Spring 2011 Course Descriptions

Please note:

  • Readings are designated (R) for Required and (S) for Suggested. 
  • 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 three (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.
  • Download a printer-friendly version of entire coursebook (pdf). 

Tuesday, Course Period 1
8:30 to 9:55 a.m.

SGL1-S11 Learn & Lead: How to Become a Study Group Leader

Leader            Myrna Cohen   

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

Description This course will provide the environment needed for members to investigate ideas for and develop study group proposals to ensure that the BOLLI Program will continue to thrive. Conveying what we know to others is as important as what we ourselves want to learn and can be very exciting! Members have an opportunity to share the incredible knowledge that exists at BOLLI. The purpose is to encourage and give practical input and assistance to program members who have not given presentations or led courses at BOLLI and do not see themselves as a presenter or potential study group leader. Past and present study group leaders are also welcome. The class provides an opportunity to talk about topics as well as to receive input and support from other class members as a whole class, in small groups, or individually. It also presents practical information about giving presentations and/or leading courses (e.g., how to structure a course, how to facilitate discussion, strategies to manage classes so that all members have an opportunity to participate).  The course includes an "in class" Technology Workshop which offers choices on how to use  Powerpoint, the eBoard or other types of technology that might be used in a class. The class on Research & Resources will take place at the Brandeis Library with a presentation and an opportunity for Q and A with a Research Librarian.

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

"the best way to learn is to teach"

Readings  Members will receive the SGL Handbook and BOLLI Proposal Form. Copies of both will be available on line. Examples of study group ideas and course proposals given at BOLLI and other lifelong learning institutes. Members will be supported in doing research to identify books and 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 It is required. Email is an advantage for communication. If you do not have email, provisions will be made to assist you. We will potentially develop an Eboard for the class. Internet access and use is an advantage for developing a course or presentation in terms of doing research and identifying resources.

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 both the Curriculum Committee and Resource Committee. Currently I am BOLLI Council Secretary. Most of my professional work has been in the field of teaching, mentoring, and teacher training. I am presently a Wheelock College Supervisor and Mentor, as well as a Consultant for Stonewall Communities Life Long Learning Institute at Wheelock College. I serve as a SOAR Lead Consultant to Non Profit organizations. I retired from the Newton Public Schools in June 2003 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. or by email.


Hum1-S11 The New York Experience

Leaders Naomi Schmidt and Tamara Chernow

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

Description Many of us have grown up or lived for a while in New York City. Others have developed attachments with the city through the media or actual visits. This course will use essays, memoirs, and video to explore selected aspects of the New York experience and discover just what makes this city unique. Included will be a brief history of the city, the multicultural environment, class and ethnic conflicts, and the impact of new immigrants and changing neighborhoods. We will also examine the history and culture of the subways, the Robert Moses legacy, recreational areas, and sports. Using themes from the readings as a framework, participants will share their own experiences and memories of their times in the city. Volunteers will be asked to contribute reports on topics of interest to supplement the assigned readings.

No prior knowledge is needed, and all are welcome, including those who have not experienced New York City first hand. 

Readings Essay (R): Here is New York by E. B. White. This essay is available as a stand alone book and is also included in the book Essays of E. B. White, which is available from libraries and also in an inexpensive paperback from Amazon ISBN 0060932236

(R): The Historical Atlas of New York City by Eric Homberger and Alice Hudson ISBN 0805078428

 Preparation Time 2 hours

Computer Use Required

Biography Originally trained as a physicist, Naomi Schmidt taught Computer Science at Brandeis in the 1970's and 1980's and then worked for 16 years at both Brandeis and MIT in the field of Academic Computing. She has been a BOLLI member since 2003 and has been a Study Group Leader for "Invitation to the Dance" and "Science Fiction," as well as co-leading "Who's Afraid of 20th Century Music?" with Peter Schmidt and The New York Experience with Tamara last semester.

Tamara Chernow was a librarian and library administrator for 25 years. During that time she organized and facilitated programs at the library and led a book club. At BOLLI she has led two Drama courses and the New York Experience with Naomi last semester. Tamara grew up and spent her early adulthood in Brooklyn, New York and still says "The City" when she is referring to Manhattan.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-527-2610 (Naomi, before 9 p.m.) and 617-965-9680 (Tamara between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.) or by email.


Mu4-S11 Wagner's Die Walküre, A Guided Tour

Leader            Phil Radoff

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

This is a 6-week course that meets in the final 6 weeks of the semester (March 22 to May 3).

 Description The course will consist primarily of a presentation of one or more videos of Die Walküre, along with description and commentary by the SGL. This opera is the second in the tetralogy of Wagner's Ring operas. Although the first week of the course will include a review of the predecessor opera, Das Rheingold, the course is most suitable for students who already have some familiarity with that opera, either through a course or otherwise. The material will build from week to week, so that by the end of the course we will have seen the entire opera. Students should plan to attend each week in order to follow the development of the action. Students will be expected to have watched or listened to the portion of the opera to be presented in the next class. Students are strongly encouraged to read the relevant portion of the libretto before watching/listening to the music, and again afterward.

Readings  Students are required to have access to any audio or video recording of the entire opera, plus a libretto (any translation will do). The Metropolitan Opera's performance from the late 80s, available in CD and DVD format, would be a good choice. Any of the online book and music sellers should be a good source for both a recording and a libretto. Note that CD sets of the opera typically include librettos, but DVDs typically do not. Even though DVD sets provide subtitles, they are an inadequate substitute for a stand-alone libretto. Other reading materials will be provided via email.

Preparation Time 2 hours

Computer Use  It is required

Biography  I have taught courses in four other operas at BOLLI since 2006. Last spring I led a six-week course in Das Rheingold.  I have seen performances of Die Walküre on the stage and watched and listened to it on various recordings, as well as doing extensive reading about the opera. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics, but spent most of my career as a lawyer. I retired in 2004 as vice president and group general counsel of a Raytheon business unit.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-358-3375 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.

Tuesday, Course Period 2
10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Wr2-S11 Memoir Writing

Leader    Marlyn Katz Levenson

TUESDAY- COURSE PERIOD 2- 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 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 tos." 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  There is no text book. The Study Group Leader will provide readings and handouts throughout the course to serve as triggers/stimuli for writing.

Preparation Time 1-2 hours

Computer Use Desirable but not necessary

Biography Marlyn Katz Levenson, an educator and a skilled interviewer and oral historian, has been involved in oral history for more than 20 years, first interviewing family members on audiocassettes and then utilizing the camcorder as it became available. 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; the highlights should be preserved, remembered. Marlyn has been teaching this course at BOLLI since the Fall 2002 semester. She also leads workshops on How to Get Started on Memoir Writing.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-559-0519 or by email.


CE1-S11 The News of the Week    

Leader     Dan Blechman 

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the first half of the semester (February 22-March 22).

 Description This course will use daily and weekly news events, as they unfold, as the focus of class discussion. By sharing and listening to each other during this process, we become more open to new ideas. Are we so polarized that there is no common ground to solve our current problems?

A class member (or a team) will volunteer to prepare and deliver a ten-minute presentation on a timely subject suggested by the SGL or by a class member.  We will deal with one major issue during each session. Other topics that are pertinent to the events of the week will be presented by the SGL for class discussion in the remaining 30 minutes. My goal is to encourage participation by all members of the class

Readings  No textbooks are required, but each member is expected to use newspapers, periodicals, books, or the web as resources.

Preparation Time 1 - 1 ½ hours

Computer Use It is desirable but not required

Biography After receiving an MBA, I spent 58 years in the business world. I worked in all phases of retailing, manufacturing, and distribution. Training and teaching were always a major part of my job. I was involved with young adults for many years as a community leader and am currently active with my condominium. My special interests are early American history and current events.

Contact info    The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-893-2113 between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. or between 7 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.


CE3-S11 Current Events

Leader   Lois Sockol

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the second half of the semester (March 29 to May 3).

Description We live in a complex time when what happens in one part of our world potentially affects us all. We have a need to stay informed in our rapidly changing world. This course is designed to inform and discuss current news stories and provide thoughtful analysis. In most sessions, class time will be split between world 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. Interest and keeping up to date with the news are the only prerequisites.

Readings  No books will be assigned. Access to magazines such as The Economist, US News Report, The New Yorker, and/or newspapers, and/ or web sources will be necessary.Current events information can be derived from a variety of different resources.

Preparation Time 1-2 hours

Computer Use  It is required

Biography  I have been 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 have been 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 has allowed me to feed my Current Events habit.

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

Mu2-S11 Aaron Copland:  America's Composer           

Leader     Barbara K. Paquette

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

Description  Aaron Copland: America's Composer is primarily a listening class. Each class, we will listen to many of Copland's pieces, which will be explained and discussed. There will be some suggested readings and pieces that students may listen to outside of class. I will mention books that you may wish to purchase for your own enjoyment. If I assign a reading, I will make copies and distribute them. The class will encompass Copland's life and entire range of music. There will also be an occasional DVD. This class is designed for anyone who wishes to learn more about the composer. This encapsulated version of his life and music will not involve music reading but will be more of a history. Advanced musicians are welcome. However, there will not be an in-depth study of Copland's musical theory. Aaron Copland strove to be America's composer, and this class will show you how he reached that goal.

Readings  I will be using hand-outs from the following books. One may buy the books or not depending on interest level. They include but are not limited to: Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man, Howard Pollack, The Music of Aaron Copland, Neil Butterworth and Aaron Copland's America, Gail Levin and Judith Tick

Preparation Time Only what one would like to put into the class

Computer Use Desirable

Biography I have a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and am currently working on a Master's degree in Musicology at Brandeis University. I am a church music director/organist. I have been teaching privately from my studio for over 30 years.  I am a classically trained percussionist. I have a duet partner who plays piano, and I play marimba.  We play for events such as parties, church functions, concerts, and small venues such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes. I have played for several orchestras and ensembles including Symphony Pro Musica, Claflin Wind Symphony, Metropolitan Wind Symphony, Wellesley Symphony, New England Philharmonic, and several concert bands. I have played drum set for two Broadway shows, as well as big bands.

My interest in Aaron Copland came from listening to several of his pieces one summer. I feel that his music uses many Americana themes in a masterful artistic fashion. And, the fact that he and Leonard Bernstein, and others, were involved in establishing the Brandeis Music Department makes me feel very close to both of them. I have been a Bernstein fan for decades, and the teacher/student relationship of Copland/Bernstein was just one more reason for my delving into the study of Maestro Aaron Copland.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.



Soc1-S11 Out of the Closet     NOT BEING OFFERED THIS SEMESTER

Leader     Elizabeth David

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the second half of the semester (March 29 to May 3).

Description Being a gay/lesbian person is neither common nor ordinary but, like having blue eyes, blond hair or being left handed, it is absolutely natural. Gay/lesbian people have been present throughout all human history. Sometimes gay men and lesbian women are more visible and sometimes less so. It depends upon the welcome extended and the quality of the observer's vision. (Paraphrased quote from the book Loving Someone Gay, by Don Clark, Ph.D.)

Through reading of text and stories we will focus on what it is like to live as a gay and lesbian person and to be a family member; brother, sister, parent, grandparent and friend. Through the telling, reading and addressing of unanswered questions, we will discuss the issues, concerns and insights that emerge. Personal stories of class members are invited but not required.

An open mind and heart and regular attendance is all that is needed. Confidentiality will be expected.


(R ) Loving Someone Gay, fourth edition revised and updated by Don Clark,Ph.D.Celestial Arts Publishing, 2005 ISBN #13:978-1-58761-236-7 and ISBN #10:1-58761-236-4

Regarding the following "suggested" texts:  The SGL will be copying and distributing stories and/or information from them as needed for class discussion.

(S ) A Gift of Age: Old Lesbian Life stories, by Arden Eversmeyer &Margaret Purcell published/order from OLOHP, PO Box 980422, Houston, Tx77098 e-mail:info@olohp.org, website:www.olohp. ISBN 978-0-9823669-6-7 (not available on Amazon)

(S ) Gay American Autobiography: Writings from Whitman to Sedaris,edited by David Bergman, University of Wisconsin Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-299-23044-9

(S ) Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life, Updated and expanded edition, by Warren J. Blumenfeld & Diane Raymond, Beacon Press, 2001

Preparation Time One hour, possibly more depending on assigned reading and topics for reflection

Computer Use            It is desirable but not required. There are times when I have additional comments or possible changes of or additions to assignment. Also, it is convenient when someone needs to let me know of an absence.

Biography I have an MA in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University. My professional experience includes Hospice work as a Bereavement Program Coordinator and, subsequently, as a 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 p.m. or by email.

Tuesday, Course Period 3
1:25 to 2:50 p.m.

Lit10-S11    Two Twentieth Century Poets: Robert Frost and William Butler Yeats

Leader          Edward Selig

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

Description Frost and Yeats were two of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, and this course will aim to reveal what makes them great. While Frost was a craggy New Englander and Yeats a visionary Irishman, each steeped in his own particular culture, their approaches to poetic composition were similar in essential respects: a preference for the language of everyday speech, down to earth perspectives, rejection of sentimentality, and unflinching insight into the human condition.

We will read aloud in class a selection of poems from each author, analyze them through close reading, and then recite them aloud again. Like music, poetry needs to be heard, not merely studied. The aim of the interim analysis will be to enhance our appreciation and enjoyment of these works as we attempt to unlock the meanings they convey through versification, imagery, irony and compression. They will also exemplify for us the nature of poetry in general and how it differs from prose and other uses of language.

This course is appropriate for anyone interested in poetry and does not presuppose prior knowledge of the subject matter. The material for the course will not build strictly from week to week, but regular attendance will enhance the quality of discussion. Volunteers will be expected to prepare and make brief class presentations on readily researchable matters related to the syllabus.

Readings  (R) The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats (Scribner 1996, Revised Second Edition, ed. Richard J. Finneran), ISBN 0-684-80731-9

(R) The Poetry of Robert Frost- The Collected Poems (Henry Holt & Co. 1975, ed. Edward C. Lathem), ISBN 0-8050-6986-0 (Owl Book paperback).

Preparation Time 1-2 hours

Computer Use   Desirable, but not necessary

Biography I majored in English and American Literature in my undergraduate years at Yale, and my senior thesis was published under the title, The Flourishing Wreath - a Study of Thomas Carew's Poetry (Yale University Press 1958). Professionally, however, that was the "road not taken," as Frost would describe it. Instead, I earned a Masters degree in philosophy on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. I then embarked on a long career in the practice of law, with a specialty in the law of environmental protection, on which I also lectured at Boston University.

Having retired from that profession, I am delighted to return at last to the field of poetry, and especially to share with others two of my favorites, Frost and Yeats, who have shaped in no small measure my perception of the world and of others.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-969-2981 between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. or by email.


Lit6-S11 One Hundred Years of Solitude in Good Company

Leader   Gene Kupferschmid

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the second half of the semester (March 29 to May 3).

 Description This course will be a guided reading of One Hundred Years of Solitude, the novel by the Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author, Gabriel García Márquez. The first class will focus on the antecedents of the novel - García Márquez' short stories and selections from his autobiography - so that familiar characters and events will be recognized when they reappear in One Hundred Years of Solitude. In the remaining four classes will be a trip into the world of Magic Realism.

Readings (R) Leaf Storm and Other Stories Gabriel García Márquez, Harper Perennial, 2005 ISBN 978-0060751555, Harper Perennial 2006; Penguin 2000
(R) One Hundred Years of Solitude-Gabriel Garcia Marquez Harper Perennial 2005; Harper Colophon 1979

Preparation Time Approximately 100 pages of reading per week. The only course requirement is an ability to read 90 - 100 pages per week and to enjoy reading. However, it is imperative that participants attend all 5 classes in order to continue the thread of the novel and to be an active member of the class.

Computer Use  Not necessary

Biography I taught previously in the Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures at Boston College. My area of interest is Latin America, its literature, history, culture, and language. I have written 14 textbooks in the field and have had two NEH fellowships.

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


Hum2-S11 Our National Treasure- The Smithsonian Museums

Leader         Shelly Glazier

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

Description Our National Treasure-the Smithsonian Museum 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. This course is an overview of the largest and most popular museums; some of the lesser-known ones will also be presented.  The purpose of the course is to help us better understand and appreciate our National Treasure- the Smithsonian Museum. No prior knowledge is required. The course is appropriate for anyone with a love of museums and who possesses an inquisitive mind.

Readings   No book is needed. Material will be handed out by the instructor or sent via email.

Preparation Time 1- 1 1/2 hrs.

Computer Use  It is desirable. Course information and links to various websites will be sent via e-mail.

Biography My love of museums goes back for more years than I am willing to admit, but exploring the history and issues related to them is a new area of interest for me. This course will be a mutual adventure in learning about the history, ongoing development, and ethical issues related the Smithsonian Museums. 

I am a retired licensed Marriage and Family therapist who practiced on the North Shore for over 30 years. I founded and 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.

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



Soc2-S11   The Tipping Point: Welcome to the World of Trends

Leader         Edward J. Finerty, Jr.   

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

Description  Welcome to the world of trends and why people respond to a small idea in ways that lead to social behavior that crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire. In this course we will see how some such small ideas can change the world and have fantastically large and rapid outcomes. We will research and study those ideas ranging from products like Hush Puppies and paper "Stickies" to fashion trends. My hope and expectation is that we gain an understanding of why some behaviors start trends and others do not, and the Tipping Point when social behavior reaches that point and tips in a change of direction or leads to a particular action which can have a large and rapid unpredicted outcome.

Come and enjoy learning how to identify the differences and what actions control a trend and, as a group, we may even start a positive trend of our own! No prior knowledge is needed. The course builds from week to week and class members should come with an open mind. Our goal will be to look at things differently and learn a little bit more about what contributes to making we human beings human by our responses to these trends. The course is appropriate for all students whether beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Volunteer presentations on suggested outside readings given by the SGL or on a topic of one's own that gives the factual history of the trend will be encouraged.            

Readings (R) The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell ,ISBN 0-316-31696-4 PB, First Back Bay PB edition 2002
(R) The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, ISBN 13:978-0-141-03624-3 PB, Penguin Group 2008
(S) The Pencil, Henry Petroski, ISBN o-679-73415-5 PB, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1989
(S) The Evolution of Useful Things, Henry Petroski, ISBN 0-679-74039-2 PB 1992             

There will also be class handouts.           

Preparation Time  1 hour or more for those interested who want to do the suggested reading.

Computer Use    It is desirable but not required.  I'd like to use e-board and post some other articles.

Biography I always had an interest in behavior of people. I needed to understand more, as my career was in sales for IBM for 28 years. I have had no formal training in behavioral science. My formal education consisted of earning an AB in liberal arts and international relations from Dartmouth and an MBA from its Amos Tuck School of Business Administration.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-651-3899 between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. or by email.


Tuesday, Course Period 4
3:05 to 4:30 p.m.

Econ2TUES-S11  US Economy at the Crossroads

Leader  Harriet Starrett

Please note this course is offered twice:

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

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

Description  The economy of the USA is at a crucial point in its development. What system of ownership, growth, and political and community responsibility will help the USA prosper in the twenty-first century? We are challenged by countries with "state controlled capitalism," countries with variant social safety nets, heavily export-oriented economies, and finally with our own inability to find a cohesive strategy with which to prosper. This course is useful for all levels of students. Some knowledge of elementary economics, as well as US history, would be valuable. The issues we discuss are controversial, but they will be discussed on the basis of data and the analysis of some of the most inventive and rigorous economic commentators of our time. There are no class presentations expected, unless someone has a specialty (e.g., former regulator, tax lawyer, economic planner, etc.).

 Readings (R ) Aftershock ,Robert Reich
(R ) Ill Fares the Land, Tony Judt
(R ) The End of the Free Market, Ian Bremmer
There will also be articles from various publications distributed by the SGL to further amplify the material; these materials may be relevant graphs/charts. 

Preparation Time 1-2 hours depending on reading speed and comprehension (about 50-100 pages). All books are non technical and very readable. 

Computer Use  It is desirable but not required 

Biography My experience includes, very early on, high school and then university teaching in the areas of economic history, and European History. (MA, History, incomplete PhD). I then got an MBA and worked in the field of international consulting to major corporations worldwide. I became an officer in a number of large corporations in the U.S.; my major responsibilities included marketing, and strategic planning as well as mergers and acquisitions. I have sat on a number of Boards of Directors of corporations and been involved in at least two IPOs. 

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-893-5867 or by email.


 Wr3-S11 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, class members will develop a sense of possible strategies and forms for experimentation and inclusion in their own writing. Specific writing prompts in class will launch opportunities for 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 option 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 (R) Landscapes with Figures: The Nonfiction of Place, Robert Root, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln,NE,, bisonbooks.com, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-8032-5983-6
(R)Essays of E.B.White, E.B.White, Modern Classics Harper Collins paperback, 1979
(R)Lights on a Ground of Darkness, Ted Kooser, Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press, 2005, ISBN: 978-0-8032-2642-5

Preparation Time Time will vary depending on interest of each participant.

Reading time  1-2 hours. Writing time: to be determined by the participant

Computer Use It is desirable but not required

Biography Faye Snider, a licensed clinical social worker and former psychotherapist, received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Pine Manor's Solstice Creative Writing Program in 2009. During her first career, she co-leads 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 lead poetry and creative nonfiction workshops where she is passionate about noticing and highlighting words and sentences which 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 or by email.


Rel1-S11 What's Going On Here, VI, DEUTERONOMY, Seventh Century Torah NOT BEING OFFERED THIS SEMESTER

Leader   David L. Kline

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

Description We shall study Deuteronomy as a revolutionary/ideological, 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 (R) Any Bible edition will be fine, Hebrew or translation. I favor the King James Version, but more modern translations will do.  Look for a Bible with footnotes and commentary. Since Deuteronomy is part of the Chumash, aka Pentateuch, there are a number of editions with Hebrew, translation, and commentaries.
(S) Richard Eliot Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible

Preparation Time   1 hour

Computer Use     It is desirable but not required

Biography Bible has been my passionate pursuit since college. I have had wonderful teachers: Brandeis - Shimon Ravidovich, Nachum Glatzer, Cyrus Gordon; Hebrew Union College - Sheldon Blank, Julius Lewy, William Hallo, Matityahu Tsevat, Ellis Rivkin; Hebrew University - Shmaryahu Talmon, Avraham Malamut, Nechamah Leibowitz; Columbia University Graduate School - Isaac Mendelsohn, Edith Porada. 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 University of Louisiana at Monroe for 15 years, and before that, taught at Colorado College, Colorado Springs.

Early on, I was interested in archaeological/historical studies. I focused on the origins and early development of the people of Israel. University classes 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 or by email.


 NY1-S11 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

TUESDAY - 3:05 p.m. -  4:30 p.m.

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


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

8:30 to 9:30 a.m.  


This course is an "extra " and does not count in your course total

Leader  Sandra Levy

WEDNESDAY - 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 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.

Wednesday, Course Period 1
8:30 to 9:55 a.m.

Hum4-S11   20th Century Jewish Life: A Glimpse as Depicted Through Film

Leader        Judith Pinnolis 

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the first half of the semester (February 23-March 23).

 Description  Throughout the 20th century, Jews have been part of the film landscape with Jewish characters appearing in many films. This course will examine 5 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 5 films, created in different decades, reflect differing values. The films to be examined will be Hester Street, Yidl Mitn Fidl, The Pianist, The Chosen, 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. 

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

Preparation Time Film viewing time plus up to 1 hour of reading 

Computer Use  It is required. Readings will be distributed electronically via email and eBoard, and therefore computer use will be necessary. I will also email members with information occasionally. A  DVD player is required, or participants may view films in a library. 

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 http://www.jmwc.org. Pinnolis has published many book reviews, and articles in several works on Jewish music and life. Her newest article is about to be published in the American Jewish Archive Journal. 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.

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


Sc4-S11   Going Native: A Survey of Native Plants for the Gardener and the Rambler

Leader     Al Levin

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the second half of the semester (March 30 to May 4).

Description For many years, native plants were neglected, overshadowed by their more exotic foreign cousins. That is changing. Native plants are now attracting increased attention because of their beauty, hardiness, diversity and contributions to the environment. 

This survey of native plants will introduce study group members to approximately 90 native trees, shrubs and perennials. The core of this course will consist of plant profiles with images and descriptions on PowerPoint slides. The following topics will be briefly reviewed: the rationale for using native plants, their various habitats, and specific suggestions for their use in the home garden. In addition to the five classroom sessions, there will be an optional field trip to the Garden in the Woods in Framingham.

This course is aimed at two groups of people: (1) the person who wants to learn more about those native plants which might enhance their home garden (the gardener) and (2) the person who simply enjoys exploring the New England woodlands, meadows and wetlands (the rambler).

No prior knowledge is needed. The only prerequisites are a curiosity about the world of native plants and a love of the outdoors. Study group members will be encouraged to share their personal experiences with specific plants. In addition, each study group member will be invited to make a five minute presentation on a native plant of their choice.

Readings (R) Native Plants of the Northeast, Donald J. Leopold, ISBN-13:978-0-88192-673-6, Timber Press, 2005

Preparation Time 1 hour

Computer Use It is required

Biography  I've had a life-long interest in the world of plants. For the past four years I've been a docent at the New England Wild Flower Society's Garden in the Woods, where I lead tours. This activity has inspired me to learn more about plants through formal courses and reading, and to examine the natural world more intelligently. I also take every opportunity to get low down and dirty in my own garden. 

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-862-1131 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. or by email.


Wr1-S11   A Workshop for Writers and Readers

Leader     Miriam Goldman

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

Description  Writing fiction or poetry allows for tremendous freedom of expression.  Yet whatever the content or style, a writer always strives for greater effectiveness. The aim of this course, through analyzing the work of the class members as well as excerpts of established/famous writers, is for each member of the class to become a more effective writer and, as an intended consequence, a better reader. While there are no limits on content, assignments and class discussions will focus on the elements of writing: the importance of individual words, the tightness of paragraphs, and the capturing of the essence of a place or character whether in essay, memoir, short story or poetic form.

This course is appropriate for anyone interested in writing and may be taken more than once. Readings will be adjusted accordingly for repeaters. Members will be expected to share at least some of their work.

 Readings  (R) Reading Like a Writer: A guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them, Francine, Prose ISBN 978-0-06-077705-0. Harper Perennial, any edition, paperback

Preparation Time  Time spent writing will vary considerably. Reading will probably average about 30 minutes.

Computer Use   It is not necessary

Biography  I majored in Comparative Literature as a Brandeis undergrad. For many years, first in New York City and then in the Boston area, I taught high school English and Creative Writing and was faculty advisor to the literary journal. I then supervised student teachers and their supervisors at Boston University. At BOLLI I have given two art history courses: A Survey of Painting in the United States and Fauvism, as well as A Workshop for Writers and Readers. 

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-731-0931 or by email.


Hum3-S11   Ancient Myth: the Roots of Spirituality

Leader         Alorie Parkhill

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

Description Myth is metaphor, or "a lie that tells the truth," as Picasso called art. The great stories lead us to the same kinds of truths, through different cultural lenses, but the universal archetypes lie within. Yet many of the world's religions have distorted the authentic metaphorical meaning of the ancient myths in order to justify: "arguments for gender and racial superiority and economic privilege, thus precluding social wholeness," as David Leeming points out in Myth, A Biography of Belief (p. 20) We can become caught up in the dualities of light versus dark, good versus evil. We seem on the verge of trying to destroy the world in the name of narrow "right thinking." Myths have much to teach us about the past, present and future. That is why we need to know about them.

This is a course about the origins and development of mythology, beginning with the Paleolithic era (circa 20,000 B.C.E.). We will look at a broad range of myths about deities, creations, shamans, tricksters and heroes. We will also discuss why myth is still so important today and how we might strive toward a global mythology. In the process we will consider the relationship of religion to myth. This class will not focus on any one culture exclusively; mythological studies often begin with the Greeks, but we examine much earlier cultures and only touch briefly on the more familiar traditions.

The material definitely builds from week to week, so it is important to be in class regularly. Volunteers may make short presentations. No previous knowledge of myth is expected.

Readings (R) A Short History of Myth, Karen Armstrong ISBN 1-84195-716-X, Canongate, 2005
(R) Myths of the Male Divine-God, David Leeming and Jake Page No ISBN, Oxford University Press, 1996
(R) Myths of the Female Divine-Goddess, David Leeming and Jake Page No ISBN, Oxford University Press, 1994
(R ) The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers ISBN 385-24773-07, Doubleday, 1988 (the small book without pictures is acceptable) Class members can also rent or borrow the interviews on DVD.

Other copied material as appropriate.

Preparation Time  Possibly 2 hours, depending on reading rate and the depth to which the reader wishes to go.

Computer Use  It is required. Members will need computers for emails and possibly some short readings.

Biography I taught a wide range of English classes to high school students at The Cambridge School of Weston, for approximately forty years. My other experience includes teaching creative drama, directing numerous theater productions, working as a Religious Education Director and being Assistant Head of School for 15 years. I have studied and taught mythology and epics for many years, but I have also taught many other kinds of literature and writing. Mythology is a personal passion. I taught mythology at BOLLI in the spring of 2008 and am presently Chair of the 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 by email.


Art1-S11   Photography: Basic Composition

Leader     Arthur Sharenow

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

Description  This is a photography course for people with some picture-taking experience and familiarity with cameras who would like to improve their photographic skills. The major emphasis will be on composition. It is neither a course for the complete novice nor for a truly expert photographer. The former will be lost and the latter bored. It will be an interactive course where participants will be encouraged (but not required) to take pictures each week, and share their best results with the class.

The first two classes we will start with the fundamentals of composition, and discuss how to get the most from a camera. After the first two weeks, we will spend two classes each on A) Landscape Photography, B) Cityscapes and architectural photography, C) Nature, wild-life, and D) Action photography including photo journalism, sports, and street photography. In addition to regular classes we will have two photo outings during the term to put some of our theoretical learning to practical use. These will be scheduled on Fridays or Saturdays, and are optional for class members. We will also have at least two guest presenters to demonstrate some of their techniques in specialized areas.

Readings No textbooks will be required

Preparation Time  It is strictly up to the class member how much time they want to put in. It can take as much as half a day to get to a desired location, take pictures, and then decide which ones to share with the class. 

Computer Use  It is desirable but not required. Class members do need to get the photos they want to share to me. For those who do have familiarity with computers, the easiest way to do so is with email attachments. However, they can also bring prints into class, which I will then scan into my computer and show the following week.

Biography I graduated from Brandeis University in 1955 and from Harvard Law School in 1958. After I spent a short time as a lawyer in Boston, my wife Judy and I bought a children's summer camp. I was a Camp Director for forty-four years.

I have been taking pictures ambitiously since age twelve. During my years as a camp director, I took many thousands of pictures of children at play, at leisure and at sports. I became quite expert at sports photography. Since retiring, I have competed in photo contests, winning quite a few. I have also exhibited my work on several occasions, and have even sold a reasonable number of favorite images. This Fall 2010 I had my first experience as a study group leader in photography.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-862-7537 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. or by email.



Wednesday, Course Period 2
10:10 to 11:35 a.m.

Lit12-S11  Gods and Broads: Four Greek Plays

Leader     Lois Ziegelman

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

Description  Although the emphasis in the particular plays we will read is on four remarkable women, the tension between the masculine and the feminine is the dominant motif. Underscoring the dictum that the more things change the more they remain the same, the four great dramatists of the golden age of Greece focus on religion, politics, and sex: the three major topics which still engage us today.

This course is open to all members. Volunteers will be encouraged to perform various scenes from the plays. The first session will be a background lecture by the leader.

Readings (R) Aeschylus - Agamemnon  - Tr. Lattimore
(R) Sophocles - Antigone - Tr. Wycroff
(R) Euripides - Iphigenia in Aulis - Tr. C. R. Walker
(R) Aristophanes - Lysistrata - Tr. Fitts
or feel free to use any translation you own

Preparation Time  2 hours, allowing time to review material

Computer Use  It is not necessary

Biography  Lois Ziegelman, Ph.D., is a Professor Emerita of Framingham State College, where she taught World Literature and Drama for thirty-one years. A recipient of five fellowships from the National Endowment 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.


H&G3-S11   The 90's in a Nutshell

Leader         Mike Murray

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

Description This class will look at trends in music, art, literature, economics and politics in the 1990's and how the 90's led up to, and culminated in, the events of 9/11 and the economic crash. Mike will argue that by looking at patterns in culture, society and politics, it is possible to reveal some of the root causes of today's major issues. This course is the topic of his thesis which he is researching and writing now.  Some topics that will be covered will include: Clinton and the New Democrats, The boom and bust of the 90's, Generation X and Grunge, The Internet and the Computer Age, America as the sole Superpower and its role abroad, Domestic Terror, New forms of institutional racism and sexism, Gay politics and the rise of identity politics.
Biography  Mike Murray is a Graduate student in English/American Literature at Brandeis University who specializes in 20th Century American Literature. He is also an ESL tutor and a tutor at the Brandeis writing center. Mike's philosophy on teaching is centered around discussion and the Socratic method, everyone learning from each other. We will all bring our own experiences and knowledge to the table and it is this very fact that makes the classroom, teaching, and learning, truly edifying, not to mention fun and exciting. 


Lit4-S11    Short Stories by Native-Born and New Americans

Leader     Harriet Kahn and Richard Kahn

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

Description  This course focuses on short stories by native-born American authors (e.g., Faulkner; Hawthorne; Welty) and immigrant authors (e.g., Nabokov; Jin; Mukherjee). The intention is to study style, perspective, plot and character structure. The focus will be on short stories, their multiple forms, themes and impacts on individual readers. The course is appropriate for all levels. Although the stories will be different each week, members are encouraged to attend every class. Prior to class discussion, members will be required to read the story, note their reaction, questions and associations then REREAD the story, noting their further responses, and bringing them to class for discussion There are no required presentations by class members. 

Readings  Assigned stories are distributed prior to the date of discussion. 

Preparation Time  About 1 1/2 hours

Computer Use  It is desirable but not required. The computer can be useful in exploring the setting of the story.

Biography  Harriet has an MED and is retired as Director of the Early Education Center, Northeastern U. Richard is a retired psychiatrist. Both have taught short stories at BOLLI for 15 consecutive semesters.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617- 527-6850 between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 pm. or by email.


Mu3-S11   The Broadway Musical: Art Imitates History - Almost

Leader      Robert Pill

WEDNESDAY- COURSE PERIOD 4- 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Description  This course is for members who share the passion and enthusiasm for the Broadway musical and for those who have familiarity with the medium: all in order to enhance members' participation and classroom discussion. Knowledge of each of the covered shows is not necessary as videos and audios will be shown and heard.

There will be a brief review of the history and development of the musical theatre on Broadway followed by the main topic of the course which is to discuss about a dozen shows that are based on biographies and/or historical events. A limited number of shows will be well known but emphasis will be given to the less familiar quality productions with listenable music and original choreography.

Shows will likely include Fiorello, Pippin, Barnum, Parade, 1776, Side Show, The Boy from OZ, Chicago (and approximately four more shows) based on the themes:

       real people with an actual or modified storyline

       biblical stories

       historical times and events recreated with a combination of real and/or fictionalized events, people, and storylines.

The discussions will focus on the differences between the historical facts and the stage portrayal of real people or events as written by the librettist. This will be punctuated with numerous videos and audios. Class members will be expected to make presentations on the factual individuals' biographies and events. This is essentially a repeat of the fall 2010 course of the same name.

Readings  Articles will be emailed to class members. Books are suggested for reference and are not required reading.
(S ) Our Musicals Ourselves: A Social History of the American Musical Theater, John Bush Jones, Brandeis University Press ISBN 0-87451-904-7 ,2004
(S) Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time,: Ken Bloom, Frank Vlastnik, Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers ISBN13: 978-1-579-12-313-. 2008, used $12
(S) Broadway the American Musical  Michael Kantor, Laurence Maslon, Bulfinch Press, ISBN 0-8212-2905-2,2004

Preparation Time  1 hour

Computer Use   It is required

Biography   Robert Pill is a retired businessman who, although having had no formal musical training, has had a penchant and passion for the musical theatre since childhood, having grown up in a household in which classical and operatic music was played regularly. Attending many musicals each year provides him with a solid background of knowledge and appreciation for the medium. He is not an expert in the field, but his love for the musical theatre, collection of video and audio files, together with the participation of class members who also have a zeal for and experience with the musical theatre, will generate a lively exchange.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-969-2574 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. or by email.


Wednesday, Course Period 3
1:25 to 2:50 p.m.

Econ2-WED-S11   US Economy at the Crossroads

Leader   Harriet Starrett

Please note this course is offered twice:

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

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

Description   The economy of the USA is at a crucial point in its development.  What system of ownership, growth, and political and community responsibility will help the USA prosper in the twenty-first century? We are challenged by countries with "state controlled capitalism," countries with variant social safety nets, heavily export-oriented economies, and finally with our own inability to find a cohesive strategy with which to prosper. This course is useful for all levels of students. Some knowledge of elementary economics, as well as US history, would be valuable. The issues we discuss are controversial, but they will be discussed on the basis of data and the analysis of some of the most inventive and rigorous economic commentators of our time. There are no class presentations expected, unless someone has a specialty (e.g., former regulator, tax lawyer, economic planner, etc.). 

Readings (R) Aftershock, Robert Reich
(R ) Ill Fares the Land, Tony Judt
(R ) The End of the Free Market, Ian Bremmer
There will also be articles from various publications distributed by the SGL to further amplify the material; these materials may be relevant graphs/charts.

Preparation Time  1-2 hours depending on reading speed and comprehension (about 50-100 pages). All books are non technical and very readable. 

Computer Use  It is desirable but not required 

Biography  My experience includes, very early on, high school and then university teaching in the areas of economic history, and European History. (MA, History, incomplete PhD). I then got an MBA and worked in the field of international consulting to major corporations worldwide. I became an officer in a number of large corporations in the U.S.; my major responsibilities included marketing, and strategic planning as well as mergers and acquisitions. I have sat on a number of Boards of Directors of corporations and been involved in at least two IPOs. 

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-893-5867 or by email.


Sc2-S11   The Ecology of Ecosystems: A Short Course

Leader   Barbara Keller

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the second half of the semester (March 30 to May 4).

Description   Our ecosystems support and make possible our continued existence. We depend for our livelihood on the services that they provide. Many people haven't had the opportunity to understand why this is so. This course will cover the processes that are intrinsic to ecosystems, how we depend on them, how we damage them, and possible results. We will look at the history of life and the development of some of the present-day conditions on earth that we take for granted. Some of the processes that we will look at are energy cycling, nutrient cycling, photosynthesis, food webs, interactions of different organisms in communities, and natural selection and evolution. Science should be accessible, and I hope that this course will provide enough explanation of the basics to open up possibilities of further inquiry.

No prior knowledge is required; however, the course content will build on itself. I will ask for volunteers to make class presentations on relevant subjects.

Readings Readings will be available on Eboard or handed out in class. They will consist of articles in newspapers, magazines, journals, selections from books, and other sources.

Preparation Time  1 hour except for presentations

Computer Use  It is required. I will scan readings and upload them to eBoard.

Biography  I hold a PhD in Ecology, granted in 1998 by Boston University. My dissertation involved the biogeochemistry and diversity of plants in wetlands. I have been Adjunct Professor at B.U., Tufts, and Bentley University, where I taught Biology to business majors until I retired two years ago. I truly enjoyed acquainting students with the concepts of ecology and their place in the interrelated systems of the earth.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.


H&G1-S11  A History of Siberia and its People

Leader       Gerry Berenholz

WEDNESDAY- 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. Volunteers will be asked to select topics for brief special reports.

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

Preparation Time   Approximately 50 pages of reading per week.

Computer Use  It is required. Class members should know how to open an email attachment and be familiar with pdf format.

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.

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


Lit13-S11  Telling Stories: Memoirs Make Sense of Who We Are

Leader       Marjorie Roemer

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

Description   This course is primarily about the reading of memoir and incidentally about the writing of short fragments of memoir as a way of deepening that reading. We will start with William Zinsser's Inventing the Truth: the Art and Craft of Memoir. It contains nine talks given by writers of memoir. We will focus on three: Alfred Kazin, Frank McCourt and Jill Ker Conway; we'll read both their talks and the memoirs they wrote. They offer us very varied experiences and accounts, bringing to life for us three startlingly different settings, yet each of them is about a quest, a desire to take possession of life on new terms.

As Jill Ker Conway remarks in her talk: "All of us live with a life history in our mind, and very few of us subject it to critical analysis. But we are storytelling creatures. So it's very important to examine your own story and make sure the plot is the one you really want." In examining these memoirs, the stated aims of the memoirists, and our own efforts to write alongside them, we will have an opportunity to think critically about the shaping of life stories, ours and others.

Note: Our own writing is meant to help us identify with the stories being told. Sharing will be optional, and no one should feel pressured to write polished material. The course is sequential, so regular attendance will certainly enhance the experience.

Readings (R) Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir, ed. William Zinsser, ISBN 978-0-395-90159-2
(R) A Walker in the City, Alfred Kazin ISBN 978-0-15-694176-1
(R) Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt ISBN 0-684-84267-X
(R) The Road from Coorain, Jill Ker Conway ISBN 978-0-679-72436-0

Preparation Time  No more than 3 hours

Computer Use  It is desirable but not required

Biography   I hold a BA from Bennington College, an MA from New York University and a PhD from Brandeis, all in English and American literature. My teaching career began in New York City in 1961 at a public Junior High School. It has since taken me to Brookline HS, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Cincinnati, and Rhode Island College. I've worked as an English professor, Director of Writing Programs, and the Director of the Rhode Island Writing Project. In all, it's been about forty years in classrooms of many kinds. Co-leading Women's Fate: the Cinderella Story Meets the Sexual Revolution with Eleanor Jaffe at BOLLI this fall was a special pleasure.

Contact info   The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-541-7440 or by email.


Wednesday, Course Period 4
3:05 to 4:30 p.m.

Lit2-S11   Reading and Enjoying Poetry

Leader    Ruth Kramer Baden

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

Description   This course is appropriate for students at all levels, but it is not simply a reading course; we will study poems in depth. There will be much reading aloud and discussion, with contrary opinions welcome. Discussion is the heart of the course, and you will be encouraged to participate. There will be voluntary reports on some of the poets we study. Depending upon the make-up of the group, we will briefly take a look at the tools poets use, such as rhythm and imagery. This is not a writing course, although those who feel so moved are welcome to try their hands. Each week there will be a different theme, and we will see how differently poets treat that topic. Some of the themes will be: relationships between children and their mothers or fathers; winter; spring; politics and history. For the last one or two sessions we will study one poet in depth, probably W.H. Auden.

Readings   The required reading will be the poems. Each week members will have studied at least six of them, sometimes with others to add breadth and depth. I will inform you at least one week before of the names of the poems and the poets, and on which websites they can be found.  If you don't use a computer, we will make other arrangements. Please purchase an 8 ½ by 11 loose-leaf notebook and, optimally, a three-hole punch, so you can keep poems together and avoid the rustle of shuffled papers. There will be additional handouts.

I also highly recommend but do not require, for background reading, Edward Hirsch's book, How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, ISBN 0-15-1004196, Harcourt Brace & Co., paperback, Amazon. Most students find it remarkable. In addition to its text, the book has an excellent glossary and the best American and international bibliography I've seen.

Preparation Time   2 hours

Computer Use    It is desirable but not required

Biography   I have been reading and writing poetry since high school. I have read and published my poems in various venues and literary journals. This fall my first book of poems, East of the Moon, was published by Ibbetson Street Press. I graduated from Wellesley College, where I was a critic for the literary journal (unfortunately titled "Boar.") Thirty-two years later I graduated from B.C. Law School, where I wrote for the student newspaper. I practiced Elder Law. This is my sixth year of teaching poetry at BOLLI . I find sharing my love of poetry with our members a very satisfying experience.

Contact info  The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-332-1653 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. or by email.


Econ1-S11   Money Talks Redux

Leader          Les Blicher

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the first half of the semester (February 23-March 23).

Description  It is expected that the course will provide an overview of financial, investment and economic basics from the perspective of a retiree. It will be similar (but not identical) to the Money Talks course offered last spring.  The following major topics (and others to the extent Study Group discussions may lead us) will be covered: Identifying Retirement Investments and Strategies;  Long Term Care Insurance; Exchange Traded Funds and Variable Annuities; Sources of Retirement Income (including Home Equity Loans, Home Equity Lines of Credit, Reverse Mortgages, Pensions and Social Security, etc.); and Basics of Life Insurance (e.g., Term vs. Whole Life).

The course is appropriate for BOLLI members with little financial experience, and prior knowledge is not needed. Although specific examples may be discussed, it is important to note that SG members' personal financial issues will not be discussed, and the course is not intended to give legal or tax advice. Only a study group member's qualified tax professional may render such advice.

Readings  (R) Personal Finance for Seniors for Dummies, Eric Tyson and Bob Carlson. Wiley Publishing ,Inc, 2010 ISBN 978-470-54876-9
(S) The Wall Street Journal Complete Personal Finance Guidebook Jeff D. Opdyke 2006. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 13: 978-0--307-33600

Preparation Time   Not more than 2 hours per week

Computer Use   Desirable. It will be efficient for printing handouts, etc.

Biography   Les Blicher has been a BOLLI member for 5 years and most recently was a Council member and member of the Guidelines Committee. He is a graduate of Georgetown Law School and is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and in the Federal Court system, including the Supreme Court. At the conclusion of an active legal and business career, Les was an owner and Chief Operating Officer of an executive compensation consulting firm where his specialty was wealth management. Les was a frequent lecturer on current topics of interest and was an adjunct professor of taxation in the Bentley Graduate Tax Program for CPAs for many years.

Contact info  The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-244-5465 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email at Les.


Lit7-S11    Great Writers Writing About Sports

Leader       David Moskowitz

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

Description  Imagine taking a course assigning readings by the following admired and diverse writers: John Updike, David Halberstam, George Will, Henry Louis Gates, Joyce Carol Oates, Gay Talese, John Cheever, Malcolm Gladwell, James Thurber, Norman Mailer, Don Delillo, Hunter Thompson and David Foster Wallace, plus the poets Marianne Moore and Donald Hall. Now consider that every assigned reading relates to sports in some way. This course will expose you not only to writings by the foregoing esteemed group but also to legendary sportswriters, e.g. Red Smith, Grantland Rice, Roger Kahn and Roger Angell plus the estimable Ring Lardner. We'll also learn about our authors.

While the very best writing about sports seems to focus on baseball and boxing - and those topics will comprise half of our content - we also will read stories about a famous bullfighter who grew up in Brooklyn, horse racing, tennis, running, etc.

I hope that through this course members will gain an appreciation of what comprises a captivating piece of literature, primarily non-fiction, focusing on a sport or an athlete. Several pieces will be brief, with great leads as a focus, while others will be longer character studies. Some are quite personal and others very reportorial, but all are compelling and vividly composed. Some were selected because of insight into the subject matter. The class will discuss the writings for their literary facets as well as their subject matter. This course is designed for people who enjoy great writing whether sports enthusiasts or not.

Readings  (R )The Best American Sports Writing of the Century, David Halberstam, Editor, ISBN 0-395-94514-3 paperback, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999 used paperback
(R ) On Boxing, Joyce Carol Oates, Expanded Edition, ISBN 0-88001-385-0, The Ecco Press, 1987, 1995, used paperback
(R )The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from The New Yorker, David Remnick, Editor, ISBN 978-1-4000-6802-9, Random House, 2010 paperback

Preparation Time  Readings for the week will be slightly over 100 pages (aside from any material describing the authors that has been prepared by me or members) ranging from a high of 146 pages to a low of 68 pages. Reading time naturally varies depending upon one's speed, but I would anticipate an average of between 3 and 4 hours per week. The only preparation will be to do the required reading unless volunteering to report on an author, which I am hoping can be done by submitting a short piece culled from internet material and circulated in advance of class. I will do this for the authors in the first session, thereby providing examples.

Computer Use  It is required. Computer skill of any kind is unnecessary. All that is needed is an email address and the ability to print readings sent via email.

Biography  I graduated from UPenn'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 will be my 3rd time leading a BOLLI course, the other two being "Early Television in America: Much More than Memories" and "The Fundamental Fifties - The Light Side". 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, any time before midnight but never before 9 a.m., or by email.


Lit8-S11   Humorous Short Writing

Leader    Pete Reider

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

Description   This will be essentially the same course as Humorous Short Stories, Fall 2010 but reorganized and expanded. It will be a mixture of free ranging discussion and focus on topics.  The overall theme will be the playfulness of the writing.  Attention will be paid to: the unique voice of the narrator; varieties of humorous feeling tones - such as affection and vindictiveness - and the stock characters - for example, the hero, the fall guy and the trickster. The discussion will spin off from individuals' reactions to and thoughts about the reading. It will not be a lecture course. Most of the readings will be short stories - a few parodies, satires and essays will be included. Class members will be encouraged to give brief, creative, presentations of the biographies of the authors.

Study questions will be sent out well in advance of the first meeting.

No prior knowledge is expected; an embracing sense of humor would be good. Reading the selections twice is highly recommended - maybe even three times. It is important that you plan to attend every week. Successive weeks will reflect back on the previous sessions.

"Humorous" for the purposes of this course covers a broad range including: having a light touch, wittiness, absurdity, the yarn, the joy of playful sentences and (in the case of I. B. Singer) impish. In general "humorous" will mean "playful." No attempt will be made to analyze the precise mechanics of humor - that would be a sure way to kill the fun. 

Readings  A list of readings will be sent out well in advance of the first class. The readings will very likely include: Woody Allen, Mark Twain, Ian Frazier, Steve Martin, Michael Gerber and Jonathan Schwartz, Saki (H. H. Munro), A. Milne, Frank O'Connor, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Davy Crockett, Ama Ata Aidoo, John Updike, Philip Roth, James Thurber, E. B. White, Sarah Silverman, O. Henry, Saul Bellow, and Cynthia Ozick.

Photocopies of all readings will be provided on Week l. The first reading, which is likely to be Woody Allen's The Kugelmass Episode, is available on the internet. The syllabus will probably be free of charge. If a charge is necessary it will be about $10.00.

For those who wish to read ahead of the semester: Several selections are in Fierce Pajames, An Anthology of Humor Writing from The New Yorker edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder.

Preparation Time 1-2 hours. The readings are brief.

Computer Use Desirable but not required. It may be convenient to use a computer to look up references.

Biography   A few years ago, after I had retired as a psychiatrist, our house - primarily the kitchen - was torn up for renovations.  This went on for five miserable months. In the throes of unhappiness I wrote a humorous short story called The Kitchen Virus which definitely eased the pain. Since then I have been hooked on reading and writing humor.

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.


Thursday, Course Period 1
8:30 to 9:55 a.m.

H&G2-S11   A Heartbeat Away: Our Accidental Presidents

Leader       Ron Levy 

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

Description   The vice presidency, a heartbeat away from what many consider the most powerful job in the world, has been the subject of ridicule and dismissal rather than serious analysis. But the office is important. Nine of our VPs have succeeded to the presidency either upon the natural death of a sitting president (4), his resignation (1), or assassination (4). This course will focus on these 9 who came to office in the 19th and 20th centuries: John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson and Gerald Ford.


The course is appropriate for anybody who has studied U.S. history in high school and/or American Studies in college. While the weekly modules are essentially stand-alone, I strongly encourage attendance at the first class, and discourage missing more than 2 classes during the


 Readings   There is no required text.

 Preparation Time  1- 2 hours, plus preparation time if making a classroom presentation. 

Computer Use  Required    

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 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. But my knowledge of some of the "lesser" accidental presidents has been perhaps as limited as that of fellow BOLLI students, so we will learn together! In fact, although I have led this course twice previously, I find that I continue to learn as new questions are raised by inquisitive students. 

Contact info  The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-964-6740, (but not during dinner or key sporting events!) or, preferably, by email.


Mu1-S11  Introduction to Choral Music with Biblical Texts  NOT BEING OFFERED THIS SEMESTER

Leader    Bob Keller

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the second half of the semester (March 31 to May 5).

Description  The principal objective of the course is to introduce choral music, thereby encouraging people to listen to the music and attend choral concerts. Prior knowledge is not needed to appreciate choral music. The course will begin with a brief discussion of the history of choral music and continue with listening to and discussing selected pieces. The course includes listening to examples of great choral works with Biblical texts. Class members will be expected to familiarize themselves beforehand with the music to be covered in each class through links provided by the SGL and recommended CDs. The SGL will provide access to information through a class Eboard. Members, if they choose, can attend a May concert in which the SGL will be performing. Members will have the opportunity to prepare and present 10-15 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. Presentations are encouraged, not required. Assistance will be provided by the SGL.

Prior musical knowledge is not required. Since comparisons will be made within musical example, it is helpful to attend every week.

Readings  Readings include scores for the musical works planned for the course: Handel's "Israel in Egypt,"Haydn's "The Creation," Bloch's "Sacred Service," Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms," and Copland's "In the Beginning." These are available at public libraries and at amazon. In addition, short articles will be assigned: reviews of the pieces and articles about the pieces and the composers. These will be available through the internet or distributed as handouts.

Preparation Time 1-2 hours per week, including about 1 hour of listening and about a half hour of reading.

Computer Use  It is required. Must be able to use eBoard. Must be able to use email.

Biography   My background is in finance and non-profit management. I have an MBA and serve on two boards: the Newton Choral Society and the Mazie Foundation. Although I am not a trained musicologist or music historian, I have sung with the Newton Choral Society for the past 33 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 by email.


Thursday, Course Period 2
10:10 to 11:35 a.m.

Rel3-S11  Opening the Talmud

Leader     Michael Milman 

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the first half of the semester (February 24-March 24). 

Description Too often, the Talmud is seen as an antiquated document, devoid of life. Yet, it is at the core of the ongoing dialog between God and the Jewish people. The Talmud is an invitation to a religious experience where imperfections are accepted and engagement is required. 

The class will explore the historical context of the Talmud and its place within the religious Jewish tradition. We will read and discuss some of its many stories and parables. We will study one of its legal arguments and look into how it translates into a particular article in the code of Jewish law. 

The purpose of the class is to show that the Talmud is still very much alive. Like a tree with ancient and deep roots, it continually grows when its students engage in its study. The expression of all traditions, religious beliefs, and opinions of class members are welcome and encouraged as they contribute to a richer learning experience. No prior knowledge is necessary to benefit from the class. The material of this course will build from week to week, so it is important to attend all sessions. Volunteers may make class presentations.

 Readings (R) The essential Talmud, by Adin Steinsaltz. Basic Books. ISBN: 978-0-465-08273-5
(S) History of the Jewish People: The Second Temple Era, Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm, Art Scroll, ISBN: 0-89906-454-X
(S) History of the Jewish People: From Yavneh to Pumbedis, Meir Holder. Art Scroll. ISBN: 0-89906-499-X ($21.59 from http://www.artscroll.com

Preparation Time  1-2 hours 

Computer Use   It is desirable but not required 

Biography   I grew up in a secular environment with only a vague understanding of my Jewish identity. In my mid-thirties, I became interested in the study of Torah and the observance of its commandments. I spent 3 years in a Yeshiva in the heart of the Lubavitcher Hassidic community. I began with learning how to read the Hebrew letters, and soon became engrossed in the study of the Talmud and of Chassidic philosophy. Recently, I have had the opportunity to teach classes dealing with different aspect of Judaism, including an introduction to the Talmud. Currently, I am leading an ongoing class about the Tanya, one of the most ancient Chassidic texts.

I also have an MA in broadcast Journalism as well as in Family Therapy.

Contact info   The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-794-7578 or by email.



Rel2-S11  Foundations of Post-Biblical Judaism: From Ezra to the First Century

Leader    Dr. Sarah Lieberman

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the second half of the semester (March 31 to May 5).

Description   This course will focus on Second Temple 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.  This was an age in which the Jewish people, wherever they lived, were under the political and military control of other nations.  It was the formative stage in the long history of Judaism, as well as the setting between the Testaments that inform the birth of Christianity. We will see 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, etc. This course is open to all student levels of knowledge. Presentations by students are welcome.

Readings (R ) From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Times, Lawrence H. Schiffman. ISBN 0881253723

Preparation Time 3 hours

Computer Use   It is required. Material and communication are involved.

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," "1 Samuel," "Biblical Mythology" and "Ancient Near Eastern Backgrounds to Bible." Most recently she taught two semesters of "The Third Reich at War."

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.


Lit11-S11   Beyond "My Fair Lady": George Bernard Shaw and the Comedy-Drama of Ideas

Leader     Verne Vance

THURSDAY- COURSE PERIOD 2- 10:10 a.m. - 11:35 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 include "Pygmalion" (the literary source for the classic musical "My Fair Lady"); "Major Barbara"; "Man and Superman"; "Heartbreak House"; and "Saint Joan." 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, familial relationships, and other matters.

In the course we will view videos of some of the plays, and the students will participate in readings from all five plays. No prior knowledge of Shaw or his work is required, and the course is appropriate for students at any level of knowledge. Regular attendance at all classes would be helpful to students, but not necessary to understand the basic thrust of the course. Volunteers will be encouraged but not required to make class presentations.

Readings (R) Pygmalion and Three Other Plays, George Bernard Shaw, Barnes and Noble Classics, paperback ISBN 1-59308-078-6, 2004
(R) Man and Superman and Three Other Plays, George Bernard Shaw, Barnes and Noble Classics , paperback, ISBN 1-59308-067-0, 2004
(R) Saint Joan; George Bernard Shaw; Penguin Classics, ISBN 9780140437911; May 1, 2001

Preparation Time   2 hours

Computer Use   It is 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 a drama course at the lifelong learning program at Regis College. He has been a lover and student of the plays of Shaw for nearly sixty years and has attended on five occasions the annual 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 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on week days or by email.


Lit9-S11  A Timeless Issue: Greed

Leader    Elaine S. Reisman

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

Description  Legitimate theatre and moving pictures often present positions on social issues which lend themselves to provocative discussions. Greed is a timeless issue which has been even more prominent in the last few years with the exposure of the Madoff scheme. Plays and movies relevant to the subject of Greed will be read/seen. Background on the economic and political times add to our discussions of greed and its motivations: need that turns into greed, entitlement as greed; misunderstanding which leads to greed. No clear cut definition the topic has yet emerged from many discussions.

The course will be divided into two parts, bridged by an historic silent movie, Greed, made in the 1920's. Part one of the class examines greed as it relates to the financial/business world, and Part 2 deals with greed in other circumstances.

Participants are expected to read all plays and view the movies. Voluntary reports about the writers and the times depicted will enhance discussions. Some scenes from plays will be acted.

Please plan to attend all classes unless illness or unexpected circumstances arise.

As an SGL, I see myself as a facilitator of learning. I am neither an expert on drama nor on greed. We will learn together.

Readings Plays (all required):
The Voysey Inheritance, Harley Granville-Barker
The Voysey Inheritance, Ben Jonson
The Voysey Inheritance, David Mamet ISBN 0-307-27519
Volpone adapted by Stefan Zweig available in Twenty Best European Plays, edited by John Glassner - available in the Minuteman Library System. All other plays are available at the library or in inexpensive editions through amazon
Sly Fox, Larry Gelbart
The Little Foxes, Lillian Hellman
Solid Gold Cadillac, Teichman and Kaufman

Wall Street-- required
Greed will be shown by SGL

Other plays under consideration:
Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet
Everything in the Garden, Edward Albee

Preparation Time   2 hours

Computer Use            It is required

Biography  This will be my 15th session of leading courses at BOLLI. Sharing a learning experience with this motivated community is an exciting venture. Facilitating learning is part of my background as an early childhood educator. The joy of opening up a ‘treasure chest' of ideas and exploring them together allows for fun and ‘play' as we gather knowledge about playwriting and the issues related to the theme of the course. Courses I have taught include Timeless Issues in Drama; Timeless Issues in Drama: Money; Time to Laugh; Timeless Issues in Drama: Justice; A Timeless Issue: Greed.

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


Lit1-S11  The Aeneid and Comparative Epic

Leader   Len Aberbach

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

Description   Along with Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid is one of the cornerstones of the literature of western civilization. The Aeneid connects the Rome of Augustus to the distant mythic past of the devastated Troy through Aeneas, a Trojan prince, who is compelled by the Gods to leave the dying city and found a new people and nation. The Aeneid was immediately accepted as the foundation myth of Rome and the Roman people. We will be reading the epic very closely, focusing on the most important details and story lines as well as on a tantalizing array of issues that Virgil leaves us to puzzle over.

I will be making continuous comparisons and references to the Iliad and Odyssey, as Virgil in numerous ways is paying homage to Homer and his extraordinary epics. It is therefore critical to have read the Homeric epics within the last few years and even then expect that you will need to go back and review some characters and details. Also, because the material builds from week to week, it is very important for students to plan to attend all classes as they will be oriented toward discussion based on weekly study questions provided in advance.

Note that I hope to offer the Iliad and Odyssey again in sequence in the future for those who are unfamiliar with them, followed by this Aeneid study group.

Readings (R) The Aeneid - Robert Fagels Translation, Viking Press,ISBN 0-670-03803-2

Preparation Time  2-4 hours

Computer Use   Desirable

Biography   I have been a member of BOLLI almost since it started and have led a number of study groups on the Homeric epics and classical myth. My interest in this area largely began after I joined BOLLI and has little connection to my education and work experience which includes a PhD in Chemical Engineering and technology-based business general management. BOLLI was instrumental in the choices I have made, since I wanted to become an SGL in an area of potential interest to me that would require new focus, study, and effort on my part. The classical epics have satisfied that need.

Contact info   The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-358-2385 before 5:00 p.m. or by email.


Thursday, Course Period 3
1:25 to 2:50 p.m.

Rel4-S11   Islam: Past, Present and Future

Leader      Carol Johnson Shedd

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

Description   Using a very good book, Islam: The Straight Path, and various videos, we will be introduced to the religion of Islam, its history, and to the wide variety and differing practices of Muslims throughout the world. Each class member will be asked to do a ten minute presentation, in discussion with the SGL. Each week will build on the week before, so it is important that you attend each session when possible. Maximum reading time will be one and one half to two hours a week. No prior knowledge is needed.           

Readings (R) Islam: The Straight Path, Esposito, John L.  (revised third edition). Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-19-518266-9 (many used copies on amazon)

Preparation Time  1 1/2 to 2 hours each week 

Computer Use   It is desirable but not required

Biography   Carol Johnson Shedd holds an MA in Religion, and an MLS in Library Science. She worked for 12 years at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and has led groups at HILR, BOLLI and LLARC.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-653-4054, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or by email.


Lit3-S11   Even more Tales of Dark Love among the Famous

Leader     Sophie Freud    

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

Description   Passionate love causes us intense joy and/or painful suffering. How have notable persons dealt with this ultimate human emotion? After a general consideration of love and passion, we will turn to a series of books for the answer. This course is similar to the two courses I have taught before, but once again, with brand new characters. No prior knowledge is needed. The course is appropriate for anyone interested in the love experience. No class presentations are planned, but keeping up with the readings is essential. Readings are planned to be about 100 pages a week. We shall read 4 biographies and one play, discussing books mainly from an ethical and psychological viewpoint. In the course of the readings, we shall also learn more about the personal lives of a number of notable persons.

Readings  (R ) Two Lives. Gertrude and Alice, Janet Malcolm, Yale University Press, 2007, ISBN978-0-300-12551-1
(R ) Loving Frank  by Nancy Horan, Ballantine Books, 2007. ISBN; 978-0- 345-49500-6
(R ) A Secret Symmetr, Aldo Carotenuto, Pantheon Books, 1982. ISBN: 0-394-5130
(R ) Diana and Jackie  Jay Mulvaney, Thorndike Press, 2002, ISBN 0-78624848-3
(R ) After the Fall, Arthur Miller, Viking Press and Bantan Books, 1964

Preparation Time I try to limit assignments to about 100 pages a week.

Computer Use  It is desirable but not required

Biography  I started as a clinical social worker 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 courses has become my old age pastime. I received a BA from Harvard, a 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 spent several years on a research project on the passion experience. I am also an avid reader and books have been my cherished companions as a reader, book reviewer and author of two books, the first called My Three Mothers and other Passions. The second book is 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 any time except 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. or by email.


Lit5-S11  Readings in the Short Novel

Leader   Michael Kaufman

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

Description   The novella is usually located in a nebulous area, somewhere between the short story and the novel. But this form of fiction has a distinctive structure, rhythm and character.  It doesn't have the diversity of characters, multiplicity of plots or complexity of narrative strategies of the novel; nor does it confine itself to the quickened tempo and strict, unified action of the short story. What marks this genre is its focus on character facing a climactic point of action, a critical experience which provides some revelation, either to the character, or to the reader, or to both.

The six selected works are acknowledged masterpieces by significant writers from different cultures who represent distinctive aspects of a modern sensibility. They focus the most penetrating and disturbing ideas that have dominated Western thought for the last century. These works so rich in provocative themes should provide an opportunity to discuss some of the social, political, moral and psychological dilemmas of our own lives and times. 

Readings   Any edition of the following titles will be suitable for class. We will read the works in this order:
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych
Herman Melville, Billy Budd
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
James Joyce. The Dead
Flannery O'Connor, The Displaced Person
Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis
The Tolstoy story should be read for our first meeting.

Preparation Time   3 hours

Computer Use   It is not necessary

Biography   I have an undergraduate science degree and graduate work in literature, and have taught at various universities. I am the founder and principal of Humanities At Work, a humanistic development program for professionals and business executives.

Contact info  The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-332-3347 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.


H&G4-S11   Looking Briefly at the Jews From Arab Lands

Leader         Eveline Weyl

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the first half of the semester (February 24-March 31).

Description  I would like to share my love and understanding of the Jews of North Africa and Egypt and tell the whereabouts of Sephardic Jews after 1492. We will talk about their culture, traditions, customs, and food, as well as what have been their peregrinations.

This is a short lecture style course followed by questions and discussion. I would love to have students commit to a subject to research and speak about before class begins. 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 in time.

Readings (R) Norman Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times

Preparation Time  1-2 hours

Computer Use   Desirable but not necessary

Biography   I grew up in France and witnessed as my parents helped and created a community for 60 Jewish families who came empty handed, between 1958 and 1963 from North Africa and Egypt to our hometown. The Jewish community of France is today 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 phone at 617-735-9395 or by email.


Thursday, Course Period 4
3:05 to 4:30 p.m.

CE2-S11   Africa In the News

Leader      Robert Cohen 

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

Description   The huge continent of Africa, although distant, affects our lives in multiple ways. The class will rely on print and electronic media reports of contemporary events in Africa as the basis of discussion of these events and how they affect U.S. foreign policy, our lives and our futures. Class members will be asked to clip/print such articles. The SGL will provide the background information necessary to understand and analyze what is happening in Africa today and will lead and moderate class discussions. The course will begin with an overview of the continent and identification of particular countries with significant ongoing issues to follow - such as China's involvement in Africa, piracy, Al Qaeda in Africa, turmoil in Sudan, Congo violence, growth (or lack thereof) of democracy, the role of women, oil and other natural resources, and the U.S. military in Africa. Our examination of these issues will consider political as well as social and economic circumstances. The course is appropriate for any level of student, and no prior knowledge is needed.

Readings  Outside reading will consist only of articles available in current print and electronic media.

Preparation Time   This may vary from week to week, but should not usually be more than one hour. 

Computer Use  It is desirable but not required. Electronic media is one of the sources designated as available for the class member to gather information. However, effective utilization of print media may sufficiently serve the purpose. 

Biography  I am a graduate of Boston University's School of Management and its Law School. With respect to Africa, I am self-taught and have led 5 prior courses on various aspects of Africa including: an introduction to Africa and overview of the history of the continent; African hot spots; the changing face of Africa--the metamorphosis which engulfed the continent from the time the first white settlers landed until the end of world War II and the Independence movement. 

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


Sc3-S11  Individual Genomes and Personalized Medicine

Leader  Allan Kleinman

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

This is a 5-week course that meets in the second half of the semester (March 31 to May 5). 

Description  With the initial sequencing of the human genome ten years ago and the dramatic reduction in the price of sequencing an individual's entire genome, there is a revolution underway in our understanding of the basic biology of human health and disease, leading to the goal of personalized medicine. To date, there have been some dramatic breakthroughs, as well as a lot of hype. The purpose of this class is to learn the basic facts of the genomic revolution and discuss its potential for good, the technical and social limitations to progress, and the possible pitfalls that could arise. My hope is that the class members will become able to critically read a newspaper or magazine article with a much deeper understanding and sense of perspective in order to form their own conclusions about where this genomic revolution is heading.

During the five weeks of this course, we will cover: (1) basic genetics, (2) genomic sequencing and genetic testing, (3) genetics in health and disease, (4) genetic diagnostics, prevention, treatment and cures, and (5) the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics. Dr Kevin Davies, Chief Editor, Bio-IT World; founding editor, Nature Genetics; and author of "The $1,000 Genome," has agreed to become an advisor to this course and will join our discussion in Week 5.

No specific prior knowledge is required, only a basic rudimentary layman's understanding of biology. This course is geared to a motivated student willing to learn by reading the course text and supplementary articles and actively participating in class discussions. The material will build from week to week, so it is important that students plan to attend every week.  Volunteers will be expected to make class presentations. I will propose three or four topics each week and seek one or two volunteers to give a brief overview prior to our discussion. Students will be expected to read two chapters in the selected text each week (a total of about 60 pages that should take about 3 hours) and, optionally, also bring in a current newspaper article to share with the class.

Readings  The required book for this course will not change and is (R) Personal Genomics and Personalized Medicine by Hamid Bolouri, ISBN-978-1-84816-565-6, Imperial College Press, December 2009.

I highly recommend that prospective study group members skim through sections of the book at Amazon prior to registering, so that they will know if this is the course for them. The link to read and order the paperback book (for a total of $42.24 including shipping) is at:


Preparation Time  3 hours 

Computer Use  It is required. I will be circulating possible discussion items (perhaps with a related article of interest) prior to class to help focus our discussion and expect that the presenters will use internet resources in preparing their presentations, which may be given using Powerpoint.

Biography   Prior to partially retiring in 2005, I had worked as a systems analyst, evaluating and improving designs for inertial navigation, missile guidance, and aircraft logistics systems. During my career, I served as the in-house applied mathematics consultant to a 1200-person high tech company. 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 then focused on learning about the role that computers and applied mathematics were playing in discovering the basic science of life and potential applications. 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 their research is leading the search for tomorrow's cures. I have been attending OLLI classes here at Brandeis and at UCSD 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.


Sc1-S11   Our Place in the Universe     NOT BEING OFFERED THIS SEMESTER

Leader   Martin Idelson

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

Description  Where is our infinitesimal planet located in the infinitely enormous Universe?  When and how did it get there? What is the solar system, galaxies? We can observe only 6% of the Universe. Why? What is the remaining 94%?

We will start with a look at mundane phenomena like what causes night and day, the length of a day, why daylight time varies, the seasons, what is a year, the solar system, etc. We will also discuss more esoteric subjects including the origin of galaxies and the planets, the relationship between mass and energy, Doppler effect and time dilation, space travel, the Big Bang, the expanding Universe, black holes, where the chemical elements came from, what the destiny is of our sun and Earth, and many more as time allows. We will not discuss constellations or astrology.

Voluntary reports on important figures, events or archeological sites in the history of astronomy from ancient times to the present will be sought.  The reports should be no longer than fifteen minutes.

The universe and nuclear particles occupy positions at the opposite extremities of natural history.  The forces and the time scale that determine the characteristics of galaxies are totally different from those that hold an atom together. The lifetime of stars is measured in billions of years while the lifetime of some subatomic particles is measured in billionths of a second. Yet both phenomena are connected to the development of the Universe.

The intent of the course is to make you aware of the grand beauty of the Universe and of the enormous mysteries yet to be solved.

Prior knowledge is not needed. Everyone has looked at the sky at night and wondered!

This course is appropriate for students who are ready to expand their minds and are willing to study the material.  While the text has a lot of math, mathematical knowledge is not required to understand the course.

Readings  Stars Galaxies & Cosmology: Selected Chapters From The Cosmic Perspective (Chapters 1-7, 15-24), paperback, Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, Voit, ISBN 0805387579: Pearson Addison Wesley. Available from online sources Amazon, NexTag and others from $14.95 to $35.
Other editions are satisfactory.  The later the edition, the more expensive it will be.  Just be sure the book is titled Stars Galaxies & Cosmology, as there are other books called Cosmic Perspective.

Preparation Time  1-2 hours

Computer Use  Required. I will communicate to the class via email. A computer will be required to read the CD. A CD will be distributed which will include explanations of subject matter from the text in, I hope, easier to understand language.  A computer will be required to read the CD and for communications.

Biography  I am a chemist with a PhD in organic chemistry; I minored in physics and physical chemistry.  My professional life was in photographic science. I taught organic chemistry, general chemistry and polymer chemistry at Northeastern U, UMass and Bentley College. In my "retired" life I have continued my interests in science by lecturing at Boston Museum of Science, taking courses at BU (including Astronomy) and reading magazines like Science (AAAS), Chemical and Engineering News (Am. Chem. Soc.) and American Scientist (Sigma Xi).

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.


DR1-S11   Scene-iors Drama Club  
This is a full-semester "extra" and does not count in your course total.

Leader  Becky Meyers 

Description  The Scene-iors Drama Club is a play discussion group that will culminate in a dramatic reading at Lunch & Learn on Tuesday May 3 (the last week of the semester).

Contact info Facilitator is Becky Meyers at 978-263-2997, (to be joined mid-semester by Eileen Mitchell)