Classes, Courses, and Lectures
Modern Art: How We Got fFom Cezanne to Warhol<
This course will be an overview of modern art movements, landmark figures, outsize personalities, and achievements from the 19th century to the 1960s. Using plenty of illustrations, as well as citations from the work of critics and art historians such as Meyer Shapiro and Dore Ashton, we will discuss out reactions to a number of art works in both an historical and personal context.
Instructor: Peter Bazeley has a B.F.A. from the Cooper Union and an M.P.S. in creative art therapy and creativity development from Pratt.
Knitting for All Levels
Beginners will learn the basics, starting with a simple project. Intermediate/advanced knitters will select a project; learn new techniques, stitches, and pattern reading; and share their ideas with the others. All will receive individual assistance.
Instructor: Linda Broudy was a high school math teacher for more than 30 years. After retiring, she began teaching other teachers how to knit.
Let's Talk About the Election and Current Events
The Chinese curse said: "May you live in interesting times." We do, and this will be a chance to share our views on the election and current events.
Instructor: Gene Reiser has a lifelong passion for history and politics. He is a former labor relations manager for CUNY.
This is your opportunity to tap into your creative side and explore your hidden talents...but most of all to HAVE FUN! Come join us. Please be aware that this class runs from September through May, leading up to a final performance.
Co-facilitators: Barbara Becker and Lisa Klein
Barbara Becker has been assisting Actor's Workshop for the past six years as well as having been an active participant for more than 10 years. Her acting experience began in early childhood having performed with the New York City Opera.
Lisa Klein studied at the New York Academy of Theatrical Arts. She began as a theater major, then switched to speech communication arts and sciences. Her career as a speech-language pathologist has brought her full circle to her initial passion...acting at Brooklyn College, her alma mater.
TV's Greatest Detectives
Some live by their wits, some by their fists, but these TV detectives have one thing in common—they're unforgettable.
Instructor: Leo Gerber is a movie buff, lectures on American history, film facts and fiction, popular songs and singers, and the history of vampires. He enjoys researching and presenting background material for his classes.
We will view documentary videos and have discussions relating to China.
Instructor: Winifred Chin is an adjunct assistant professor of East Asian cultures at NYU and author of Paper Son and Interchange.
Films of Laurel and Hardy
Analysis of Laurel and Hardy films from the 1940s and beyond, including a discussion of Babes in Toyland.
Instructor: John Beatty has been teaching in the Brooklyn College Film Department for 15 years.
Hollywood's America: U.S. History Through Its Films
We will view feature films reflecting American political, economic, and social life. A discussion will also follow each screening.
Instructor: Sol Makon (see below).
A Selection of My Favorite Films
We will view some of my favorite films, which you will find unusual, intriguing, and thought-provoking. They will help broaden your film experience and knowledge.
Instructor: Sol Makon is a film and music aficionado. His expertise was further developed by taking college courses in these fields. He also has a large media collection at his disposal.
- Newfoundland (slideshow)
Photojournalistic images of St. John's (capital city dating to 1497), Terra Nova and Gros Morne National Parks, and the earliest Viking settlement, L'Anse Aux Meadows.
- Biking Along the Camino De Santiago Route (slide show)
Seven-day bicycle trip along the pilgrimage route dating back to medieval times from Porto (Portugal) to Santiago de Compostela (Spain).
Presented by Professor Kenneth Axen, whose training in photojournalism and documentary filmmaking enables him to create slide shows and short films of his world travels.
Spanish for Beginners
This course is based on a functional focus with special emphasis on oral communication. Students will learn about culture and useful Spanish expressions, basic grammatical concepts, and vocabulary needed to interact in a variety of everyday situations and survive in a Spanish-speaking environment.
Instructor: Nilita Leon is a certified Spanish teacher with exceptional knowledge of Spanish-speaking countries.
Spanish, Intermediate and Beyond
This course consists of grammar, conversation, reading, and interpretative expression. Prior study of the language is beneficial.
Instructor: Edward Drayton's passion for Spanish began when he won the medal for Spanish at his junior high school. He graduated from Brooklyn College and went on to become a New York public school teacher.
Yiddish Conversation for Beginners
Rekindle your language-learning capabilities! Move beyond the ability to toss nebbish and meshuge into a conversation, and learn to converse comfortably (and with seykhl) in the rich language of Sholem Aleichem, Peretz, Singer, and so many other gifted writers. Enrich your life with the language of Yiddish literature, song, and history.
Instructor: Judee Rosenbaum was a New York City high school English teacher for 39 years. She has been teaching Yiddish in various secular Jewish schools for more than 40 years.
For those with knowledge of bridge, come and enjoy supervised play in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Instructor: Ira Barnett has been supervising since 2008.
Aging Mastery Program
The goal is to live longer healthy lives through healthy eating and hydration, financial fitness and advanced planning, sleep, relationships, helping others, and medication management.
Instructor: Vincent Blazewicz is a parent, grandparent, cancer survivor, investigator, and hospice volunteer who enjoys humor and music.
Holistic Approaches to Healing
Designed to enlighten and empower the student to take charge of his or her health-related decision-making. Nontoxic modalities that can improve the quality of life will be explored. Handout materials will be provided.
Instructors: Dr. Jerome Charyn and Sally Moses
Dr. Charyn has been a faculty member for 14 years. He is a former administrator/consultant/educator with 45 years of healthcare experience. He holds B.B.A., M.B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees and several Board certifications. Sally Moses has been using nutritional supplements as remedies and has been assisting Dr. Charyn for five years.
Long-term care insurance is designed to cover long-term services and supports, including personal and custodial care in a variety of settings. Policy options and terms will be discussed.
Instructor: Michael Shafir, CFP, CLTC, CLU, ChFC, CASL, is a financial adviser at Northwestern Mutual.
Mindfulness — A Place to Be
Take a moment to slow down, breathe, and simply be. You will notice a rich world of thoughts, feelings, and sensory experiences that will keep your mind, brain, and body supple and your heart soft. Learn to listen to yourself by meditating, moving, using words, and being mindful. Bring your sense of curiosity and come play on a path of self-discovery.
Instructor: Peggy Horwitz, LCSW, is a psychoanalyst working with individuals, couples, and families. She teaches mindfulness practices to individuals in business, health, and service-oriented organizations. She currently practices in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental condition triggered by a terrifying event. Presented by Robert Greene, a retired social worker for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Greene worked with Vietnam combat veterans and returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at the VA New York Hospital Healthcare System. He is a Vietnam combat veteran and was the director of the Mayor's Office of Veteran's Affairs under David Dinkins.
America in Transition
We will consider political order and political decay from the period of the Industrial Revolution to the globalization of democracy.
Instructor: Walter Higgins was a news writer at CBS News and the owner of an advertising agency. He has taught courses on the Constitution and U.S. government at Brooklyn College and NYU.
Astoria — Walking Tour
Explore the Ditmars section of Astoria, Queens, and experience this community's cultural diversity and interesting history.
Tour guide: Susan Castro is an avid traveler who loves learning and discovering. She is a native New Yorker who enjoys exploring our ever-changing city. She has received a New York City Sightseeing Guide certificate, with star recognition.
We will discuss New York City's first municipal airport (Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field), the resorts of old Brooklyn (Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, and Coney Island), hurricanes in the past as compared to Sandy, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Brooklyn in the Civil War.
Instructor: Ron Schweiger is a retired school teacher who was appointed the "Official Borough Historian" by former Borough President Marty Markowitz. He has lectured for 30 years on aspects of Brooklyn history.
Fashion and Textiles in the 19th Century
This course will describe the changes in fashionable clothing, especially for women in 19th-century America. The trends in needlework and other textile crafts will also be discussed. The impact of technologies such as the sewing machine will be an overreaching theme.
Instructor: Fan Yi Mok is a graduate student in the Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice program at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
The Hebrew Scriptures in Judaism and Christianity
We will watch video lectures of this Harvard University course and discuss them afterward. Sessions will focus on the "big 3"—circumcision, the food laws, and the Sabbath. They will be examined from both Jewish and Christian perspectives.
Facilitator: Rona Goldwitz
Lecturer: Shaye Cohen is the Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University. He is the author of many essays and books, including "Why Aren't Jewish Women Circumcised? Gender and Covenant in Judaism."
Significant Presidential Elections in U.S. History
We will continue examining the history of important presidential elections including their political and economic backgrounds, the candidates, the campaigns and election results, and consequences. We will complete our examination of the 1960 battle between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon and proceed to the 1964 election of Lyndon Johnson and the resultant Great Society Programs.
Instructor: Stephen Appell is an attorney who specialized in labor law. A graduate of Cornell University and Rutgers Law School, he is an avid student and teacher of historical subjects.
The Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)
2016 marks the 80th anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Essentially, it was a brutal struggle of opposing ideologies—Republicanism, Communism, Anarchism, and Fascism. It was also a "dress rehearsal" for the weapons of the approaching world war for powerful surrogates on both sides.
Instructor: Earl Cantos is a retired secondary social studies teacher who has avidly studied the history of the First World War. He currently is employed as a field supervisor and a mentor for upcoming social studies teachers.
Miss Kity's Magickal Kitchen
This class will cover psychic protection. How to manifest positive energy and things you would like to happen. How to work with nature and fire energy, and the power of positive thinking.
Instructor: Kathleen Serao has been a professional psychic and Tarot consultant for more than 30 years. More information is available on her website.
Retirement and Aging — New Phenomena
Why do we retire? Does retirement affect identity? Does gender play a role in how we feel? In addition to these questions, we will look at images of aging in society and how this may impact self-image and opportunities for activities.
Instructor: Dr. Susan Prager taught sociology at Brooklyn College. Her interests include retirement and family.
*BLL Book Club*
We will discuss A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, Did You Ever Have a Family? by Bill Clegg, Lit Up, by David Denby, and The Story of a New Name, by Elena Ferrante.
*Pre-registration is required, limited enrollment.
The Gothic, Part I (1764-1914)
The Gothic expresses covertly, and safely, the unmentionable, the unthinkable, the forbidden, and enables us to confront terrors about human nature in general, our own psyches and the psyches of others; anxieties about threats to our society; and horror at the chaos just under the surface of life.
Instructor: Lilia Melani is an English professor at Brooklyn College.
Joyce Carol Oates: Fearless Writer
Joyce Carol Oates is an American literary treasure. We will tap into a few of her great works beginning with her acclaimed short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"* (1967), and view Smooth Talk, the 1985 film adapted from it. We will then read two of her greatest novels, You Must Remember This (1987) and We Were the Mulvaneys (1996). We will also read a nonfiction work, A Widow's Story: A Memoir (2011).
* Please read "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" for our first class.
Instructor: Joan Ostacher taught English in public schools for almost 30 years. She continued to share her love of reading and writing at BMCC (CUNY) for several years. She is a graduate of Brooklyn College.
The Short Story: Here and There
The art form of the short story offers a unique opportunity to explore how fiction can reflect and/or imitate life. Participants help choose stories that stimulate discussion and thought. Instructed by rotating facilitators.
Mathematics and Science
Philosophical Aspects in Science and Mathematics
Presented by Fred Friedland, who teaches mathematics at Baruch College. He has given lectures at the IRPE/BLL since 1990.
Reading the New York Science Times
Great things are happening in the world of science today. Read and bring the Tuesday New York Times Science section to class for our informative discussions about the latest breakthroughs.
Instructor: Dr. Leslie Jacobson has been a long-time professor in the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences. She is a "founding mother" of IRPE/BLL and a major supporter of our organization since its beginning.
Keeping Your Balance in Brooklyn's Real Estate Boom
This course will discuss how to keep your balance—financially and socially—amid Brooklyn's dizzying neighborhood transformations as we explore the dynamics of neighborhood change.
Instructor: Jan Rosenberg is an urban sociologist and entrepreneur who founded Friends of Cortelyou and Brooklyn Hearth Realty.
Long-term Care (see "Health," above)
Folk Music Sing-a-Long
Sing along with the instructor to the songs of John Denver; Joan Baez; Peter, Paul and Mary; Pete Seeger, etc.
Instructor: Al Wise taught at Sheepshead Bay High School for 30 years. He does volunteer work for nursing homes, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and Hospice of New York.
Opera and People Who Made Music
We will discuss the life and times of Rudolph Valentino; Bartolomeo Cristofori, inventor of the piano; George Gershwin; Caruso and family; Lorenzo DaPonti; the evolution of recorded music; and Pavarotti and his music.
Instructor: Commendatore Aldo Mancusi is the founder and curator of the Enrico Caruso Museum for over 25 years. He has been a faculty member at the IRPE/BLL since 2011.
Yoga, Pilates, and Body Movement Awareness
This course will consist of a series of postures and breathing exercises combined with relaxation techniques and exercises.
Instructor: Cynthia Arenson is a graduate of Brooklyn College and has a master's degree in exercise physiology from Queens College. She has taught yoga for more than 30 years.
Poetry and Writing
This course will enable writers to get in touch with the stories we all have, and put them into writing for artistic, personal, or even cathartic satisfaction. One of the methods I employ is the Quick Write, which eliminates the struggle about what to write.
Instructor: Elizabeth De Mairo has been an educator for most of her adult life, has developed her own writing program, and has been trained in many areas of language arts. She is a graduate of Hunter College.
Special Lectures and Events
- Astoria — Walking Tour
- Biking Along the Camino De Santiago Route
- Black Laughter: Rebellion With a Cause
- Museum Walks and Talks*
- Philosophical Aspects in Science and Mathematics
* Limited enrollment/pre-registration required.