Classes, Courses and Lectures

Current Events

Special Lecture: "GMOs" Genetically Modified Organisms: How They Change the Food We Eat

Presented by Janelle Barabash. Janelle Barabash is a retired English teacher, sometimes poetess and peace advocate who, like so many, is very concerned about the food she eats.

Drama

Actor's Workshop

This course encompasses acting presentation, speech, knowledge of plays, improvisation and basically feeling at ease on stage, building confidence in yourself and having fun and, with comradery, doing it. A revue in May culminates all these efforts.

Instructor: Esther Jaffe. Esther Jaffe has performed in the US and Australia. She has done a stint at the Actor’s Studio, been part of an acting troupe and done a cabaret act. She has appeared on TV, in commercials and in a movie.

Western Theater History and Practice

A history of Western Theater from the Greeks to the present with a focus on the shifting ideas of theater, its objectives and practice.

Instructor: John M. Farrell. John M. Farrell, after graduating from Columbia, has a considerable amount of achievements and professional accreditation in Theater, Arts Management, Journalism, Criticism, Playwriting, Broadcasting and Teaching.

Film

Alfred Hitchcock and His Films

We review several of Producer-Director Alfred Hitchcock’s films, examining themes, plots, bloopers and his fascination with trains, planes, knives and blondes. Class members will participate in dialogue readings.

Instructor: Leo Gerber. 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.

American Documentary Films

We will view documentary films that examine American political, economic and social life. A discussion will follow each screening.

Instructors: Rosalie Reich and Sol Makon. Rosalie Reich has had a long career as a professor of English in the CUNY system. Sol Makon is a film and music aficionado. He has extensive knowledge in these subjects, much of it attained by taking college courses in these fields. He also has a large media collection at his disposal.

Black Actors, Black Films

A review of the careers of black actors, actresses, and the films they made.

Instructor: Leo Gerber. 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.

Films Set in NYC – Part 4: The '70s (Con't) and '80s

Each week we will view a selected feature film (drama, romance, comedy, action) set in NYC from 1980 and later.

Instructor: Sol Makon. Sol Makon is a film and music aficionado. He has extensive knowledge in these subjects, much of it attained by taking college courses in these fields. He also has a large media collection at his disposal.

Hamlet: Play and Film Adaptations

Critics often discuss “the mystery of Hamlet,” so this course explores questions, questions, questions. Who is Hamlet really, and how are we to understand his world and conflicts? How are the ideas from our reading translated into performances on stage and on film? What constitutes a “good” adaptation of a literary text?

Instructor: Prof. Lilia Melani. Lilia Melani is an English Professor at Brooklyn College.

New York, New York – A Wonderful History

This video documentary of the History of New York was produced and directed by Ken Burns. Each chapter, an epic in itself.

Instructor: Bernard Schwartz. Bernard Schwartz is a retired NYC public school teacher. He taught for 41 ½ years.

Science Fiction Films

We will review films within the Science Fiction genre. Some of the films will be fairly well known (2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, etc.) while others will be more obscure (The Andromeda Strain, Silent Running, etc.)

Instructors: Dr. Rosalie Reich and Sol Makon. Dr. Rosalie Reich has had a long career as a Professor of English in the CUNY system. Sol Makon is a film and music aficionado. He has extensive knowledge in these subjects, much of it attained by taking college courses in these fields. He also has a large media collection at his disposal.

Foreign Languages

French

This is a conversational French class. We will begin with the basics: word sounds, pronunciations, accents ( ̷ , \ , ˄), and syllables. *NB – Dictionary requested French/English, English/French

Instructor: Jean Prophyl. Jean M. Prophyl is an experienced native French teacher at Jean Mary Guilloux School and the Prophyl’s Academy.

Hebrew, Upper Intermediate

The emphasis in this course will be on everyday conversation, magazines and Hebrew newspapers.

Instructor: Mariam Goldhaber. Miriam Goldhaber received her Hebrew education at Flatbush Yeshiva High School, Jewish Theological Seminary and spent a year in Israel at the Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad.

Spanish, Intermediate and Beyond

This course is designed for solid consistent practice in conversation, listening, reading and writing. Self-expression and comprehension are our goals.

Instructor: Edward Drayton. Ed Drayton’s passion for Spanish began when he won the Spanish medal at his Jr. High School graduation. He graduated from Brooklyn College, and went on to become a NYC public school teacher.

Spanish, Introductory Course for Beginners

Students will be introduced to the language, culture and grammar of Spanish speaking countries. We will cover basic conversation, phrases, vocabulary, how to tell time, days of the week and pronunciation of the Spanish alphabet.

Instructor: Nilita León. Nilita León is a certificated Spanish teacher with exceptional knowledge of Spanish-speaking countries. She provides support and advice to higher education students on how to improve their writing skills for research papers.

Games

*Mah Jongg – Supervised Play

This class will enhance the players’ knowledge of the official standard rules and strategies of the National Mah Jongg League. The official 2015 card is required. It can be bought online at Nationalmahjonggleague.org or by phone 212.246.3052. Come play with us to expand your skills. “May the tiles be with you.” *Registration is limited.

Instructor: Esther Caldwell. Esther Caldwell is a retired teacher who loves to play Mah Jongg and improve her game.

*Mah Jongg or Beginners

This course is for the person who has never played Mah Jongg. Participants will learn the official rules of the National Mah Jongg League. The official 2015 card is required. It can be bought online at Nationalmahjonggleague.org or by phone 212.246.3052. *Registration is limited

Instructor: Irene Nachinoff. Irene Nachinoff is a retired NYC school teacher who now devotes her skills to the teaching of the popular game of Mah Jongg.

Social Bridge

For those with knowledge of bridge, come and enjoy supervised play in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Instructor: Ira Barnett. Ira Barnett has been supervising our Bridge class since 2008.

Health

Special Lecture: "GMOs" Genetically Modified Organisms: How They Change the Food We Eat

Presented by Janelle Barabash. Janelle Barabash is a retired English teacher, sometimes poetess and peace advocate who, like so many, is very concerned about the food she eats.

A Joyful Journey to Miles of Smiles, Health and Wellness

Learn the ideal way to manage anger, fear and sadness. Practice PEP (Positive Energy Power) Aerobics. Safe and simple self- help strategies, that positively energize your brain and body, will empower you to survive and thrive in a 24/7 stress-filled world.

Instructor: Edith Namm. Edith Namm is a Counselor, Certified Specialized Graphoanalyst and author of 8 books on stress management. Her mission is to share ideal, safe, simple strategies that empower one to live a healthy, satisfying productive life.

Holistic Approaches to Healing

Designed to enlighten and empower the student to take charge of his/her health related decision making – non-toxic modalities will be explored that can improve the quality of life. Hand out materials will be provided.

Instructor: Dr. Jerome Charyn. 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 BBA, MBA, MS and Ph.D degrees and several Board certifications.

Holistics and Hospice for Pets

We will discuss homeopathic care and treatments used by Dr. Jill Elliot, DVM, for our pets.

Instructor: Vincent Blazewicz. Vincent Blazewicz is a parent, grandparent, cancer survivor, investigator and hospice volunteer who enjoys humor and music.

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 by being mindful. Bring your sense of curiosity and come play on a path of self-discovery.

Instructor: Peggy Horwitz. 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.

Nutritional Enlightenment

This semester we will cover the best places for surgery; back pain and the safest ways to stop pain, heart disease prevention, the amount of protein you need, the safety of artificial sweeteners, lowering the risk of cancer, delaying diabetes and much more.

Instructor: Helen Reiss. Helen Reiss is a registered dietitian. She taught high school biology and was a Medical Technologist in a clinical laboratory.

History

Brooklyn History

This semester we will cover: Building the Brooklyn Bridge; Resorts of Old Brooklyn; Victorian Flatbush; The Battle of Brooklyn; the trolleys and trains.

Instructor: Ron Schweiger. 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.

Special Lecture: "The History of Family Law from Hammurabi to the Test Tube: What do Hammurabi’s Code, the Bible & the Magna Carta have to say about family law?"

Presented by Dianne Stillman. Diane Stillman is a retired attorney, adjunct professor of law, and high school English teacher who loves talking law with laymen.

Roosevelt, Churchill, Hitler and Stalin

Can any one individual change history? If any did, it was these four. We will explore what shaped them and enabled them to shape the world we know.

Instructor: Gene Reiser. Gene Reiser has a lifelong passion for folk, protest and Broadway music. He is a former labor relations manager for CUNY.

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. This term we will examine the Eisenhower victories of 1952 & 1956 and proceed to consider the 1960 battle between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

Instructor: Stephen Appell, Esq. Stephen Appell is an attorney who specialized in labor law. A graduate of Cornell and Rutgers Law School, he is an avid student and teacher of historical subjects

Weimer Germany

Post World War I Germany (1919-1933) was a time of great political, economic and social instability leading to the ultimate rise of Nazi control. Explore this tumultuous era through images, documentary movie clips, and classroom discussion.

Instructor: Earl Cantos. 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 mentor for upcoming social studies teachers.

Humanities

Special Lecture: “CERT” Community Emergency Response Teams

Learn about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact your area. Coordinator: David Goldberg.

Defining America

The term “America” is an umbrella term that has traditionally been used to suggest the key American attributes - cultures, traditions, beliefs, ways of life and standards that best refine what America is to so many of its people.

Instructor: Walter F. Higgins. Walter F. 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.

Literature

*BLL Book Club

We will discuss Brooklyn - by Colm Toibin ; The Boys in the Boat - by Daniel Brown ; Let Me Be Frank With You - by Richard Ford; and All the Light We Cannot See - by Anthony Doerr . *Pre-registration is required. Classes are limited.

19th Century Literature by Female Writers

This course will feature Frankenstein – Mary Shelley, Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen, Villette – Charlotte Bronte, and The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman. *Please read Frankenstein for the first class.

Instructor: Julie Kirshner. Julie Kirshner is an actor and longtime lover of literature. She has a BA in theatre and an MA in English literature, both from 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 end with a nonfiction work, A Widow’s Story: A Memoir” (2011). *Please read the short story – Where are you Going, Where Have you Been? for our first class.

Instructor: Joan Ostacher. Joan Ostacher taught English in public school for almost 30 years. She continued to share her love of reading and writing at BMCC (CUNY) for several

The Short Story: American and International

Like any art form, the short story holds a key to the life of its time and the life reflected therein. There are within this shared universe, reverberations of the complexities of both life and fiction. *Pick-up first story in the office, 3160 Boylan.

Instructor: Dr. Rosalie Reich. Dr. Rosalie Reich has had a long career as a Professor of English in the CUNY system.

Mathematics and Science

Reading The New York Science Times

Great things are happening in the world of science today. Read and bring the Tuesday NY Times Science Section to class for our informative discussions about the latest breakthroughs.

Instructor: Dr. Leslie Jacobson. Leslie Jacobson has been a long-time Professor in the department of Health and Nutrition Sciences. She is a “founding mother” of IRPE and a major supporter of our organization since its beginning.

Special Lecture: Some Things in Science and Mathematics You Probably Never Thought Of

Presented by Fred Friedland. Fred Friedland teaches Mathematics at Baruch College. He has given lectures at the IRPE/BLL since 1990.

Money Management

Estate Planning 101

All you ever wanted to know about power of attorney, health care proxies, wills, trusts, special needs trusts, long term care insurance, and Medicare planning. Estate taxes and capital gains taxes will also be explained.

Instructor: Katya Sverdlov, CFA. Katya Sverdlov, CFA received a JD from Brooklyn Law School and has been practicing estate planning law, helping clients with wills, trusts, long term care planning and general estate matters. She also has 12 years experience in the financial industry.

Music

Folk Songs – A Sing-A-Long

If you enjoyed the folk songs of the 1960’s and 70’s (John Denver, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, etc.) then you will enjoy singing along with Al Wise as he accompanies you with his guitar.

Instructor: Al Wise. 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 NY.

Special Lecture: Music of the High Holy Days

Presented by Gene Reiser. Gene Reiser has a lifelong passion for folk, protest and Broadway music. He is a former labor relations manager for CUNY.

Opera and the Evolution of Recorded Music

Music Boxes & Opera; Organs, Small & Large; Player Pianos; Edison Cylinder and Opera; Edison Diamond Disc and LP Opera Recordings; 78 RPM Recording and Enrico Caruso.

Instructor: Aldo Mancusi. 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.

Physical Fitness

Tai Chi – A Moving Meditation

Enjoy the flow and connect to your mind and body in a new way in this safe, interesting form of exercise. Tai Chi is a series of slowly flowing movements with many health benefits. Practicing tai chi calms the mind while improving balance, strength, flexibility and focus.

Instructor: Hillary Merman. Hillary Merman, LCSW, CMA, is an experienced movement therapist and psychotherapist who has been practicing and teaching tai chi for many years in Park Slope and Windsor Terrace.

Tai Chi Chuan

In this course the student will learn step-by-step, the basic movements of the preliminary Yang- Style Tai Chi form. While designed for those with little to no knowledge of Tai Chi, it can also be a good review for those with prior experience. Daoist philosophy as a part of Tai Chi, will also be included.

Instructor: Winifred Chin. Winifred Chin is an adjunct assistant professor of East Asian cultures at NYU and has been practicing Tai Chi for over a decade.

Yoga 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. Cynthia Arenson is a graduate of Brooklyn College and has a master's in exercise physiology from Queens College. She has taught yoga for 30 years.

Poetry and Writing

Performance for Poets

Do you love poetry but find public readings intimidating? Learn the acting skills needed to give you the confidence and interpretive power to make your audiences listen and hear your work.

Instructor: John M. Farrell. John M. Farrell, after graduating from Columbia, has a considerable amount of achievements and professional accreditation in Theater, Arts Management, Journalism, Criticism, Playwriting, Broadcasting and Teaching.

Special Lectures and Performances

  • “The Baltic States” (Slide Show)
  • “CERT”
  • “GMO’s” Genetically Modified Organisms
  • “The History of Family Law from Hammurabi to the Test Tube”
  • “The Music of the High Holy Days”
  • “Somethings in Science and Mathematics You Probably Never Thought of”
  • “Sports in America: Mirror and Window"

*Museum Walks and Talks

Docent-led guided tours. *Pre-registration is required. Coordinator: Linda Silverman.