Spring 2012 Course Descriptions


BOLLI: Spring Semester 2012

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

Rel4-S12 Art and the Bible: Genesis

Leader Carol Johnson Shedd

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. (5 week course March 6 through April 3)

Description There are few museums in the world that do not include paintings or sculptures of Biblical figures. In this course we will look at art works based on stories from the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament to Christians). To help us understand the art, we will read the relevant Biblical passages, and when appropriate, readings from the Quran and the Apocrypha. This is not a lecture course, but a discussion group, in which class members will be able to share their ideas on the Bible stories, and how they are portrayed in the PowerPoint images. Brief reports will be encouraged and greatly appreciated, but not required. No prior knowledge of Bible or art is required. Through our readings and viewings, I hope we will gain a greater appreciation of the place of the Bible in the art of the world. 

Readings Readings will be sent to class via e-mail.

Preparation Time Should not take more than 2 hours of reading.

Computer Use Required. Since the readings will all be sent via e-mail, the class must have access to a computer.

Biography I have degrees in Library Science and Religion, and have led numerous study groups at BOLLI, HILR and LLARC, on the Middle East, World Religions and the Bible.>

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

Sc1-S12 Going Native: Native Plants for the Gardener and the Rambler

Leader Al Levin

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. (5 week course April 17 through May 15)

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 70 native trees, shrubs and perennials. The core of this course will consist of plant profiles with images 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 native plants which might enhance their home garden (i.e. the gardener) and (2) the person who simply enjoys exploring the New England woodlands, meadows and wetlands (i.e. 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 required to make a five minute presentation on a native plant topic of their choice.

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

Preparation Time One hour

Computer Use Required. Profiles of each plant to be discussed in class will be distributed via e-mail attachments in advance of each class.

Biography I’ve had a life-long interest in the world of plants. For the past five 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. Previous BOLLI courses include Demystifying Digital Photography and Going Native. 

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-862-1131 between the hours of 8:00 am and 9:00 pm or by email.

Soc1-S12 Laughter: The Best of All Medicines 

Leaders Robert Pill and Neil Bernstein

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description We all need humor and laughter in our lives, especially considering the state of the real world and the complications of aging. Do we forget how to chuckle as we grow older? Is it only the young who are able to find humor because they have limited life experience? This course is meant to bring humor back to your life. We will explore many aspects of humor with a focus on getting us to laugh until we cry; not settling for only chuckles or giggles. Caveat: Do not take this course without your doctor’s permission if such laughter might be detrimental to your health. Grouches, grumblers and habitual malcontents are not eligible. We will examine various categories of humor/comedy and discuss what makes each type funny and unique. We will analyze humor dealing with politics, puns & wordplay, parody/satire, commercials, gender, one-liners, sarcasm, ethnicity, senior citizens and marriage/children. We will view videos showing how these types of humor were used by some of our favorite comedians during our peak laughing years from the 40’s to the 90’s. As a finale to every session, each member will be asked to tell a joke or anecdote that best characterizes the form of humor being studied. No lectures; our purpose is to facilitate animated discussions of the weekly topics.

Readings No textbook. In advance of each week’s class, the SGLs will e-mail readings on the topic to be covered. 

Preparation Time about 1 hour per week

Computer Use Required. To receive weekly emails


Robert Pill retired from business in 2005. As an SGL, he led a course for two semesters entitled The Broadway Musical – Art Imitates Life, Almost. His love of telling jokes and anecdotes prompted him to co-design this course to help add to his repertoire. His wife and friends grew weary of hearing his old jokes again & again (& again) so, although a new wife is not in the offing, new friends are a definite necessity.

Neil Bernstein is a graduate of MIT and his primary career was in the management of technology based companies. He recently retired from his practice in financial planning and investment management. He previously led a course entitled Baseball: It’s Far More Than Just a Game and co-led (with Harris Traiger) a course on The Business of Sports. After a long recovery from the trauma caused by his bris, he ultimately developed a passion for all things humorous.

Contact info Bob is open to contact by phone at 617-969-2574 between the hours of 9:00 am to 8:00 pm or by email.

Neil is open to contact by phone at 508-655-3174 between the hours of 9:00 am to 8:00 pm or by email.


Soc2-S12 Utopias, Real and Imagined 

Leaders Tamara Chernow and Naomi Schmidt

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description Is utopianism an elusive goal – a concept that is not realizable, but can only be imagined and attained in fiction? What defines a utopia, and what must be given up by individuals in order to realize a utopian society? This course will examine our varied reactions to concepts of utopias and also at attempts to achieve viable utopian communities or lifestyles. Looking at utopian ideas from the past and present, we will examine various successes and failures. Starting with a summary of Thomas More’s ideas from his 1516 seminal work of fiction Utopia, we will then concentrate on 19th and 20th century utopian experiments in living, including some fictional utopias, ending with a brief look at dystopias. We will “visit” intentional communities that are based on economic, philosophical, religious, or agrarian principles, as well as on counter-cultural, ecological and unorthodox themes, focusing on the United States. In addition, we will look at the Israeli kibbutz movement, co-housing groups, and architectural innovation. Fictional depictions of Utopia will include sections from Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, the novel Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and scenes from the film of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon. Without necessarily reaching a consensus, we will think about and share our ideas on what we would find desirable in a utopian community. Volunteers will be asked to contribute reports on topics of interest to supplement the assigned readings. No prior knowledge is needed; however participants should plan to attend all sessions in order to derive the most from the course.

Readings A packet of readings will be prepared by the SGLs and distributed at cost. Other readings and internet links will be on a class eBoard. The short novel Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is available in libraries and for free on the Internet.

Preparation Time 1 to 2 hours, possibly more for the fiction sessions

Computer Use Required. We will communicate with class members via email and will also refer to various websites for supplementary materials.

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 Chernow.

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. A BOLLI member since 2003, she has co-led two play reading courses as well as co-leading “The New York Experience” with Naomi Schmidt.

Contact info The SGLs are open to contact by phone at 617-527-2610 (Naomi, before 9 pm), or 617-965-9680 (Tamara, after 10 am) or by email.


Hum1-S12 Three Masterpieces: from Drama to Film and Opera

Leader Peter Schmidt               


TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.


Description Drama has often served as the inspiration for other art forms. In this course we will look at three masterpieces of drama: Salome by Oscar Wilde; Woyzeck by Georg Büchner;Earth-Spirit - Pandora's Box by Frank Wedekind, and their realization in film and modern opera. The films are: Salome with Alla Nazimova; Woyzeck by Werner Herzog and with Klaus Kinski; Pandora's Box by G. W. Pabst and with Louise Brooks; the operas are: Salome by Richard Strauss; Wozzeck and Lulu by Alban Berg. Besides guided discussion and analysis of the plays we'll consider visualization of the characters and staging as a guide to viewing selections from the films and operas. Of course we'll also do some comparisons of the plays and their main characters. Come join in this exciting adventure. No prior knowledge is required. Enough facility with computers is needed for email communication and to view and download material from the course website, and to access relevant internet links and videos. Although the plays with their films and operas are planned to be covered separately in three, three and four weeks, continuous attendance in the course is highly recommended.

Readings Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde, Salome; Dover Publications, 1967. ISBN- 0486218309 (Note: Salome is available free online, but this book includes the Beardsley drawings. Search with Salome Wilde Beardsley for best results)

Georg Büchner Woyzeck; Drama Classics, Nick Hern Books, 1997. ISBN- 1854591835  (Note: Only this particular translation will be used in the course. Search with Woyzeck Drama Classics for best results)

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

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

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

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

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

H&G1-S12 The Experience of War

Leader Marc Schwarz

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description Ever since one caveman raised a club against another, war has been a constant feature of Western Civilization, beginning as small local conflicts and transforming itself into the total war of our age. War, which was once the task of professional armies now involves entire populations. Weapons, which once were limited in scope, now are capable of mass destruction. The evolution of war has framed and affected the human experiences. The romantic glory of it has been replaced by its cruelty and malignancy. The study group will examine the reactions of men and women to the changing nature of war as described in novels, autobiographies, and historical analysis. Thus, this is not an investigation of strategy and tactics, but human efforts to deal with the phenomenon of war. Discussion is highly encouraged and volunteer reports welcome.

Readings French Chivalry, Sidney Painter.

Utopia, Thomas More

The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane

All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque

Eleven Days in December, Stanley Weintraub

Hiroshima, John Hersey  

Computer Use Not necessary

Preparation Time 1 to 2 hours 

Biography I have a BA from Bates College, a MAT from Harvard, and a PhD from UCLA. I taught almost 40 years in the History Department at UNH. This will be the 7th study group I have led at BOLLI.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-277-7557 until 7:00 pm and or by email.


Rel1-S12 Beginning Buddhism: What Might it Mean for Us?

Leader Alorie Parkhill

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description For many Westerners, Buddhism, the faith of one fifth of the world, may seem obscure and mysterious, but also intriguing. We know something of yoga and meditation but not a great deal about the origins or fundamental precepts of the “historic” Buddha, Sidhatta Gotama. Buddhism is a psychological spiritual practice. In this course, we will begin to learn what is known of the life of Buddha, as well as some of his fundamental teachings. As Karen Armstrong says, “The Buddha was trying to find a new way of being human,” and contrary to our Western individualism, he showed “a complete and breathtaking self-abandonment.” How is this possible to achieve in a world of suffering and often despair? Can one find peace, mindfulness, and enlightenment in these times? We will consider these and many other most basic human questions in our brief study, which may include a peek at Zen Buddhism. We will have a brief period of meditation during each class. No background is necessary for this course, but it is important to attend each session and to keep up with the reading. Individual reports will be encouraged.

Readings Buddha, by Karen Armstrong (Penguin Books,2001) ISBN 014 30.3436 7. Available used from many sources.

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, by Thich Nhat Hanh (Broadway Books, 1998) ISBN 0-7679-0369-2. Available used

When Things Fall Apart: heart advice for difficult times, by Pema Chodron (Shambala Publications, 2000) ISBN 978-1-57062-160-4. Other printed materials from various sources.

Preparation Time Two hours approximately

Computer Use Not necessary.

Biography I taught a wide range of English classes to high school students at The Cambridge School of Weston, for approximately forty years. My experience includes teaching creative drama, writing and 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 in a variety of venues.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 978-443-8223 or by email.

Lit2-S12 Smile, Chuckle, Laugh? Grimace? Humor in Drama

Leader Elaine S. Reisman                    

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description Humor elicits different responses from individuals for a variety of reasons. Diverse expressions of humor through plays will offer participants the opportunity to explore the issues that are targeted, the motivations for their being targeted, and responses of the readers or viewers. Caution to those who think that comedic presentations are funny to all. Much of comedy is close to tragedy and the selected plays include some with subject matter that is poignant and sad. Discussion will bring out how humor is used to mask some of our deeper feelings. Sometimes when these are expressed, for example, in a play, they elicit discomfort because of touching a personal experience or tender spot in our own psyches.


The Purpose of the course is to explore humor, hopefully enjoy some fun together and to develop a deeper understanding of how playwrights attempt to reach us. Participants are expected to read all plays and be voluntarily active in discussions and enrichment opportunities, which means reading/acting part of plays and sharing insights through reports relevant to the playwrights and their times.

Preparation Time 2-3 hours per week

Readings All plays are easily accessible through Minuteman Library Network. Some are in anthologies. No need for participants to buy books. A detailed bibliography with call numbers will be sent in welcoming packet.

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

Pushcart Peddlers by Murray Schisgall (spoofing the USA as a place with golden streets; plight of the new immigrant)

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

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

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

 Of Thee I Sing by Kaufman and Hart (spoof on presidential elections)

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Recaps sent after each class and often there are communications among the class participants by email.

Biography Rewarded by the fun of planning and leading courses, and the joy of the participants, I am offering a course at BOLLI for the 17th time. By no means am I an expert on drama or on humor, but shared learning with motivated peers makes for a playful and enriching experience. My background is in Early Childhood special needs. I guess I never outgrew the pleasure of “acting out.”

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-538-6536 any time before 10:00 pm or by email.

Lit3-S12 Great Writers Writing About Sports

Leader David Moskowitz


TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description This third-time course is designed for people who enjoy reading and discussing great writing, primarily non-fiction, by diverse writers and seek a fun-filled, absorbing, irreverent, learning experience. We read over 70 authors connected thematically by sports including: Updike, Halberstam, Will, George V. Higgins, Oates, Talese, Schulberg, Mailer, McPhee, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Plimpton, Runyon, Hunter Thompson, Breslin, DeLillo and David Foster Wallace. In addition to exposure to non-traditional writings by this esteemed group, we also read legendary sportswriters, e.g. Red Smith, Grantland Rice, Jim Murray and Roger Angell plus my personal favorite Frank Deford. A general appreciation of sports enhances enjoyment. While baseball and boxing predominate - comprising half our content - you'll also read about basketball, football, ice hockey, a famous Jewish bullfighter, horseracing, tennis, running, etc. You'll also learn about our authors by reading brief biographies/backgrounds that I've compiled. Through this course members gain an appreciation of what comprises a captivating piece of literature focusing on a sport or athlete. The assigned readings cover a large range, including humorous pieces and wonderfully explicit character studies. Some are quite poignant, others amazingly incisive, but all are compelling and vividly composed. Several were selected because of unique insight into their subject matter. Writings are discussed both for their literary facets and their subject matter. Class participation is encouraged; members are instructed to share in class those portions they deem most noteworthy and memorable. Members are expected to read and rate each selection using a 5-point scale designed for this purpose.


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

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

The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from The New Yorker, David Remnick, Editor, ISBN 978-0-8129-7998-5, Modern Library Paperbacks, 2010.

Preparation Time The required reading per week averages about 120 pages, ranging from a low of around 87 to a high of about 146. The amount of time depends on an individual's reading speed but figure on 3-4 hours per week. For the most part the material will prove to be engaging and easy to read. In addition, there is background material for all of the authors in order to familiarize the members with the authors they are reading; this is not required reading and can be skimmed if desired. There are no reports. On rare occasions I will send a brief YouTube for viewing that relates directly to one of our assigned readings.

Computer Use Required.in order to receive some of the reading assignments and for general communications, e.g. YouTube videos.

Biography I hold a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Harvard. My legal career was spent mainly as a general counsel, including 11 years as Brandeis’ initial general counsel starting in 1976. This course, my 3rd at BOLLI (the other two being "Early Television in America: Much More than Memories" and "The Fundamental Fifties - The Light Side"), is being offered for a 3rd time and combines two of my favorite interests, sports and literature, especially non-fiction.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 978-444-7590 between the hours of 9:00 am and midnight or by email.

H&G3-S12 On the Docket: What's going on in the Supreme Court NOW?

Leader Robert Cohen

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. (5 week  course  March 6 through April 3)

Description The nature of the cases thus far selected for hearing by the Supreme Court include issues such as whether the State Department must indicate on passports that someone in Jerusalem is entitled to have Israel listed as the country of birth, do the police need a warrant to attach a tracking device to a car and monitor its movements over several weeks, does the 4th amendment allow the strip-search of all people detained for minor offenses, has a death row inmate in Alabama lost his chance to appeal a decision against him because his lawyers missed a filing deadline? This is a unique and provocative potpourri of issues. The course will commence with a brief presentation on the membership and method of operation of the Supreme Court. Following this, based on online material to which the SGL will direct the class, the class will discuss selected cases from the current Supreme Court docket. Some of the cases to be discussed will have had no action taken by the court while some of them may have had oral arguments. Depending on the cases selected, and the speed of the court, some may have already been decided. For those not yet decided, the class will vote on the potential outcome and the SGL will keep the class informed about how the Supreme Court decision compared to the class decision.

This course will be approximately 40% presentation by the SGL and 60% facilitated class discussion. No prior knowledge is required, but regular attendance is expected.

Readings Some reading material may be furnished by the SGL. The SGL will also give references to material which will be available online.

Preparation Time Approximately 1 to 2 hours.

Computer Use Required. Because of the newness of the cases to be discussed, reading material is not available in print, but is online.

Biography The SGL is a graduate of Boston University's College of Business Administration and its Law School. He practiced law in the Boston area for over 35 years; served as a Special Master and Auditor for the Massachusetts Superior Court and as an Examiner for the Massachusetts Land Court. He served 2 terms as President of the Mass. Chapter of the American Trial Lawyers' Association. He has been an SGL for 11 prior courses relating to law, ethics and Africa.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-969-6878 between the hours of 10:00 am and 11:30 pm or by email.

H&G4-S12 The Path to Hiroshima

Leader Edward Goldberg

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. (5 week course April 17 through May 15)

Description We will discuss the following question:

 How did such a progressive and enlightened man like FDR come to approve and continually support the policy of dropping an atomic bomb? About 15,000 books have been written about Hiroshima and this remains a very controversial topic. Much of the public debate about Hiroshima has dealt with the questions of moral imperative. Some recent books have focused upon the evolving military strategy and the time line that led to Hiroshima. Allied civilian and military leaders did not appear to be very concerned about the morality of dropping an atomic bomb. This is the viewpoint that we will consider. Like a cascading chemical or nuclear chain reaction: from Einstein’s letter, to Pearl Harbor, to the Manhattan Project, to the policy of unconditional surrender, to the firebombing of Tokyo, and the Japanese rejection of Potsdam, the atomic bombing of Japan appears to have been inevitable, no matter who was President. This course will be an expansion of the lecture presented by the SGL in August 2011, but will include new topics and will end with a debate about the Potsdam Declaration and its impact upon the world.  This course is not an effort to justify or attack the decision to use an atomic bomb. Instead the purpose will be to understand the thinking of the Allied military strategists as the War in the Pacific unfolded. Differing points of view from participants are strongly encouraged. There will be interactive discussions, not lectures, and 5-10 minutes class reports each week. Participants will need a basic knowledge of WWII. 

Readings Downfall, by Richard B. Frank, Penguin 1999, ISBN 978-0-14-100146-3

Truman, by David McCullough, Simon and Schuster 1992, ISBN 0-671-86920-5

Preparation Time There are 433 pages to be read in 5-weeks.

Computer Use Required. I will be communicating by email with the class. Supplementary readings will be transmitted via email.

Biography I retired from my career as a physician in 2000 and have been with BOLLI from the get go. I believe this will be the tenth time that I have been an SGL at BOLLI. My major field of study at Cornell was in American History with special emphasis on the presidency. I recently took a course about the war in the Pacific, which I attended at Osher at LaJolla, and this stimulated my interest in Hiroshima. I still don’t know the answers to the issues that arose there, but I am looking forward to a vigorous discussion.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-969-6786 between the hours of 8:00 am and 8:00 pm or by email.


H&G2-S12 You Are There: Participate in the Framing of the U.S. Constitution

 Leader Stephen Messinger 

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description The United States is governed by a constitution that has seen only 27 changes in over 220 years. The document when written was as revolutionary as the war we fought for independence. A small group of highly educated men from twelve newly independent states differed greatly on what this new document should say but agreed on the country’s need for one. The course will set the stage for these men meeting during a hot, humid Philadelphia summer. We will put ourselves back 220 years to comprehend the pressures, issues and concerns they faced. We will relive the months of debates, argument, near break-up and the ultimate emergence of a miracle. Though passed in Philadelphia, the constitution had to overcome heated disagreement among the States to get ratified. We will review both the 27 amendments that have been ratified and the 6 that were submitted to the states but not approved. Finally, to illustrate that the writing of the Constitution is not over, we will attempt to write and agree on a 28th amendment which will be sent to the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation. No prior knowledge is required, and this course is appropriate for all students. Volunteers will be expected to make class presentations.

Readings Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787

Catherine Drinker Bowen  ISBN 0-316-10398-5

The Constitutional Convention: A Narrative History from the Notes of James Madison Edward J. Larson and Michael P. Winship ISBN 0-8129-7517-0

Preparation Time Preparation time should be 45 minutes to 1 hour per week

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Supplemental readings and primary source material are easily found on the internet and therefore use of the internet is helpful. Other sources of this material are available for those not comfortable with using computers.

Biography I have degrees in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and have spent my career in technical marketing of membrane processes to the Pharmaceutical, Dairy, and Water Industries. During my travels, plane time gave me the opportunity to read, become interested in, and finally passionate about history. While I have read widely on all Western history, I have had an ever-growing fascination with the formation of this country. I have read extensively and hope to transmit some of the passion I have developed.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 978-373-0727 between the hours of 7:00pm and 9:00pm or by email.

Lit1-S12 Journeys Through Anguish: Selected Memoirs 

Leader Sophie Freud

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

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


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

Skin Game: A Cutter’s Memoir by Caroline Kettlewell (1999) St. Martin’ Press

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks (2007) Hyperion (Schizophrenia)

Exiting Nirvana: A Daughter’s life with Autism by Clara Claiborne Park (2001) Little,Brown and Co.

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

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

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. At the beginning I send each student the syllabus as an attachment, which is the guide for the whole course. If someone doesn't have computer access, then another way would need to be found to get this document in printed form to that person. Also, I occasionally send email to the class, but it's not as important for someone to have computer access in this case as it is for the multi-page syllabus. Sometimes I like to communicate with class members between classes but that is less important.

Biography I started as a clinical social worker working with troubled individuals and troubled families and then became an academic for the next 30 years, before joining BOLLI. I think this is my 10th course for our program.  Inventing and teaching courses has become my old age pass-time. I received a BA from Harvard (psychology major), an MSW from Simmons, and 20 years later, a PhD. from the Heller School at Brandeis. I was a professor of social work at the Simmons College School of Social Work for 30 years. My areas of teaching were courses on Developmental Psychology, theories of psychotherapy, group work, family dynamics, etc. I am also an avid reader and books have been my cherished companions as a reader, book reviewer and author of two books, My Three Mothers and Other Passions andLiving in the Shadow of The Freud Family.

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

Hum2-S12 The Iliad and Related Myth Leader Leonard Aberbach

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. to 3:10 p.m.

Description The magnificent epic poems of ancient Greece and Rome, The Iliad, the Odyssey and the Aeneid, although perceived by some as challenging and demanding, are remarkably readable, accessible, and relevant to modern readers. The exceptional characters and mythic stories have had a profound impact on readers and have inspired authors, poets, composers and artists throughout the centuries. This course will focus on the first of these epics - the Iliad of Homer and will include some other pertinent readings in Greek mythology. Whether you are completely new to the Iliad or have read it in high school or college, your understanding and appreciation will be profoundly greater as a mature reader. Through our study of the poem we will explore the values and morals of the society, the complex relationships between men and their gods, and the nature of interpersonal relationships in a world frequently dominated by war. This course is the first of a series which will be given over three semesters since the epics build on one another, with the second course devoted to the Odyssey and the third to the Aeneid. Thus the Iliad begins a journey that will take you back in time to discover characters whose passions, flaws, nobility, and frailties exemplify a humanity that we can readily relate to today.

Readings  Mythology, Edith Hamilton ISBN 0316341517, Little Brown, 1998

The Iliad, Homer, Translated by Robert Fitzgerald, Anchor paperback, ISBN 0385059418

Preparation Time 3-4 hours a week of reading and preparing thoughts about the study questions.<

Computer Use Required. I frequently send emails following up on the discussions of the day, or indicating web sites that further illuminate the topics being discussed. The absence of a computer will be extremely limiting for a student.

Biography I have been a member of BOLLI almost since it began 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 between the hours of 10:00 am and 5:00pm or by email.

SGL1-S12 Learn & Lead: How to Become a Study Group Leader 

Leader Myrna Cohen 


TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.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 course provides an opportunity to talk about topics and receive input and support from other class members, both in small groups and individually. The purpose is to encourage and give practical input and assistance to program members who have not given presentations or led courses at BOLLI. They may not see themselves as a presenter or potential study group leader. Past and present study group leaders are also welcome. The class presents practical information about giving presentations and/or leading courses (e.g., how to structure a course, how to facilitate discussion, and strategies to manage classes so all members have an opportunity to participate). The course includes a technology workshop with 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 opportunity for Q and A with a Research Librarian. The SGL is available to meet with class members and /or BOLLI members (outside of the Learn and Lead course) on an individual basis. No prior knowledge is needed. This course is appropriate for a beginning, intermediate, or advanced students.

Readings SGL Handbook - BOLLI Proposal Form

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


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


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

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

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-969-6878 between the hours of 9:00 am and 9:00pm or by email.

Wr1-S12 The Fourth Genre—Creative Nonfiction: Forms and Strategies for Creative Writing

Leader Faye Snider

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description Often, writers struggle with the best way to tell a true story. Through assigned readings and focused discussion, this class will give participants an understanding of major creative nonfiction forms that could serve as possible models for their own writing. Creative nonfiction consists of personal, segmented, short and lyric essays, as well as memoir. The form is highly flexible, often combining fiction and poetic techniques, portraiture and self-reflection with reportage and critical analysis. The most common elements of this form are personal presence, self-discovery and self-exploration, veracity, flexibility of form, and literary approaches to nonfiction. The best way to learn and integrate is to try new ways of approaching your subject material. Each week, participants will be asked to read two to three essays. Following discussion of the readings, participants will be given a prompt and encouraged to use some of the techniques found in the form discussed. Participants will come away with a sense of new options for bringing their stories to realization. Depending on class size and interest, a feedback (workshop) may be held during the last class session. This course is suited for any writer who wants to learn more about the elements of craft, nonfiction form and the writing life as she or he delves into writing true stories.

Readings The Fourth GenreContemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction (Fifth Edition), Robert Root and Michael Steinberg, Longman, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-0-205-63241-1 and ISBN 0-205-632416

Preparation Time Participants will read two or three essays a week, of varying lengths. Reading time: 2-3 hours. Writing time to be determined by the individual.

Computer Use Required. I use emails to communicate in between sessions and to send various attachments.

Biography After I retired from my psychotherapy practice, I followed my passion as a writer and received an MFA in creative nonfiction from the Pine Manor Solstice Creative Writing Program. I am a strong advocate of the importance of creative endeavors in the third chapter of one’s life. Teaching allows me to share my passion for reading and writing true stories, and to impart some of what I’ve learned.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-332-6694 between the hours of 4:00-7:00 p.m. or by email.

Mu1-S12 Wagner’s Siegfried, A Guided Tour


Leader Phil Radoff


TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description The course will begin with a review of Wagner’s Rheingold and Die Walküre, the first two operas in the Ring tetralogy. This approach is intended to serve as a refresher for people who are somewhat familiar with the first two operas and, one hopes, an adequate introduction for people who are not familiar with them. Then we will explore Siegfried from beginning to end, looking at differing interpretations for some of the key scenes. The course will build from week to week, so it is important to attend all sessions—particularly for people unfamiliar with the first two operas. For those who are familiar with the first two, weekly attendance becomes important once the presentation of Siegfried begins. There will be a few opportunities for student presentations.

Readings Students should have available any audio or video recording of the opera (available from Amazon and other online music sources) and a copy of the libretto in translation (also available from online sources). Among the video recordings widely available, the 1990 Metropolitan Opera production under James Levine is recommended. Any translation of the libretto will do. Bear in mind that most DVD albums do not contain librettos.

Preparation Time About 1 ½ to 2 hours of listening and reading per week.

Computer Use Required. Students will receive weekly assignments and study questions, as well as supplemental material, by email.

Contact info The SGL can be contacted by email.

Soc3-S12 What’s The Right Thing To Do? 

Leader Edward Selig             

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description How are we to think our way through the moral implications of such hotly contested current issues as Wall Street bailouts, the role of markets, extreme economic inequalities, immigration, national service, affirmative action, reparations for historical injustices, same-sex marriage, abortion and the place of religion in politics? In Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? by Michael J. Sandel, we find a clearly presented road map of three major approaches that philosophers have posed to such questions: maximizing welfare, respecting freedom of choice, and promoting civic virtue. Sandel presents realistic examples of moral challenges, controversies and dilemmas for testing each of those approaches and draws conclusions that should prompt lively discussion. 

ReadingsJustice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Michael J. Sandel, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (2009), First paperback edition (2010) ISBN 978-0-374-53250-5.

There may also be occasional handouts to read or references to other supplementary materials. 


Preparation Time Approximately two hours on average each week for close reading and thinking about relatively short but challenging chapters.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. I would like to pose questions to an electronic mailing list before the first class and between classes for the participants to consider.

Biography Edward Selig holds a Masters Degree in Philosophy, Politics & Economics from Oxford University and a JD degree from Harvard Law School. He was an Attorney/Adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, during the Johnson Administration, after which he served as Executive Secretary of the Council on Law-Related Studies before embarking upon the private practice of law and mediation. 

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-969-2981 any time or by email.


Rel5-S12 Stories Our Ancestors Told About Their Ancestors: What’s Going On Here? VII 

Leader David L Kline 

TUESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description Continuing our introduction to Bible, “What’s Going On Here,” we focus on selected narratives. We learn about ourselves when we read the stories our ancestors told about their ancestors. Here are some headlines:

“Eve Goes for Advanced Degree”

“Wife Pimping Denied”

“Gideon Comes out of Drawer”

“King Weds Number 278”

“Scribe Debuts Ancient Teachings”

We’ll read four categories of stories: MYTHS OF REALITY (Creation stories and antediluvian characters), FAMILY LEGENDS (the patriarchs and matriarchs), HEROIC TALES (Gideon and Solomon), EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS (the return from Babylonian Exile, introducing Torah). The object is twofold. First, literary appreciation, reading for pleasure, discovering a past world of creative writing, an ancient genre. This will include critical reading to distinguish between factual and fictional passages. Second, awareness of how our ancestors lived and thought. This course is for the curious and open minded. Participants raise questions and present answers. Prior knowledge is desirable, but the course will be appropriate for any level student. Some of the assigned stories can be found on my blog, http://good-to-be-a-jew.blogspot.com/ “Good to be a Jew.” See the right hand column, headed “Bible Project.” Click on a title and follow the instructions. 

Readings Required: Bible, Hebrew or any translation. Footnotes/commentary desirable.

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


Preparation Time One to two hours per week or more.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Supplementary readings are online.

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

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-599-3341 between the hours of 9:00am and 10:00pm or by email.

Yoga1-S12 Yoga- (this course is an “extra” and does not count in your course total) 

Leader Sandra Levy

WEDNESDAY – 8:30 a.m. - 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 at sandilevy@comcast.net

Mu2-S12 And the Melody Lingers On: Getting the Most out of Listening to Music! 

Leader Leni Bloomenthal                                                             

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. (5 week course March 7 through April 4)

Description Did you ever go to a concert and come away confused? Did you leave feeling you didn't know what to listen for? Did you hunger for greater understanding of the music? If so, come and improve your listening skills for all kinds of music, and especially choral music, as we explore a variety of well-known choral compositions. This is a new course intended to expand your knowledge of music in general and specifically choral music. Through directed listening in class you will increase your music vocabulary, clarify your understanding of the five basic elements of music (melody, harmony, rhythm, form, and tone color), see how a composer achieves unity and variety in a composition, and you will learn how to follow a score even if you've never before read music! You will discover why Mendelssohn's Elijah is one of the most popular oratorios ever written and you will hear Walt Whitman's emotional poetry set in Ralph Vaughan Williams' dramatic Dona Nobis Pacem. You will also compare five different composers' settings of the same prayer.

Voluntary short presentations of composers' lives will be welcome. Music reading ability is not required and this course is appropriate for beginners as well as those who have had some musical education but would like to learn more.

Readings Short texts of pieces to be covered each week sent through email.

Preparation Time Less than 1 hour. Short texts. Members may listen to all of the pieces before each class but are not required to.

Computer Use Required. All communication and distribution of materials will be done via email and attachments.

Biography Leni Bloomenthal has been singing in choruses since junior high school and was a K-8 music teacher for 11 years where she conducted many school choruses. After leaving public school teaching she continued to sing in several area choruses including the Newton Choral Society, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, Boston Concert Opera, Chorus Pro Musica, and the New World Chorale. She is a regular participant in the Berkshire Choral Festival. She brings her many years of experience and passion for choral music to this course.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-527-6430 between the hours of 8:30 am and 8:00 pm or by email.

 Lit4-S12 Life, Love and Death in Small Towns: Three Dramatizations

Leader Verne Vance 

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. (5 week course April 18 through May 16)

Description In this course we will read and study three twentieth-century dramatizations of life, love, and death in small towns in the American Midwest, the Welsh seaside, and the New England mountains. The plays are Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters and Charles Aidman; Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas; and Our Town by Thornton Wilder. The course will consist of presentations by the SGL about the lives of the authors and the backgrounds of the plays; class readings and CD/DVD clips from the plays; and facilitated discussion of the themes and styles of the plays. No prior knowledge is required; there will be no oral presentations by class members; and regular attendance is highly desirable but not critical. 

Readings Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, adapted by Charles Aidman; ISBN 0 573 61570 5; published by Samuel French, Inc.; 1966.

Under Milk Wood, by Dylan Thomas; ISBN 0-8112-0209-7; published by New Directions Publishing Corp.; 1954.

Our Town, by Thornton Wilder; ISBN 0-06-051263-6; published by HarperCollins publishers; perennial classics edition; 1998, reissued 2003. All three books are paperbacks. 


Preparation Time About 2 hours per week.

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography Verne Vance is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School and is a retired corporate lawyer. He has had a lifelong interest in theatre and has served as study group leader at BOLLI and elsewhere for courses in various contemporary playwrights and their works.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-232-5494 between the hours of 4:00 pm. and 6:00 pm or by email.

 Art1-S12 Photography: Creating Better Photos

Leader Arthur Sharenow

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description This is a course for people who would like to go beyond just snapping pictures and become more serious about taking interesting photographs. It assumes some familiarity with cameras, though not expertise, and a willingness to try to get more out of their cameras than is possible by taking everything on “Automatic” settings. It will be an interactive course, where participants will be strongly encouraged to take pictures week to week, and share them with the class. The following topics will be covered: fundamentals of composition, landscape, people, action, nature, travel, and special situations. We will have two or three guest presenters. During the term, we will also schedule two photo outings which will be optional to attend. 

Readings No Readings are required, but I recommend two monthly photo magazines, Popular Photography and Outdoor Photographer,  both of which give valuable insights. 


Preparation Time Members are asked to take photos of different subjects every week, and send them to me (preferably by email). It usually takes a few hours of effort to get photos taken and onto the computer for transmission. Some people occasionally send pictures taken by them in the past. However, on a regular basis that procedure requires little of their time and does not fulfill their purpose for taking this course.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. It is not necessary for class members to be proficient in computer use, but it certainly helps if they can get their photos onto their computer, and can email them to me as attachments. I can work with prints if a participants is not at all computer literate, but it tends to put their work one week out of synch with the rest of the class.

Biography I graduated from Brandeis University (1955) and from Harvard Law School (1958). After practicing law a short time in Boston, my wife Judy and I bought a children’s’ summer camp in New Hampshire. I was a camp director for forty-four years. I have been taking pictures enthusiastically since age twelve. During my years as a camp director I took thousands of pictures of children at play, at leisure and in sports. I became quite expert at Sports photography. Since retiring I have branched out into many aspects of photography, compete in photo contests, and win my fair share. I have also had several exhibits.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-862-7537 between the hours of 8:30 am and 9:00 pm or by email.

 Rel2-S12 A Journey into the Hassidic World

Leader Michael Milman       

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description When Hassidism emerged on the Eastern European scene in the 18th century, it ignited the Jewish world. To some, it was no more than the work of a “band of madmen turning over like wheels, with the head below and the legs over.” Yet, to many others, its teachings offered renewed inspiration in a time of spiritual and material darkness. They embraced its message of joy and faith, and its belief in the sanctity of the simplest act. With pious and charismatic leaders at its helm, Hassidism spread rapidly inspiring both the scholar and the layman. It quickly became an established presence in the Eastern European Torah world. Despite near-total annihilation in the flames of the Holocaust, Hassidic communities reconstituted themselves in the Diaspora and Israel under the guidance of its surviving masters. Until today, they continue to offer a unique contribution to the religious life of the Jewish people. In this course we will explore the Hassidic world and its history, be curious about those who inhabit it, look at its images, listen to its melodies, discover its tales, and explore its teachings. More importantly, we will ask ourselves how it can still touch our lives today. The class will consist of both presentation and discussion. Your curiosity and desire to learn are the only requirements.

Readings The class members will receive reading material prior to every session, sold at cost.

Preparation Time One to two hours of reading or listening to music.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Communication by email with attached material and links to additional information on the web.

Biography My interest in Hassidism is not a theoretical one. It is within the Hassidic Lubavitch community that I discovered Judaism. Hassidim helped ignite my passion for Torah study, and my commitment to its practices. I have been teaching classes on the Talmud and Jewish mysticism. Last spring, I lead a course on the Talmud at BOLLI. I also have Master Degrees and professional experience in the fields of Family Therapy, Journalism, and Electronic Engineering. Last but not least, I am the father of two delightful children who continue to inspire me day after day.

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

H&G5-S12 Zionism and the Struggle For a Jewish Homeland

Leader Herbert Belkin

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. (5 week course March 7 through April 4)

Description  How did they do it? How did Jews, a religious minority that was subjected to lethal anti-Semitism for centuries in Europe, struggle to gain a homeland? This course covers that question beginning with the Enlightenment and Emancipation movements of the 19th century that at long last gave Jews some civil rights. The course continues with Theodor Herzl who gave Jews a glowing vision of a Jewish homeland with his concept of Political Zionism. After Herzl, the course continues with Dr. Chaim Weizmann and the Balfour Declaration and the work of David Ben Gurion and Golda Meir as they fought to bring Holocaust survivors into British controlled Palestine. This epic struggle lead to the critical partition vote in the United Nations that determined whether Jews would finally have a safe haven. Because so much of the Zionist movement is within living memory, class members will be encouraged to discuss their or their families’ personal involvement in the founding of the Jewish state. This is a history course and will not focus on the present Middle East conflicts.

Readings A History of Zionism by Walter Laqueur ISBN 0-8052-11497 Schocken Books  (main textbook)

Preparation Time 2 hours. Approximately 80 pages of reading for each class.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required

Biography After graduate work in Psychology, I embarked on a business career in the computer field. After retiring, I continued my study of modern Jewish history. I conducted classes on the subject at the Explorers Lifelong Learning Institute at Salem State University and have given lectures at Gordon College and a number of synagogues. I write a column in the Jewish Journal of the N.S. on the history and major figures in the Zionist movement.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-598-4256 between the hours of and 5:00pm and 8:00pm or by email.

Rel3-S12 Sabbath, Faith and Rest

Leader Sarah Roth Lieberman

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. (5 week course April 18 through May 16)

Description In this 5 week course we will read, discuss and analyze Senator Joe Lieberman’s inspirational book The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath, a book he claims to have written for Christians and people of other faiths, as well as Jews. We will examine his cited sources in scripture, rabbinic law and commentary, and his own philosophy and values--including his interesting political experiences and personal anecdotes. Additionally, we will read and analyze selections from The Sabbath World by Judith Shulevitz whose insights highlight Christian sources, sociology and neuropsychiatry. This course will build from week to week. No prior knowledge is required.

Readings Senator Joe Lieberman, The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath, Harvard books, New York, 2011, ISBN 978 1- 4516-0617-1

Judith Shulevitz, The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time, Random House, New York, 2010, ISBN 9781-4000-6200-3

Preparation Time 3 hours

Computer Use Required. SGL informs class members via e-mail.

Biography Sarah Roth Lieberman has earned a Master’s degree in Theological Studies and a Ph. D. degree in Bible at Boston University. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled “The Eve Motif in Ancient Near Eastern and Classical Greek Sources.” She has taught courses in Bible, History and Women’s Studies in colleges in the Boston area. She has taught Bible and History courses at BOLLI for the past 5 years.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.

Lit10-S12 The Human Predicament in an Age of Anxieties

Leader Lois Ziegelman       

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description The first half of the twentieth centuries was an age of anxieties. Most of the traditional beliefs, not only about human nature but also about the nature of the world, had been undermined. All of the short novels we will read were spawned by this age of anxieties, but each offers a different perspective on the human predicament these anxieties engendered. The novels will be read in consecutive order, and this course is open to all members. The course will consist of close reading of each novel along with an interactive discussion moderated by the leader.

Readings Thomas Mann, Death in Venice: And Seven Other StoriesTranslation by H.T. Lowe-Porter,ISBN:9780679722069

Herman Hesse, Demian,:The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth. Translation by Roloff and Lebeck,

Bantam Book, ISBN: 0060916524

Frank Kafka, The Metamorphosis, Translation by Edwin and Willa Muir. ISBN:9780805204209

Albert Camus, The Stranger, Translation by Stuart Gilbert. ISBN: 9780394700021

Preparation Time 2 hours

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography Lois Ziegelman, PhD from Brandeis, is a Professor Emerita from 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, Lois 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 pm and 10:00 pm

Art2-S12 The Private Lives of the Impressionists and Their Art

Leader Nancy Alimansky     

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Description We will discover who the Impressionists were as people and how they came together in Paris in 1860: their unconventional lives, their loves, personalities, themes in their work and the friendships they shared. We will also learn about the history of the period between 1860-1886 and explore the political and social context in which Impressionism developed. We will study the work of Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Edouard Manet and Mary Cassatt. This course is much more than a survey of the Impressionist movement. The SGL will explain how to analyze a painting in terms of the principles and elements of design. For each class there will be one or two key works which we will analyze in depth in terms of the techniques the artist used to achieve a successful result. By the end of the course each participant should be able to present such an analysis. The SGL will show a slide presentation of paintings each week and expect students to participate in the discussion of the works. Prior knowledge is not required. Assignments will include reading from the text as well as preparing study questions. The SGL will ask individuals to present a very brief oral summary of the main points covered in each chapter.

Readings The Private Lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe, Paperback edition- ISBN: 0060545593, ISBN: 978-0060545598, Harper Perennial, 2007. Also available through Minuteman Library System.


Preparation Time There will be approximately 30 pages of reading/week. The preparation time should be no more than 1 ½ hours including preparing the study questions. For the individuals presenting brief chapter summaries there might be an additional 30-45 minutes.

Computer Use Required. I use email a lot to communicate with members of the class.

Biography This will be my first teaching experience at BOLLI. However, I have been in the classroom all my life. For 26 years I was an Associate Professor at Lesley University where I taught courses in the management department as well as studio art classes. For three years I was a docent at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College where I conducted tours for various exhibits. I have a BA from Wellesley College where I majored in French, a M.A.T. from Harvard Graduate School of Education and an MBA. from Boston College. I have been a professional artist for more than 20 years.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-244-2570 or by email.

Wr2-S12 Memoir Writing

Leader Marlyn Katz Levenson

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.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 No Textbook. The Study Group Leader will provide readings and handouts throughout the course to serve as triggers/stimuli for writing.

Preparation Time One to two hours per week.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required

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 lifestory is unique, valid, interesting, and 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 IN MEMOIR WRITING.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-559-0519, no preferred time, or by email.

Hum3-S12 Our New England Gems: Five Fascinating Museums

Leader Shelly Glazier

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. (5 week course March 7 through April 4)

Description Our New England Gems: Five Fascinating Museums, will explore the history, development, and richness of: The Portland Museum of Art, The Worcester Art Museum, The Peabody-Essex Museum, The Fruitlands Museum, and The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. The class will examine one museum a week, its founding, how it evolved over time, its collections and special attributes. We will discuss issues related to the acquisition of various exhibits and what makes each museum unique. Power Point presentations will highlight specific exhibits and artifacts of each museum. The purpose of the course is to help us better understand and appreciate museums that are New England Gems.This course is highly interactive with much discussion regarding the topics of the day. No prior knowledge is required. It is appropriate for anyone with a love of museums and an inquisitive mind.

Readings Weekly Reading material will be provided via e-mail

Preparation Time 1-1/12 hours per week

Computer Use Required: Although there will be many visuals of museum artifacts presented in class, reading material will be sent via email. Also, members may enjoy exploring various sites of additional museum collections that will be provided.

Biography I have had a love of museums for many years. This course will be a mutual adventure in learning the history, development, and other issues related to five special New England museums. During the past two semesters I have given courses on Our National Treasure: The Smithsonian Museums and previously led four other classes at BOLLI. I am a Marriage and Family therapist. I founded and led a clinical therapists' peer group for 12 years and led a Brandeis study group for 9 years, as well as 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 10:00 am and 9:00 pm or by email.

Sc2-S12 Ecology of Ecosystems: Why does it matter?

LeaderBarbara Keller

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. (5 week course April 18 through May 16)

Description The ecosystems in which humans live 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. Volunteers will be expected to make class presentations on relevant subjects.

Readings Will be distributed by email.

Preparation Time About an hour with extra time for a presentation.

Computer Use Required. Two or three articles, book chapters, etc., will be sent by email for reading before the relevant topic is discussed.

Biography I am a scientist and an artist. I love to know how things work, and I glory in the beauty of nature around us. I earned a PhD in biology in 1998, focusing on wetland plant ecology, invasive species, and the dynamics of heavy metal pollution. Now that I’m retired from teaching biology at Bentley University, I want to continue to increase people’s understanding of the importance of ecosystem services and their preservation for future generations.

Contact info The SGL can be contacted by email.

Lit5-S12 American-Jewish Fiction Since 1945 

Leader Michael Kaufman

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.>

Description Earlier in the 20th century writers like Abraham Cahan and Henry Roth explored the hardships of the immigrant experience. But after the war a new group of writers led by Bellow, Malamud and Philip Roth wrestled with issues the second generation of Jewish Americans faced. Themes of marginality and alienation yielded to questions of identity and continuity; conflicts between old world values and the demands of the new world; of the agonies of the younger generation turning away from the “world of their fathers.” Questions of identity have assumed deepening interest in recent decades: how we think about ourselves; how we connect with our ancestry and our progeny. Perhaps the course’s title crystallizes the problem. Ultimately we must decide what pivots around that ambiguous hyphen; Are these authors Jewish -Americans where their ethnicity is merely one of several modifiers of their essential American-ness? Or are they American -Jews who happen to live in diaspora, but understand their noun-ity to be entwined within the long tradition of their people? In this study group, nine works of short fiction, written between 1945 and the present will enable us to explore the distinctive themes, values and styles of contemporary American-Jewish writers. The first class will be devoted to discussing some of the issues at the heart of such an inquiry, and framing a few of the questions we will pursue through the readings.

Readings The texts for the study group will include works by Bellow, Malamud, Roth, Cynthia Ozick, Rebecca Goldstein, Nathan Englander, Steven Schwartz, Allegra Goodman and Yosef Yerushalmi. At our first meeting a complete package of readings will be available as well as the schedule of readings.

Preparation Time 2 to 3 hours

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography I have taught both in academic settings and in professional and public sector classrooms. I have given seminars for both judges and criminal offenders, for doctors, nurses, social workers and business executives. I have offered humanistic seminars to high-ranking government officials only to note what little impact they have had. But I take some solace in the fact that I have been offering courses at BOLLI for several years.

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

Sc3-S12 Memory: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Leader Maurie Stiefel;

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. 

Description To paraphrase Hamlet, ‘what a piece of work is memory.’ We are our memories. Without memory we have no past, no future, no life to contemplate. Memory gives our lives continuity, provides a coherent picture of the past and puts our current experience in perspective. Yet memory can be deceiving. It can lead us to remember things that never happened, for example, to falsely identify someone as the person who robbed a grocery, or to fail to see a gorilla standing directly before our eyes, or to believe in and actually confess to something we never did! In this course we will examine the power and fallibilities of memory, and how neuroscience through imaging of the brain has led to a much deeper understanding of how our memory works. We also will consider ageing, music’s role in memory, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairment diseases, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder,) and a great deal more. Oral presentations are encouraged but optional. Prior knowledge is welcome but not necessary.

Readings Our course text is The Seven Sins of Memory, by Daniel Schacter, ISBN 0618219196 (Mariner Books 2002 Paperback ed.). The text will be supplemented with video snippets and handouts.


Preparation Time About two hours per week

Computer Use Required. I will be using an eboard, and  most of the course will be posted on it, including video clips from YouTube.

Biography Maurie’s career was as a trial lawyer. In preparing a witness for trial, or in cross-examining an adverse witness, memory was often a key issue – what did a person actually recallhearing or seeing, how did the witness know the actual identity of a particular chemical she had used in carrying out a process, what was the true date when she had done the work. A witness might give testimony which he absolutely believed to be true, yet which turned out to be false. Maurie’s continuing interest in memory and its fallibility led him to develop this course.

 He has led many peer group learning courses including: Psychology and the law; Mass Hysteria in America; Gershwin, Cole Porter and the Golden Age of American Music; and ‘Advise and Consent’ and The Supreme Court.


Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-277-7308 between the hours of 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm, or by email.


Changing the Regimes of Others: The U.S. from 1890 to 1910

Leader Ron Levy

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description Five U.S. Presidents in a 20-year period, from Harrison to Taft, embarked on active territorial incursions and international strategies that had significant implications for our foreign policy in the 20th century. James Bradley in his book, The Imperial Cruise levels serious accusations of a racist leadership that pursued an American Aryan philosophy as it “followed the sun to the West.” Although a lauded historian, he wrote this book in more of a journalistic style which makes for enjoyable and often surprising reading. Reviews have been both favorable and critical of his controversial treatment of the subject. How legitimate are Bradley’s claims? What is the background to our territorial incursions in Asia-Pacific, and to what extent were they an extension of our similar activities in the Americas? How did they relate to the concurrent activities of other major powers, England, France, Japan, Germany and Russia? To what extent were our actions of that period examples of regime change or of nation building? What were some of the positive and negative outcomes of our policies? Did some of our actions really lead to World War II in the Pacific? We will examine the then-recent history of Hawai’i, the Philippines, China, Korea and Japan, and the U.S.’s relations with those countries, as the U.S. and other western countries participated in a game of international chess in the western Pacific. Our principal focus will be on the philosophies and policies of Theodore Roosevelt, but examined in the context of those times and mores.

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

Preparation Time 1-2 hours, plus preparation time for those making presentations.

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

Biography As an international business consultant, I have lived in or travelled to over 55 countries. My personal interests have included politics, history and geography: my study foci at BOLLI. As an SGL, I have led courses on our Accidental Presidents, Current Events, the EU, the USSR and Russia, and “Evil” Nations. As a UK citizen, I have a deep interest in U.S. history and especially in its leaders, and I have read extensively on these topics. Nevertheless, I continue to be challenged as new questions are raised by inquisitive students, and so I look forward to learning together.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-964-6740 between the hours of 9:00 am and 10:00 pm but preferably by email.

Important Note: The SGL will be away for 2 weeks during the spring semester and will arrange make-ups for both classes. One of these make-ups will be during the week of April 9, when normal classes will not be meeting because of Passover. The 2nd make-up will be set by consensus with class members at or before the first class of this course.


More of Our Favorite Short Stories

Leaders Harriet and Richard Kahn

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20- p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description This semester we revisit 10 more favorite short stories by authors including Poe, Camus, Cheever, Li, Hemingway and seven others. As usual, we ask participants to read the story through once and note their reactions, and then REREAD the story and note new discoveries especially new responses, understandings and questions. Finally we ask that they note parts of the story that particularly impressed them, for further discussion in class. In that discussion, attention will be paid to general structural aspects of the short story, Each week we will discuss a different story and ask for a volunteer to present a brief description of the author’s background.

Readings Most of the stories are available on line and we provide the email addresses in the course syllabus. Copies of stories not online will be distributed at least one week prior to the class discussion.

Preparation Time Reading, note taking and REREADING should take about 1 to 2 hours.

Computer Use Required. This makes it possible to read stories without buying multiple books.

Biography Harriet is a preschool educator and a grandmother. Richard is a retired psychiatrist and a grandfather. Both have developed a short stories addiction over the past 10 years.

Contact info The SGLs are open to contact by phone at 617-527-6850 between the hours of 7:00 pm and 9:00pm or by email.

Lit7-S12 The Sonnet: Why?

Leader Miriam Goldman

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description From Shakespeare to Milton to Wordsworth to Shelley and Keats, from Yeats to Frost to Allen Ginsburg, poets have been captivated by the sonnet. They have been challenged by the limitations of its structure and by the desire to use the sonnet form in more expansive modes. In this course we will examine traditional patterns and structures of sonnets, including the Italian or Petrarchan sonnet and the English or Shakespearian sonnet. We will see how poets have utilized these forms through the centuries as we look at some very well-known poets, as well as lesser known ones. We will be able to share our thoughts as we read wonderful poems. No prior knowledge is required. Any oral presentations would be voluntary.

Readings Edward Hirsch and Eavan Boland, The Making of a Sonnet. W.W. Norton & Co. 2008. ISBN: 978-0-393-33353-4

Preparation Time Approximately one hour

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography Miriam graduated from Brandeis with a comparative literature major. She taught English and creative writing at the secondary level for many years, spending the second part of her career at Boston University School of Education. At BOLLI she has taught two art history courses – Painting in the U.S. and Fauvism – and A Writer’s Workshop.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-731-0931 any time except between the hours of 5:00 pm and 7:30 pm or by email.

H&G7a-S12 Key Issues in the 2012 Presidential Election

Leader Harriet Starrett

WEDNESDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

NOTE: This same course is offered twice. In order to increase your chances of getting into the course, you may sign up for both times.  However, you may take it only one of the 2 times offered.

Description This course is designed to stimulate thinking on the issues which confront the USA, and how these issues play out in the political process,  most particularly the presidential election of 2012. As such, we will study and discuss what Americans really expect from their government(s), and the political process in which we engage to choose a president. There are many strains in our history with varying opinions on the appropriate duties of government. This election also is impacted by the state of the economy, always a key factor in who gets elected. We are questioning our role in the world, and the candidates will have to address whether or not we will remain “an empire.” Additionally, we need to look at the mechanisms/rules that control the electoral process, and how they are utilized (manipulated?). The definitions and procedures set forth in the Constitution will have an enormous impact on who is elected. Manipulation also is evident in the behavior of the media, a very important voice in the process. Finally, the candidates themselves, and the values they communicate to the electorate, will have ultimate control on the outcome. No previous knowledge is required, and class members will not be expected to give reports. However, regular attendance is expected.

Readings Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, That Used To be Us ISBN 978-0-374-28890-7

Tyler Cowen, The Great Stagnation, ISBN 978-0-52595271-8, sections (to be printed)

Additional articles, sections of The Federalist Papers, graphs, and assorted cartoons.


Preparation Time Approximately 50-100 pages a week.

Computer Use Not necessary. All articles will be printed and distributed. Study guides for readings will be provided. Computer use for emails to SGL is fine, if they are friendly.

Biography My academic background includes graduate degrees in economic history and an MBA. I taught briefly at Northeastern University and in a high school setting. I then joined the business world where I was an internationally based consultant in strategic planning, marketing, and finance. I led the marketing and strategy departments of a number of corporations and was active in a few IPOs. I have been an SGL for the last five plus years.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at cell 781-258-9211 between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm or by email.


Sc4-S12 Our Place in the Universe

Leader Martin Idelson

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.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, a month, a year. We will also discuss esoteric subjects including 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. Astronomy and nuclear physics 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. 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.

NOTE: The material for this course is not for beginners andwill build from week to week. It is important that you plan to attend every week.

Readings No textbook is assigned. Instead I have prepared a CD with all the material in the course. For those with a PC computer the CD is interactive. There are links within the context, a Find system to locate any term in it, an outline form, and questions to think about for each Chapter. For those using a Mac computer the same information is available in PDF and PowerPoint formats. These are not interactive. In addition there are links to Ohio State University online courses in astronomy: one is on the Solar system and the other on stars, galaxies, Big Bang etc.


Preparation Time About 2 hours per week

Computer Use Required. I will communicate to the class via email. A computer will be required to read the CD.

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 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.

H&G8-S12 Origins of the Bill of Rights: Asserting Your Rights to Stay Out of Jail and Other Trouble

Leaders Peter and Barbara Benfield                  

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description This course will focus on the criminal provisions of the Bill of Rights, the reasons for them, and on current cases. Hardly a month goes by without some new Bill of Rights case coming before the Supreme Court. Over 200 years after these Constitutional rights were enacted the Supreme Court is still wrestling with their meaning. We will explore primarily Constitutional rights in criminal proceedings, such as the rights to remain silent under police interrogation, to counsel and to a jury trial and the rights that protect against unreasonable search and seizure, self-incrimination and double jeopardy. These rights were not included in the 2008 Rights course. The focus will be on the historical abuses that the Constitutional rights are aimed at correcting. We will also examine judicial interpretations. This is an introductory discussion course for active non-lawyer participants. No prior specialized knowledge is required, although participation in our prior courses would be helpful. We encourage active participation in discussions. Because the material is interconnected it is advisable to try to attend all sessions. We plan to use several lively video Bill of Rights Socratic discussions by well-known participants, led by Harvard Law School professors. The videos follow the Socratic law school format familiar to many from The Paper Chase movie and TV series by illustrating legal principles with a series of related hypothetical cases. Participants will be encouraged to make voluntary 10-15 minute class presentations on relevant topics.


Readings Leonard W. Levy, Origins of The Bill of Rights, (Yale University 1999 ed., ISBN 0-300-07802-1)

In the course of 260 pages of exposition it details the historical evils in England, the American Colonies and the States prior to 1790 that the Constitution’s rights are aimed to correct. Handouts and/or eBoard posting of cases and explanatory materials: to come.


Preparation Time 2-3 hours per week

Computer Use Very Desirable, but not required. A PC is useful for communicating with participants, to access postings on eBoard and for further internet research in preparing voluntary presentations.

Biography Peter Benfield: I received my B.A. and LL.B degrees from Yale College and Yale Law School and a Masters in Taxation from B.U. Law School. I practiced as a tax lawyer with several Boston law firms and the John Hancock Insurance Company. In 2006 - 2008 Barbara and I gave related Constitutional courses at BOLLI. In 2001 and 2003 I was awarded Fulbright grants to teach American law to students in Central Asia. We were in Kyrgyzstan, on 9/11, 2001 and in Kazakhstan, at the start of the War against Iraq in 2003.

Barbara Benfield: I received a B.S. degree in Chemistry and Biology from the Univ. of Mass., Amherst. I taught high school science and did cancer research as a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, MIT and Boston University Medical School. I became interested in the U.S. Constitution after taking a course in Constitutional Law at Harvard.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 781-444-3153 between the hours of 7:30 pm and 9:00 pm or by email.


Film1-S12 Jews in French Film

Leader Judith Pinnolis

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 1 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Description Jews have had a long, complex, and checkered relationship in France going back over a thousand years. The Ashkenazi Jewish community was decimated during the Holocaust, yet was rebuilt after the war. In addition, Sephardic Jews flooded into France from previously held French colonies and from other parts of the world. The unique community built in France from these two branches of Judaism will be examined through French language film. First we will examine the lighter side with several hilarious comedies such as Dad on the Run and Would I lie to you. Then we will examine the French situation in WWII through French eyes in Au Revoir les Enfants and the remnants afterward in Madam Rosa. We will explore the relationships of Jews and Muslims in The Wedding Song and Monsieur Ibrahim. Finally, we will take a look at Jews examining/dealing with their Jewish identities and family relationships in La Petit Jerusalem and Rashevsky’s Tango. We will conclude the class with contemporary Judaism in a light vein with God is Great, I’m Not and end with a French film about contemporary Israel Live and Become. There are no prerequisites for this class. No prior knowledge is needed. This course is appropriate for a beginning, intermediate, or advanced student. The material for this course will not build from week to week.

Readings Participants will be expected to view the films during the week before each class by either viewing in a library, renting (such as through Netflix) or buying a copy of the films. Members will be able to view brief readings about the films through an eBoard.


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

Computer Use Required. If members wish to receive the readings in advance of class on the eBoard, they will need a computer. I will also email members with information occasionally. A DVD player is required, or participants may view films in the Brandeis or another library. All films for this class owned by Brandeis Library will be put on Reserve.

Biography Judith S. Pinnolis is the Academic Outreach Librarian for Humanities at Brandeis, and an Adjunct Faculty at Hebrew College School of Music. She is creator and editor of 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, including the American Jewish Archive Journal (2010); 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 currently serves 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.

Soc4-S12 21st Century Retirement Risks: Understanding their Impact

Leader Ellen Feinsand

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. (5 week course March 8 through April 5)

Description Retirement in the 21st century brings exciting new opportunities to the new generations of retirees. The profile of today’s retirees is very different from prior generations: people are living longer due to medical advances, people are choosing to cycle in and out of work to keep stimulated or for financial reasons, and volatile financial markets may be delaying retirement for some. With these changes and opportunities come some unique risks that will need to be addressed both at the individual level and for society at large. Some of the retirement risks are longevity, inflation, market, health care and public policy. The course will discuss the retirement risks, and potential solutions, facing Americans and their impact on retirees, employers, government and society. The course will include presentations by the Study Group Leader, interactive exercises and facilitated class discussion. Prior knowledge of the topics is not required. Worksheets, case studies and articles will be provided. Preparation will be required, including reading materials, and completing worksheets. Members will be encouraged to share their ideas and to ask questions. Optional books will be suggested, but not required. The topics are discrete but related; however, the content does not build directly on a weekly basis.

Readings Materials will be provided for class preparation and participation.

Preparation Time Preparation time: 1 hour per week. Additional time may be spent on optional reading.

Computer Use Not necessary

Biography Ellen Feinsand, BS., MA., MBA., founded D & G Consulting, Inc. in 1997 to provide retirement services to the financial services industry. Prior to founding D & G Consulting, Ellen was Vice President, Retirement, at Fidelity Investments. She has experience in the areas of retirement products, retirement planning, communications and legacy planning. Ellen frequently trains financial professionals on retirement topics to assist them in providing up-to-date information to their clients. She has also presented financial topics to investors. Ellen has a Master of Arts in Education from Tufts University and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Boston University.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 978-263-4933 between the hours of 8:00 am and 5 pm or by email.

Sc5-S12 Building Green: The Goal and the Reality

Leaders Mitch Fischman and Eileen Mitchell

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. (5 week course April 19 through May 17)

Description A green building is designed and built to have minimal environmental impact throughout its entire life cycle. During the course, we will read and discuss and see various examples of attempts to build green. We will review questions including: What are the forces that encourage or discourage this goal? What are the expectations of architects, designers, activists, politicians, and clients? What has succeeded, what has failed, and why? If possible, there will be an expert guest speaker and a field trip to a local green building. This is a participatory class. Each class member will be assigned at least one short article to summarize for the class. These articles may support or may oppose current approaches to building green. Active use of the Internet and email is necessary to access required class readings. Class members are encouraged to provide their own examples from recent newspapers and periodicals.

Readings ECO-Architecture, Christina Fisaneck, Editor, Opposing Viewpoints Series, Greenhaven Press, 2008, ISBN: 0737739975 (pbk). 9-copies at Minuteman Library Network.

Preparation Time 50 pages for Weeks 1 through 4.

Computer Use Required. Members will receive articles via email to read online and to summarize for the class.

Biography Mitch Fischman: I am Director of Planning for Tetra Tech, an environmental engineering, planning and consultant firm. I assist real estate developers receive their public approvals to construct new development projects in Boston. I have a BA, a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Northeastern University. I have taught engineering and plan reading courses at Wentworth Institute in Boston, an urban action course at the Boston Architectural College, and am a 5-term member of the Newton Board of Aldermen.

Eileen Mitchell: My working days involved software design and development of government communication systems, plus interviewing and training new personnel. Now in my playing days at BOLLI, I have led or co-led classes on American architects, Maya archaeology, play reading and presentation, and short fiction. I was trained as a Boston By Foot docent and for many years I conducted historical and architectural walking tours in the Boston area.

Contact info Mitch Fischman is open to contact by phone at 781-760-1726 between the hours of noon EST and 9:00 PM or by email at mitch.fischman@tetratech.com

Eileen Mitchell is open to contact by phone at 617-640-8058 between the hours of noon EST and 9:00 PM EST or by email.


Hum4-S12 TED Talks

Leader Peter Kastner


THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.


Description The goal of this course is to engage with some of the greatest minds of our time by being a part of a small study group where we will hear and react to great 18-minute talks given by a wide variety of inspiring people. These talks are available on-line at TED Talks where speakers at an annual conference are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past presenters includeHarvey Feinberg, Barry Schwartz, Dan Ariely, Hans Rosling,Malcolm GladwellAl GoreGordon BrownRichard DawkinsBill GatesGoogle founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and manyNobel Prize winners. This website has received over 400,000,000 hits since it started in the 1990’s. On a weekly basis we will discuss selected talks that the participants will have viewed either at home or in the class. This is a highly interactive class and the course will in large part depend upon what experiences and research we bring to the conversation. No prior knowledge is needed for this course and participants will be responsible to view the talks in advance, to read assigned reading and use study questions provided by the study group leader to reflect upon the talks. BOLLI participants will be asked to recommend to the group talks to be included in the course based upon their random walks through the site at http://www.ted.com/talks


Readings The reading will consist of a combination of photocopied material provided by the SGL, on-line material, and short TED Talks Books.

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


Computer Use Required; Participants should be skilled at finding material on the Web and have access to audio streaming at http://www.ted.com/talks


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


Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-943-8795 between the hours of 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and or by email.

Lit8-S12 Fiction with a Math Chaser

Leader Joel Kamer

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

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


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

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

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. ISBN 978-1-4000-3271-6, Vintage Contemporaries paperback, edition of May 2004.

Preparation Time we will read from 80 to 140 pages each week

Computer Use Not necessary

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

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by email.


H&G7b-S12 Key Issues in the 2012 Presidential Election

Leader Harriet Starrett

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 2 – 10:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

NOTE: This same course is offered twice. In order to increase your chances of getting into the course, you may sign up for both times. However, you may take it only one of the 2 times offered.

Description This course is designed to stimulate thinking on the issues which confront the USA, and how these issues play out in the political process, - most particularly the presidential election of 2012. As such, we will study and discuss what Americans really expect from their government(s), and the political process in which we engage to choose a president. There are many strains in our history with varying opinions on the appropriate duties of government. This election also is impacted by the state of the economy, always a key factor in who gets elected. We are questioning our role in the world, and the candidates will have to address whether or not we will remain “an empire.” Additionally, we need to look at the mechanisms/rules that control the electoral process, and how they are utilized (manipulated?). The definitions and procedures set forth in the Constitution will have an enormous impact on who is elected. Manipulation also is evident in the behavior of the media, a very important voice in the process. Finally, the candidates themselves, and the values they communicate to the electorate will have ultimate control on the outcome. No previous knowledge is required, and class members will not be expected to give reports. However, regular attendance is expected.

Readings Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, That Used To be Us ISBN 978-0-374-28890-7Tyler Cowen. The Great Stagnation, ISBN 978-0-52595271-8, sections (to be printed)

Additional articles, sections of The Federalist Papers, graphs, and assorted cartoons.


Preparation Time Approximately 50-100 pages a week.

Computer Use Not necessary. All articles will be printed and distributed. Study guides for readings will be provided. Computer use for emails to SGL is fine, if they are friendly.

Biography My academic background includes graduate degrees in economic history and an MBA. I taught briefly at Northeastern University and in a high school setting. I then joined the business world where I was an internationally based consultant in strategic planning, marketing, and finance. I led the marketing and strategy departments of a number of corporations and was active in a few IPOs. I have been an SGL for the last five plus years.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at cell 781-258-9211 between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm or by email.


Mu3-S12 Tanglewood 2012: A Small Sampler

LeaderArthur M. Finstein

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. (5 week course March 8 through April 5)

Description This course will concentrate on 3 pieces of featured classical music to be performed at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, during the 2012 season. There is no requirement that people in the class will go to Tanglewood performances. But the goal is that they become acquainted enough with some of this music that they can then attend live performances at this sensational venue if they wish to do so, better prepared to enjoy these and other pieces. We’ll study examples from major musical genres (symphonies, concertos, chamber music, program music) and will try to focus on what this music says to the lay listener, and specifically how. The music was created, after all, to communicate directly to everyone, not just to specialists or to other musicians. No oral presentations by class members are expected/required, just doing listening and reading in advance, and, hopefully, joining in the discussion. No previous musical training is required, although such background can certainly deepen one’s perspective on the listening and discussion. What is essential is curiosity and an openness to listen with both the heart and the mind. I will offer up to 2 additional, optional sessions designed to teach people the basic skills of reading music, so that they can better understand/observe some of the music-theoretical concepts that will undoubtedly arise in our discussion. I’ll be showing visuals on the screen of pages from the music. And so some acquaintance with the essential concepts of music notation, though not required, can certainly enhance one’s approach to the music.


ReadingsThe class won’t rely on a textbook. I’ll provide readings and suggestions for each work, either in reprint or online. We’ll use recordings of the works to be studied, all available at no to modest cost in multiple versions through public libraries, retailers, and online.

Preparation Time 3 hours of listening/reading weekly

Computer Use Required. I try to send summaries and a fair amount of material to the class via email.

Biography Art Finstein holds BA and MFA degrees in Music from Brandeis. A pianist, conductor and retired Massachusetts Music Educator, Art is a specialist in the music of Gustav Mahler and has an extensive resume in professional and community musical theater performance and production. He’s taught at all levels, including several courses at BOLLI, and is a frequent and passionate advocate for the Arts in education, especially for Music and Theater.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-875-6965 between the hours of 9:00 am and 10:00 pm or by email.


Sc6-S12 Individualized Medicine: How Your Genes Drive Your Health

Leader Allan Kleinman

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. (5 week course April 19 through May 17)

Description Did you ever wonder what gene variants you have and how they govern your predisposition to certain diseases, the potential benefit of individualized preventive measures and tailored medications, your vulnerability to drug side effects for you and your progeny? 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 individualized medicine. The purpose of this course is to learn the basic facts of the genomic revolution and discuss its potential for improving health at all ages, the technical and social limitations to progress, and the possible pitfalls that could arise. The topics we will cover are (1) Basic Genetics, (2) Genome Sequencing and Genetic Testing, (3) Genetics in Health and Disease, (4) Diagnostics, Prevention, Treatment and Cures, and (5) Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Genomics. 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. This course will be a blend of SGL presentation and class discussion with no prior knowledge required. Voluntary presentations by class members are encouraged but not required. The material for this course builds from week to week, so that it is important to attend every week.

Readings None required and optional recommended books will be included in my welcome letter. I will be sending emails each week with a few articles to read, videos to watch and answers to questions that arise in each session.


Preparation Time 2 hours

Computer Use Required for emails, articles and videos to be sent each week.

Biography Prior to partially retiring in 2005, I had worked as a systems analyst. Over the past 12 years I have been learning about the coming genomics revolution, 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, explaining how their research is leading the search for tomorrow’s cures. I have been attending OLLI classes at Brandeis and at UCSD for the past four years and have led courses on energy, wine and individualized medicine.

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


Lit9-S12 Rebels and Reactionaries: Poems of the 20thCentury

Leader Jan Schreiber

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description The course will focus on significant poems of the 20th century, by poets seeking to break with tradition and others seeking to preserve it. Tracing lines of rebellion (Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg) and lines of fidelity to tradition (Robert Frost, Louise Bogan, Wallace Stevens, Richard Wilbur), we will examine both the content and the form of the poems these and numerous other writers created and learn how such elements work together to deepen a reader’s emotional and intellectual understanding. The course leader will usually read and discuss a poem first; then class members will have an opportunity to present poems they have chosen. (Such presentations are voluntary.) Some familiarity with 20thcentury poetry is desirable. Close readings of the poems, along with class discussions, will enable us to demystify some of the landmark poems of the recent past.

<Readings Poetry: A Pocket Anthology (ed. R.S. Gwynn) ISBN 0205101984; ISBN: 9780205101986;

Publisher: Longman; c2012; Format: paper; 464 pp; 7th ed.:


Preparation Time No set amount. Some may put in little time, others several hours each week.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. Access to the internet makes poems easier to locate and print out.

Biography I have a PhD (Brandeis, 1972) in English and American Literature. I’ve taught at Tufts and UMass Lowell, and informally in Cambridge and Brookline. I’ve edited a literary magazine (Canto) and inaugurated the poetry chapbook series at the Godine Press. I’ve also conducted research in the social sciences and, for 20 years, run a software company. I’ve published three books of poetry and many critical articles. Recently I initiated a conference on poetry criticism which takes place annually at Western State College in Colorado.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 617-566-2516 between the hours of 9:00 am and 9:00 pm or by email.


Wr3-S12 Writing Toward Home: Memoirs with a Focus

Leader Marjorie Roemer

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Description Writing always takes place as part of a conversation. You add to a story you know; you respond to what others say; you tell your side; you offer yourself as witness. For this reason I like to shape writing courses with readings as a trigger. Our voices then become part of a larger meditation. This writing course is loosely based on the concept of “home.” We will use two texts: Writing Toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way, and A Place Called Home: Twenty Writing Women Remember. These works will be the starting point for our own writings, shared every week. We will read as writers and write as readers. The first of these books provides us with very short bits of writing and then prompts for our own writing. The second offers a number of short personal essays. We may be writing about place, the places that nurtured us or that we escaped from (or both), or we may be writing about a more intangible sense of “home,” where we live in our own skins, our own sense of self. Here’s Georgia Heard on the subject: “Memories are the blueprints of home. A memoir is a home built from those blueprints. Finding home is crucial to the act of writing. Begin here. With what you know. With the tales you’ve told dozens of times to friends or a spouse or a lover. With the map you’ve already made in your heart. That’s where the real home is: inside.”

Readings Heard, Georgia. Writing Toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way. Heineman, 1995. ISBN 0-435-08124-1

Pearlman, Mickey, ed. A Place Called Home: Twenty Writing Women Remember. St.Martin’s, 1996. ISBN 0-312-12793-6


Preparation Time No more than 20 pages of reading and a short piece of writing per week, probably a couple of hours.

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. I often communicate by e-mail to the class in between sessions. These messages are not necessarily crucial to our progress, but they are supportive of it. Of course, writing on a computer is often easier for people once they get used to it.

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 Director of the Rhode Island Writing Project. In all, it’s been about forty years in classrooms of many kinds. Teaching at BOLLI has been especially enjoyable.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 508-541-7440 between the hours of 9:00 am and 9:00 pm or by email.



CE1-S12 Current Events: Developments in Local, National, and World Affairs

Leader Lois Sockol                                                    

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 3 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

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

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

Preparation Time approximately 1 -2 hours

Computer Use Desirable, but not required. I communicate with class members and send out information via email.

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

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


Dr1-S12 Scene-iors: Staging Another Play

Leader Becky Meyers

THURSDAY - COURSE PERIOD 4 – 3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Description This semester we will again explore the how and why of the theatre. Come join in the fun! We will examine many elements involved in staging a play, including auditions and rehearsals. We will work together to present a short play, or a series of skits, to a Lunch & Learn audience during the last week of classes. Each week of the semester will focus on a different stage element – the theatre itself, the play, the actor, the playwright, designers and technicians, the director, the critic. We may have an optional field trip behind the scenes at a local theatre. This study group will be a participatory, team effort. As we collaborate, each member will have one or more roles:

      Cast Member: walks in another’s shoes and portrays that individual         

      Director: develops a vision of the play, helps the cast portray it

      Set Designer: recommends stage layout and furniture

      Choreographer: recommends blocking (timing and movements on stage)

      Stage Manager: functions as overall coordinator and assistant director

      Property Manager: oversees acquisition of props

      Technician: handles sound, lighting, computer effects

      Costume Designer: assists cast in acquiring costumes

      Playwright: helps to interpret original author’s intent

      Dramaturge: researches historical context and interpretation       

      Publicist: prepares announcements, posters, programs

Study group members should plan to attend all sessions, especially the dress rehearsal and, of course, the L & L presentation (scheduled for May 17). Neither memorization nor prior theatre experience is required. An enthusiasm for drama and commitment to the team are all that is needed.

Readings TEXTBOOK: Theatre, Brief Version,by Robert Cohen, ISBN 0-07-297505-9, softcover, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 7th Edition, 2006. And we are NOT using the book entitled simply Theatre by the same author because it is too extensive and too expensive.

SCRIPT: To be decided once the make-up of the class is known. Possibilities include, but are not limited to, Trifles by Susan Glaspell and Feiffer’s People by Jules Feiffer. Copies of script will be provided for $5 or less.

Preparation Time There are five sessions for which there are reading assignments from the text, varying in length from 13 to 84 pages. In addition, class members will review relevant sections of the text and re-read the script each week.

Computer Use Required due to the collaborative nature of this study group the use of email is essential.


Biography Becky Meyers worked at Brandeis for 20 years in Biochemistry and when she retired she slid down the hill into the BOLLI program. She has taken acting classes given by a professional director in her co-housing community and then took a course here at BOLLI with Eileen Mitchell and Tamara Chernow. Then Becky and Eileen joined forces to create the “Scene-iors” drama club, presenting 4 plays, one every semester, before formalizing the venture this fall, offering “Scene-iors” as a course for the first time. Becky loves the fact that members of BOLLI can have such a great time making believe.

Contact info The SGL is open to contact by phone at 978-263-2997 between the hours of 10:00 am and 9:00 pm or by email.


NY1-S12 The New Yorker Discussion Group (this discussion group is an “extra” and does not count in your course total)

Leaders Phyllis Cohen and Sandy Traiger

THURSDAY – 3:20 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

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


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