Classes, Courses, and Lectures

Art

Art History

A brief history of art from cave paintings through Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art. Classes are based on the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas Hoving's book Art for Dummies.

Instructor: Vincent Blazewicz

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

Knitting for All Levels

Beginners will learn the basics, starting with a simple project. Intermediate/advanced knitters will select a project and learn new techniques, stitches, and pattern reading, and share their ideas with the others. All will receive individual assistance.

Instructor: Linda Broudy

Linda Broudy was a high school math teacher for over 30 years. After retiring she began teaching other teachers how to knit.

Drama

Actor's Workshop

We prepare skits, monologues, and improvisation in the classroom. Voice projection, body language, and facial responses are all part of the course leading to a showcase in May for public viewing. Our object is to gain confidence in front of an audience while having fun.

Instructor: Esther Jaffe

Esther Jaffe has performed in the United States 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 television, in commercials, and in a movie.

Special Events: "Theatre Art Performance"

Producer/Director: Esther Jaffe

Esther Jaffe has performed in the United States 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 television, in commercials, and in a movie.

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

Leo Gerber is a movie buff. He 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.

Film

Hollywood's America: U.S. History Through Its Films

We will view feature films reflecting 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. His expertise was further developed by taking college courses in these fields. He also has a large media collection at his disposal. 

A Selection of My Favorite Films

Please join me in viewing some favorite films chosen from my personal library. You will find them exciting, mysterious, intriguing, and thought provoking. This is your chance to experience different films in new ways.

Instructor: Sol Makon

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.

Foreign Languages

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 context.

Instructor: Nilita León

Nilita León is a certificated Spanish teacher with exceptional knowledge of Spanish-speaking countries.

Spanish—Intermediate and Beyond

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

Instructor: Edward Drayton

Ed 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 City public school teacher. 

Conversational French

We will begin with the basics: word sounds, pronunciations, accents, and syllables. A French/English, English/French dictionary is requested.

Instructor: Jean M. Prophyl

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

Games

Mah Jongg for the Beginner Player*

This class presents the opportunity for those people who have had the desire to learn this very popular game. Absolutely no experience needed.

The 2016 Mah Jongg Card is required. It can be purchased at the National Mah Jongg League, 450 7th Avenue, Suite 405, New York, NY 10123, via phone at 212.246.3052, or online.

Instructor: Irene Nachinoff

Irene Nachinoff is a retired New York City schoolteacher who now devotes her skills to the teaching of the popular game of mah jongg.

*Registration is required.

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 Social Bridge class since 2008.

Health

Special Lecture: GMOs

Genetically modified organisms: how they change the food we eat.

Presenter: Greg Todd

Greg Todd has been a food activist member of the Park Slope Food Coop since 1986 and a member of the GMO squad there since 2000.

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 and 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 eight books on stress management. Her mission is to share ideal, safe, simple strategies that empower one to live a healthy, satisfying productive life.

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.

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

We will explore anti-aging products, excess weight, eating blueberries, how safe is eating shrimp, how to tell when food is fresh, skin cancer and citrus fruits, if eggs are healthy. We will also identify good drugs, dangerous infections, preventing falls, and bladder control.

Instructor: Helen Reiss

Helen Reiss is a registered dietitian. She taught high school biology and was a medical technologist in a clinical laboratory.

History

Art History

A brief history of art from cave paintings through Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art. Classes are based on the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas Hoving's book Art for Dummies.

Instructor: Vincent Blazewicz

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

The History of Family Law From Hammurabi to the Test Tube

We will continue to examine the place of family in society, the confluence of family and the state, and the future of the family as it collides with modern science. We will survey basic concepts such as marriage, divorce, and family.

Instructor: Diane Stillman

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

Hollywood's America: U.S. History Through Its Films

We will view feature films reflecting 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. His expertise was further developed by taking college courses in these fields. He also has a large media collection at his disposal.

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, election results, and consequences. This term we will complete our examination of Eisenhower and the 1960 battle between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

Instructor: Stephen Appell, Esq.

Stephen Appell is an attorney who specialized in labor law. He is a graduate of Cornell and Rutgers Law.

Stalin, FDR, and Churchill

We will continue to examine the lives of these three leaders of the 20th century and consider how their policies shaped history.

Instructor: Gene Reiser

Gene Reiser has a lifelong passion for history and politics. He is a former labor relations manager for CUNY.

Humanities

Elder Law Basics

This course will discuss basic documents that every adult should have, including power of attorney, health care proxy, and wills. We will also cover various trusts, long-term care, and Medicare planning as well as various government benefit programs for seniors.

Instructor: Katya Sverdlov, Esq.

Katya Sverdlov 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.

Museum Walks and Talks

  • Morgan Museum: Photography From Eastman House
  • National Academy Museum: An American Collection
  • The Met Breuer: Unfinished Art
  • Grey Art Gallery @ NYU: Art for Every Home

Docent-led guided tours. Please bring payment to sign-up meeting. Pre-registration for trips is required.

Coordinator: Linda Silverman

Linda Silverman is an avid museum-goer. She was a program director at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) in adult and continuing education, and collaborative academic programs for more than 20 years.

Retirement & Aging—New Phenomena

Why do we retire? Does retirement affect identity? Does gender play a role in how we feel? In addition, we will look at images of aging in society and how this may impact self-image and opportunities for activities.

Instructor: Susan Prager

Susan Prager taught sociology at Brooklyn College. Her interests include retirement and family.

Literature

BLL Book Club*

We will discuss A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson; My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante; A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler; and Devil in the Grove, by Gilbert King, plus an optional book for those who want more, Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear.

*Pre-registration is required.

Classes are limited.

Two Later Updike Novels*

With powerful realism, In the Beauty of the Lilies (1996) and Terrorist (2006) depict the contemporary American experience through the lives of everyday people. First class: chapters one, “Clarence,” and two, “Teddy.”

Instructor: Brian Keener

Brian Keener is a retired professor at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) and author of John Updike's Human Comedy: Comic Morality in The Centaur and the Rabbit Novels.

*Limited enrollment. Pre-registration required.

19th Century Literature by Female Writers, Part Two

This course will feature Cranford*, by Elizabeth Gaskell; Emma, by Jane Austen; and probably Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. Another short work may be added.

*Please read Cranford for the first class.

Instructor: Julie Kirshner

Julie Kirshner is an actor and longtime lover of literature. She has a B.A. in theater and an M.A. in English literature, both from Brooklyn College.

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 Hall.

Instructor: Rosalie Reich

Rosalie Reich has had a long career as a professor of English in the CUNY system.

Mathematics and Science

Special Lecture: GMOs

Genetically modified organisms: how they change the food we eat.

Presenter: Greg Todd

Greg Todd has been a food activist member of the Park Slope Food Coop since 1986 and a member of the GMO squad there since 2000.

Special Lecture: Pi

The circumference of a circle related to its diameter.

Presenter: Fred Friedland

Fred Friedland 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

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.

Money Management

Elder Law Basics

This course will discuss basic documents that every adult should have, including power of attorney, health care proxy, and wills. We will also cover various trusts, long-term care, and Medicare planning as well as various government benefit programs for seniors.

Instructor: Katya Sverdlov, Esq.

Katya Sverdlov 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.

Your Longest Coffee Break—The Entire Retirement Planning Process

Students will gain insight into managing their retirement income and expenses, including how to make their money last.

Instructor: Mina Black

Mina Black is a financial adviser with decades of experience. She is the founder of In The Black Financial Wellness, a company that provides workshops on financial planning.

Music

Special Event: Lincoln—A Musical Tribute

We will listen to two works: Aaron Copeland's "A Lincoln Portrait" and the cantata "The Lonesome Train." Both feature Lincoln's words and story in stirring music.

Presenter: 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 People Who Made Music

The life and times of Gershwin, Caruso, Puccini, Verdi, Pavarotti, Toscanini, and Lorenzo DaPonte, and the music they gave to the world.

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

Connect your mind and body in a new way. 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 II

This course is designed for those who have taken Tai Chi Chuan I in the fall semester. We will complete the rest of the form and review.

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

Poetry Workshop

We will write, read, and evaluate poems with attention to their craft, music, meaning, and expression. We will focus on poems that participants have drafted and also poems published by living writers that students bring in to share.

Instructor: Anita Bernstein

Anita Bernstein trained in poetry workshops around the country and is the author of about a dozen published poems.

Special Lectures and Performances

Special Lecture and Slide Show: Galicia, Spain

Discover the northwest region of Spain.

Presenter: Susan Castro

Susan Castro is an avid traveler who loves exploring and discovering. She is also a New York City sightseeing guide.

Special Lecture: GMOs

Genetically modified organisms: how they change the food we eat.

Presenter: Greg Todd

Greg Todd has been a food activist member of the Park Slope Food Coop since 1986 and a member of the GMO squad there since 2000.

Special Lecture and Slide Show: Israel

Photojournalistic images of Israel.

Presenter: Kenneth Axen

Kenneth Axen is an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College. His training in photojournalism and documentary filmmaking enables him to create slide shows and short films of his world travels.

Special Lecture: Kvetching & Shpritzing

Jewish humor in American popular culture.

Presenter: Joseph Dorinson

Joseph Dorinson is a professor of history at Long Island University and has lectured on humor and culture for BLL/IRPE since 1990.

Special Lecture: Pi

The circumference of a circle related to its diameter.

Presenter: Fred Friedland

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

Special Event: Lincoln—A Musical Tribute

We will listen to two works: Aaron Copeland's "A Lincoln Portrait" and the cantata "The Lonesome Train." Both feature Lincoln's words and story in stirring music.

Presenter: Gene Reiser

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

Special Lecture: Sala's Gift

A story of love, survival, and a lesser-known aspect of the Holocaust.

Presenter: Dean Anne Kirschner

Ann Kirschner is the dean of the Macaulay Honors College of CUNY. She is an innovator in education, media, and technology.

Special Event: Theater Art Performance

Producer/Director: Esther Jaffe

Esther Jaffe has performed in the United States 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 television, in commercials, and in a movie.

Museum Walks and Talks

  • Morgan Museum: Photography From Eastman House
  • National Academy Museum: An American Collection
  • The Met Breuer: Unfinished Art
  • Grey Art Gallery @ NYU: Art for Every Home

Docent-led guided tours. Please bring payment to sign-up meeting. Pre-registration for trips is required.

Coordinator: Linda Silverman

Linda Silverman is an avid museum-goer. She was a program director at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) in adult and continuing education, and collaborative academic programs for more than 20 years.