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Fall 2019 Course Schedule | Wednesday

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

Click here to view a sortable schedule of Fall 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.

Fall 2019 courses begin the week of September 9 and run through the week of November 21, with a break the week of September 30. There will be no courses on October 9 or October 14. 5b courses will begin the week of October 21, except Monday 5b classes which will begin October 28 and end December 2 and Wednesday 5b courses which will begin October 30 and end December 4. For the Fall 2019 schedule, click here.

If needed, make up classes will be held December 2-5. 

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

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

Color Me White: The Literature of Passing
Laurel Brody

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. 

Dress Rehearsal for WWII: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939
Gene Kupferschmid

Current Events (Section 1)
Lois Sockol 

12:35 pm to 2:00 pm

Lunch, Learning, and Social Life

Period 3
2:10 pm to 3:35 pm

Beyond Hava Nagila: What is Jewish Music?
Sandy Bornstein

It Began in Canaan: History, Archaeology and the Biblical Narrative
Paul Brown

Henry V and Hamlet in Words, Pictures, and Human Life
Emiliano Gutierrez-Popoca

Critical Issues For America: Let’s Practice Civil Discourse to Help Solve Them
Jerry Wald 
5 Week Course - Sept 11 - Oct 23

They Have Always Been Here: African-American Artists
Miriam Goldman 
5 Week Course - Oct 30 - Dec 4

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 $40 charge ($4 per class) to BOLLI Members. 

Registration for Muscles & Movement runs from June 24 to July 15 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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FILM1-10-Wed1   The Golden Years of Foreign Films II: Ten More from the '50s and '60s

Leaders – Naomi Schmidt & Peter Schmidt  

Wednesday – Course Periods 1 & 2 – 9:30 am to 12:35 pm  
10 Week Course – September 11 – December 4 
(No Class October 2, October 9, or November 27)

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 original 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 Brandeis and MIT in 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 ExperienceUtopianismThe 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 several subjects, some science-related (Five Physicists Who Changed the World View; Quantum Mechanics without a Wrench), and others not (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 with Naomi Schmidt.

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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
10 Week Course – September 11 – December 4 
(No Class October 2, October 9, or November 27)

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   Approximately one hour per week

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&G7-10-Wed2   Dress Rehearsal for WWII: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Leader – Gene Kupferschmid

Wednesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm
10 Week Course – September 11 – December 4 
(No Class October 2, October 9, or November 27)

Description   The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) has been referred to as "the good fight," "the passionate cause," and "the prelude to World War II." Was it the fight of democracy against fascism? The fight of fascism against communism? Was it possible for other European countries to remain neutral? We will explore the conditions in Spain that led to the war, the battle that stirred the passions of people from all over the world to fight for the Spanish Republic, and the aftermath of the war. We will use a BBC documentary, a short history book, an essay by George Orwell, and the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway to study different perspectives of the war.

Readings   The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction  by Helen Graham, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-280377-1
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Preparation Time   The history book is approximately 150 pages (including maps and photos) and the Hemingway is approximately 450 pages. The time required depends upon the reader’s pace.

Biography   Gene Kupferschmid taught for 30 years in the Romance Languages and Literatures Department of Boston College. She held two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and has written 14 textbooks. She has travelled throughout all the countries in South America and has lived in Argentina and Mexico.

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LIT10-10-Wed2   Color Me White: The Literature of Passing

Leader – Laurel Brody

Wednesday – Course Period 2 – 11:10 am to 12:35 pm
10 Week Course – September 11 – December 4 
(No Class October 2, October 9, or November 27)

Description   There is nothing more American than expressing dissent. Social injustice appears throughout American literature. This SGL has offered a series of courses addressing social injustice in American literature and this course is no different. Together, we will read, examine and question both fiction (novels, short story and poetry and a video) and non-fiction on the issue of “passing.” “Passing” refers to African Americans passing as white. Does being white come with automatic privilege?  Does being African American come with automatic social issues? What have we done to cause such a dramatic and life altering move? Would you change your racial identification if given the opportunity? And finally, where do shame and blame lie, if at all? This course will be mostly discussion with some SGL lecture.

Readings   The House Behind the Cedars by Charles W. Chestnut ISBN 0-14-018685-9 (Penguin)
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson ISBN  978-0-486-28512-2 (Dover)
Passing by Nella Larsen (whichever one you get)
Black No More by William Schuyler ISBN: 978-1-61427-784
One Drop by Bliss Broyard…do NOT buy. SGL will copy important sections.
There will be a charge for a Xeroxed packet of material which will include articles and a poem.  Not to exceed more than $20.00

Preparation Time   One hour on average. Some weeks more, a few much less.

Biography   Laurel Brody has taught a series of courses at Life Long Learning Institutes, all having to do with voices of social injustice. These includes Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Twain and Native American Lit. It is a passion for her. Her career as a teacher of English has included stints at inner-city high schools and at universities.  As a teacher of teachers, she was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College. And she can tap dance!

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H&G8-5a-Wed3   Critical Issues For America: Let’s Practice Civil Discourse to Help Solve Them

Leader – Jerry Wald

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm
5 Week Course – September 11 – October 23 
(No Class October 2 or October 9)

Description   This course will examine key challenges confronting our democracy, including immigration reform, income and wealth disparity and our health care system.  In order to assess these issues, we will rely primarily on in-depth guides provided by the National Issues Forum in conjunction with the Kettering Foundation.  This material is specifically designed to highlight the important decision points and policy considerations for each matter in a substantive and nonpartisan manner.  The course will also consider and apply the principles of civil discourse.  The goal is to create an open democratic environment for the airing of all views in order to arrive at the best solutions.  Class members should be receptive to looking at matters deliberatively, analytically, civilly and even differently. 

Readings   Comprehensive guides issued by the National Issues Forum in conjunction with the Kettering Foundation.  These can be ordered from the National Issues Forum website for a modest cost.  Additional selected material will also be examined.

Preparation Time   About 20-40 pages with possible podcasts or videos.   Preparation time should be about 3 hours per week.

Biography   Jerry Wald was an attorney for 34 years in Chicago and Connecticut.  In his retirement, he devotes time as a board member for the Harry Chapin Foundation and a volunteer for the Newton Food Pantry.  He is also a mentor in both an English literacy program and a college program for prisoners. Jerry enjoys kayaking, hiking and reading.  He graduated from the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago Law School.

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H&G9-10-Wed3   It Began in Canaan:  History, Archaeology and the Biblical Narrative

Leader – Paul Brown

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm
10 Week Course – September 11 – December 4 
(No Class October 2, October 9, or November 27)

Description   Learning history from archaeology as well as literature, we will take a fascinating journey into the ancient world.  From the Bronze Age into the Iron Age, (to 586 BCE) the Land of Canaan was at the crossroads of the world’s major civilizations.  The development of writing, 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 invention of the alphabet 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.  We will base class discussions on assigned readings as well as summary texts and graphic material projected by the SGL during our meetings.  The SGL will post reading assignments, supplementary readings and summaries of topics already discussed on the course website.

Readings   Required Reading:
The Bible Unearthed, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman
We will utilize online articles from these websites:
Participants will need a copy of the Bible for reference.
At the beginning of the course, the SGL will hand out a packet of reference material for a nominal charge.

Preparation Time   1-2 hours in a typical week

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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LIT5-10-Wed3   Henry V and Hamlet in Words, Pictures, and Human Life

Leader – Emiliano Gutierrez-Popoca

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm
10 Week Course – September 11 – December 4 
(No Class October 2, October 9, or November 27)

Description   Shakespeare’s Henry V and Hamlet:  One is a man of action, the other of deep contemplation.  Famously, Henry conquers territory and love with an almost reckless sense of his own inevitable greatness.  Hamlet, on the other hand, seems to stumble almost aimlessly through the thicket of his relations, never sure about his next move.  Yet both characters are beloved by audiences and actors alike. We can confidently say, for instance, that in performing these roles, Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh achieved milestones in their distinguished careers. In this course, we will compare and contrast Hamlet and Henry V, availing ourselves of words and pictures (e.g. film, television productions).  We will screen scenes from Olivier’s and Branagh’s Hamlet and Henry V, both outstanding productions. We will also see our two heroes reimagined by a new generation of actors (Tom Hiddleston and David Tennant) for television productions. Come along as we examine two fundamentally different ways of walking in the world -- we will surely be delighted, entertained, and challenged by these classic exemplars of the human lot we all share.

Readings   Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN: 978-0-521-53252-5
King Henry V. Cambridge University Press, 1992. ISBN: 0521293693
* These are the preferred editions of the plays, but any annotated edition is recommended.
* Additional readings will be distributed digitally.

Preparation Time   2 to 3 hours a week.

Biography   Emiliano Gutiérrez Popoca is a PhD Candidate in English at Brandeis University. He studies Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and he is especially interested in the conversations between literature and the society and culture of Shakespeare’s time. His interests include Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, seventeenth century religious and love poetry and English-Spanish poetry translation. He currently teaches a writing seminar on narrators and perspective in literature and film at Brandeis. He received his BA and MA in English from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where he was also Adjunct Professor, and where he taught literature, writing and ESL courses.

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MUS4-10-Wed3   Beyond Hava Nagila: What is Jewish Music?

Leader – Sandy Bornstein

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm
10 Week Course – September 11 – December 4 
(No Class October 2, October 9, or November 27)

Description   Over the centuries Jews have developed lots of music for use in worship, in celebrations, at home, for work and for entertainment. So what makes Jewish music Jewish?  Is it the situation in which it is used, (Shabbat services, a wedding)?  The language (Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino)?  Is it the intended audience?  Is it the tune?  Is it the person performing it?  Well it depends…on the one hand, and then on the other hand… In this class we will examine different types of Jewish music from many parts of the world, from Torah cantillation to prayer settings, to Shabbat songs, to Klezmer, and Yiddish theater.  We will learn what they sound like, why they sound that way, where they come from, and how they developed, as we travel through 2,500 years of history in the Middle East, Europe, Russia and America.  If possible we will look at the written scores as well.  The format is mostly presentation by the SGL, with class discussion and much listening.   No musical training or Jewish background is required. 

Readings   There will be no textbook, but the SGL will email class outlines with YouTube clips for students to listen to.  She may occasionally assign an online article for background reading.

Preparation Time   Up to an hour each week listening to the suggested YouTube clips or reading recommended articles.

Biography   Sandy Bornstein was the cantorial soloist and choir director at Temple Isaiah in Lexington for 20 years.  In that capacity she presented many special worship services focusing on different aspects of Jewish music.  She also taught an adult education course similar to this one called “Jewish Music---I Don’t Know Anything About It, But I Know What I Like!”  Sandy is a professional soprano who has appeared in oratorios and recitals throughout New England.  She taught middle school music and has taught voice for 30 years at Harvard University, the Cambridge School of Adult Education, and in her home studio.

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ART1-5b-Wed3  They Have Always Been Here: African-American Artists      

Leader – Miriam Goldman

Wednesday – Course Period 3 – 2:10 pm to 3:35 pm
5 Week Course – October 30 – December 4
(No Class November 27)

Description   While black American artists are represented by galleries and museums and partake in all aspects of artistic life today, this has certainly not always been true, especially prior to the 1950s. This course will look at individual black artists and artistic styles from the seventeenth century through the later part of the twentieth century. It will focus on the impact of societal conditions at the time on artists and artistic movements, on how African-American artists related to other American artists as well as other influential art movements, particularly those in Europe. The emphasis will be on painting though other visual arts may be considered.

Readings   All assigned materials will be available online.

Preparation Time   Not more than an hour.

Biography   Miriam Goldman graduated from Brandeis with a major in comparative literature. She taught English and creative writing at the secondary level for many years before spending the second part of her career at Boston University School of Education. She has always had an interest in art history and in the influence of historical events and social mores on the arts. At BOLLI, she has taught several courses in literature and art history, including a survey of painting in the U.S., colonial art, and the Armory show.  She also paints.

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