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Spring 2019 Course Schedule | Wednesday

Click here to view a PDF version of the Spring 2019 Course Catalog. 

Click here to view a sortable schedule of Spring 2019 courses. Sort by day, class period, duration (5 or 10 week), or category.

To view the course schedule, click on each day of the week.

Spring 2019 courses will begin the week of March 4 and run through the week of May 13, with a break the week of April 8. There will be no courses on Patriot's Day, Monday April 15. 5b courses will begin the week of April 15, except Monday classes which will begin April 22 and run through May 20. For the Spring 2019 schedule, click here.

If needed, make up classes will be held May 20 - 23. 

Please be sure to click on the name of the course to read the description before signing up.






Time Class

Period 1
9:30 am to 10:55 am

Muscles and Movement
Location: Gosman Sports and Convocation Center
Kat Page

Reel Literature #4: The Stories Behind Classic Baseball Movies
David Moskowitz
NOTE: During weeks 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 class will meet only Period 2. During weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 class will meet during both periods 1 and 2.

The Golden Years of Foreign Films II: Ten More from the 50’s and 60’s
Naomi Schmidt & Peter Schmidt
*NOTE: This course will meet during course periods 1 & 2. 

Period 2
11:10 am to 12:35 pm

Reel Literature #4: The Stories Behind Classic Baseball Movies
David Moskowitz
NOTE: During weeks 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 class will meet only Period 2. During weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 class will meet during both periods 1 and 2.

The Golden Years of Foreign Films II: Ten More from the 50’s and 60’s
Naomi Schmidt & Peter Schmidt
*NOTE: This course will meet during course periods 1 & 2. 

Happiness: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Jessica Bethoney

Telling the Story: Focusing on the Craft of Narrative Prose
Betsy Campbell 
5 Week Course - March 6 - April 3

Current Events (Section One) 
Lois Sockol 

12:35 pm to 2:00 pm

Lunch, Learning, and Social Life

Period 3
2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

It all Began in Canaan: History, Archaeology, and the Bible
Paul Brown

American-Jewish Fiction since 1945
Michael Kaufman

21st Century Conundrums: Scene-iors Ask “What Was This Playwright Thinking?”
Becky Meyers

A Guided Tour of Three Popular Verdi Operas
Phil Radoff

Gym1-10-Wed1    Muscles and Movement

Leader – Kat Page

Wednesday – Course Period 1 – 9:45a.m. to 10:30a.m.  

Location Gosman Sports and Convocation Center

There will be a $30 charge ($3 per class) to BOLLI Members. 

Registration for Muscles & Movement runs from January 15 to February 1. Spaces in the fitness course will be assigned by lottery and do not impact your study group assignments. 

Description    Have fun and keep moving through a variety of exercises designed to increase muscle integrity, balance, and range of movement. This class will use free weights, physio balls, resistance bands and other equipment to target the upper and lower body muscles. Build endurance for daily living. Maintain core strength to prevent back pain. Develop or maintain flexibility to prevent injury. This class is appropriate for participants seeking low and/or medium intensity exercise. Weights and equipment will be provided. Strong body, strong mind, enduring spirit!

Biography   Kat has been the Fitness Coordinator at Brandeis for five years and loves her job!  She is an avid fitness enthusiast, participating in marathon running, yoga, and Crossfit. Kat has a Masters in Exercise Science from Springfield College.  When she is not working out, she loves going out to eat, being out in nature, doing crafts and being around kids.

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LIT9-10-Wed2   Reel Literature #4 - The Stories Behind Classic Baseball Movies

Leader – David Moskowitz  

Wednesday – *Course Periods 1 & 2 – 9:30 am to 12:35 pm

*NOTE: During weeks 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 class will meet only Period 2. During weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 class will meet during both periods 1 and 2.

Description   This is the fourth “Reel Literature” course offered by this SGL. The format is simple: We read a book and discuss its qualities as a work of fiction. The following week, in a double-period, we collectively watch the film adaptation and discuss the film on its own merits with special attention paid to the changes, additions and deletions, that succeed, and those that don’t, how well it was cast and directed, along with cinematic and musical embellishments. This time, rather than focus on a particular author or director, the focus turns to a common theme – baseball, America’s pastime. The five books selected represent very different approaches. Eight Men Out is non-fiction about the infamous Black Sox Scandal. Shoeless Joe (made into Fields of Dream) is about dreams coming true and resurrects Joe Jackson, unfairly banned from baseball due to the aforementioned scandal. The Natural is a literary work, Malamud’s first novel, which mythologizes baseball. Bang the Drum Slowly is about the intimacy of being part of a ball team while dealing with a dying teammate. The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant (made into Damn Yankees) adapts the Faustian theme of a deal with the Devil to the world of American baseball in the 1950s. One need not be a fan of baseball whatsoever to enjoy this course, but must be a fan of film and curious to understand how one medium transfers into another. Members must read each work in its entirety before that work is discussed in class.

Readings   Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof
Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella
The Natural by Bernard Malamud
Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris
The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglas Wallop
NB: The order listed is the order in which the books will be read during this course.

Preparation Time   The five books average approximately 250pp apiece, so weekly reading is therefore about 125pp and should be doable in 3-4 hours.

Biography   David Moskowitz holds a BS degree from the Wharton School of the Univ. of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Harvard. His legal career was spent predominantly as a general counsel, including 11 years as Brandeis’ initial general counsel. This is his 10th BOLLI-led course (20th time leading), and 7th literature course. This course combines David's interests in literature and film in a format that is now in its 4th iteration but this is the first time that the link is thematic rather than an author or director. The SGL encourages dynamic, vibrant class discussions into which he injects humor.

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FILM1-10-Wed1   The Golden Years of Foreign Films II: Ten More from the 50’s and 60’s

Leaders – Naomi Schmidt & Peter Schmidt    

Wednesday – *Course Periods 1 & 2 – 9:30 am to 12:35 pm

Description   The years spanning 1950 to 1969 introduced the American movie-going public to the novelty of great foreign films, providing a contrast and alternative to the standard Hollywood fare.  As a follow-up to our previous foreign films course, we invite you to join us in viewing and discussing ten additional such films, some serious and others more light-hearted.  Our expectation is that each will be not only enjoyable, but also thought-provoking.  In the ten class sessions (each a double period) we will view one of the films together and follow with discussion, the subjects ranging from artistry and technique to symbolism and meaning.  The films that we have chosen are from a variety of countries and in a number of languages: The Man in the White Suit, M. Hulot’s Holiday, Pather Panchali, Wild Strawberries, The 400 Blows, Knife in the Water, Viridiana, The Shop on Main Street, The Battle of Algiers, and Yojimbo.

Readings   Readings will be provided by the SGLs as email attachments

Preparation Time   Approximately one hour per week

Biography   Naomi Schmidt was originally trained as a physicist, taught computer science at Brandeis, and then worked for 16 years at both Brandeis and MIT in the field of academic computing. She 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?and a previous foreign films course with Peter Schmidt. She also led The New York Experience, UtopianismThe 1920s, and The 1960s with Tamara Chernow.

Peter Schmidt’s professional careers were in physics and machine vision engineering. He has given a number of courses at lifelong learning organizations in a variety of subjects, some science-related (e.g., Five Physicists Who Changed the World View; Quantum Mechanics without a Wrench), and others not (e.g., Three Masterpieces: From Drama to Film and Opera; The Humanity of Heinrich Böll: Selected Short Stories). He also led an earlier version of a foreign films course together with Naomi Schmidt.

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SOC2-5b-Wed2   Happiness: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Leader – Jessica Bethoney   

Wednesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm
                   5 Week Course – April 17 – May 15

Description   The quest for happiness has been a perennial human undertaking, though ideas about how to achieve this, often an elusive goal, have varied with time and culture. In this course, we will travel across cultures to compare and contrast how people from different countries and eras conceptualize a satisfying and purposeful life. Looking at the Global Happiness Report we will find common elements shared by the countries that score at the top of the index—and discuss why the U.S. is not in this group. Traveling to the past, we will explore the wisdom of Chinese philosophers who offer an entirely different perspective on this subject. And lastly, we will look at the “happiness curve” that charts age-related life satisfaction and offers surprisingly positive news for many of us.

Readings   The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life by Michael Puett

Preparation Time   One hour a week — 20 pages

Biography   Jessica Bethoney, a professor at Bunker Hill Community College, has two masters’ degrees—one in intellectual history from Brandeis University and the other from Tufts University in counseling psychology. For the past five years she has taught an honors seminar in evolutionary anthropology at Bunker Hill entitled “Wired for Culture” and prior to that taught courses in American culture designed for students from other cultures. Professor Bethoney is also a certified intercultural trainer and has done numerous workshops for immigrants and refugees in understanding American culture.

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WRI2-5a-Wed2   Telling the Story: Focusing on the Craft of Narrative Prose

Leader – Betsy Campbell   

Wednesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm
                    5 Week Course – March 6 – April 3

Description   Our lives are rich with experiences that can be retold as memoir or transformed into fiction but in either case, the goal is to tell a good story. All story writers want to entertain and enlighten their readers. In this class, we will write from prompts chosen to focus on specific aspects of narrative writing such as point of view, dialogue, and characterization, with attention to good beginnings and effective endings. Participants will write a short piece of fiction or personal narrative each week and will receive feedback from the group. Class response is supportive and specific, keeping the focus on the writing. The goal of the class is to encourage each other as writers and to enjoy the stories we have to tell.

Readings   There is no text for this class. SGL will provide handouts.

Preparation Time   A piece of writing of about 500 words is expected each week.

Biography   Betsy Campbell has always enjoyed writing and working with aspiring writers. She began her career as a high school English teacher and then taught kindergarten and first grade for twenty-five years. She has led writing classes at BOLLI since 2014. She has taken numerous writing courses, attended conferences, and led teachers' workshops on writing. Her published stories and articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Vineyard Gazette, Martha's Vineyard Magazine, Storyteller Magazine, and the anthology Final Fenway Fiction. Betsy has a BA from Brown University, an MAT from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an MA from Lesley University.

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CE1-10-Wed2   Current Events (Section One)

Leader – Lois Sockol    

Wednesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm

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 divided between world events and national news. Class members are encouraged 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   Access to newspapers, news magazines, and web sources will be required.

Preparation Time   1 to 2 hours

Biography   Lois Sockol taught children and adults for 25 years. Her undergraduate degree is from Boston University with a masters from Lesley College. The bulk of Lois’ professional years were spent in the Newton Public Schools where she taught children and was a consultant to teachers. She was an educational consultant to schools throughout New England. After retirement, Lois again became a student, and a writer of short stories. Four of her short stories have been published: one in a literary journal, and three online. Retirement allows Lois to feed her current events habit. BOLLI affords the opportunity to share with others who habitually follow the news.

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H&G10-10-Wed3   It all Began in Canaan: History, Archaeology, and the Bible

Leader – Paul Brown     

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

Description   Learning history from archaeology as well as literature, we will take a fascinating journey into the Ancient World. From the Late Bronze Age into the Iron Age, (1550 BCE to 586 BCE) the Land of Canaan was at the crossroads of the world’s major civilizations. The invention of the alphabet, the discovery of iron and the events of the Bible make this an especially interesting time. We will learn about the Phoenicians, Hebrews, Philistines, Aramaeans, and others who occupied this land. We will consider the rise and fall of kings and empires and note the drama of decisions, both wise and foolish. We will trace the development of writing and observe the beginnings of Biblical Literature. The latest archaeological findings as well as the Biblical Narrative will inform us as we study the Hebrew Kingdoms, examine the politics of the day, and follow the evolution of religious belief toward monotheism. During each meeting, participants will focus on a text, map and/or graphic material projected during class. Guidance questions will be provided with the week’s assignment. The SGL will give a short lecture at the beginning of each session followed by class discussion. 

Readings   Readings will be a mix of online and in-print materials. The instructor will provide specifics in a welcome letter in advance of the first day of class.

Preparation Time   Preparation will vary according to individual interest, but will be at a minimum of 1-2 hours.

Biography   Paul Brown is a retired educator.  He taught secondary science in the Lexington Schools for 20 years, spent ten years as science department head and ten years as Associate Principal of Lexington High School.  He has enjoyed a lifelong fascination with archaeology and ancient history.  

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LIT10-10-Wed3   American-Jewish Fiction since 1945

Leader – Michael Kaufman     

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

Description   After the war a new group of writers led by Bellow, Malamud and Philip Roth wrestled with issues that second-generation Jews faced. Themes of marginality and alienation yielded to questions of identity and continuity. Questions of identity have assumed deepening interest in recent decades: how we think about ourselves; how we present ourselves to the world, how we connect with our ancestry and our progeny are all indications of our definition of Self. 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?  We will use a number of works of short fiction, written between 1945 and the present, to explore some of the distinctive themes, values and styles of American-Jewish writers.  For the most part the syllabus is made up of fine works of literature, but the instructor hopes that in addition to attending to the complex ideas these stories present, we may also use the texts as “contexts,” points of departure for exploring the seemingly intractable issues one encounters when struggling with identity.

Readings   “Four Questions” by Allegra Goodman
Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
“The Jewbird” by Bernard Malamud
“Mindel Gittel” – by Rebecca Goldstein
“Tell Me a Riddle” by Tillie Olsen
“Defender of the Faith” by Philip Roth
“The Tumblers” by Nathan Englander
“The Legacy of Raizel Kaidish” by Rebecca Goldstein
“Means of Suppressing Demonstrations” by Shani Boianjiu
“Gilgul” by Yosef Yerushalami
Information on where to find the stories and books will be provided in the Welcome Letter.

Preparation Time   2 to 3 hours a week

Biography   Michael Kaufman has led study groups at BOLLI for ten years. He has taught both in academic settings and for professional and public sector audiences, and offered humanistic seminars for high ranking governmental officials.

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DRA1-10-Wed3   21st Century Conundrums: Scene-iors Ask “What Was This Playwright Thinking?”

Leader – Becky Meyers

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

Description   This spring the “Scene-iors” will have the opportunity to collaborate with a local playwright, Jeff Loeb, who has an especially good combination of wit and wisdom when it comes to many of the bewildering issues that we Lifelong Learners encounter. He has written 20 different skits featuring characters of many types, from annoying teenagers to cantankerous elders. We will use some of Jeff’s pieces and some from a collection of 21st century ten-minute plays written for the Actors Theatre of Louisville. The semester will culminate in a dramatic presentation for Lunch & Learn on Thursday May 16, 2019. Jeff ( http://jeffloeb.com/ ) has had a long career in “creative audio for multimedia”, before his recent turn to playwriting. We will work with him to explore different acting techniques so as best to interpret and convey the ideas in his skits. Over the years, the Scene-iors have become quite adept at dramatic presentations, but this semester we will further enhance our expertise by teaming up with an author whose words we will portray. We will select pieces that allow us to focus on a few themes that are likely to strike chords with our audience. The exact choices will depend on the number of people in the class. Everyone will get at least one acting role! Neither memorization nor prior Scene-iors experience is required! In addition to acting roles, each class member will be expected to fulfill an off-stage role as well, such as set design, choreography, props, costumes, publicity, sound & lighting. 

Readings   SCRIPTS: The works to be studied and performed will be selected from the unpublished pieces of Jeff Loeb and from 30 Ten-Minute Plays, from the Actors Theatre of Louisville, edited by Michael Bigelow Dixon, et al. (Smith and Kraus, 2001 paperback ISBN 1-57525-278-3).  The Louisville collection is currently available at Amazon for $17 and the SGL has copies of the scripts for all 20 of Jeff’s pieces, samples of which could be provided to anyone thinking of taking this course, by contacting the SGL. SELECTED READINGS:  SGL will provide links to online reading materials and/or Xerox copies of selections from texts about dramatic techniques, games and exercises.

Preparation Time   Class members will hopefully re-read/study the scripts every week.  There may be additional readings provided by the SGL or available online, no more than 10 pages per week.  During the last couple of weeks there will probably be extra rehearsals in small groups at times that are convenient for the participants.

Biography   Becky Meyers has been a member of BOLLI since retiring 12 years ago. She has taken play-reading courses here and participated in CAST (Creative Acting, Storytelling and Theatre). She has also taken acting classes with a professional director, featuring dramatic games and exercises as well as performance. For several years Becky has led the Scene-iors drama club during the Spring semester. In that role she has directed an adaptation of Rashomon, and works by Leonid Andreyev, Clifford Odets, Susan Glaspell, David Ives, A R Gurney, Tennessee Williams, Christopher Durang, and most recently Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin.

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MUS3-10-Wed3   A Guided Tour of Three Popular Verdi Operas

Leader – Phil Radoff     

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

Description   Among the best known--and best loved--of Verdi’s operas are the three first presented within a few years of one another in the early 1850s: Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and La Traviata. This course will cover all three of these “Middle Period” masterpieces, from Overture to final curtain. We’ll also consider how the librettos differ from the plays by Verdi contemporaries (two French, one Spanish) on which they were based. The course will be primarily lecture and demonstration, with written questions and related materials provided by email in advance of each session to guide participants’ reading and listening. We will start by considering some of the operatic forms in common use in earlier periods of opera history in order to see how the musical forms used by Verdi in these three operas relied on or departed from the earlier models. Approximately three class periods will be allotted to each of the operas. To the extent time is available, excerpts of some of Verdi’s later operas will also be presented to show how Verdi’s music developed. Participants will need to have access to audio or video recordings of each of the three operas and, ideally, to the accompanying librettos in translation. All of these materials are readily available, new and used, from on-line vendors and the Minuteman library system. Performances may also be available online via YouTube or other providers.

Readings   Class members should try to obtain copies of the librettos in translation.  Any version of the librettos is satisfactory.

Preparation Time   About two hours, including reading the portion of the libretto and listening to the portion of the opera assigned for each class.

Biography   Phil Radoff holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics and worked as a physicist for a few years before switching to law. As a lawyer he worked in private practice, with the US Government, and as inside corporate counsel before retiring in 2004 from Raytheon Company. Phil has been a participant in BOLLI courses for about 13 years.  He has been an SGL since 2006 and has led a number of courses on the operas of Mozart, Wagner, and others. He has also given several hour-long opera talks at BOLLI and elsewhere.

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