for our latest program listings.

Leader-Led Courses

An ongoing part of our adult education programs, our Leaders run a variety of discussion groups that are open to both members and nonmembers. Past leader led programs have included Foundations of Ethical Culture and Humanist Interpretations of the Bible.  Check our calendar periodically for leader led programs, or sign up for our mailing list and receive our weekly email.

Exploring Ethical Humanism
with Leader Dr. Richard Koral
4th Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00pm

Discussions of Ethical Culture’s beliefs and practices are for both newcomers and long-time members alike. Through presentation and discussion, we explore the history, ideals, and current interests of the Ethical Society community and our place in the philosophical/religious firmament. Members free, guests $5.

Race, Systems, and Society
with Leader Dr. Richard Koral
2nd Tuesdays, 6:30pm

Even among those who are mindful of the subtle racial, ethnic, and class distinctions that persist in society, we are all participants in a larger societal structure that perpetuates injustices. We will read and discuss books and articles that explore the features of systemic racism and classism in America to better understand the ways in which society can recreate itself to permit all people to flourish and thrive. Members free, guests $5.

Camaraderie and Conversation on Topics Philosophical and Newsworthy
with Leader Dr. Joe Chuman
3rd Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30pm

This is a monthly discussion group focusing on contemporary issuese and occasionally classical writings relating Ethical Culture and Humanism. We will primarily make use of articles from journals of opinion and book chapters when relevant. Rather than taking a merely journalistic approach, the discussions will aim to illuminate the philosophical concepts and values which underlie the issues being discussed.

Discussions & Workshops

Lunchtime Roundtable
Thursdays, 12:00-1:30pm

Bring your lunch and join members for engaging conversation. Folders with relevant articles are also available from Maggie Determann in the Membership office.

Ethics, Fair Trade, and You
1st Thursdays, 6:30-8:30pm

Ethical NYC Member Andrea Reyes, leader of the NYC Fair Trade Coalition, will connect how our everyday choices and purchases affect the many environmental and social issues facing the world today. Sessions will include a short presentation on topics such as human trafficking and exploitation, overconsumption and waste management, cause related marketing and propaganda, and, body positivity and clothing size standards.

Exploring Ethical Dilemmas
3rd Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00pm

What do you do when there’s no clear ethical road to take? Join us every first Monday of the month for this new series featuring speakers from a variety of backgrounds — medicine, law, business, science, education, the arts, social work, etc. — who will share their experiences navigating those ethical minefields.
Free for members, guests $5

Ethical Death Café
2nd Sundays, 1:30-3:30pm
4th Wednesdays, 2:30-4:30pm
Moderator: Rev. Dr. Barbara Simpson

Gather in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea, and eat delicious cake. The objective is to increase awareness of death and help people make the most of their (finite) lives. Topics include health care proxy, ethical will, and green burial. Barbara Simpson holds a doctorate in pastoral counseling and is Bereavement Program Community Outreach Coordinator at Caring Hospice Services.
$5 suggested donation, includes refreshments

Skye & Massimo’s Philosophy Café
3rd Wednesdays, 6-8pm
Moderators: Skye Cleary and Massimo Pigliucci

Based on the principle of the Socratic dialogue. Every meeting has a simple theme (e.g., Should we be afraid of death? What are the ethics of eating?), introduced through a short, accessible, suggested reading with open discussions aimed at sharpening our thinking about the subject matter being examined during that session.
Members: Free.
Guests: $5 donation per session.

Stoa Nova
2nd  & 4th Mondays, 6-8 pm
Moderator: Massimo Pigliucci

Stoa Nova (formerly Stoic School of Life) is inspired (with a bit of immodesty) by the ancient Greco-Roman schools of philosophy. Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, and many others simply gave lectures about their favorite topics and engaged in discussions with people interested in what they had to say. In our case, we will examine the theory and practice of Stoicism as a modern applied philosophy that aids us in navigating a world in some ways just as confusing and uncertain as that of ancient Athens and Rome.
Members: Free.
Guests: $5 donation per session.

Wisdom and World Affairs
1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00pm, Ongoing
Moderator: Ken Gans

A philosophical discussion group with varied subjects: the fate of humanity, world affairs, humanism, etc.

Arts & Culture

The Society offers arts and culture programs that include film discussion series, writing workshops, art workshops and theater workshops. Some longstanding programs include:

The Joy of Personal Writing Workshops

Try your hand at personal non-fiction in a series of classes led by Ethical member Elaine Berman Gurney. You can belong to a supportive group of writers, some just starting and others more experienced, and learn basic and advanced writing skills. All experience levels are welcome!

Fees: $140 for members, $240 for non-members.

Advance registration is required for the entire term, with payment made in full before classes begin. Please contact Maggie Determann at mdetermann@nysec.org or 212 874-5210 x1113 for for class and registration information.

Great Literature Discussion Group

1st & 3rd Wednesdays, 7-9pm
Hosted by Gunther Tielemans

Read the selections in advance, and be prepared to discuss the questions that interest you by referring to the specific related text.

Friday Nights at Ethical

Ethics in Film
1st Fridays, 7-9:00pm, Ceremonial Hall
Monthly film screenings followed by a lively discussion of the ethical issues explored.
$5 donation includes snacks and refreshments (popcorn, beer, coffee, tea).


Ethics and the Theater
2nd Fridays, 7-9:00pm (Reception at 6:30pm)
Following Sundays, 1:30-3:30pm
Members of the Society and theater professionals read plays dealing with ethical and moral issues before a live audience. Readings are followed by discussions of the ethical issues raised by the play.
Suggested donation: $5 members; $10 public. Includes refreshments.


Jazz Café
3rd Fridays, 7-9:30pm, Ceremonial Hall.
Hooray for Friday — especially 3rd Fridays at The Café at Ethical, a welcoming place to unwind, relax, and enjoy music, refreshments, and good company.
$5 members; $15 public. Includes refreshments.


Some recent reviews by attendees:

“Wonderful! A step back in time.” -D. Berkowitz, Asheville, NC

“Totally delighted the whole evening! Classic intimate place, delightful people, and energy the whole time!” – W. T., Brentwood, New York, NY

“The venue for the music was wonderful. There were round tables complete with table clothes and nice mood lighting. The chandeliers were dimmed and it was a nightclub atmosphere. The music was excellent and then there was an open mike so I got to see a number of talented neighborhood folks get up and do their thing. Some people even felt moved to dance. I loved it!” -G. Walsh, Fair Lawn NJ

Happy Hour for Humanity Young Professional Meet-Up
4th Fridays, 7-9:00pm, Elliott Library (507)
Discuss current events and the political and personal ethical challenges of the day over drinks!
Free for members; $5 public. Includes refreshments.

Concerts At The Society

The Society’s 800-seat Concert Hall is a favorite of musicans because of its warm, full acoustics.  From classical music at our Sunday meetings played by Music Director David Gracia, to the many music partners who use our space, the Concert Hall is a gem of New York City venues. The Society presents some of its own music programming and also works with other music presenters to bring the best of music to our wonderful venue.

For a complete list of upcoming concerts, visit Metropolitan Presents.