All That Glittered: The Golden Age–CANCELLED

From the late 1920’s to the late 1950’s, Broadway theatre was America’s cultural epicenter. Television didn’t exist and movies were regarded as novelties. Entertainment took the form of literature, music and theatre.   Students analyze some outstanding works of the golden age. Plays are under 100 pages and are available at Barnes and Noble bookstores. An optional visit to a dramatic play at the Yale Rep or Long Wharf theaters is offered. The plays are in the sequence listed below. 

8 sessions starting Thursday, March 15 at 3:10 PM

The Rose Tattoo is an acclaimed play written by Tennessee Williams. The drama opened on Broadway in 1951, and the film adaptation was released in 1955. The play tells the story of an Italian-American widow in Mississippi  who has allowed herself to withdraw from the world after her husband’s death, and expects her daughter to do the same. The play won Tony awards for best play, best actor (Eli Wallach) and best actress (Maureen Stapleton).

Mister Roberts, by Joshua Logan, both a novel and a successful Broadway play, is a well-balanced blend of comedy and drama. It opened in 1948, winning a Tony Award for Best Play. Of all the dramas made about World War II, Mister Roberts stands out as unique. The action takes place on a Navy cargo ship in the Pacific during the waning months of the war. The main tension in the drama is not between the Americans and the Japanese but between the title character (Henry Fonda), and the ship’s captain (James Cagney).

A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry opened on Broadway in 1959 and marked the debut of a young actor, Sidney Poitier. The play tells the story of a lower-class black family’s struggle to “better themselves” and gain middle-class acceptance. When the play opens, Mama, the sixty-year-old matriarch of the family, is waiting for a $10,000 insurance check from the death of her husband. The drama focuses on how the new windfall splits apart a family eventually to be reconciled by the drama’s end.

A View From the Bridge is one of Arthur Miller’s most celebrated plays, renowned for its passion and tragedy. Eddie Carbone, a Brooklyn longshoreman is unhappily married to Beatrice and unconsciously in love with Catherine, the niece that they have raised from childhood. Into his house come two brothers, illegal immigrants, Marco and Rodolpho. Catherine falls in love with Rudolpho; and Eddie, tormented but unable to admit even to himself his quasi-incestuous love, reports the illegal immigrants to the authorities.

The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson, tells the story of young Helen Keller, blind, deaf, and mute since infancy. Her inability to communicate has left her frustrated and violent. In desperation, her parents seek help from the Perkins Institute, which sends them a schoolgirl named Annie Sullivan to tutor their daughter. Through persistence and love, and sheer stubbornness, Annie breaks through Helen’s walls of silence and darkness and teaches her to communicate.

Sunrise at Campobello, by Dore Schary, is the story of Franklin Roosevelt’s bout with polio at age 39 in 1921 and how his family (and especially wife Eleanor) cope with his illness. From being stricken while vacationing at Campobello to his thrilling nominating speech for Al Smith’s presidency in 1924, the story follows the various influences on Roosevelt’s life and his determination to recover.

Look Back In Anger, a 1956 play by renowned British playwright John Osborne, focuses on the overeducated and underemployed Jimmy Porter who rails against his work and life. He often lashes out at his wife, Alison, who he sees as “uppity.” Jimmy’s anger and frustration lead Alison to

Current Events: THURSDAYS

Framed by the week’s trending news, this course relies on rigorous yet respectful debate to enhance our understanding of divergent viewpoints on current events.   Discussions address politics, gender, religion and their place in contemporary culture – issues that give life depth and meaning.   We focus on developing critical reasoning skills by examining the pre-conceived biases that affect our personal objectivity.

8 sessions starting Thursday, March 15 at 1:10 PM

Great American Songs and Stories: The 1960’s

Camelot opened on Broadway in 1960 with many wonderful songs by Lerner and Lowe including the title song Camelot. In the same year we got Make Someone Happy (one of Dr. Joe’s favorites). Next came I Believe in You and the classic Moon River. 1962 brought The Days of Wine & Roses, from the magnificent movie of the same name. In 1964 the highly successful play, Fiddler on the Roof gave us several great theater songs, only to be followed by Hello Dolly and more songs. In 1965 Frank Sinatra recorded a splendid version of It Was a Very Good Year, and another Dr. Joe favorite, The Shadow of Your Smile”.   In 1966 we find a great creative work in Cabaret. And there’s much more as we continue through the 1960’s. Dr. Joe discusses the lyrics and many behind-the-scenes stories while creatively playing the music on a piano keyboard in a classroom setting.

4 sessions starting Wednesday, March 14 at 3:10 PM

I Love to Read

Join six LLI members as they lead interesting and lively discussions of contemporary titles and old classics.

March 12 – Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Dick Auwater, presenter

What unfolds in this novel is a dazzling, yet deeply human roller coaster ride, spanning 50 years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself.

March 19 – Washington Square by Henry James, Heather Hopkins, presenter

A short novel, a structurally simple tragicomedy recounts the conflict between a dull but sweet daughter and her brilliant, unemotional father. The plot of the novel is based upon a true story told to James by his close friend, British actress Fanny Kemble. The book is often compared with Jane Austen’s work for the clarity and grace of its prose and its intense focus on family relationships.

March 26 – Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, Michael Mugnolo, presenter

In this first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, we meet an entirely different Atticus Finch. A generation later, our hero is denouncing the Supreme Court’s decisions, railing against the NAACP and arguing for states rights. Scout is astonished as her father explains that Southern blacks aren’t ready for civil rights. This depiction of Atticus makes for disturbing reading and is particularly difficult to fans of Mockingbird, which Oprah Winfrey described as “our national novel.”

April 2 – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: Angela Vicenzi, presenter

The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century is a poignant tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted readers for more than sixty years.

April 9 – The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Albertson, presenter

Published in Graham’s Magazine in 1841 this short story has been recognized as the first modern detective story. Poe referred to it as one of his “tales of ratiocination.” C. August Dupin is a Parisian who solves the mystery of the brutal murder of two women. Numerous witnesses heard a suspect, though no one agrees on the language spoken. At the murder scene, Dupin finds a hair that does not appear human. As the first fictional detective, Poe’s Dupin displays many traits which became literary conventions in subsequent fictional detectives, including Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot.

April 16 – An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro,  Miwako Ogasawara, presenter

Kazuo Ishiguro is Japanese-born British writer and winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature. This, his second novel, set in post-World War II Japan. Masuji Ono, the main protagonist and narrator, is now a retired artist with rambling memories of his past. Ono was trained as a decadent artist, an illustrator of the ‘floating world’ of pleasure and entertainment, but young and ambitious Ono broke away from that tradition and became a propaganda artist for the Imperial Military of Japan. Living in the vastly changed society after the defeat and devastation, Ono grudgingly comes to terms with his guilt and regrets.

6 sessions starting Monday, March 12 at 1:10 PM

More Iconic Photographers of the 20th Century–CANCELLED

Continuing where the fall semester’s list of iconic photographers left off,  we explore the work of additional photographers whose style and technique shaped our perception of the people, places and events of the 20th century.   Photographers include: Diane Arbus, William Klein, Bernice Abbott, Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson , Robert Capa and Annie Leibovitz.

7 sessions starting Saturday, March 17 at 1:00 PM          

Watercolor: Beginners

Become a budding artist.   Discover the joys and challenges of watercolor.  This course offers step-by-step guidance in techniques – brush strokes, color mixing, composition and washes– that create realistic landscapes, seascapes and still life paintings.   Pre-created sketches are painted in class following detailed demonstrations of these techniques and others. Do not purchase any art supplies until you receive a list at the first class.   If you already have supplies, bring them.   The facilitator offers supplies for purchase. Course size is limited.

8 sessions starting Friday, March 16 at 10:10 AM

Analysis of Current Domestic Issues-CANCELLED

Join us in a seminar/discussion course where participants help select the issues they wish to explore. The instructor identifies and discusses the underlying policy issues with some historical and theoretical perspectives. Full class participation with an exchange of informed opinions and respectful dialogue are encouraged. Possible issues might include: American Educational and Criminal Justice Policies, Current Constitutional Issues, Employing the Unemployed, National Budget, Energy Strategy and Tax Proposals and Transportation Infrastructure. 

8 sessions starting Tuesday, March 13 at 1:10 PM

Broadway’s Greatest Musicals: A Jewish Legacy

Join us as we examine the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists who created the greatest and most loved modern American musicals. The works of legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rogers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Mel Brooks, just to name a few, are highlighted. With the help of outstanding videos, we review Broadway’s most loved songs, stories and shows.  Sit back, relax and enjoy!

8 sessions starting Tuesday, March 13 at 1:10 PM

Current Events: Wednesdays

Framed by the week’s trending news, this course relies on rigorous yet respectful debate to enhance our understanding of divergent viewpoints on current events.   Discussions address politics, gender, religion and their place in contemporary culture – issues that give life depth and meaning.   We focus on developing critical reasoning skills by examining the pre-conceived biases that affect our personal objectivity.

sessions starting Wednesday, March 14 at 3:10 PM 


American Empire, Part I–CANCELLED

We trace the evolution of the United States, from its colonial roots to the lofty status of global power by 1919. This captivating transformation is captured in a variety of ways beginning with the quest for land prior to and following the American Revolution up to the Spanish American War in 1898.  Manifest Destiny, the real American pastime, began as an agenda of Continental expansion to become a program of globalism. Other facets of the burgeoning Corporate State are explored:  the demise of the Citizen-Soldier concept; the rise of Big Business; control of the nation’s money; the scourge of slavery; the Confederacy as a revolution; the concept of American government ─ republic or democracy;  the growing industrialization of the Grand Republic versus the “working class.”

7  sessions starting Saturday, March 17 at 10:10 AM. 
Does not meet on March 31 or April 28.

For course Syllabus, click here.

American Millionaires and Their Homes

Many of the wealthiest class of Americans lived in the second half of the 19th century. Breaking this socio-economic group down into three separate periods, we look at the historical impact these people had on American history. In addition, some examples of the architecture of their mansions are examined starting with the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion and ending up with the estates in Newport, Rhode Island.

6 sessions starting Wednesday, March 14 at 1:10 PM 

Facilitators: Phillip Libby is the Educational Coordinator at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum and has a background in architecture. Steve Balser  (see below)

Syllabus:  BALSER and LIBBY

American Millionaires and Their Homes

Week 1 covers history after the Civil War, with a discussion of early millionaires such as Vanderbilt and Lockwood

Week 2 covers the architecture of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, Norwalk

Week 3 examines the history of the wealthy in the 1870’s in NYC

Week 4 looks at the architecture of their mansions in NYC  

Week 5 looks at the ‘robber barons’ at the end of the century

Week 6 examines the architecture of their mansions in Newport, Rhode Island



Art Explored: View of Greco-Roman Life up to French Impressionism

A large body of works is available, and the instructor has chosen those pieces that best exemplify the periods. Designed to survey and illuminate the evolution and very intelligible order of art’s periods and styles, we discuss, examine and enjoy the wonderful story of art through words and works.   Come join the fun! 

6 sessions starting Friday, March 16 at 10:10 AM (Revised 1/18/2018)



Art Explored: Greco Roman through French Impressionism

Darby Cartun

Week 1:  Greco Roman art and architecture – Foundations of Western Art

Week 2:  Renaissance Highlights; Mannerism- Venice and Rome

Week 3:  Baroque of Netherlands and Spain

Week 4:  Rococo

Week 5:  Shift in patronage – Influence of the Bourgeoisie

Week 6:  Wrap Up – Favorites of French Impressionism

Genealogy & Computers 2: Advanced Beginners

For those who have significant experience with computer software and the internet but who are new to genealogy. Students learn the fundamentals of genealogy, including lessons in documentary evidence, family history research methodology, and the Genealogical Proof Standard. They are also introduced to the types of documents and the sources used most frequently by genealogists: census records; birth, marriage and death records; immigration records; naturalization records, military records, city directories and newspapers.  Homework is optional but recommended.

8 sessions 

This class has been changed to Mondays, starting March 12 at 1:10pm


Syllabus: Genealogy & Computers II  Janeen Bjork

  • Week 1:  Introductions; Goals for the course; Introduction to Genealogy
  • Week 2:  Documentary evidence; what’s in a name; The U.S. Census
  • Week 3:  The U.S. Census continued; State censuses; Foreign country censuses  
  • Week 4:  Vital records; Birth, Marriage and Death
  • Week 5:  Religious records; Cemetery records;
  • Week 6:  Immigration and Naturalization records
  • Week 7:  Military records
  • Week 8:  Online newspaper resources





Genealogy & Computers 3:   Intermediate and Advanced

For those who have at least six months experience using the internet for genealogy. Students work individually and in teams solving Genealogy problems, employing a variety of Genealogy websites and strategies. Instruction is tailored to address individual and group issues. Homework is optional but is recommended.

8 sessions  This course has ben changed to Mondays
starting March 12 at
3:10 PM



Genealogy & Computers III Janeen Bjork

  • Week 1:  Introductions; Goals for the course
  • Week 2:  Documentary evidence; citing sources; students will each bring at least one brick wall research problem/issue to class that will be discussed and worked on collaboratively
  • Week 3:  Facilitator offers instruction in resources, online and off, that students may not know exist, that will help solve problems identified in week two
  • Week 4:  Students will divide into teams to work on each other’s brick wall issues together
  • Week 5:   Continuation of week four
  • Week 6:   Each team will present to the class, beginning with the brick wall issues, through the methodology and the resources employed and the success, or lack thereof, in break through
  • Week 7:   Documentary evidence; citing sources; writing for publication
  • Week 8:   Technology issues and design elements for publishing Genealogy blogs, articles and books




Leonard Bernstein at 100–CLOSED

This year marks the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. In celebration, we explore the many facets of his legacy as a composer, conductor, pianist, educator and gadfly extraordinaire, from his early years through the premiere of Candide in 1956. Subjects covered include his Boston family background, his years at Harvard and studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, the roles of Aaron Copland and Serge Koussevitzky as surrogate fathers, his transformative conducting debut with the NY Philharmonic, his straddling the world of jazz, Broadway – shows such as Fancy Free, On The Town and Candide, and classical concert music.   Also explored are his musical score for Elia Kazan’s movie On the Waterfront and the beginnings of his distinguished television Omnibus series.

8 sessions starting Friday, March 16 at 10:10 AM









Leonard Bernstein at 100, Part 1 Dr. Joshua Berrett

Week 1:   An overview and family background

Week 2:   The Harvard years and the Blitzstein-Bernstein connection

Week 3:   Copland and Koussevitzky

Week 4:   The clarinet sonata and “Jeremiah” symphony

Week 5:   Breaking into Broadway

Week 6:    I Hate Music and the New York Philharmonic conducting debut

Week 7:    Serenade after Plato’s Symposium and On the Waterfront  
                 Launch of the TV Omnibus series.

Week 8:    Candide


The Mossad: Its Greatest Missions

What are some of the spectacular successes of Israel’s Secret Service as it fights to preserve its security in a very hostile region? Operating in a global arena, Israel’s Mossad maintains an extreme network of highly motivated agents who are willing to make ultimate sacrifices to defend their homeland. We discuss their efforts in detail as the fight for survival continues.

6 sessions starting Monday, March 12 at 1:10 PM


The Mossad:  Stan Gershman

Week 1:    The Capture of Adolph Eichmann – Operation Garibaldi

Week 2:    The Incredible Story of Eli Cohen, Israel’s Spy in Damascus

Week 3:    Operation Wrath of G-d, Israel’s Revenge for the Murder of its Olympic Athletes in 1972

Week 4:   Mass Evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Ethiopia via Sudan, starting in the 1970’s and culminating in Operation Moses in 1984 and Operation Solomon on 1991

Week 5:   Operation Spring of Youth, a sub-operation of larger Wrath of G-d Campaign in 1973 Joint IDF Command/Mossad teams launch multiple raids in Beirut and Sidon, Lebanon

Week 6:   The Entebbe, Uganda Rescue Operation, July 1976

Postscript –  Israel’s Relentless Covert War Against Iran

Understanding Investments

This course is a revision and update of the earlier Words of Wall Street. We explain some of the investment theories we see on business news channels like CNBC, read in the financial press and the advice given by our financial advisors. Expanded sections include behavioral finance and why we make poor investment decisions and new products like Smart Beta ETF’s, which allow individuals to invest in hedge fund-like quantitative strategies and investing in retirement.

Please note: this class covers general concepts and tools for investing but does not provide specific advice to individuals. Participants should consult their financial advisors before making investment decisions based on the material covered in class.  

8 sessions starting Friday, March 16 at 10:10 AM

See course Syllabus here

Watercolor: Intermediate–CLOSED

If you are an intermediate-level watercolorist, here is a chance to improve your technique. This course is a step-by-step guide to painting traditional landscapes, seascapes and still life.   We cover these techniques: textures, perspectives, transparent washes, masking, planning and composition.   Bring paints (tubes preferred), a palette, your favorite brushes, watercolor paper and a water container to class.  Some pre-created scenes and supplies are available for purchase. 


8 sessions starting Monday, March 12 at 3:10 PM

Collage and Beyond

Have you ever wanted to create artwork from images, decorative papers and art materials? Join a professional media artist to show how to combine materials to create fascinating artwork. Drawing and painting are integrated with collage. No experience necessary – just a willingness to try! Demonstrations and individual attention are given as each student works to complete mixed media creations. Elements of design and composition theories are taught at each session, enhancing each student’s way of thinking about and creating art.

Each week will feature a short education lecture/demonstration on design principles and compositional theories as well as hands on individual art creation. Each week will end with a brief critique. Class size is limited. 

Please bring the following materials: archival glue stick, mat medium, decorative collage papers of the student’s choice (newspaper, magazines, colored or wrapping paper), tracing paper, scissors, pencils and heavy weight paper or canvas.  Photographs of other inspirational artwork can be used and transferring techniques are explained.

8 sessions starting Tuesday, March 13 at 3:10 PM

Digital Photography Simplified: A Workshop on the Essentials for Better Pictures

Today’s smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras have made photography easy.  But the fundamentals have not changed since the days of film. In a lively, interactive seminar we discuss answers to many questions about photography, including how to gain control of your digital camera and techniques to improve composition with  an introduction to post-capture processing. Using discussions, assignments, a field trip and critiques, participants learn how to make better images.

8 sessions starting Tuesday, March 20 at 3:10 PM

For course Syllabus, click here.

The European Civil War

World War I or, the “Great War” or, the “War to End All Wars” have been used to describe the 1914-1918 conflict. In reality, there is only one war, the Great War, 1914-1918; 1931-1945.   And sandwiched in between are the Syrian and Iraqi uprisings; the Turkish War for independence; the Russian Civil War, the Russo-Polish War ̶ in essence, a Thirty Years War, a discord that will see to the end of the European dominance of global affairs eclipsed by the new reality in 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union. Yet, the 1914-1918 conflict was for all intents and purposes a European Civil War fought for European issues. We trace the causes of the cataclysmic struggle, starting with the Renaissance and moving on to the Age of Reason/Enlightenment; the French revolution; the Congress of Vienna; Monarchs and Empires; Military Strategists Jomini and Clausewitz; War and the Modern State; the rise of Nationalism; Italy and Germany; the Industrial Revolution; the Guns of August; the empty promises of Versailles. These are among the plethora of issues that are explored as causes of the European Civil War.

8 sessions starting Thursday, March 15 at 3:10 PM

Class does not meet on April 26

For course Syllabus, click here.

Great Spy Films–CLOSED

Who was the most important spy of the 20th century?   What explains the difference between the British agents James Bond and George Smiley?   How have computers changed the spy game? Should the Rosenbergs have been executed? Through the use of film clips, lectures and discussion these questions are addressed. Films about spies, espionage and treason have often provided insights into human nature and politics.   We discuss some of the greatest films of this genre: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Goldfinger, The Good Shepard, The Imitation Game, Three Days of the Condor, Our Man in Havana and The Bourne Identity.

8 sessions starting Wednesday, March 14 at 1:10 PM

Syllabus: Paul Gettler
Great Spy Films: James Bond, George Smiley and Mata Hari

  •  Mata Hari and World War One Espionage
  • Alan Turing, Code Breaking and World War Two
  • The CIA in Film
  • Oppenheimer, the Rosenberg and Atomic Espionage
  • Hitchcock and Spies
  • James Bond and the Decline of the British Empire
  • George Smiley: The Anti Bond
  • Snowden, Chuck Barris, and the Bourne Identity

Road to Character–CANCELLED

Students engage in discussions on the award-winning best-seller, The Road to Character, by The New York Times columnist David Brooks. Examining the lives of nine of the world’s greatest thinkers and leaders, we explore how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they built a strong inner character. They include labor leader Francis Perkins; Generals Dwight Eisenhower and George Marshall; champion of the poor Dorothy Day; civil rights pioneers A. Phillip Randolph and Bayard Rustin; authors George Eliot and Samuel Johnson; 4th century philosopher and theologian Augustine, bishop of Hippo. Copies of The Road to Character are available in most local libraries. Participants are asked to read the first two chapters prior to the first class.  

8 sessions starting Thursday, March 15 at 1:10 PM

For course Syllabus, click here.

Seminole Piece Work –CANCELLED

Explore fascinating, gorgeous design and color possibilities with simple materials.   In the style of Seminole quilts, we construct complex, interesting pieces using simple strips of paper.   Easy changes of angles and alignments then produce a variety of different designs.   There are examples of Seminole work on my Pinterest page.

Please Bring Materials: Scissors, glue sticks, graph paper, paper strips (Instructor will bring strips to the first class) and washi tape.  Optional Materials: Magazines are fun additions, but not required.

Please e-mail the instructor at for photos of Seminole work in paper.

6 sessions starting Monday, March 12 at 3:10 PM 

Socratic Discussion Group

One or two topics of a practical or philosophical nature are discussed in each session. The instructor provides an initial short general background on each topic before opening a discussion period.   Dialogues include;  learned arguments, opinions and facts along with any pertinent information relating to the subjects.   If topics are controversial, we apply the rules of civil discussion.

8 sessions starting Monday, March 12 at 3:10 PM

For course Syllabus click here.

Today’s Women:   Where Are We –CANCELLED

Time magazine’s Person-of-the-Year has recognized a new movement of women in contemporary society. Through class discussions, we cover a variety of topics pertaining to women (and men).   Beginning with a brief historical overview, we journey through issues for today’s women, the media portrayal of women, the obsession with appearance, older women (and men) living in an ageist society and a look towards the future. Readings are articles from The New York Times and other sources.

8 sessions starting Tuesday, 
   March 20 at 3:10 PM

For Syllabus click here.



Vietnam: Struggle for Unification

For many Americans, Vietnam conjures up painful images.   One of which is …defeat. Industrial might, military muscle and belief in a righteous cause could not overcome the Revolutionary Nationalism of the followers of Ho Chi Minh. But there is more to the long, costly struggle for unification waged by the Vietnamese than defeating the world’s ranking superpower. Rather it was a poster child expression of the bankruptcy of colonialism and imperialism. We take a panoramic view of a faraway nation that has been woefully misunderstood spanning the mid-19th century to 1975.   How did Vietnam, through patience and fortitude, throw off the yoke of colonialism and enslavement by France and Japan? We conclude with the vain attempt to preserve South Vietnam in the wake of the stalemate in Korea and the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 during the era of the Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union.

8 sessions starting Wednesday, March 14 at 1:10 PM     

For course Syllabus, click here.

Who Invented Numbers, and Why?  

Why are numbers needed? How did they help mathematics develop?  We begin with zero, then one, then pi, square root, the elusive “e” which fills in the number line.   We finish with “i” which takes us off into space.

6 sessions starting Thursday, March 15 at 3:10 PM

Syllabus: Anne Peskin
Who Invented Numbers, and Why?

Week 1        0       Finding Zero

Week 2        1       Why did 1 come about

Week 3        π     Where or when did pi show up 

Week 4        √     Filling in the number line

Week 5        e       Going into space

Week 6        i        Entering the imagination 


Sino-American Relations: 1945 to Today

In 2009, President Obama asserted “the relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st century which makes it as important as any bilateral relationship in the world.”   We begin by reviewing the evolution of that relationship over the last 70 years.   We then discuss current issues between the two powers and speculate about what the future will bring.

6 sessions starting Thursday, March 15 at 1:10 PM

Syllabus: Dr. Roger Levy
Sino-American Relations: 1945 to Today

  • Week 1: Containment: 1949-1969
  • Week 2: Rapprochement: 1970-1979
  • Week 3: Full Diplomatic Relations: 1979 to Present
  • Week 4: Problems concerning trade, investments, intellectual property.
  • Week 5: North Korea, Taiwan, the South China Sea as friction points
  • Week 6: Collaboration or confrontation?

Sleep and Dreams

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on.”   What is sleep and how are dreams connected to it? According to Prof. Matthew Walker, Director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer, enhances memory, keeps you slim, wards off colds and flu and other lots of cool stuff.   What is the miracle cure? 

In class we form a community which respects the information in dreams, keeping them confidential, as participants have the opportunity to voluntarily share their dreams for discussion and analysis.   We explore a variety of dream interpretation tools to help us in our investigations and discuss research related to sleep and dreams. 

6 sessions starting Friday, March 16 at 10:10 AM

Syllabus: Dr. Elissa Kaplan
Sleep and Dreams: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on”

Note: In every class, we will discuss and analyze dreams.  We will discover a variety of dream interpretation tools to help us in our dream investigations.  Participants will have the opportunity to voluntarily share their own dreams for discussion and analysis. 

Week 1           What is sleep? We will consider what sleep is, what sleep rhythms are, and how our sleep changes over our lifespan.  We will examine our dreams in light of our sleep patterns.

Week 2           Why do we need sleep?  Was your Mom right?  We will examine how sleep helps our brains and bodies, and how lack of sleep hurts our brains and our bodies.  We will evaluate our dreams in terms their happy suggestions and scary notes.

Week 3           What are dreams? We will attempt to figure out how and why we dream.  What does REM sleep have to do with dreams?  If our dreams are psychological therapy, we will use our dreams to treat or heal ourselves.

Week 4           What are some new ideas about sleep in our contemporary society?  How much sleep do we need and when?  We will delve into dreams that relate to the world we live in.  We will explore contemporary dream images compared to ancient dream images.

Speaking Yiddish   

If you know some “Mama Lochen” but not enough to hold a conversation, this course helps you to expand your vocabulary and practice speaking. If you have a foundation from childhood and have lost command of the language because you have no one to talk to or have just taken Yiddish I, in class you are able to converse with others.     We’ll have fun learning phrases, idioms, proverbs and songs. This is a chance to improve your Yiddish conversational skills and practice with others at the same level.

7 sessions starting Tuesday, March 20 at 1:10 PM

Syllabus: Gilda Simpkin
Speaking Yiddish

  • Group Assessment: What do you know?
  • Pronouns and Conjugating Verbs
  • Questions and Idioms
  • Learning and Practicing Past Tenses
  • How Was Your Week in Yiddish?
  • Yiddish Humor
  • Storytelling
  • Learning Through Songs


A Woman’s Life: Depictions of the Female in Short Stories

In every woman’s story there are many layers. The depiction of a protagonist’s life experience is uniquely hers, but can be seen as a mirror of the universal feminine experience. Yet that same tale can reveal the personal, so we ask — has time altered women’s ways of being or have they stayed the same? Women authors bring us laughter and joy, suspense and struggle while opening up a world of literature. We come to know our history and take a glimpse into the future. Participants are assigned two stories a week. Spanning a timeline from the 19th to the 21st century including the following authors: Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, Margaret Atwood and Jamaica Kincaid.   Through class discussion we learn from each other. We welcome men’s perspectives.

8 sessions starting Wednesday, March 14 at 3:10 PM

Syllabus, Patricia Spoor
A Woman’s Life:  Depictions of the Female in Short Stories 

Each week class participants will read two short stories, in preparation for class discussion on the following topics. Copies of stories will be provided.

  • Women‘s lives before women’s rights
  • Women’s ways of achieving amazing things
  • Women’s roles in the home and the changing relationship with their children and men
  • The effect of religion on women’s lives
  • Raising girls/ raising boys
  • The work women do and threats to their lives
  • Female intuitions: what women know?
  • Aging and Male influence

Art of Storytelling

Your stories are your legacy! How do you tell a personal story…one that becomes a transitional moment for you?   A master storyteller teaches the art of the story while offering techniques that make it compelling. How do you peel back the details until you discover the inner journey that a good story requires? How do you cultivate general skills for public speaking?  We learn how to extract the true core of our narratives and how to tell them in an entertaining fashion. Join us to present your stories for practice, critique and mostly for fun.  Class size is limited. 

8 sessions starting Tuesday, March 13 at 1:10 PM

Syllabus: Art of Storytelling, John O’Hern

Week 1: As brief as possible lecture on the simplest requirements of a well told story. The remaining weeks will include you, telling your stories and class critiques.

The Atlantic U-Boat War

We explore the most arduous and prolonged naval battle in history.   For the six long years of World War II the German U-Boat force attempted to blockade, isolate and starve the British Isles, hoping to force a surrender and cede the conflict to Germany. This is the story of how and why that effort failed.   We examine the methods used to turn the tables on this organized and dangerous naval command using a blend of spectacular code breaking, intelligence centers and advanced anti-submarine weapons, including the use of sub-hunting aircraft and ships coupled with new tactics, inventive techniques and scientific developments.   We show how myths about  the  invulnerability  of  the U-Boat  crews  and the canard that the U-Boat offensive came within a whisker of defeating the Allies were perpetrated first by a German propaganda campaign and later by historians in books, magazines, TV programs and internet sites. Finally, we disprove the fiction with statistics and facts.

  8 sessions starting Monday,  March 12 at 1:10 PM Click here for course Syllabus

Awareness & Choices–CLOSED

Awareness & Choices: Appropriating Skills for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness


The benefits of our freedoms are scarce commodities which others seek to obtain, contain and control.   In an age of mass information, economics and social media interaction, how can we discern accurate data and make intelligent choices? While the internet gives us much information about “others,” we are less aware of how we ourselves are regulated and limited by this medium, and our choices shaped far more than we are aware. When and how is news or information “fake?” How crucial is information that is true to the functioning of a democracy? How do we construct truthful “rules of thumb” which we can use daily for the more immediate choices that make up every moment? As a group-learning project we identify and pursue these questions while bringing in our own experiences and current thinking. We explore the human operations (cognitional) by which we think and feel.   We examine and explore the accuracy and efficacy of typical sources of information (news, entertainment, social media) and areas of civil and social involvement where we participate with others in effecting life choices.   Our goal is to seek sufficient personal skills to engage responsibly in current “mass” society.

6 sessions starting Tuesday, March 13 at 1:10 PM

For course Syllabus (Revised January 30), click here.

Breaking Kola: Nigeria’s Customs and Community

Breaking Kola is one of the valuable customs that binds people together and contributes to a strong community. The instructor, married to an Igbo man, uses her experience of 24 years in Nigeria to explore aspects of family structure, child rearing, marriage customs and other features of traditional life. The importance of land ownership, patriarchy and its challenges, chieftaincy, regard for ancestors and the unborn, the role of Dibia (shaman) and masquerades is discussed. We look at which customs survive today, which have been lost and contrast the emphasis of community among African groups, with the Igbo people as an example. We see how the Igbos draw people back and that the ties to their village cannot be broken, providing a sense of security and closeness.

6 sessions starting Monday, March 12 at 1:10 PM

Syllabus: Catherine Onyemelukwe
Breaking Kola: Nigeria’s Customs and Community

  • Week 1 Family front and center, initiation, marriage, child-rearing
  • Week 2 Breaking kola, drinking palm wine, and eating
  • Week 3 Ancestors, gods, and the Dibia
  • Week 4 Place, land ownership, patriarchy
  • Week 5 Masquerades entertain and teach obedience
  • Week 6 Nigeria today, what customs survive, what has changed

Does Our Court System Result in Justice?

Through active participation in mock courtroom trials, we explore how our justice system works and whether it renders justice. Each session is devoted to one case chosen by the students which may include criminal issues such as bribery of a public official, an environmental issue, an employment discrimination dispute or some kind of business disagreement.   All are hypothetical cases, based on or derived from actual court litigations. The class is divided into sections for students to discuss, analyze, and role play different positions or sides of a case.

8 sessions starting Wednesday, March 14 at 3:10 PM

Syllabus: Donald Richenthal
Does Our Court System Result in Justice? 

Each class will be devoted to one case, the type of which will be chosen by the students and will vary each week. The type of cases may include: criminal cases such as bribery of a public official, an environmental issue, an employment discrimination issue, or a business dispute of some kind. Each case will be hypothetical, but based upon or derived from an actual court case. Each class will be divided into sections for students to discuss, analyze, and role play different positions or sides of a case.


Drawing Flowers

Examining a different flower each week, we look closely at the parts and discover which characteristics make it unique.   Then we draw it in pencil with emphasis on accuracy and form. The instructor supplies flowers and gives a short lecture on botany.  We learn how to create from shading using a single light source.  For returning students, please note new varieties of flowers are discussed.

Bring to class: sketchbook (smooth surface), pencils 2H, H, B, HB, 2B, kneaded eraser and a bud vase or small jar.

4 sessions starting Wednesday, March 14 at 1:10 PM

Syllabus: Dick Rauh
Drawing Flowers

This is a hands-on class beginning with a lecture on the flower of the day, as students observe the flower specimens with hand lenses. Next, students will draw the subject in pencil—first in line, then with shading. Each session will proceed in this manner.

Drawing the Landscape–CLOSED

Creating a beautiful landscape does not require paint and brushes — only simple inexpensive tools are needed – pencils and paper. We cover the basics of perspective, artistic composition, and pencil drawing techniques through three hands-on projects. Each landscape is introduced with a demonstration, followed by guided studio time. The instructor provides photographs for students to draw from with each project focusing on different landscape elements (e.g.. trees, water, snow, etc.). The first is done with graphite pencils. Participants may choose to work in any pencil medium for the other three projects (e.g. charcoal, colored or pastel pencils).

Bring Materials: graphite drawing pencils, kneaded eraser, pencil sharpener and 80lb white drawing paper such as Strathmore or Canson. Optional Materials: other drawing mediums that students may wish to work in, as long as they are in pencil form.

8 sessions starting Thursday, March 15 at 1:10 PM

Syllabus: Cindy Sinor
Drawing the Landscape

Weeks 1 & 2 – Drawing trees, grasses, and plants in the landscape

Weeks 3 & 4 – Drawing the element of water

Weeks 5 & 6 – Winterscape, drawing snow

The Long Island Sound

What do you know about Long Island Sound’s history, animal life, problems and future? What impact has man had on the sound? We look at the geology and formations by glaciers continuing through the mid-1800s.  We cover the changes in the Sound from the 19th century to the present observing man’s influence as well as invasive species, the changes in animal populations, impact of laws and sampling techniques.   Finally, we delve into challenges for the future, including storms, rising sea levels, anthropogenic pharmaceuticals and the effect of weather on the Sound’s oxygen levels.

6 sessions starting Tuesday, March 13 at 3:10 PM

Syllabus: Joseph E. Schnierlein
Long Island Sound: Its History, Animal Life, Problems and Future 

  • Session 1 Geology, formation by glaciers, through the mid 1800’s covering laws and the impact of man
  • Session 2 Changes in the Sound from the 1800’s to the present: impact of man and invasive species
  • Session 3 Changes in animal populations and the impact of laws and sampling techniques
  • Session 4 Major weather events, effects on history and life in and around the Sound
  • Session 5 Challenges for the future including storms, rising sea levels, anthropogenic pharmaceuticals
  • Session 6 Impact of weather, specifically temperature, on Long Island Sound’s summer oxygen levels

Early Pioneers of Rock ‘n Roll, Part II

Please note: This course has been changed, to start on Monday, March 19, thru May 7.

Our focus is on the years immediately following World War II and the emergence and popularity of rhythm & blues and hillbilly music by young people. We look at such sociological phenomena as the Civil Rights movement, the formation of teen culture and the impact that they with other social developments had on popular music, leading up to Elvis Presley’s first historic recordings in 1954 Memphis.  

Featured are such Rock ‘n Roll pioneers as  Blues greats Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and BB King, R&B giants Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, Fats Domino and Ray Charles; doo-wop icons like The Ravens, The Orioles, The Dominoes, The Drifters, The Clovers and the “5”Royales; country and rockabilly rebels like Hank Williams, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley; legendary producers like Ahmet Ertegun in NYC, Sam Phillips in Memphis and the Chess Brothers in Chicago; songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller; famous DJ’s Dewey Phillips, and Alan Freed; classic Rock ‘n Roll movies as The Wild One, Blackboard Jungle and Rebel Without a Cause.

We also examine Rock ‘n Roll’s impact on American society and culture from the breakdown of racial and sexual barriers to the new teenage social class with its various subcultures.

8 sessions starting Monday, March 19 at 1:10 PM


Click here for Syllabus


Essentrics Movement

Essentrics is a dynamic, one-hour, low impact weight-free fitness program that strengthens the muscles in the elongated position, quickly creating a long, lean and rebalanced body. The unique fluid movement of Essentrics slenderizes and tones the abs, waist, thighs, arms and back, while improving posture, flexibility, agility and strength. Essentrics rapidly and safely conditions the full-body so that it can be done daily, helping you feel energized, positive, healthy and strong.

Please note: This is a one-hour class. Participants must be able to get up and down from the floor unassisted. Persons with a disease or condition that might result in health issues when engaging in low-level movement activity should not enroll in the course.

A pre-participation medical screening form will be sent to all enrolled members and must be returned to our office one week before the start of class.

8 sessions starting Monday, March 12 at 3:10-4:10 PM
Class does not meet on April 16.

Physical Awareness–CANCELLED

We can expand our ability to experience our physical selves with a variety of techniques. Activities include, but are not limited to, postural alignment, leg swinging, breath work and self-massage. Students should bring: a yoga mat or large towel and a phone book or other book that one can stand on.   Wear comfortable shoes that can be slipped off easily, and loose clothes. 

Please note: Correction: this is a full session class (3:10-4:50pm). Participants must be able to get up and down from the floor unassisted. Persons with a disease or condition that might result in health issues when engaging in low-level movement activity should not enroll in the course. A pre-participation medical screening form will be sent to all enrolled members and must be returned to our office at least one week in advance of the start date

6 sessions Thursdays
Starts March 22 at
3:10 PM-4:50PM

America’s Greatest Singers/Songwriters: The 1970’s

The 1970’s was a time when rock and roll music was changing, there was a new sound with personal lyrics, sweet harmonies and, of course, acoustic guitars. The artists shared their emotions and experiences in a way that touched our lives. With the help of CDs and music videos, we relive this golden age. Legendary artists James Taylor, Jim Croce, Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, John Denver, Cat Stevens, Carly Simon, Elton John, Harry Chapin, Don McLean and others are covered. Sit back, listen and sing along with the great songs of the 70’s.

8 sessions starting Thursday, March 15 at 1:10 PM