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Fall 2011 Course Descriptions

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BOLLI: Fall Semester 2011

  • Preparation times are estimated per week.
  • If handouts are listed as readings, reimbursement for copies will be made to the Study Group Leader; arrangements for this will be made in the class.
  • eBoards are online communication and information tools available to study groups. If they are being used in a course, they are listed in the course descriptions.
  • If you expect to be absent for 3 or more weeks during the semester, please read the course descriptions carefully. Courses where the SGL has indicated the importance of regular attendance are not appropriate for you. Please select an alternative.


Lit2-F11 Beyond My Fair Lady: George Bernard Shaw and the Comedy-Drama of Ideas

Leader Verne Vance

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 - 8:30 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.

Description In this course we will examine the life, philosophy, and five of the plays of George Bernard Shaw, the most important British dramatist since Shakespeare and the first such dramatist to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The plays we will read and discuss are: Man and Superman; Major Barbara; Heartbreak House; Saint Joan; and Pygmalion, which was the source for the musical My Fair Lady. Through this work, we will seek to understand how Shaw used his

unique wit to create comedies that entertained while promoting his iconoclastic ideas on economics, politics, family relationships, and other matters. In the course we will view videos of material from the plays, and the students will participate in readings from them. The course will balance presentation of material by the Study Group Leader with facilitated class discussion. No prior knowledge of Shaw's work is required. Regular attendance at all classes would be helpful to students but not essential to understand the basic thrust of the course. Class members will be encouraged, but not required, to make brief oral presentations on subjects related to Shaw's life and work.  

 Readings Man and Superman and Three Other Plays by George Bernard Shaw, Barnes and Noble Classics, ISBN 1-59308-078-6, published 2004

Pygmalion and Three Other Plays by George Bernard Shaw, Barnes and Noble Classics, ISBN 1-59308-078-6, published 2004

Saint Joan, by George Bernard Shaw; ISBN 9780140437911; Penguin Classics, published May 1, 2001

All books are paperbacks.                                                                                                    

 Preparation Time 2 hours

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography Verne Vance is an honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He is a retired partner of the law firm of Foley Hoag LLP in Boston.  He has taught courses in International Transactions and Government Contracts at Boston University Law School and his course on plays of George Bernard Shaw at BOLLI and the lifelong learning program at Regis College.  He has been a devotee of the plays of Shaw for nearly sixty years and has attended, on five occasions, the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada. 

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-232-5494 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. or by email.


Soc4-F11 Laughter: The Best of All Medicines

Leader Neil Bernstein & Robert Pill

 TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 - 8:30 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.

Description We all need humor and laughter in our lives, especially considering the state of the real world and the complications of aging. Do we forget how to get a chuckle as we grow older? Is it only the young who are able to find humor because they have limited life experience? This course is meant to bring humor back to your life. We will explore the many aspects of humor with a focus on getting us to laugh until we cry; not settling for just chuckles or giggles. CAVEAT: Do not take this course without your doctor's permission if fits of laughter might be detrimental to your health. Moreover, grouches, grumblers and habitual malcontents are not eligible.

The course will examine various categories of humor/comedy and discuss what makes each type funny and unique. We will analyze humor dealing with politics, senior citizens, lawyers, ethnicity, marriage/children (family), puns/word play, slap stick, cartoons, and much more. The class will view videos showing how these types of humor were used by some of our favorite comedians during our peak laughing years from the 40's to the 90's.

Each week, a class member will be asked to prepare a brief report on a type of humor or the background of a comedian. As a finale to every session, each member will also be asked to tell a joke, anecdote, or expound upon a personal experience which best characterizes the type of humor being studied. No lectures; our purpose is to facilitate animated discussions of the weekly topics.

This course is rated "R" because of sexual overtones and language in some of the stories or videos.

Readings  No text book. SGLs will provide links to articles available on the Internet and will provide handouts of articles not so available.

 Preparation Time 1 to 2 hours per week

Computer Use Required. We will be reading articles mostly available on the Internet

Biography Robert Pill retired as a businessman in 2005 and has been involved with BOLLI as a Council member, Lunch and Learn Committee member, and for two semesters as an SGL of "The Broadway Musical: Art Imitates Life, Almost" course. His love of telling jokes and anecdotes prompted him to co-design this course to help him learn new ones. His wife and longtime friends have asked that he not continually repeat many of them. While a new wife is not in the offing, new friends are definitely needed.

Neil Bernstein is a graduate of M.I.T. and his primary career was in the management of technology-based companies. He recently retired from his practice in financial planning and investment management. He previously led a BOLLI course entitled Baseball: It's Far More Than Just a Game and co-led (with Harris Traiger) a BOLLI course on The Business of Sports.  This wise guy has a lifelong passion for all things humorous. 

Contact info Bob is open to contact by phone at 617-969-2574 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email. Neil is open to contact by phone at 508-655-3174 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email.


H&G4-F11 Great Trials in History: The Citizen's Moral and Ethical Choices

Leader Marc Schwarz

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description Trials are a method by which society can limit thought, behavior, and action which it deems unacceptable. Using the trials, governments prosecute those it suspects of disloyalty or seditious behavior. This course is an evaluation of how men and women make ethical and moral choices.

We will be covering the following trials: Socrates, Thomas More, the Amistad slave ship mutineers, Oscar Wilde, and the Andersonville Trial. We will utilize two weeks for each trial, and movies/documentaries will be shown one day as part of two of the five trials (Amistad and The Andersonville Trial). We will discuss the reason for each of the trials as they pertain to ethical and moral choices, events leading up to them and why, and the results.

This is not a course in legal history. Discussion is highly prized and everyone has something to contribute. 

Readings A Man for All Seasons, by Robert Bolt  (Vintage,1990)

Amistad , by David Peschi (Marlowe, 1997)

The Andersonville Trial, by Saul Levitt (1996)

Gross Indecency, the Three Trials of Oscar Wild, by Moises Kaufman, (paperback, Dramatist Play Service, Inc.)

 The Trial and Death of Socrates, by Plato (DoverThrift Edition paperback, 1992)

Preparation Time 2-4 hours per week

Computer Use Desirable, but not required

Biography I have a BA from Bates College, an MAT from Harvard, and a PhD from UCLA. I taught almost 40 years in the History Department at UNH.  This will be the sixth study group I have led at BOLLI.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-277-7557 between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.


Lit6-F11 Great Writers Writing About Sports

Leader David Moskowitz

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description This course is designed for people who enjoy reading and discussing great writing, primarily non-fiction, by diverse writers connected by the theme of sports. Among the authors we read are: Updike, Halberstam, Will, (H.L.) Gates, Oates, Talese, Cheever, Gladwell, Thurber, Mailer, Schulberg, Plimpton, Lardner, Hunter Thompson, Breslin and David Foster Wallace plus poets Marianne Moore and Donald Hall. This course will expose you not only to the foregoing esteemed group but also to legendary sportswriters, e.g. Red Smith, Grantland Rice, Roger Kahn and Roger Angell plus my personal favorite Frank Deford. Enjoyment will be enhanced by a general appreciation of sports.

While baseball and boxing predominate writing about sports - those topics comprise half our content - we'll also read about basketball, football, a famous bullfighter from Brooklyn, horseracing, tennis, running, etc. We'll also learn about our authors by reading biographies prepared by me or members of last term's class.

I hope that through this course members will gain an appreciation of what comprises a captivating piece of literature focusing on a sport or athlete. Pieces range from poetry to essays, and include some humorous pieces and truly wonderful character studies. Some are quite personal and others very reportorial, but all are compelling and vividly composed. Several were selected because of insight into their subject matter.

The class will discuss the writings for their literary facets as well as their subject matter. Members are instructed while reading each piece to note the portions that make it noteworthy and memorable.

 Readings The Best American Sports Writing of the Century, David Halberstam, Editor, ISBN 0-395-94514-3 (pbk), Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.

On Boxing, Joyce Carol Oates, Expanded Edition, ISBN 0-88001-385-0, The Ecco Press, 1987, 1995.

The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from The New Yorker, David Remnick, Editor, ISBN 978-1-4000-6802-9, Random House, 2010.

 Preparation Time The required reading per week averages about 110 pages, ranging from a low of 76 to a high of 146. The amount of time depends on an individual's reading speed. For the most part the material will prove easy to read. In addition, there are brief biographies to familiarize oneself with the authors we are reading. There are no reports. On rare occasions I will send a brief YouTube for viewing that relates directly to one of our assigned readings.

Computer Use Required. A PC is required in order to receive some of the reading assignments and for general communications.

Biography I graduated from U Penn's Wharton School and Harvard Law School. My legal career was spent mainly as a general counsel, including 11 years spent as Brandeis' first general counsel starting in 1976. This course, my 3rd at BOLLI (the other two being "Early Television in America: Much More than Memories" and "The Fundamental Fifties - The Light Side"), is being offered for a 2nd time. This course combines two of my loves, sports and literature, especially non-fiction.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-444-7590 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and midnight or by email.


Hum5-F11 TED TALKS: 18 Minutes of Ideas

Leader Peter Kastner

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description The goal of this course is to engage with some of the greatest minds of our time by hearing and reacting to great 18-minute talks, given by a wide variety of inspiring people.  These talks are available online at Ted Talks where speakers at an annual conference are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Talks will include presentations by such people as Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Dan Gilbert, James Watson, Oliver Sacks, Matt Weinstein, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners. This website has received over 400,000,000 hits since it started in the 1990's.

Prior to selecting this course, participants are encouraged to sample the pool of talks we will be discussing by visiting

On a weekly basis we will discuss one or two talks that the participants will hear at the start of the class. To maintain the experience of the original presentations, class participants will not have heard the talks prior to the class.

No prior knowledge is needed for this course and participants will be responsible for assigned reading, using study questions provided by the group leader.

BOLLI participants will be asked to recommend talks to be included in the course, based upon their random walks through the site. 

Readings Participants will be provided with a folder of reading material for the class. No textbook will be required. Copied text will be supplemented by access to on-line material.

Preparation Time 1 to 2 hours per week - excluding independent research

Computer Use Required. Participants should be skilled at finding material on the World Wide Web and have access to audio streaming at

Biography I have been speaking conversational English for almost my entire life. I have a B.A. in history and an M.B.A.  from Boston University and had a thirty year career in health care administration. I have taught at a 766 school and gave a monthly seminar in Health Care Finance at the Boston University Medical School. In my professional and civic life I give occasional talks. I have been active in local community affairs and have had a long-term interest in American history and politics.  In the past I taught a BOLLI course in "Great American Speeches." Since retiring in 2001, I have been digitally restoring and selling original urban maps.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-943-8795 between the hours of 8-10 a.m. or 4-6:00 p.m. or by email.


Soc3-F11 Human Relationships: Gender Issues that Change Lives

Leader Elizabeth David

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description Whether or not we are related to or a friend of someone with an alternative life style, we are, inevitably, touched and affected by them.  How do we respond to the personal, societal and political issues that surround our relationships with LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people? The question is a universal one. It speaks to our common humanity. Yet, there are times when these relationships are challenging. 

In this class, through facilitated discussion, reading of text and stories and listening to speakers, we will focus on what it is like to live as a Gay or Lesbian person, and what it is like to be a friend or relative.  We will discuss the stereotypes and the stigma, issues of employment and the workplace, and the politics.  Is it possible to answer the question, "Do you think I would have chosen this?" We will discuss the differences that impact us and how we manage our own reactions, beliefs and even biases.  Voluntary oral presentations may be requested.

 Readings Loving Someone Gay, fourth edition revised and updated by Don Clark, PhD Celestial Arts Publishing, 2005 ISBN #13:978-1-58761-236-7 and ISBN #10:1-58761-236-4

 Preparation Time About one hour, maybe more if presenting

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. I do use e-mail to communicate but I don't want someone not to sign up if they don't use it.

Biography I have an MA in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University.  My professional experience includes Hospice work, initially, as a volunteer and, subsequently as Bereavement Program Coordinator and as Volunteer Coordinator. One work site was The Hospice at Mission Hill which was a facility dedicated to the care of dying AIDS patients.  My husband and I have five children including a Gay son and a Lesbian Daughter.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 978-443-5023 anytime up to 9:30 p.m. or by email.


SGL1-F11 Learn & Lead: How to Become a Study Group Leader

Leader Myrna Cohen

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

This course will be held at the Old South Street offices.

Description Class members will investigate ideas for and develop study group proposals to enrich the BOLLI program. Conveying what we know to others is as important as what we ourselves want to learn.  Members have an opportunity to share the rich resources that exist at BOLLI. The course provides an opportunity to talk about topics and receive input and support from other class members, both in small groups and individually. The purpose is to encourage and give practical input and assistance to program members who have not given presentations or led courses. Past and present study group leaders are also welcome.  

 The SGL presents practical information about giving presentations and/or leading courses (e.g., how to structure classes, how to facilitate discussion, and strategies to manage them so all members have an opportunity to participate). Included is a technology workshop with choices on how to use Powerpoint, the eBoard or other types of technology. The class on Research and Resources will take place at the Brandeis Library with a presentation and opportunity for Q & A with a Research Librarian.      

The SGL is available to meet with class members and /or BOLLI members (outside of Learn and Lead course) on an individual basis. No prior knowledge is needed. This course is appropriate for a beginning, intermediate, or advanced student.

 Readings SGL Handbook and BOLLI Proposal Form. Examples of study group ideas and course proposals given at BOLLI and other lifelong learning institutes. Members will be supported to do research to identify books/other resources that they might use for the presentations or courses they want to develop.

 Preparation Time This will depend on the goals and commitment of each of the course participants, who may be motivated to do a considerable amount of work to complete a course proposal form

Computer Use Required. Class communication is by email. If you do not have email, provisions will be made to assist you. Internet access and use is an advantage for developing a course or presentation in terms of doing research and identifying resources. Proposal form and SGL Handbook are available on the BOLLI website.

Biography As a retired teacher, I strongly believe that learning is essential to our continued growth and well-being. I received a B.S. degree from Boston University and a M.ED from Lesley University.  I am the past Chair of the Curriculum Committee and Resource Committee and currently BOLLI Council Secretary. Most of my professional work has been in the field of teaching, mentoring, and teacher training. Presently, I am a Wheelock College Supervisor, a founding member of The Educator Mentor Corps (EMC)  of the Aspire Institute affiliated with Wheelock College and  Consultant for Stonewall Communities Life Long Learning Institute at Wheelock College . I am a member of the Steering Committee for the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy. I serve as a SOAR Lead Consultant to Non Profit organizations and am actively involved in many community programs.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-969-6878 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. 


 H&G3-F11 A History of Siberia and its People

Leader Gerry Berenholz

 TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description Siberia is a region of great natural beauty, abundant raw materials, thriving cities, and people from diverse cultures capable of living in harsh conditions. From the 16th century, where this course begins, to the present, Siberia has had an influx of adventurers, trappers, runaway serfs, criminals, political and religious exiles, and prisoners. Indigenous tribes, present since the Stone Age, have struggled to maintain their identity and way of life.

Through the readings, the class will follow Siberia's exploration and settlement, and continue learning about its development from a historical, as well as a current perspective. From Perm, in the foothills of the Urals, to Vladivostok, with side trips to places like Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Magadan and Birobidzhan, we will explore this enormous area which consists of 1/12 of the world's landmass and which contains over 90% of Russia's known natural resources. Attendance is important as each class builds on prior information. 

During class, there will be a review of the assigned readings with emphasis on discussion questions provided by the SGL.  In addition, the SGL will help to expand the information in the assigned text through handouts, slide presentations, and videos. Volunteers will be asked to select a report topic from a list provided by the leader.

This is a repeat of the spring 2011 course.    

Readings W. Bruce Lincoln, Conquest of a Continent: Siberia and the Russians, Cornell University Press, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-8014-8922-8

Preparation Time Approximately 50 pages of reading per week.

Computer Use Required. As a minimum, members must be able to send and receive email and open email attachments, as well as have the capability to read Adobe pdf files. Assignments, discussion questions, handouts, and links to websites will be emailed to all participants on a weekly basis.

Biography Gerry Berenholz attended CCNY, Northeastern University, and the BU School of Public Health. She has been involved nationally and internationally in the classification and analysis of intentional and unintentional injuries and their causes. During her career, she has lectured throughout the US for a variety of national, state, and local agencies and organizations. A member of HILR for the past six years, she has recently taught the class on Siberia there, as well as classes about the American Indians in US History. This will be Gerry's second semester as a BOLLI SGL.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-862-9864 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.


Econ1-F11 Economics and the Government

Leader Al Rossow

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description Did you know that the federal government has never successfully been able to raise income and associated taxes beyond 20% of GDP? This is a new course whose objective is to give us all a greater understanding of the capabilities of the federal government to influence the economy in the United States. It will look closely at the Great Recession and the ability of the federal government to direct our economic destiny. It will explore a different topic each session: e.g., examining history's great idea men: Keynes vs. the Chicago School; "voodoo economics" vs. our consumer-based economy. We will look critically at the roles of taxes and fiscal and monetary policy, with special emphasis on unintended consequences.

Each week will cover a discrete topic with the discussion based upon a presentation by the SGL. A basic understanding of economics will be helpful, but is not necessary. Readings will consist of selections from the books on the reading list as well as controversial op-ed columns from The NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and excerpts from other texts. Current media and excerpts from the other texts will be handed out in class or via email.

Readings Teachings From The Worldly Philosophers, Robert L. Heilbroner, ISBN:0-393-31607-6pbk, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. NY, NY, 1997 Edition

Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman ISBN: 0-216-26411-1 (paper) The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 40th Anniversary Edition, 2002

Financial Fiasco: How America's Infatuation with Home Ownership and Easy Money Created the Economic Crisis, Johan Norberg ISBN:978-1-935308-13-3 (alk) Paper Cato, Washington, D.C. 2000 11st Edition 2009/2010

Preparation Time 2 hours

Computer Use Required. Current media (op-ed columns and such) may be delivered via email links

Biography Al Rossow has had a career in the food and beverage businesses. He has held senior positions in sales, marketing, finance and general management. He has been CFO of two cutting-edge companies: Boston Beer (Sam Adams) and Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates. In college he majored in government with a minor in economics. He has an MBA in finance. His hobbies are reading non-fiction and politics.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at any time at 781-899-0894 or by email.


Hum3-F11 Lying and Ethics

Leader George Berkowitz

 TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description "Trust and integrity are precious resources, easily squandered, hard to regain. They can thrive only on a foundation of respect for veracity." Sissela Bok ends her book,Lying, with that observation. As children, many of us were admonished never to lie. Is lying ever justified? Consulting our own consciences, we will discuss "white lies," lies to the ill and dying, lies to protect loved ones, peers and clients. Taking account of context and relationships, what are the arguments for or against lying? Are there truthful alternatives to telling lies? Class participation through discussion is an important part of this course.

Readings Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life by Sissela Bok, 1999, ISBN 0375705287

 Preparation Time 1 ½ hours

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography George Berkowitz attended Dartmouth College and Harvard Executive Business School courses.  He served as Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps, World War II and the Korean War. He served as Senior Japanese and Korean Repatriation Officer with the 1st Marine Division. In 1950, George started his own business, Legal Sea Foods, a small fish market in Inman Square, Cambridge. Today Legal operates over 30 restaurants along the Eastern Seaboard, as well as a mail order business which delivers fresh fish overnight within the United States. George currently serves as the Chairman.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.


Lit9-F11 The Metaphysical Poetry of John Donne and Its Influence on the Poetry of Emily Dickinson

Leader Carol Fain Walters

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description Poetic styles have changed over the years but often some qualities of a particular group of poets can be seen in the poetry of later generations. Such is the case with the lyric poetry of John Donne, the leading metaphysical poet of the early 17th century, and its influence on the 19th century poet Emily Dickinson. 

If you love poetry, this course will give you an opportunity to increase your enjoyment and appreciation of poetry concerned with the profound areas of human experience - physical and romantic love, death, and eternity- enlivened by a technique that will challenge and fascinate you.

Prior knowledge of the subject is not required, and the class is appropriate for any level of knowledge. The only requirement for the class is intellectual curiosity and a willingness to participate in discussions. This course will explore the use of imagery, metaphors (known as "metaphysical conceits"), marked by paradox, wit, double meanings, complex logic and the ingenious use of intellectual and theological concepts. We will discuss how juxtaposing and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, invite the reader to understand an object of comparison in a more sophisticated way. By analyzing selected poems, we will discover the nature of metaphysical conceits and the clever use of themes and notions of the science, art and theology of the day in John Donne's sonnets, as well as the subsequent impact it had on the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

 Readings A curriculum manual with didactic information and copies of the poems to be analyzed and discussed will be prepared by the SGL and distributed at the first session. The cost of printing and binding the manual has not yet been determined.

Material for class presentations can be found at the Brandeis Library, other libraries and on the Internet.

 Preparation Time 2-3 hours

Computer Use Required. Computer skills will be used to receive emails, to use the Internet, and for presentation research.

Biography Most of my career has been involved with academic administration and program planning at major academic medical hospitals and as a management consultant for medical and non-profit community organizations. More recently, I developed the curriculum and taught a 40 hour course for professionals nearing retirement who were seeking ways to transfer their skills to new roles as pro bono nonprofit consultants.

From the time I wrote my college honors thesis titled, "The Relationship of Physical Love and Death in John Donne's Love Sonnets," I have continued to find delight in metaphysical poetry and its subsequent impact on later generations of poets.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-965-2023 if necessary or by email.


H&G1-F11 Abraham Lincoln and Slavery: "If Slavery Isn't Wrong, Nothing Is"

Leader Jim McAlpine

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 - 3:05 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Description Lincoln did not begin his attacks on slavery with the words, "If slavery isn't wrong, nothing is." (Lincoln, Douglas Debates)  His views evolved over time. Growing up, Lincoln viewed slaves, as did his elders, as part of the working environment in Kentucky. As he ran for public office and the presidency, he never became an abolitionist and was convinced that black and white culture and institutions could not prosper in the same society. Lincoln was a member of the American Colonization Society and helped raise funds to enable former slaves to return to their native land in Africa. However, few slaves and free blacks were interested in the idea.  When challenged by Horace Greely to free the slaves immediately, Lincoln responded with his views about the Civil War: "If I could save the union without freeing any slave, I would do it; If I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do it because it helps save the union. In principal, Lincoln hated slavery, but it was the Massachusetts ‘54th Black Regiment at the battle for Ft.Wagner and people like Frederick Douglas who took him at his word. Lincoln would save the union by freeing all the slaves. We realize how far Abraham Lincoln had evolved because he left us with his famous document called "The Emancipation Proclamation."

 Readings The Fiery Trial by Eric Foner ISBN978-0393-06618, Norton, 2010

Preparation Time 30-40 pages per week, 2+ hours. The SGL will provide focus questions to be completed for each session.

Computer Use Not Required

Biography I have taught courses at BOLLI with a special focus on the Civil War and The American Revolution. I graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, CT with a major in history. I have a Master's degree in Liberal Studies from the New School in New York and a MDiv. from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-373-1202 between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by e-mail.


Mu1-F11 Lend Me Your Ear: the Oratorio, the Requiem, the Song Symphony, and A Capella Pieces

Leader Bob Keller

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 - 3:05 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Description The principal objective of the course is to introduce choral music to beginning students, thereby encouraging students to listen to choral music and attend choral concerts. Prior knowledge is not needed. The course will begin with a brief discussion of the history of choral music and continue with listening to and discussing choral music. The course includes listening to examples of four types of choral pieces: the oratorio, the requiem, the song symphony, and selected a capella choral compositions. Students will be expected to familiarize themselves beforehand with the music to be covered in each class. The SGL will provide access to all written and aural information through a class eBoard. One of the classes will be led either by a 5th year Brandeis doctoral candidate in musicology or a BOLLI member who has sung with me in the Newton Choral Society for close to 30 years. The other class will be made up after the end of the semester. Students will have the opportunity to prepare and present 15 minute reports on related subjects such as the relevant composer's life at the time of choral composition, influences on the composer's work around the time of composition, etc. Students are asked to listen to sections on the eBoard of each of the studied pieces.  Suggested recordings of the entire works may be purchased or borrowed from libraries if there is interest.

Prior musical knowledge is not required.  Because comparisons will be made between musical examples, it is helpful to attend every week. It is expected that there will be about 45 minutes of listening in each class. Class presentations are encouraged, not required.

Readings Readings will be attachments to emails.

 Preparation Time 1 hour of listening and ½ hour of reading some weeks.

Computer Use Required Readings will be attachments to emails. eBoard will be used for class assignments.

Biography I have a background in finance and non-profit management. My education includes Harvard College (BA) and MIT, Sloan School, (MS ). I have been on two Boards: Newton Choral Society and Mazie Foundation. I was also past President of All Newton Music School. Although I am not a trained musicologist or music historian, I have sung with the Newton Choral Society for the past 34 years, performing in over 100 concerts. I have performed ALL musical examples in the course. My interest and knowledge of the subject comes from performance.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact email.


Wr3-F11 The Importance of Place in Creative Writing

Leader Faye Snider

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 - 3:05 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Description Place is where we live, where we are born, where we are drawn to in exploration and memory. Place grounds the senses, infuses memory, stimulates images and metaphors. For aspiring and dedicated writers of memoir, personal essay, journals, travel or food, place is central to shaping the sense and truth of the story.

This course is suited to both the aspiring and practicing writer interested in how the evocation of setting can ground and deepen the development of themes, meaning, characters or action in your writing. The course will consist of assigned readings as well as structured writing assignments begun in class. Through discussion of nonfiction essays and memoir segments focused on place, you will develop a sense of possible strategies and forms for experimentation and inclusion in

your own writing. Specific writing prompts in class will launch opportunities for your exploration and focus. Participants will be encouraged to expand beginning themes- to begin a daybook or journal and spend time discovering what impact a particular place generates, as well as to revise class writings into a longer form.

As the class progresses, volunteer participants will have the options to read short excerpts aloud to gain perspective and feedback in a workshop orientation. By course end, participants will have a clear sense of how writing about place inspires both exploration and discovery about oneself. Compelling creative nonfiction evokes reflection and meaning. Place provides a path into the wellspring of what moves us.

 Readings Landscape with Figures: The Nonfiction of Place, Robert Root Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-8032-5983-6

Essays of E.B.White, E.B.White, Modern Classics Harper Collins paperback, 1979

Lights on a Ground of Darkness, Ted Kooser, Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press, 2005, ISBN: 978-0-8032-2642-5

Preparation Time Pages: 30-40. Reading time: 90-120 minutes

Computer Use Required. I often follow-up with e-mails for clarification of assignments or what has been said in class.

Biography Faye Snider, a licensed clinical social worker, former psychotherapist and practicing writer received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Pine Manor's Solstice Creative Writing Program in 2009. During her first career, she co-led Soul Tracking in Nature groups locally and in New Mexico where individuals wrote from their experience of mindful tracking in the natural world. Faye has also participated in and led poetry and creative nonfiction workshops where she is passionate about taking the risk of laying down the words in a first draft so as to evoke one's voice and the expression of what might be begging for deeper articulation.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-332-6694 during late afternoon and early evening hours and by email.


Rel4-F11 What's Going On Here, VI, DEUTERONOMY, Seventh Century Torah

Leader David L. Kline

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 - 3:05 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Description We shall study Deuteronomy as a revolutionary, constitution-like, document, a window into the religion of our ancestors of the period that followed the great eighth century prophets, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah. The book so influenced the writers of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings that these narrators are referred to as The Deuteronomic Historian. We understand ourselves better when we understand Deuteronomy.

 The fifth of the Five Books of Moses, calls itself the words of Moses to Israel, following forty years in the wilderness -- just before they were to cross the Jordan into the new land. The author wrote it as Moses' peroration, his last words in which he legislates thought and practice for the nation. However, from the perspective of critical scholarship, Deuteronomy is actually the earliest book of Torah, reflecting the seventh century BCE ideal. Its appearance in the days of King Josiah is boldly described in II Kings as the shocking discovery of a long-lost text, leading to a purge of pagan worship at the Jerusalem temple and the regulation of moral and ritual behavior.

Prior knowledge is useful, but the course will be appropriate to students at any level. The book list includes background material.  Following the introduction, each session will build upon the preceding sessions. Participants take an active role in commenting on the readings, raising questions, and offering answers. We invite class presentations.

Readings Bible in Hebrew or any translation. Text with footnotes or commentary will help and raise discussion. A Pentateuch (Chumash) volume will serve in this course.  

Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliott Friedman (ISBN-10: 0060630353), an introduction to the Documentary Hypothesis, would be particularly useful to those who have not taken earlier courses in this series.

 Preparation Time 1-2 hours

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. I communicate by email, sending documents and links.

Biography Bible has been my passionate pursuit since college. I have had wonderful teachers: Brandeis, HUC, Hebrew University, Columbia. I chose in 1966 to devote myself to the pulpit and did not complete PhD at Columbia, but teaching has been a treasured part of my life. I was adjunct professor of Bible at ULM for 15 years, and before that, taught at Colorado College. Interest in archaeological/historical studies moved me in the direction of literary criticism and theology. I teach Bible as world-class literature and a treasure of ideas that remain current today.

 Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-599-3341 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. or by email.


YOGA1-F11 Yoga (this course is an "extra" and does not count in your course total)

Leader Sandra Levy

WEDNESDAY - 8:20 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.

 Description This is a yoga class designed mainly for beginners and accommodates all abilities. It includes exercises for stretching, strengthening, balancing, and breathing. Each class begins with centering, followed by a warm-up. Then a routine follows with postures carried out in standing, sitting or lying. The class ends with some restful poses and relaxation.

Biography After careers in Physical Therapy, Early Childhood Education, and Psychiatric Social Work, Sandi decided to devote herself to teaching yoga after years of dabbling in it.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-964-6740 or email.


Hum1-F11 20th Century Jewish Life: Depicted Through Film

Leader Judith Pinnolis

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 - 8:30 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.

Description Throughout the 20th century, Jews have been part of the film landscape. This course will examine 10 fictional films that depict Jews in different historical circumstances during the century. Through course discussion and partial in-class viewings, we will examine not only how Jews are depicted in those surroundings, but also examine how these films, created in different decades, reflect differing Jewish values and concerns. The films to be examined will be Hester Street, Uncle Moses, The Jazz Singer, Yidl Mitn Fidl, The Pianist, The Pawnbroker, The Chosen, Cast a Giant Shadow, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and A Serious Man. There are no prerequisites for this class. Participants will be expected to view the films during the week before each class by either viewing in a library, renting or buying a copy of the films. Members will be able to view brief readings about the films through the eboard. Each class is primarily an independent unit in this class. Films will be on Reserve at the Brandeis Library for viewing throughout the weeks.   

 Readings There are no required books to buy. Some brief readings will be available online through the BOLLI eBoard. Purchase of DVDs is at the discretion of the participant. Films are available through a library or individual rental.

Preparation Time Film viewing time plus up to 1 hour of reading. Participants should read before each class.

Computer Use Required

Biography Judith S. Pinnolis is the RIS Humanities Librarian at Brandeis University. She recently has taught filmmaking techniques to students in Brandeis film classes and been researching the intersection of history and film.  She is creator and editor of the The Jewish Music WebCenter at Pinnolis has published many book reviews, and articles in several works on Jewish music and life. Her newest article published in the American Jewish Archive Journal is about her discovery of Julie Rosewald, a nineteenth century Jewish woman cantor. She also published articles in Encyclopedia Judaica (2006); Women and Music in America Since 1900: An Encyclopedia (2002); and Reader's Guide to Judaism (2000). Pinnolis is Past Chair of the Chapters Council of the Association of College and Research Libraries, and is a Past-President of the ACRL New England Chapter.  She has also served twelve years as the National Chair of the Jewish Music Roundtable of the Music Library Association. Judy has taught at BOLLI previously.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-736-4705 or by email.


Rel1-F11 Beginning Buddhism: What Might it Mean for Us?

Leader Alorie Parkhill

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 - 8:30 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.

Description For many Westerners, Buddhism, the faith of one fifth of the world, may seem obscure and mysterious, but also intriguing. We know something of yoga and meditation but not a great deal about the origins or fundamental precepts of the "historic" Buddha-Siddhatta Gotama-born in Northern India around 563 B.C.E.

Buddhism is a psychological spiritual practice. In this course, we will begin to learn what is known of the life Buddha, as well as some of his fundamental teachings. As Karen Armstrong says, "The Buddha was trying to find a new way of being human," and contrary to our Western individualism, he showed "a complete and breathtaking self-abandonment." How is this possible to achieve in a world of suffering and often despair? Can one find peace, mindfulness, and enlightenment in these times? We will consider these and many other most basic human questions in our brief study, which may include a peak at Zen Buddhism. A practicing Buddhist may join one class, and some basic meditation will be included.

No background is necessary for this course, but it is important to attend each session and to keep up with the reading. Individual reports will be encouraged.

 Readings Buddha, by Karen Armstrong (Penguin Books, 2001) ISBN 14 30.3436 7. 

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, by Tich Nhat Hanh (Broadway Books, 1998) ISBN 0-75679-0369-2.

Other printed materials from various sources.

Preparation Time 1-2 hours, depending on reading rate. More time will be expected for individual research for reports.

Computer Use Required. I will frequently communicate by email.

Biography I taught a wide range of English classes to high school students at The Cambridge School of Weston, for approximately forty years. I retired in June of 2007 and am now involved in a range of activities, including research and writing.  I taught comparative mythology at BOLLI in the spring of 2008 and 2011. Teaching has always been a very important part of my life. I am presently Chair of BOLLI's Curriculum Committee. I hold a BA from Case-Western Reserve University in English and Drama and an MA from Simmons College in Liberal Studies.

 Contact info The SGL is open to contact email.


Wr1-F11 Memoir Writing

Leader Marlyn Katz Levenson

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 - 8:30 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.

Description The goal of this course is to aid participants to amass a minimum of ten pieces of writing, to write freely, using techniques to trigger memories and ideas, with concrete "how to's." Getting started in writing memoirs is often difficult, possibly intimidating. Students are encouraged to think of writing as "talking with a pencil in your hand or talking at the keyboard." Writing a memoir is a way to revisit past life experiences from the perspective of today, a way of reflecting on various periods in our lives. It is an opportunity to savor the events of our lives, to preserve them. We will develop a supportive community, by sharing our writing, which will foster our enriching and inspiring one another. We will spend part of each session writing. 

 Readings No Textbook. The Study Group Leader will provide readings and handouts throughout the course to serve as triggers/stimuli for writing.

Preparation Time Students are expected to write two pages each week at home on the assigned topic or on any topic of their choice. They often write more than that.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required.

Biography  For more than 20 years, Marlyn Katz Levenson, an educator and oral historian, has been involved in oral history, first interviewing family members. She feels strongly that we should value our journey, and record it in some manner, being aware that no one else in the world has our memories of "the way it was," as seen through our eyes, our reflective lenses. Each person's life, and life story is unique, valid, interesting, and the highlights should be preserved, remembered.  Since 2002, Marlyn has been teaching this course at BOLLI. She also leads workshops on How to Get Started in Memoir Writing.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-559-0518 between the hours of 3:00-5:00 p.m. and 8:00-9:00 p.m. or by email.


Rel2-F11 Foundations of Post-Biblical Judaism: From Priests to Rabbis

Leader Dr. Sarah Lieberman

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description This course will focus on Second Temple and Rabbinic history and religion from the late Hebrew Bible period, 516 BCE, when Persia, then Greece ruled the Ancient Near East, and continue into the First Century of the Common Era when the Romans conquered Judea.  We will study the transition to medieval and modern times when rabbinic writings created what is called "normative" Judaism. We will see how the setting between the Testaments informed the birth of Christianity, and how elements--historical, archaeological, political, and especially theological--shaped the Jewish people after their return from Babylonian Exile in 538 BCE, and transformed them from an insignificant nation to a religious community and major historical force.  This process of growth included the meeting of Mosaic religion and Hellenic culture, such that Greek concepts and methods were assimilated into their spiritual biblical heritage, which produced the seeds of Rabbinic Judaism and its eventual offspring, Christianity. Readings will be from related sources, Bible, Apocrypha, Josephus, Qumran, Talmud, etc.

 Readings From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism, Lawrence, H. Schiffman, ISBN 0-88125-372-3, Ktav, 1991.

 Preparation Time 2-3 hours per week

Computer Use Required. Contact with class members is best via e-mails. Internet will supplement readings at times. 

Biography Sarah Roth Lieberman earned a Master's degree in Theological Studies, and a Ph.D. in Bible at Boston University. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled "The Eve Motif in Ancient Near Eastern and Classical Greek Sources."  She lectures and has taught courses in History, Western Civilization, Bible and Women's Studies in colleges in the Boston area.  At BOLLI, she has taught several courses in Bible, some of which were ‘"Genesis" and "1 Samuel," "Biblical Mythology" and "Ancient Near Eastern Backgrounds to Bible."  Most recently she taught two semesters of "The Third Reich at War" as well as a five week version of "Foundations of Post-Biblical Judaism."

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.


Lit7-F11 Ibsen and Shaw: Masters of the Problem Play

Leader Lois Ziegelman

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description When one thinks of the sub-genre of realism referred to as the problem play, two names really come to mind: Ibsen and Shaw.  Ibsen was the pioneer and Shaw his most devoted admirer, defending Ibsen when the Norwegian playwright's dramas were evoking a storm of protest in Europe. Both dramatists were seriously involved in challenging audiences to face the important social issues of the day, yet their approaches were different. Ibsen's plays invariably ended in tragedy while Shaw, often referred to as "The Laughing Ibsen," was a master of wit.

Plays to be read and discussed are Ibsen's Ghosts and Hedda Gabler and Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession and Arms and the Man. These plays will be read in consecutive order, and this course is open to all members. Volunteers will be encouraged to perform various scenes from the plays.

 Readings Ibsen-Ghosts- Suggested translation -William Archer

Ibsen- Hedda Gabler-Suggested translation - Michael Meyer

Shaw- Mrs. Warren's Profession

Shaw -Arms and the Man

Plays by George Bernard Shaw, Signet Classic, c 2004, ISBN 978-0451529442 includes both Shaw plays--1960 edition

 Preparation Time About 2 hours for careful reading and re-reading of plays.

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography Lois Ziegelman, Ph.D. is a Professor Emerita from Framingham State College, where she taught World Language and Drama for thirty-one years. A recipient of five fellowships from the National Foundation for the Humanities, she has studied, taught, and performed works ranging from Classical Antiquity through the 20th Century.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-237-4086 between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.


Hum6-F11 Three Masterpieces: from Drama to Film and Opera

Leader Peter Schmidt

 WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description Drama has often served as the inspiration for other art forms. In this course we will look at three masterpieces of drama: Salome by Oscar Wilde; Woyzeck by Georg Büchner; Earth Spirit and Pandora's Box by Frank Wedekind, and their realization in film and modern opera. The films are: Salome with Alla Nazimova; Woyzeck by Werner Herzog and with Klaus Kinski; Pandora's Box by G. W. Pabst and with Louise Brooks; the operas are: Salome  by Richard Strauss; Wozzeck and Lulu by Alban Berg.

Besides guided discussion and analysis of the plays, we'll consider visualization of the characters and staging as a guide to viewing selections from the films and operas. Of course we'll also do some comparisons of the plays and their main characters. Come join in this exciting adventure. 

No prior knowledge is required.  Enough facility with computers is needed for email communication and to view and download material from the course website, and to access relevant internet links and videos.  Although the plays with their films and operas are planned to be covered separately in three, three, and four weeks, continuous attendance in the course is highly recommended.

Readings 1) Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde Salome Dover Publications, 1967.

ISBN-10: 0486218309. The text without the drawings is available free online

2) Georg Büchner Woyzeck Drama Classics, Nick Hern Books, 1997.

ISBN-10: 1854591835    (Note: Only this particular translation will be used in the course.

Search with Woyzeck Drama Classics for best results)

3) The other plays and materials will be available as copies or online

 Preparation Time 1-3 hours per week, heaviest in the weeks that each play is to be read.

Computer Use Required. Material, including the text of some of the plays, will be made available on a website.  There will also be links to videos, as well as communication by email.

Biography I have led and co-led several BOLLI courses: "Numbers in the News," "Five Physicists who Changed the World View," "Who's Afraid of 20th-Century Music" with Naomi Schmidt, and "Making Sense of Wine" with Allan Kleinman. My professional careers have been as physicist and engineer, but I've also cultivated an interest in classical music, including 20th-century music based on literary works, hence this multi-disciplinary venture. 

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617- 527-2610 until 9:30 p.m. or by email.


Lit3-F11 Favorite Short Stories Revisited

Leader Harriet Kahn & Richard Kahn M.D.

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description We have chosen 10 of the 150 short stories presented over the past 8 years.  As always, we ask participants to read, note their responses, then REREAD the story, noting further additions to your perspectives on the story.  The focus is not on any particular topic other than what makes the story engaging.  There will be stories by Cheever, Joyce, O'Connor, Carver, Berry and others.

 Readings Individual stories will be distributed at least one week prior to each class.

Preparation Time Participants are asked to read and make notes, then REREAD and make further notes.

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography Harriet Kahn, M.Ed. is a grandmother and pre-school educator. Richard Kahn MD is a retired psychiatrist. Both have taught short stories at BOLLI for 16 consecutive semesters

Contact info The SGLs are open to contact by phone at 617-527-6850 between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.


Mu2-F11 Why Sing Plays? -- A Second Collection

Leader Arthur M. Finstein

WEDNESDAY- COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description We'll study 3 important 20th-century musicals: My Fair Lady, A Chorus Line, and A Little Night Music, as well as excerpts from some others such as Me and My Girl, Cabaret, and The Fantasticks. These works offer insight into the craft/art of creating high quality musical theater. And although they represent significantly different approaches to musicalizing their subject matter, all share common fundamental principles of musical theater established centuries ago. We'll review these core ideas, and then consider each piece, focusing on the placement, structures, and styles of songs to discover how the composers' musical choices sharpen character and plot, and deepen the impact of the play. 

While this is a second class on the subject, it is not expected or required that students will have taken the earlier course or have any specific musical skills or prior knowledge. What is required is an openness to and genuine enjoyment of musical theater. The material is cumulative from week to week, and consistent attendance is encouraged. No presentations are required.

Readings  Pygmalion (George Bernard Shaw) and My Fair Lady (Alan Jay Lerner) - Signet Classics, Paperback

A Chorus Line:  The Complete Book of the Musical (Kirkwood, Bennett, Dante, Kleban)-Applause Books

A Little Night Music - Wheeler, Sondheim - Applause Books

Videos and other books will be recommended to students in the welcome letter, and I will provide copies of excerpts from other scripts and readings as well for little or no additional charge to the class.

Preparation Time 2-3 hours of reading/listening

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. I try to send summaries via email each week, and do a fair amount of communication with the class via email. For someone without email access, it would be difficult and would involve my giving hard copies of materials to that person in subsequent sessions.

Biography Art Finstein holds BA and MFA degrees in Music from Brandeis.  He is a retired Massachusetts Music Educator, and has music-directed more than 190 productions in the greater Boston scholastic, community and professional theater circuits.  He has spoken at statewide, regional, and national conferences on Music and Theater Education, and continues to advocate for increased appreciation of and support for the creative arts, especially for music and musical theater.   

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-875-6965 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email .


H&G5-F11 Justice Louis D. Brandeis, a Life

Leader Natalie Taub & Les Blicher

WEDNESDAY- COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description We will be studying the extraordinary life of Justice Louis D. Brandeis based on the biography by Melvin Urofsky published in the fall of 2009. Louis Brandeis was a brilliant multi-faceted man with deep intellect and varied interests. His career as "the people's attorney" brought him national recognition in the years before his service on the Supreme Court. Many of the ideas that were important to him during his lifetime are applicable today. 

This will be a discussion course. Volunteers from the class for ten short presentations based on subjects selected by the SGL will be requested to augment the reading matter. Les Blicher will participate in five classes to add legal depth to the material discussed.

The material will build from week to week. Therefore it is important that class members plan to attend every week. This course is appropriate for all students.

 Readings Louis D. Brandeis, a Life by Melvin I Urofsky. Published by Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, Inc.  New York, and in Canada First Edition, 2009, ISBN 978-0375423666.

 Preparation Time Approximately 60 pages of reading will be assigned per class.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required

Biography Natalie has led courses at both BOLLI and HILR on "Justice Louis D. Brandeis," "Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes" and "Water and the Politics of Water." She and Les led this particular course, "Justice Louis D. Brandeis, A Life" at BOLLI in the fall of 2010.

Natalie graduated from M.I.T. with a degree in Civil Engineering and earned a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University. Her professional life was spent primarily in construction with the exception of seven years at the EPA working on water related issues.

Les graduated from Georgetown Law School. He had a multi-faceted legal career which included the following:  admission to practice in the Federal Court system, including the U.S. Supreme Court; tax law practice in a major Boston law firm; Principal in an international consulting firm; and an owner and CEO of a Marlborough-based domestic consultancy. Les most recently was the SGL for the Money Talks course.

Contact info Natalie Taub is open to contact by phone at 781-652-8999 or by email. Les Blicher is open to contact by phone at 617-244-5465 before 9:00 p.m. or by email.


Hum4-F11 Our National Treasure...The Smithsonian Museum

Leader Shelly Glazier

WEDNESDAY- COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description Our National Treasure...The Smithsonian Museum is a ten week course that will explore the history, development, and richness of the world's largest museum complex.  We will examine how it evolved from an 1826 bequest by a British scientist to the vast complex of museums, affiliate museums, and research centers that span the entire United States. We will discuss ethical issues related to the acquisition of various exhibits and how the Smithsonian Institution has evolved over the past 180 plus years.  An overview of the largest and most popular museums as well as some of the lesser known ones will be presented. The purpose of the course is to help us better understand and appreciate our National Treasure-the Smithsonian Museum.

This course is highly interactive with much discussion regarding the topics of the day. No prior knowledge is required; the course is appropriate for anyone with a love of museums and an inquisitive mind. 

Readings Weekly reading material will be provided via e-mail.

 Preparation Time 1-1½ hrs. per week

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Although there will be many visuals of museum artifacts presented in class, members may enjoy exploring various sites of additional museum collections that will be provided. 

Biography My love of museums has existed for many years. This course will be a mutual adventure in learning about the history, ongoing development, and ethical issues related to museums in general, and more specifically, our National Treasure, the Smithsonian Museums. 

For thirty years I worked as a Marriage and Family therapist. I founded and then led a clinical therapists' peer group for over 12 years, led a Brandeis study group for 9 years, and a Hadassah study group for over 8 years. I worked as a private clinical supervisor for 15 years, and have led five previous classes at BOLLI.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-332-3176 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.


Sc1-F11 Advancing Technologies and Innovations: Are They Always for the Better?

Leader Bennie and Gillian Geffin

WEDNESDAY- COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description We are constantly being confronted with the implementation of new developments in science and technology. Usually these innovations improve the quality of our lives and we gladly accept them. In many cases, however, we are not fully aware of their potential negative impacts as well as their positive contributions. This course will examine selected topics from both positive and negative points of view. For example, Should society allow genes to be patented for private gain? Is the generation of nuclear power still green? Is bottled water a physiological necessity or a marketing success? Is the risk of brain cancer from cell phones real?

A different topic will be addressed each week, mostly chosen from the recommended text. When the science underlying the day's topic may not be common knowledge, the class will start with a brief presentation of the science by one of the SGLs. Two ten-minute presentations by class members will follow, one in support of and one against the day's question. A class discussion will follow these presentations.

All class members will be required to make one ten-minute presentation during the semester. In addition to the recommended text, up-to-date reading material will be made available and, if needed, assistance with the preparation of presentations. No specialized prior knowledge is required.

 Readings Taking Sides. Clashing Views in Science, Technology, and Society. Ninth Edition. Thomas Easton. ISBN  978-0-07-738197-4  McGraw-Hill, 2010

 Preparation Time Between 1 and 2 hours. More time may be needed to prepare the required presentation.

Computer Use Required. Use of a computer is necessary for email, web research, and to access an eBoard providing supplemental reading for each week's topic.

Biography Bennie Geffin is a medical graduate of the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to his retirement he was on the faculty of Harvard and Tufts Medical Schools, has participated in clinical research and played an active role in teaching. He has always enjoyed a keen general interest in science and technology and how these affect our day-to-day lives.

Gillian Geffin has degrees in physiology and medicine from the University of London, U.K., where she worked as a physiologist. In Boston, she ran a surgical cardiovascular research laboratory at the M.G.H. and, as a faculty member, taught Harvard research fellows and medical students. She too has an avid interest in science and technology. She has been a teaching assistant in computer classes at BOLLI.

The SGLs ran this course during 2007. Some new topics have been added and all material has been updated.

Contact info The SGLs are open to contact by phone at 508-358-4954 before 10:00 p.m. or by email.


Wr2-F11 Reading and Writing: Creating Playful Writing

Leader Pete Reider

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 - 3:05 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Description This course will be a creative writing workshop. The purpose is to learn about effective playful writing - by studying A. A. Milne, Cynthia Ozick, and Woody Allen--and to have fun emulating their styles in our own writings.  Among the features we will study are voice, wordplay, and imagination. For each class, we will follow this sequence: (1) Before each session, class members will read a short (assigned) example of playful writing.  (2) In class, we will discuss the reading - looking together at what strikes us as remarkable, appealing, or ingenious (20 minutes).  (3) Following the discussion, in class, we will write brief pieces emulating the style of the reading (15 - 20 minutes).  The subject of these brief pieces could range from an imaginary everyday event in the writer's life to a whimsical philosophical treatise.  The pieces will be independent fictional or fictionalized creations - not spoofs or strict imitations.   (4) Five members will then read their writings to the class (about 4 minutes each).  (5) Following each of the five readings, we will playfully critique that class member's opus (about 5 minutes each).  No prior knowledge or talent will be required.  We will seek inspiration from: A. A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh; selections from Cynthia Ozick's The Puttermesser Papers, Heir to the Glimmering World and Dictation; the screenplays Zelig, by Woody Allen, and Annie Hall, by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman.  (The style of the class will be facilitated discussion with no presentations other than those described above.)    

 Readings Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne ISBN 978-0-525-44443-5; Dutton's Children's Books, 1926

Heir to a Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick ISBN 0-618-47049-2; Houghton Mifflin, 2004

Three Films of Woody Allen ISBN 0-394-75304-6; Vintage Original, 1987

Four Films of Woody Allen ISBN 0-571-11-824-0; Faber and Faber, 1983, hardcover (Includes Annie Hall)

Readings other than those listed above will be photocopied and handed out.

 Preparation Time One to two hours

Computer Use Desirable, but not required

Biography At college, I took creative writing courses along with pre-medical courses. While a psychiatrist, I wrote short stories and attended several writing workshops. Since retirement, I have led two courses at BOLLI on humorous short writings. I run into excellent material for playful stories on a daily basis.  

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-964-0448 between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email.


Lit4-F11 Fiction with a Math Chaser

Leader Joel Kamer

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 - 3:05 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Description We will be reading three acclaimed novels by three very different but accomplished authors. One similarity between the novels is that each has a primary character who is mathematically adept. When the novels mention mathematical concepts in association with the aforementioned characters, the SGL is likely to go off on a tangent [editor's note:  the SGL surreptitiously injected this mathematical term here --- see a mathematics dictionary for definition] to describe the concept in layman's terms. The intent is to discuss three intriguing books, and have fun with the mathematics interspersed by the authors.

Readings 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Goldstein, ISBN 978-0-307-45671-7, Vintage Contemporaries paperback, 2011

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder, ISBN 978-0-312-42780-8, Picador paperback, 2009

Ratner's Star by Don DeLillo, ISBN 978-0-679-72292-2, Vintage Contemporaries paperback, 1989

Preparation Time We will read about 150 pages each week.

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography I learned reading at an early age then, after ‘riting, I learned ‘rithmetic.  I found arithmetic so enthralling that I went on to eventually receive a master's degree in mathematics and another in actuarial science.  I became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, and eventually retired as a Senior Vice President from John Hancock Financial Services.  During all this time I tried to keep up my reading skills, in particular by reading fiction.  Occasionally I'd come across fiction which indulged my love of mathematics, as in these three novels, and I look forward to sharing the experience with the class.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.


H&G6-F11 Regime Changers: The U.S. from 1890 to 1910

Leader Ron Levy

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 - 3:05 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Description Five U.S. Presidents in a 20-year period, from Harrison to Taft, embarked on active territorial incursions and international strategies that had significant implications for our foreign policy in the 20th century. James Bradley in his book, The Imperial Cruise, levels serious accusations of a racist leadership that pursued an American Aryan philosophy as it "followed the sun to the West." Although a lauded historian, he wrote this book in more of a journalistic style, which makes for enjoyable and often surprising reading. Reviews have been both favorable and critical of his controversial treatment of the subject.

How legitimate are Bradley's claims? What is the background to our territorial incursions in the western Pacific, and to what extent were they an extension of our activities in the Americas? How did they relate to the concurrent strategic activities of the major European powers? In what ways do our more recent policies reflect similarities to past actions and to what extent were they examples of regime change or of nation building? What were some of the positive and negative outcomes of our policies?  Did some of our actions really lead to World War II in the Pacific? 

We will examine the then-recent history of Hawaii, the Philippines, Japan and, to a lesser extent, China and Korea, as well as the U.S.'s relations with those countries. Our principal focus will be on the philosophies and policies of Theodore Roosevelt, but examined in the context of those times and mores. Bradley is not the only historian to have written about that era and about Theodore Roosevelt.  While not required reading, students will be asked to refer to other sources and authors that support or dispute Bradley's thesis.

There will be a weekly reading assignment from the text, as well as specified and independent Internet research to develop background information.

Readings James Bradley, the renowned and respected author of Flags of our Fathers and Fly Boys, presents a fascinating and challenging thesis in his latest book, The Imperial Cruise. Published by Back Bay Books. ISBN #:978-0-316-00895-2 (hardcover) or 978-0-316-01400-7 (paperback). The Imperial Cruise will be the main text of our course, to be supplemented by other books of the student's choosing, assigned articles and independent research.

Preparation Time Up to 2 hours, plus preparation time for those making presentations.

Computer Use Required. I communicate weekly via email. I expect students to be able to undertake Internet research, and to create and present materials, preferably electronically.

Biography As an international business consultant, I have lived in or travelled to over 55 countries. My personal interests have included politics, history and geography: my study foci at BOLLI. As an SGL, I have led courses on our Accidental Presidents, Current Events, the EU, the USSR and Russia, and "Evil" Nations. As a UK citizen, I came to the U.S. in 1968 and became a citizen in 1977. This inculcated me with a deep interest in U.S. history and especially in its leaders, and I have read extensively on these topics. I find that I continue to be challenged as new questions are raised by inquisitive students, and so I believe strongly that we will learn together.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-964-6740 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. but preferably by email.


Lit1-F11 A Sense of Place: Murder Mysteries ‘Round the World

Leader Nancy Rawson

 THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 - 8:30 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.

Description Why does place matter in a mystery story? A strong "sense of place" can be incredibly compelling and can drive the story. In any Donna Leon book (our first reading) you are "in" Venice from the very first page. We will read several short mysteries, each from a different part of the world and selected for its strong sense of place, and discuss the significance of that sense in the development and success of the story. Why does it matter whether the setting is Moscow or Paris, a train, a desert, a Navajo reservation? How does the author use place to enhance his plot? Is he or she successful in this attempt? How does it affect the literary merit of the book? What makes for a successful mystery story? I know that the reading list looks intimidatingly long, with a book each week, but most are fairly short and very readable - you won't be able to put them down. Study questions will be provided to focus your thinking as you read. Lots of class participation will be encouraged. Volunteers will be asked to give brief biographies of the authors being read. Students with all degrees of experience of the mystery genre, from "none" to "a lot" are welcome. Why read mysteries anyway? What is their special appeal? Are they just for fun? Or do they tell us something about the real world? We'll find out.

Readings We will read and discuss a short mystery each week. See reading list below. I may make one or two changes in titles or order of the books for the last half of the course. A final syllabus will be available closer to the opening of the semester. All titles are readily available in local libraries or in bookstores or online, new or used, at considerably less cost. Any edition is fine. In the past many students have chosen to use library copies.

 Week 1: Donna Leon. Death in a Strange Country, Penguin. ISBN: 014311588X (Venice)

Week 2: Agatha Christie. Murder in Mesopotamia, Black Dog & Leventhal, ISBN: 157912691X (Mesopotamia)

Week 3: Batya Gur. The Saturday Morning Murder, Harper, ISBN: 0060995084 (Israel)

Week 4: Zoe Ferraris.. Finding Nouf. Mariner, ISBN: 0547237782 (Saudi Arabia)

Week 5: Georges Simenon. The Bar on the Seine, Penguin, ISBN: 0143038311(Paris)

Week 6: Tony Hillerman. Listening Woman, Harper, ISBN: 0061967769 (Navajo Reservation)    

Week 7: Louise Penny. Still Life, St. Martin's, ISBN: 0312948557 (Quebec)

Week 8: Dana Stabenow. A Cold Day for Murder, Berkley, ISBN: 042513301X (Alaska)

Week 9: Boris Akunin. The Winter Queen, Random House, ISBN: 0812968778(Russia)

Week 10: Henning Mankell. Faceless Killers, Vintage, ISBN: 0307742857(Sweden)

Preparation Time Between 100 and 300 pages of easy reading each week. 3-4 hours for most, more for some perhaps. People read at very different speeds.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. I will communicate by e-mail, and the web is useful, but not essential, for background information. Those without computers can be accommodated easily.

Biography I have a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.L.S. from Simmons School of Library & Information Science. After several years as a Mathematician at Lincoln Labs, I switched careers and became a Reference Librarian at the Wellesley Public Library, a fun job, which I held for 27 years. Being surrounded by books is my idea of a good time, and my interest in mysteries was sparked by several "literary tours" of the British Isles, including a "Mystery Tour" to the haunts of several mystery writers. This is the thirteenth Study Group I have led at BOLLI, the eleventh with a mystery theme.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-894-7754 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.


Rel3-F11 The Jews from Arab Lands: an Epic Odyssey

Leader Eveline Weyl

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 - 8:30 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.

Description I would like to share my understanding of the Jews from North Africa and the Middle East, which would include their history, their similarities to and differences from their Western brethren. We will discuss their culture, traditions, customs as well as their peregrinations.

This is a lecture-style course, followed by questions and discussions. I will encourage participants to choose a subject to be studied and presented to the class. In addition, I will present a list of suggested topics and recommend resources. Prior knowledge is not necessary although it is important that students attend each class, as subject matter is sequential.

Readings The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times by Norman Stillman, ISBN # 9780827607651. Handouts will also be distributed.

 Preparation Time Average 1 hour but more at the beginning. The book should be read A.S.A.P.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required: only for communicating by email

Biography I grew up in France and witnessed as my parents helped to create a community for 60 Jewish families who came to our hometown, empty-handed, from North Africa, between 1958 and 1963.The Jewish community of France today is mostly Sephardic and is now half of my family. I have a business school degree. My professional career was in the tourism industry. I have taught several courses at BOLLI. Jewish history is my avocation.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.


H&G2-F11 A Dress Rehearsal for WWII:  The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Leader Gene S. Kupferschmid

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description The Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939) has been referred to by some as "the good fight," by others as "the passionate cause," and by many as "the prelude to World War II."   Was it the fight of democracy against fascism?  The fight of fascism against communism?  Was it possible to remain neutral?  Just type "Spanish Civil War" into the title box on to see the great number of books that have been written and are still being written to debate those questions.   We will briefly explore the conditions in Spain that led to the war, the fighting that impassioned young people from all over the world to fight for the Spanish Republic, the views expressed by writers (Hemingway and Orwell), and the aftermath.

As this is a study of a war, the readings and films will follow a chronological progression starting with the causes of the war and ending with its aftermath.  Therefore, it is important that all classes be attended.  Classes will be primarily devoted to discussion of the readings and films. Neither prior knowledge nor reports will be required.

Readings The Spanish Civil War by Helen Graham, ISBN: #9780192803771

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Preparation Time 50 - 100 pages per week.  Some of the readings are interspersed with photos.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Further information can be found on the Net or films can be viewed.

Biography I taught in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Boston College for 30 years, have traveled extensively in Spain and Latin America, have had two NEH fellowships and have written 15 Spanish textbooks.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-232-1727 between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. or by email.


Soc1-F11 Age of Aging: The Impact of Demographic Shifts in the 21st Century

Leader Susan D. Erdos and Mark Alimansky

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description The world population is aging rapidly! In 2000, 10% of people worldwide were 65 or older. By 2050 that population segment is expected to increase to 22% and outnumber those under 15. This change will affect the global economy; strain social insurance, pension and retirement systems; impact trade, world security and migration; and, by extension, influence cultural norms and family dynamics. This course will discuss these changes and the anticipated impacts, problems, policies and myths related to this demographic shift. 

The class will combine SGL presentation and class discussion. Supplementary reports will be presented on a voluntary basis. There is no prior knowledge required. Although some weeks' discussions will form a basis for future classes, missing a session should not have a great impact on the student.

Readings The Age of Aging, How Demographics Are Changing the Global Economy and Our World, George Magnus, John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte. Ltd., 2009, IBSN: 978-0-470-82291-3

Other readings and materials will be provided by course leaders from books, periodicals, and from websites as documents or streaming videos.

 Preparation Time About 3 hours per week

Computer Use Required. While the book listed will be a basis for the course, additional materials will be posted for study group members, and member topic presentation files may also be provided.

Biography After graduating from New York University, Susan Erdos taught junior high school science in the New York City school system. She has had additional training in accounting and economics. She started a second career as a computer programmer, technical project manager, and marketing consultant for local high-technology companies. This is her first BOLLI course as SGL.

Mark Alimansky made his career in international project finance, engineering and computer systems technologies. In addition to degrees from MIT and Harvard Business School, he has studied economics and finance, and follows economic issues. As a member of HILR for the past ten years he has co-led courses in the history of technology, and several courses on current issues in economics.

Contact info The SGLs are open to contact by phone at 781-861-8420 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email.


Soc2-F11 Composing Our Lives: Women in Their Later Years

Leader Marjorie Roemer  

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description Mary Catherine Bateson opens her book, Composing A Life, by describing life as an art of improvisation.  She studies the changes and re-combinations that women face throughout life in response to new situations.  Using that construct, we will look at several works written by women that chart the adjustments of the later years to gain perspective on our own lives and the changes that we are now experiencing.  The course will combine readings, discussions, and some writing of our own experiences.  In Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea we will look at what it means to "evolve another rhythm" in our lives.  In Carolyn Heilbrun's The Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty, we'll look at the later years as "a time of profound change."  In other works, we'll look specifically at both loss and liberation as we age.

Participants in the class need have no prior knowledge of anything except their own lives and a willingness to be reflective about them.  The readings, discussion, and writing will be sequential, so  regular attendance is expected.  The writing assignments will derive from the discussions in class and the themes introduced by the readings.  The expectation will be for two short pieces of life-writing, and while there will be opportunities for sharing, there will be no requirement (or pressure) to share these pieces.

 Readings Heilbrun, Carolyn G., The Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty.  Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-42295-3

Lindbergh, Anne Morrow Gifts from the Sea. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73241-1

A course packet of readings no more than $10.00

Preparation Time Roughly two hours

Computer Use Desirable, but not required.  I often send updates or notes by email, but  I will try to accommodate those who do not have email access.

Biography Marjorie Roemer has taught English at the junior high school, high school, college, and graduate level.  For the last sixteen years she was Professor of English, Director of Writing at Rhode Island College and Director of the Rhode Island Writing Project.  Her PhD in English is from Brandeis, and she is enjoying being back.  Last year she co-led a course with Eleanor Jaffe in fall and in spring taught one on her own.

Contact info The SGL is available by phone any time at 508-541-7440, or by email.


Lit8-F11 Smile, Chuckle, Laugh? Grimace?: Humor in Drama

Leader Elaine S. Reisman

 THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 - 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description Humor elicits different responses from individuals for a variety of reasons. 

Diverse expressions of humor through plays will offer participants the opportunity to explore the issues that are targeted, the motivations for their being targeted, and responses of the readers or viewers.

Caution to those who think that comedic presentations are funny to all.  Much of comedy is close to tragedy and the selected plays include some with subject matter that is poignant and sad.  Discussion will bring out how humor is used to mask some of our deeper feelings.  Sometimes when these are expressed, for example, in a play, they elicit discomfort because of touching a personal experience or tender spot in our own psyches.

The purpose of the course is to explore humor, enjoy some fun together and to develop a deeper understanding of how playwrights attempt to reach us.

Participants are expected to read all plays and be voluntarily active in discussions and enrichment opportunities, which means reading/acting part of plays and sharing insights through reports relevant to the playwrights and their times.

 Readings All plays are easily accessible through Minuteman.  I have checked availability.  Some are in anthologies. No need for participants to buy books. I send out a detailed bibliography with call numbers in my welcoming packet.

A Thousand Clowns by Herb Gardner   (comedian uses humor for self-protection)

Of Thee I Sing, G. S. Kaufman and Moss Hart (presidential election)

You Never Can Tell by G. B. Shaw (family, morality)

The Man Who Came to Dinner   by G. S. Kaufman    (elitism, spoof on Alexander Woolcott)

The Admirable Crichton by J.M. Barrie   (the upper class trying to be equalitarian)

The Pushcart Peddlers by Murray Schisgall   (aspirations in the 'new' country) - can be found in LUV and other Plays by Murray Schisgall, ISBN # 0396082149

 Preparation Time 2 -3 hours

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. After each class, a recap is sent which includes important information about what took place in class.  In addition, plans for the next session are outlined. Participants also share further thoughts on the discussions and this is then sent on to class members by email.

Biography Rewarded by the fun of planning and leading courses, and the joy of the participants, I am offering  a course at BOLLI for the 16th time.  By no means am I an expert on drama nor on humor, but shared learning with motivated peers makes for a playful and enriching experience. My background is in Early Childhood special needs.  I guess I never outgrew the pleasure of "acting out."

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-538-6536 before 9 p.m. or by email.


Hum2-F11 Courtroom Cinema

Leader Marty Aronson

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIODS 3 & 4- 1:25 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Description Courtroom drama brought to the screen with the following 5 films: Twelve Angry Men; Kramer vs Kramer; A Civil Action; The Verdict; To Kill A Mockingbird.  We will collectively view and discuss these films on alternate weeks (movie week one, discussion of it the following week, etc).  The movies include portions of trial scenes plus the events leading to the courtroom drama.  Discussions will include: (a) reality/unreality; (b) the workings of our justice system; (c) depiction of trial lawyers; (d) credibility; (e) whether or not the film achieves a meaningful purpose.  Enjoy the exciting mix of the cases, the trial scenes and cinema as well as our stimulating discussions. Caveat: Excepting for Twelve Angry Men, classes will last two class periods on the weeks when the films are shown. On days when films are shown, the class will take up both afternoon time slots, in order to allow sufficient time for films to be shown in their entirety. On days when no film is shown, the class will run only during the first afternoon time slot. Persons signing up for this course should not sign up for another course in the later afternoon time slot. 

Readings I will provide (1) weekly summaries of each film plus (2) questions to help guide our discussions.

Preparation Time Each summary is approximately 8-10 pages; the questions are usually 2 pages.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required

Biography I have a BA from Dartmouth College and a JD from Boston College Law School. I am an Adjunct Professor at Boston College Law School where I have taught Trial Advocacy and continue to teach Dispute Negotiations. I am a past President of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocacy. I practiced as a trial lawyer for 41 years and currently serve as mediator and senior counsel to the Boston law firm Parker/Scheer.  I presented this course at HILR during both semesters of the 2010-2011 academic year.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-739-5038 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. or by email.


CE1-F11 Current Events: Our Rapidly Changing World

Leader Lois Sockol

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description We live in a complex time when what happens in one part of our world affects us all, which requires us to stay informed as the world rapidly changes. This course is designed to inform, to discuss current news stories, and provide thoughtful analysis.  In most sessions, our attention will be split between world events and national news. Class members will be expected to present reports, lead a class discussion on a current topic, and take part in group discussions. Different sides of controversial issues should be presented. Interest and keeping up to date with the news are the only prerequisites.

 Readings No books are required. However, access to magazines such as The Economist, The New Yorker, The Nation, Time, etc., as well as newspapers and web sources, will be necessary.

Preparation Time 1 -2 hours

Computer Use Required I communicate with class members and send out information via e-mail.

Biography I was a teacher of children and adults for 25 years. My undergraduate degree is from Boston University and my masters from Lesley College. The bulk of my professional years were spent in the Newton Public Schools where I taught children and was a consultant to teachers.  I was an educational consultant to schools throughout New England. After retirement, I again became a student, and a writer of short stories. Four of my short stories have been published: one in a literary journal, and three on the Web. Retirement allows me to feed my Current Events habit.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-449-1226 or 781-864-2393 or by email.


Lit5-F11 Journeys through Anguish: Selected Memoirs

Leader Sophie Freud

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description The course hopes to expand our understanding of the human condition. It will also acquaint us more specifically with the nature of different emotional disorders such as Schizophrenia, Manic-Depressive disorder, Alzheimer's disease, Anorexia, Cutting, and Asperger's Syndrome (raising an Asperger child). Using memoirs by the suffering person or their caretaker), we learn how the illness feels to the  suffering person, how it has developed, how it manifests itself, and how it may sometimes be overcome or how one might learn to live with it,

Readings An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison (1995) Vintage books(Bi-polar disorder)

I remain in Darkness by Annie Ernaux (1999) Seven Stories Press (Azheimer)

The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn R. Saks (2007) Hyperion  (Schizophrenia)

The Best Kind of Different. Our Family's Journey with Asperger's Syndrome by Shonda Schilling (20010) William Morrow ISBN: 3 4871 00322 2571

Skin Game.  A Cutter's Memoir by Caroline Kettlewell (2099) St. Martin' Press

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. (1972) Bantam

Preparation Time I try to assign no more than about 100 pages, or a bit more, depending on the book. I estimate 4 hours of reading time per week.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required, Some readings are computer related.

Biography I started as a clinical social worker, working with troubled individuals and troubled families and then became an academic for the next 30 years of my life, before joining BOLLI. I think this is my 10th course for our program. My courses have been well-received.  Inventing and teaching courses has become my old age pass-time.  I received a BA from Harvard (psychology major), an MSW from Simmons, and 20 years later, a Ph.D. from the Heller School at Brandeis. I was a professor of social work at the Simmons College School of Social Work for 30 years. My areas of teaching were courses on Developmental Psychology, theories of psychotherapy, group work, family dynamics, etc. I am also an avid reader, and books have been my cherished companions as a reader, book reviewer and author of 2 books, the latter a biography of my mother whose husband was the son of a famous man. 

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-259-9729 any time except between 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


CE2-F11 The Afpak Insurgency: Radical Islam in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Leader Richard Mallon

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 - 1:25 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Description The Afpak insurgency is about the growth of radical Islam in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the inability or reluctance of both governments to control or subdue it.  It didn't take long for the U.S. and NATO to drive the Taliban out of power and Osama bin Laden into the eastern mountains, but the war has dragged on for almost 10 years with no clear resolution in sight.  The purpose of our intervention has shifted from a war on terrorism to democratic national-building in Afghanistan, while it is opposed by Islamic fundamentalism, anti-foreign tribalism and Pashtun nationalism on both sides of the border.  The course will explore alternatives for resolving this very complex dilemma.   

 Readings The Wrong War, by Bing West, IBSN 978-1-4000-6873-9, Random House, 2011

Pakistan: Eye of the Storm, by Owen Bennett Jones, ISBN 978-0-300-15475-7, Yale University Press, 3rd ed. 2009

Preparation Time 30-40 pages and two to three hours per week aside from preparation of member presentations.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Useful for researching background information and preparing class presentations.

Biography I hold a B.A. from Princeton and a PhD in Economics from Harvard. I was in the U.S. Navy in WWII and became a senior fellow of Harvard Institute for International Development and university lecturer. I spent 12 years residence in developing countries providing technical assistance, including five years in Pakistan and Bangladesh. I have a special interest in the political economy of development and nation-building.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-965-3230 between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.


Sc2-F11 Individual Genomes and Personalized Medicine

Leader Allan Kleinman

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 - 3:05 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Description The sequencing of the human genome is revolutionizing our understanding of human health and disease leading to the goal of personalized medicine.  There have been some dramatic breakthroughs, as well as a lot of hype.  We will learn the basic facts of the genomic revolution and discuss its potential for good, the technical and social limitations to progress, and possible pitfalls. Class members will become able to read newspaper or magazine articles with a much deeper understanding and sense of perspective.

We will cover (1) basic genetics, (2) genomic sequencing and genetic testing, (3) genetics in health and disease, (4) genome-based diagnostics, prevention, treatment, and cures, (5) aging/longevity, (6) cancer, (7) diabetes, (8) Alzheimer's, (9) eugenics and (10) ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics.  Dr. Kevin Davies, author of The $1,000 Genome, will be an advisor to this course and will join our discussion in Week 10. I expect this class to be an equitable balance of SGL presented material, student presentations, and class discussion.

While the only prerequisite is a basic layman's understanding of biology, this course is geared to a motivated student. Reading from the text and supplementary articles (a total of about 10 pages) should take approximately 2 hours weekly. The material builds sequentially so consistent weekly attendance is important. Volunteers will make class presentations chosen from several proposed topics, and one or two volunteers will give brief overviews prior to our discussion.  Students will be expected to read and, optionally, bring in a current article.

Readings Human Genetics - Concepts and Applications by Ricki Lewis, Eighth Edition, ISBN-978-0-07-299539-8, McGraw-Hill, October 2007.

Most of the newer and more specific information will be provided in supplementary articles for the class.

Preparation Time 10 pages of reading for about 2 hours

Computer Use Required

Biography About a dozen years ago, I attended a lecture at The Jackson Laboratory and heard about the coming genomics revolution for the first time.  I have since taken a course on bioinformatics at MIT, organized a series of professional-level lectures on bioinformatics for engineers, and have been following genomic-related issues on a daily basis.  I now give public tours of The Jackson Laboratory during my summers in Maine in order to explain how they are leading the search for tomorrow's cures.  I have been attending BOLLI classes for the past four years and have led courses on energy and wine.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-861-0461 between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.


DR1-F11 Scene-iors:  Staging a Play

Leader Becky Meyers & Eileen Mitchell

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 - 3:05 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Description If you are interested in the how and why of the theatre, please join us. We will examine many elements involved in staging a play, and work together to present a short play the last week of classes. Each week will cover a different stage element - the theatre itself, the play, the actor, the playwright, the director, backstage support, and even the critic. The process of staging the play will include auditions, rehearsals and presentation.  We may have an optional field trip behind the scenes at a local theatre.

This study group will be a participatory, team effort. There is a required textbook, and you will receive the script before our first session. As we collaborate, each member will have one or more roles:

      Director:  develop and share your vision of the play

      Playwright: recommend script adaptations to accommodate players and staging

      Dramaturge:  research and report historical interpretations

      Stage Manager:  coordinate and support the process

      Cast Member:  walk in another's shoes and portray that individual

      Designer: develop artistic ideas for sets, props, costumes

      Choreographer:  guide movements on stage and interplay between characters

      Publicist:  entice our public to attend and enjoy our presentation  

Study group members should plan to attend all sessions, but especially the last 2 sessions as we rehearse and then present our dramatic reading at a Lunch & Learn session the last week of classes. Neither memorization nor prior theatre experience is required. An enthusiasm for drama and commitment to the team are all that is needed          

 Readings Theatre, Brief Version by Robert Cohen, ISBN-13: 9780072975055, ISBN: 0072975059, McGraw-Hill Humanities, 7th Edition, 2005.  NOTE:  Some editions at a higher price also have a CD that we are NOT using.  And we are NOT using the book entitled Theatre by the same author because it is too extensive and too expensive.

Preparation Time Required text readings will vary between 15 to 90 pages over 4 class sessions.  In addition, members will read and re-read the script each week.  

Computer Use Required. Email coordination for weekly class activities and optional field trip.

Biography Becky Meyers worked at Brandeis for 20 years in Biochemistry, and when she retired, she just slid down the hill into the BOLLI program. She has taken acting classes given by a professional director in her cohousing community and then took a class here at BOLLI with Eileen Mitchell and Tamara Chernow.  She loves the fact that members of BOLLI can have such a great time making believe.

Eileen Mitchell graduated from being a software engineer 12 years ago, and began to play as a BOLLI member.  She led study groups on fiction, archaeology, architecture and co-led 2 study groups on short plays.  A child of an English Literature Professor and Drama Club Director, she inhaled drama every day and now wants to better understand how words in a script become life on stage.

Over the past 2 years Becky and Eileen facilitated the Scene-iors group to present 4 plays.

Contact info Becky Meyers is open to contact by phone at 978-263-2997 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email at

Eileen Mitchell is open to contact by phone at 671-969-6786 or 617-640-8058 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email.


NY1-F11 The New Yorker Discussion Group (this discussion group is an "extra" and does not count in your course total)

Leaders Phyllis Cohen and Sandy Traiger   

THURSDAY - 3:05 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Description The New Yorker Fiction discussion group meets weekly to discuss the current fiction appearing in the magazine.  Join us to enjoy world class literature, stimulating discussions and lots of laughs. New members are always welcome.

 Contact info Facilitators are Sandy Traiger at 781-862-5318, and Phyllis Cohen at 508-651-9630.