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Special Interest Groups


BOLLI Special Interest Groups are member-led initiatives that revolve around a common interest. Groups are open to all members on a drop-in basis, unless otherwise noted. All Special Interest Group meetings are on the BOLLI events calendar. All times are Eastern Time and all groups are currently meeting by Zoom.

Any member can create a Special Interest Group. Please contact a BOLLI staff member for details.



Group: Aging with Resilience and Enthusiasm

Description: What does it mean to be part of the “older” generation? This group explores some of the many issues we all face – maintaining friendships, considering living arrangements, continuing decluttering, facing ageism, re-envisioning our lives, and writing legacy letters. Join us as we share our ideas for shedding aging stereotypes and living meaningful and purposeful lives.

Meeting Schedule: The group meets monthly. Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Facilitators: Sandy Miller-Jacobs, Linda Wolfson, and Bonnie Seider


Group: American Political Tradition Reading Group

Description: This group was originally an outgrowth of BOLLI's engagement with Jill Lepore’s celebrated one volume history of the United States, These Truths (2018). We have found that Lepore's aspiration to find a common American narrative that comports with the evidence and metes out justice to insights from both the political left and right remains valuable, even when the memory of her particular historical narrative begins to fade in our minds. We continue to look at contemporary American politics under the influence of her book. If you are interested, please click here to add yourself to our mailing list.

Meeting Schedule: The group will meet in the summer and winter. Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leaders: Jack Kadis, Gail Mann, Peter Gordon, and John Nelson 


Group: Arts and Culture Excursions

Description: With the isolation that we have experienced related to the COVID pandemic and the resulting inability to have all BOLLI classes in-person, BOLLI members are increasingly interested in opportunities of getting together outside the classroom. Cultural excursions, whether they are visits to museums, theatres, or concert halls led by expert guides, provide members and interested partners with an experience of learning and socializing in a live setting. For the initially planned activities, the venues being considered are in or near Greater Boston that are reasonably priced and paid for by individual members, accessible by public transportation or cars/carpools—with parking close by, and inclusive of a nearby gathering place for a meal together following each event. The events will be advertised in the BOLLI Bulletin 2-4 weeks before the event, with the expectation that members RSVP ahead of time (with limited space for most activities), pay for the event, if necessary, in order to assure attendance, and cancel promptly in order to make room for those on a waiting list.

Meeting Schedule: A core group of members who assist in planning these outings.

The planning group will meet every 2-3 weeks in order to create a schedule for each term—usually 1-2 events per month. All BOLLI members are welcome to join this group and can participate in meetings to plan specific events.  To join the planning group, please contact the leaders.

Facilitators: Jennifer Coplon and Jackie Anapolle


Group: BOLLI Banner

Description: We produce and edit the BOLLI Banner, a compendium of in-depth articles, interviews, and photographs. In addition to articles on BOLLI staff, SGLs, courses, leadership and committee activities, the Banner reports on Brandeis activities as well as places and events in the surrounding communities that are readily accessible and likely to be of interest to BOLLI members. Now in its twentieth year of distribution, the Banner takes pride in providing a visually appealing, well-written, and timely publication of broad scope. 

Meeting Schedule: Meetings will be scheduled on an as-needed basis and publicized in the Bulletin.

Leader: Jack Curley


Group: BOLLI's Book Group

Description: We love to read and talk about the books that entertain, inspire, and inform us!  We meet once a month to discuss a work of contemporary literary fiction. We invite all members to check the BOLLI Bulletin for the monthly selection, read the book, bring lunch, and join us for a lively discussion. Participants are invited to recommend books for selection.  

Meeting Schedule: The group meets monthly. Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leaders: Charlie Marz and Abby Pinard


Group: BOLLI’S CAST: Creative Acting, Storytelling and Theater   

Description: This group is open to BOLLI members who are interested in dramatic performance.  During each session, the group engages in a variety of activities that could include improvisation and storytelling exercises, as well as development of individual, paired, and/or small group script-based performances.

Meeting schedule:  Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leaders: Richard Averbuch


Group: Conversations on Race in our Daily lives

Description: Taking on the challenge presented in Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, this group explores topics that bear on the subtleties of racism in our daily lives.  Monthly conversations are based on selected contemporary media, highlighting inequality in housing, healthcare, education and other relevant areas. We anticipate that our discussions will expand our awareness, increase our knowledge, and afford more open dialogue about systemic racism. Each conversation will focus on an article, video clip, podcast, or other selected item. There will be additional material offered to provide context and to augment the primary source. Access to each meeting’s selected content is provided in the BOLLI Bulletin and on the group’s website.

Meeting schedule: The group is currently on hiatus. If you are interested in joining the group's mailing list, please send an email to bolli@brandeis.edu.

Leaders: Ralph Freiden and Jan Hilley 



Group: Current Events Discussion Group 

Description: For news junkies or anyone who just wants a chance to discuss what's happening in our world:  please come join our Current Events Group. Come on a regular basis, or just drop by once in a while. Suggest topics to consider, and offer to lead discussions if you wish. All viewpoints and political leanings are welcome.  Our respectful and lively discussions cover international, national, and local events of interest.

Meeting schedule: The group meets weekly in the summer and winter. Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leaders: Beth Davis and Sally Fleschner



Group: Make a Difference

Description: Make A Difference is a group of BOLLI members who care about the direction of our country. Through thoughtful, strategic activities, we transform our political passions into meaningful action. Together, we investigate important issues, explore effective strategies, and engage in political activities, such as letter and postcard writing, to make a difference in local, state, and national politics.  For example, we have worked to improve the treatment of immigrant families both in Massachusetts and at the Mexican border and are working to influence policies at local, state, and national levels.  Our members are intelligent, caring, and ready to take action. We inspire and support each other and welcome new members at any time. Feel free to drop by during a meeting, or email Nicole Grant at nicolegrant@brandeis.edu to be put in touch with the leader. 

Meeting schedule: The group meets monthly. Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leader: Rosalie Fink and Steve Ostrow


Group: The New Yorker Fiction Salon

Description: The New Yorker Fiction Salon reflects the joy of reading great short stories, and the pleasure of doing it together. We meet weekly throughout the year to enjoy iconic fiction, delightful discussions, and lots of laughs. Discussion leadership is shared by members of the group -- new members are always welcome. Access to the fiction pieces is provided in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Meeting schedule: The group meets weekly. Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leaders: Sandy Traiger and Aaron Goldberg


Group: Photo Group

Description: We are a Special Interest Group with a passion for photography and a desire to become better practitioners of this art.  Members' skills range from novice to advanced, but all enjoy helping and learning from each other.  Activities include a monthly meeting and a photo shoot at various local area sites, each time led by a different member.  Getting to know your fellow photographers and developing friendships is one of the highlights of this group.  Our monthly meetings usually consist of discussions regarding plans and ideas on moving forward, showing and critiquing our photos from the latest field trip, and occasionally, a guest speaker. BOLLI’s Purple and Green Rooms provides us with dedicated year round exhibit space.  

Meeting schedule: The group meets monthly. Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leaders: Joanne Fortunato and Helen Abrams


Group: Play Reading

Description: The Play Reading Group meets monthly via Zoom. The play's script is displayed on the screen, and participants take turns reading the various parts. No auditions or previous play reading experience is necessary! All are welcome. Registered participants will receive the meeting link by email. Information on how to register, meeting days, and the title of the next play, will be in the weekly BOLLI bulletin.

Meeting schedule: Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leaders: Bonnie Alpert, Mark Seliber


Group: Poetry Circle

Description: The Poetry Circle meets monthly to discuss the work of modern and contemporary poets.  Attendees come as often as they are able, not necessarily to every meeting. Experience with modern and contemporary poetry is variable among those attending.  Some have read and enjoyed poetry for years; others have little experience with the form. Selection of poets and facilitation of discussion are shared by members of the group -- new members are always welcome.

Meeting schedule: The group meets monthly. Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leader: Charlie Marz


Group: Poetry Writing Group

Description: Are you a writer of poetry?  Do you aspire to write poetry? If you fall into either category or somewhere in between, come meet with the Poetry Writing Group, a new Special Interest Group at BOLLI. Our monthly meetings are designed to give writers of poetry at all levels an opportunity to share their work with others, receive constructive feedback, and become further stimulated to write. 

Meeting schedule: The group meets monthly. Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leader: Peter Schmidt


Group: Topics in Healthcare

Description: The goal of the “Topics in Healthcare” SIG is to discuss issues of broad interest in contemporary medicine and healthcare policy through professional, scientific and social lenses. Our interests span surgery, internal medicine, radiology, oncology, psychology, epidemiology, biology, dental, obstetrics / gynecology, pediatrics, nephrology, and more. The group meeting format will largely consist of member presentations followed by group discussion. This group is open to all, but it is not a forum for personal medical consultation. We are looking forward to robust, interdisciplinary discussions of a variety of healthcare related topics. 

Meeting schedule: Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leaders: Mark Friedman, Peter Gordon, David Rattner, Richard Laing, and Franklin Segall


Group: Writers Guild

Description: The Writers Guild is a comfortable, supportive place for sharing written work and getting helpful responses from peers in several genres including poetry and memoir.  Participants in the Writers Guild share the goal of writing, revising, and rewriting to improve their work.  A writing prompt is provided in The Bulletin for each week's session, or the writer may write something independently.  

Meeting schedule: The group meets weekly. Dates will be announced in the BOLLI Bulletin.

Leader: Larry Schwirian 

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