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Mah Jongg for Beginners II… in the Garden!

Every Wednesday, July 26 – August 16 2023 4-6 PM

From its origins in China in the 1800s to its revived popularity among Jewish-American women in the 1950s to its recent renaissance among younger Jews and non-Jews of all genders, mah jongg has always been a way to find community that spans generations and groups. You, too, can learn the joys and pleasures of the game (while also enjoying the joys and pleasures of the magnificent Museum Garden) in our new four-week Mah Jongg for Beginners program, taught by beloved Mah Jongg Mainer Genie Nakell. This series of classes will provide an introduction to the novice player and is also perfect as a refresher for someone who hasn’t played in a while and/or is looking for tips and strategies. Registration is free, but required. The series is limited to eight participants, and we request that participants make a commitment to the full four-week session.

About the instructor: When Genie Nakell and her husband were visiting their mother-in-law, Miriam, in Detroit in the 1990s, they went to an estate sale in Miriam’s condominium complex and happened upon a beautiful mah jongg set for sale for $25. Genie wanted it for its beauty — learning to play it was an afterthought! When Miriam next visited Genie and her husband in Maine, however, she insisted on teaching them how to play and sparked what became an ongoing love of the game! Since then, Genie and her husband have taught three couples how to play and host regular dinner and mah jongg nights at their home. In addition, Genie has taught over 10 women friends how to play and has held weekly in-person and online games with them for years. Currently, Genie is teaching mah jongg to residents at the Atrium.

As Genie describes, “I taught 5th grade for three years when I was just out of college, and teaching mah jongg combines my love of teaching with my love of the game. Combining the beauty of the mah jongg tiles themselves, how they feel, and the clicking sounds the tiles make as you move them with having fun with friends playing an ancient mentally stimulating game is what mahjong is all about.”