Institute for Learning in Retirement


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Leader: Joe Mittleman                                  Fee: $25

Biography explores the portraits of superstars that charmed audiences with masterful portrayals of ordinary men and women thrust into extraordinary circumstances. With this series we look at the back stories of celebrities that were singers. There will be classic clips of their most famous movie appearances. Included are the singers that entertained us; Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, and Dean Martin.

MOVIE MONDAYS! Families: Fractured, Frayed, and Hanging In

Leader: Michael Givant                                Fee: $32

Families can be fractured by death and divorce or frayed by internal strife, yet they endure. Both sad and humorous, such films are rich with poignant portrayals and commentary about the human condition. Our films will include, Nebraska, Blue Jasmine, Stories We Tell, and You Can Count on Me. We will see each film in its entirety followed by a rich, lively, group discussion.


Leader: Joe Mittleman                                  Fee: $25

Operetta, meaning "Little Opera," arose in Paris, Vienna, and London towards the middle of the 19th century. Lighthearted entertainment for educated, cosmopolitan audiences, sung in the local language, full of dancing choruses, and witty dialogue. Now, through the magic of film and other sources, we will take a look at some of the most famous operettas. These include: The Student Prince, Merry Widow, New Moon, and The Desert Song.



Leader: Nelson Burack                                 Fee: $50

This course is intended to be a discussion group that will address issues mainly of concern to men. The topics are chosen by the members of the class. The objective of the group is to share experiences and feelings on topics that generally affect men. The group is expected to be supportive and nonjudgmental. Each member will be considered an equal participant in a non-threatening environment. The class is designed explicitly for men, and is NOT therapy, but IS therapeutic.



Coordinator: Louise Mehrtens                     Fee: $37

This fall we will be discussing a variety of books suggested by our membership leaders and our very enthusiastic Study Group participants.

Our six sessions will begin on 9/10 with The Art Forger byB.A. Shapiro, led by Annie Berger; 9/17 Joshua, A Brooklyn Tale by Andrew Kane, led by Janet Gelfand; 10/1 Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, led by Maxine Atkins; 10/15 The Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, led by Eva Waldner; 10/29 The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, led by Eileen Garbe and 11/12 Brideshead, Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, led by Joline Scura. We look forward to many thought- provoking and stimulating discussions. You are welcome to bring your lunch.  We hope you will join us.


Leader: Robert R. Weiss                               Fee: $50

The creation of the state of Israel must be viewed as unique in the history of mankind. Never before did an exiled nation survive 2000 years in diaspora and resurrected its long deserted land. In this sense the creation of Israel could be viewed as a modern day miracle. Was it indeed a miracle? Not if one considers the circumstances. Come learn about the struggle of the Jewish people to return to the land of their ancestors. This class will cover the years from 1897 – 1948. Robert Weiss was raised in Israel and was 12 years old when he witnessed the war of independence.

OPERA---Variations on a Theme: Great Singing!

Leader: Walter Chaskel   Assisted by Mary Barry                Fee: $ 32

We will begin with Verdi's splendid but too-frequently ignored Luisa Miller of 1849 which preceded his great trio of masterworks --- Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and La Traviata  ---  by less than three years, thereby distracting in later years from the musical worth and dramatic power of its own merits. It is story of charming rustic love, deadly deceit and intrigue, concluding in tragic circumstances. It reveals the growing glory of Verdi's musical skills. One of the arias in Act II has been described as ". . . one the most beautiful Verdi ever wrote."  This opera, though unfamiliar to most, is worthy of our attention.

Another opera often considered to pale by comparison with a previous giant, but which also deserves our attention, is Richard Strauss's Arabella. (1933). The composer's great librettist, Hugo von Homannstahl, suggested that they return to the theme of their masterpiece of 1911, Der Rosenkavalier, when Strauss was stuck for a new story. Though clearly not identical nor equal to the musical glories of Rosenkavalier, the gentle love story of Arabella has its own charms and originality of plot and characters, and develops and sustains a special mood of its own. It, too, offers us qualities to learn, admire and love. It is also a touching tribute from us in this year of Strauss's 150th anniversary.


GREAT BOOKS: Immigrant Voices – 21st Century Stories

Facilitator: Rosemary Foehl                         Fee: $50

We will be investigating the complex relationship of immigrants in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century with their families, friends, new surroundings, and home countries. An anthology publishes by Great Books will be used by the group. It includes the following stories: Galang: Letting Go to America; Alarcon: Absence; Khakpour: Mother the Big; Hemon: The Bees, Part I; Alexander: Grandmother's Garden; Diza: Otravida, Otravez; Vapnyar: Fischer vs. Spassky; Kwon: The Stations of the Sun, and Lalami: Echo. Maximum: 15.


Leader: Koro Terroade                                 Fee: $25

Come and participate in a class where we look at the Old Testament scriptures and discuss the views of the Rabbis and the views of Christian tradition. Dialogue is greatly encouraged! The class will be conducted from a historical perspective. Enrichment, enlightenment, and appreciation are the desired outcome of the study group.

REILLY, Ace of Spies, etc.

Leader: Art Feeney   Assisted by Mary Barry     Fee: $50

Reilly, Ace of Spies is a 1983 television miniseries dramatizing the life of Sidney Reilly, a Russian Jew who became one of the greatest spies ever to work for the British. Among his exploits in the early 20th century were the infiltration of the German General Staff in 1917 and a near-overthrow of the Bolsheviks in 1918. His reputation with women was as legendary as his genius for espionage. He was also Ian Fleming's model for James Bond, 007. The "etc." portion of the course takes us to the trenches of World War I in the film The Trench.Lastly, we unravel The Mystery of a Hansom Cab. Art Feeney is a lifelong student of the Russian Revolution, World War I, and a mystery fan.

UNDERSTANDING THE UNIVERSE: An Introduction to Astronomy

Co-Leaders: Nelson Burack/John Heslin            Fee: $50

Who has not gazed with wonder at the night sky? The great canopy of stars stretching overhead suggests that our world is part of a vastly larger cosmos. But how large is it? Where do we fit in? And how did it all begin? These questions have puzzled stargazers for thousands of years. We will explore the answers to these questions and more in a fascinating, nontechnical, video lecture series from The Great Courses taught by one of America's foremost astronomers, Professor Alex Filippenko, at the University of California, Berkeley. The course is composed of 96 lectures, which will be covered over a period of two years.



Leaders: Phil Tamberino/Harriet Helman          Fee: $25/$50

Each week for the first hour the class will set the agenda and exchange ideas concerning local, national, and global issues. Discussion and participation are strictly voluntary, but members are encouraged to express their opinions and bring in news articles to share and discuss. In the second hour we will focus on one or more controversial topics, such as capital punishment, immigration, gun control, etc., in an effort to identify problems, generate solutions, and hopefully, clarify your position. Maximum: 90.

This study group may be taken as either a four- or an eight-week course. $25 for each designated four-week session or $50 for both sessions.


For more information or to receive a brochure, contact or call 631.420.2160.