Providing Lifelong Learning for over 30 years

Lifelong Learning Collaborative (LLC, formerly BCLIR) was established in 1984 as the Brown Community of Learning in Retirement, and has been an active educational model for lifelong learning for over three decades.  In May of 2008, we became an independent non-profit organization, an umbrella for continuing lifelong learning education in the Providence area. Most of our classes meet at Temple Beth-El.


Click to view Spring 2018 catalog (PDF).

Click to view Spring 2018 catalog in browser.

Full course descriptions are available below calendar.

Day Mornings Afternoons
Mondays Concerts & Conversations
RI History: Up Close & Personal
Introduction to Facebook
On Writing the Memoir
Creative Photography
LLC Reads!
Hot Topics
Tuesdays Foreign Policy
Australian Literature
The Ottoman Empire
The Greater Journey
Scrabble Social Club
Wednesdays “A Novel Approach”
Modern Africa
Snapix: 3-in-1 Photography
Moral Reasoning
Marc Chagall
Thursdays Theatre Conversations 1 & 2 Famous Trials
Mark Twain
Mah Jongg
Still Life Drawing
Fridays Planning the Future of RI
Poetry Workshop

Concerts & Conversations
Coordinators: Penny Backman, Linda Shamoon, Penney Stein

Whatever your starting point – new to concert music, seasoned concert-goer, or fall semester repeater – in this class you will have an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and appreciation of concert music – from the classical to the postmodern. As a special feature of this concert season, a different conductor will lead each concert of the RI Philharmonic Orchestra; one of these talented individuals may be selected as the Phil’s new music director and lead conductor. This spring we will continue to learn about these exciting conductors and about the intriguing art of conducting as we preview the music and performers in upcoming concerts of the RI Philharmonic and the RI Chamber Music Concerts. We will also have an opportunity to share our responses to the concerts and to the guest conductors with members of the RI Phil or its Music School faculty when they visit our class for presentations. Of course, we will attend the March, April and May concerts of the RI Phil’s Classical Series, as well as the March and April RI Chamber Music Concerts, and share our responses in lively conversation.

Format: Coordinators and class members work together to develop collaborative classes by listening to music together, attending the concerts being studied, and discussing concert performances. Presentations are encouraged; active participation in the class’s conversations about music is expected.

Resources/Expenses: YouTube video performances, the class website, talks by area conductors and music scholars, suggested readings, and online concert program guides. No expenses are anticipated other than individual purchase of concert tickets.

Coordinators: Penny Backman and Linda Shamoon have led and/or attended this course for several semesters. They have substantial knowledge and appreciation of classical concert music. Penney Stein has been a member of LLC since 2015. This is her first time to co-coordinate a class.

Monday mornings, RI Philharmonic Music School (667 Waterman Ave, E. Providence), 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 9 weeks, Mar 5-May 7 (No class Apr 16), Fee: $60, Class size limit: 30.


RI History: Up Close and Personal
Coordinators: Barbara Barnes, Celene Healy

What do Stephen Hopkins, John Brown, Henry Lippitt, politicians and lawmakers, and French Canadian immigrants all have in common? Their personal stories and contributions to the state of Rhode Island can be found in museums and important historic buildings in Providence and Woonsocket, RI. Each historic site (John Brown House Museum, Rhode Island State House, Stephen Hopkins House, Museum of Work and Culture and Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum) will be the topic of classes during this 10-week course: lecture/discussion one week followed by a field trip/site visit the following week. Each building is not only important historically but also architecturally. Three hundred years of stories and building design are represented among them. How did the colony/state begin? Did George Washington sleep here? What are the facts about Providence in the years of the slave trade? How did immigrants contribute to the development of our state? Just what is the story of the Industrial Revolution here? And where is the Rhode Island Charter Museum? Inquiring minds want to know and we are prepared to tell all!

Format: The class is composed of five two-week units. Each unit offers one classroom session and one field trip. Week one: a lecture given by historians and museum professionals affiliated with a museum or historic site and a class member presentation on a topic related to that historic site; week two: a field trip to the historic site that was explored during week one. (All sites are listed in the course description.)

Resources/Expenses: Handouts, website information, and a brief bibliography will be provided. Expenses are not anticipated.

Coordinators: Barbara Barnes is a retired Tourism Services Manager at RI Historical Society and Celene Healy is a history enthusiast and member of the LLC Curriculum Committee.

Monday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 12-May 14, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.


Introduction to Facebook
Coordinator: Christina Simoes

This course is for those who want to utilize Facebook to find and reconnect with long-lost friends, share photos, activities and memories of your family and keep up with loved ones. Facebook is also a great tool to stay up to date with what is going on in the world and your community, and learn more about topics you are passionate about. There is no need to bring materials, just yourself and come have fun discovering what Facebook can do for you.

Format: Facebook presentations, class discussions, each participant will be expected to independently apply at home what was learned in class.

Resources/Expenses: Coordinator will provide resources. Expenses are not anticipated.

Coordinator: Christina Simoes is a social worker with experience teaching social media.

Monday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 - 11:30 AM, 5 weeks, Mar 12-Apr 9, Fee: $20, Class size limit: 20.


On Writing the Memoir
Coordinator: Sheila K Lawrence

Writing your memoir is a gift you can give your family and friends for years to come. In this course, you will learn how to structure your stories, develop your storytelling skills, and give and receive valuable feedback. Whether you are new to writing or have participated in previous LLC writing classes, this course will help improve your writing skills and leave an invaluable legacy for your family.

Format: Throughout this ten-week workshop, you will be expected to write weekly.

Resources/Expenses: Online, handouts, YouTube lessons, and recommended readings. No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinator: A former journalist and author of Leap of Faith – A History of Sophia Academy, Sheila K Lawrence has coordinated several courses on various topics including arts, feminism, photography and writing.

Monday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 12-May 14, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 12.


Creative Photography
Coordinator: James Heath

These days anyone can take a decent photograph. Between smartphone cameras, programmed Point and Shoots, and top of the line DSLR’s, getting a well exposed image is a piece of cake. This course seeks to take us beyond that. Here we aim at producing images that are visually strong, maybe memorable, or even award-winning. Images that bring a “Wow!” or a “Jeez, that’s pretty”. Yes, in this class we ask a lot of ourselves. We challenge one another. We raise critique questions such as, “What if you tried this?” or “Suppose you cropped it over there?” Always, of course, done in a spirit of support, even friendship.

Prerequisites: You can join in with any digital camera and a heart open to what moves you, a mind always suggesting you to look for better angle or point of view, good energy to shoot a subject again and again and again, and an eagerness to explore and experiment, all bound together by a willingness to fail, and a faith that by the end of the course you’ll be creating better photographs than when you started. Students are expected to be familiar with a camera, to be able to use it independently in most situations, to have the ability to create files for storing photo images, and to be able to email images for critiques. It helps to have a tripod to assist in completing certain assignments.

Format: The course will consist of independent photo assignments along with weekly class discussions and critiques of submitted photographs. Students will collaborate by researching and presenting the work of noted photographers as sources of learning and inspiration. Such presentations may be done individually or in pairs.

Expenses: No further expenses anticipated.

Coordinator: Jim Heath is a retired psychologist and has worked as a news photographer and commercial photographer. This is his fourth photography course as an LLC coordinator.

Monday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 12-May 14, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 12.


LLC Reads!
Coordinators: Shirley DiMatteo, Sidney Okashige

Some of us love to read and to discuss good books but aren’t inclined to join a book club. Are there books from the past that you missed or were so wonderful that you would like to read and talk about them again?

Format: Lifelong Learners choose their favorite books from a list of “best books,” selecting the three top books they would like to read and discuss as a class. Once books have been selected, all participants read a designated part of the book for discussion every week and are encouraged to sign up to lead discussions. Coordinators coach discussion leaders, as needed, to create a discussion prompt that has been prepared beforehand to guide reading. We will read and discuss at least two books over ten weeks and will read more if time allows. It will be necessary for each participant to have email (or an email buddy) and/or texting capability.

Resources/Expenses: Coordinators will announce the final book choices by email so participants may obtain a copy of the first book before the class convenes. Copies will be available for purchase online, through the public library system or from the coordinator (if purchase cost is an obstacle).

Coordinators: Shirley DiMatteo enjoys reading and discussing books on all levels. She has enjoyed participating in many classes at LLC since retiring, ranging from Verdi to Scrabble. Sidney Okashige is interested in reading and re-reading a few wonderful books from the past and has coordinated and participated in a variety of LLC courses.

Monday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00 - 3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 12-May 14, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 17.


Hot Topics
Coordinators: George Champlin, Ed Mehlman

Do you enjoy talking with others about news of the day, hearing what they think is important, and why? If so, you’ll enjoy Hot Topics. We expect probing and exciting sessions that look at current items in the news. Members of the class take turns selecting a hot topic of the week – one that will stir discussion – and presenting key material to the class. The person presenting the topic gets things rolling with a few questions to stimulate discussion. Don’t be surprised if at times the discussions become intense and controversial. Class members should plan to read the Providence Journal and either The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal – or both – along with other news sources they might want to look into. Any medium will do, paper or electronic, if the topics are timely, and hot.

Format: Each week two members of the group will choose one article on current hot topics. After briefly presenting these to the group, they will pose the questions and lead the discussion. The coordinators will act as moderators of the session and help ensure that all viewpoints are heard.

Resources/Expenses: Participants will need access to Internet and will share articles drawn from newspapers, journals, magazines, and/or news releases with the group by email. No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: George Champlin and Ed Mehlman have coordinated this very popular course in prior semesters.

Monday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00 - 3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 12-May 14, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.


Journalism, Fiction, Nonfiction, Memoir - Oh My!
Coordinator: Steve Starger

The only way to become a better writer is to write! This course is designed to help participants develop the basic tools necessary to become better writers. Learn how to turn a so-so sentence into a sentence that sings. Come ready to turn your dreams into reality.

Format: Participants will submit writing samples each week, to be critiqued by their peers in a nonjudgmental workshop setting. If you have longer pieces to submit, we will use them as a vehicle for revision techniques. We will also discuss writing craft and the business of getting published.

Resources/Expenses: The following texts are recommended but not required for class: On Writing Well, William Zinsser; The Elements of Style, Strunk and White; The Writer’s Market (annual). These can be found on Amazon and in local book stores. There are no additional expenses.

Coordinator: Steve Starger has been a journalist, author, and playwright for nearly 60 years. He has previously coordinated successful writing classes for LLC.

Tuesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 13-May 15, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 13.


Foreign Policy
Coordinators: Dave Gagnon, Mary Zych

If you are concerned about the direction of our current foreign policy, this is the discussion group for you. We will use the format of the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions 2018 program. Our overriding theme will be the US retreat from the “Pax Americana” established after World War II. We will examine our tenuous relationships with Russia, China and Turkey, as well as the political and economic problems arising in Africa and Asia. Finally, as epidemics and pandemics seem to blossom around the world, we will focus on global health and the role of the US in stemming the outbreaks. Our discussions will include current events drawn from the media and identify gaps in coverage that contribute to our nation’s retreat from world leadership.

Format: Each class will begin with a video or slide presentation on the topic for that class. The presenter for the day will further refine the topic and assist in leading the discussion. Since this is a discussion group, participants should be prepared to respond to the assigned topic. This will require a commitment to the reading assignment for that week. Also, each participant will choose a topic and act as a resource for the week’s discussion.

Resources/Expenses: The Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions 2018 Briefing Book is included in the course fee. No other expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: David Gagnon has done international consulting in Europe and Asia and has worked in China on several occasions. He has an interest in foreign policy issues and has worked with USAID on numerous projects related to the delivery of healthcare. He has coordinated several LLC classes. Mary Zych has a background in health and education and has co-coordinated other LLC classes.

Tuesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 13-May 15, Fee: $75 (includes the Foreign Policy Association Briefing Book), Class size limit: 15.


Australian Literature
Coordinator: Christine Rose

The geography and history of the large and remote continent of Australia has resulted in a literary tradition that is linked to that of Great Britain, and at the same time, possesses a definite character of its own. Australian literature explores the themes of its relationship to the colonial power and to the Aboriginal population; its history as a convicts’ colony; “mateship” and mutual interdependence in a remote environment; the search for national identity; immigration and emigration; and life in the fearsome Australian bush country. The coordinator will select readings that convey the history of Australia, as well as a sense of its unique environment. This course will include many notable Australian novelists and short story writers, such as Jack McPhee, Patrick White, David Malouf, Tim Winton, Thea Astley, and Elizabeth Jolley, as well as poets such as Les Murray and Banjo Paterson.

Format: Participants are expected to read the assigned material and come to class prepared for discussion. Each class member will be asked to make a presentation, lead a discussion, or bring in a guest speaker to lead one of the class sessions.

Resources/Expenses: The text for the course will be Australian Literature: An Anthology of Writing from the Land Down Under by Phyllis Fahris Edelson (ISBN 978-0-307-77548-1), available on Amazon from $3.01 used. There are no additional expenses.

Coordinator: Christine Rose, an Australian native, gained a Degree in English at the School of English and American Studies at Sussex University (UK). She holds a postgraduate teaching certificate and continues working with literature and language in the USA. She has coordinated many literature classes for LLC.

Tuesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 8 weeks, Mar 13-May 1, Fee: $40, Class size limit: 16.



The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1914: Six Centuries of History and Culture
Coordinators: Robert Lev, Robert Martin

In this course, we survey the grand history and culture of the Ottomans, from their rise as a minor warrior clan to their epoch as rulers of one of the world’s great empires. The course will leave off before World War I and thus not address the final demise of the empire, which was studied in a 2015 LLC course. We’ll start with a quick survey of the dramatic rise and slow decline of the empire, skimming lightly over wars and conquests, focusing on the relationships between the Ottomans and their many rivals over the centuries: Byzantium, Persia, Venice, Genoa, Spain, Austria-Hungary, Russia and others. How the Ottomans governed and dealt with subject peoples and religious minorities deserves a close look. Along the way, we will be introduced to Ottoman culture: architecture, the arts and literature.

Format: This course will be collaborative, with participants asked to give one presentation in a class session and to participate actively in discussions.

Resources/Expenses: No required text. The coordinators will suggest reading material, YouTube videos, and other online resources such as the Metropolitan Museum’s treasure trove of imagery and historical essays on the Ottomans. Access to a computer and the Internet is essential. No anticipated expenses.

Coordinators: Bob Lev is a retired physician. Bob Martin is a retired healthcare administrator who has coordinated courses on the history of India.

Tuesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00 - 3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 13-May 15, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.


The Greater Journey by David McCullough: Americans in Paris Between 1830 and 1900
Coordinator: Marilyn Kaplan

Join us as we learn about the many talented and aspiring Americans who were greatly influenced by time spent in Paris in the 19th century. Among them were artists, writers, politicians, scientists, educators, and doctors. Many of the people we will study are familiar to us – James Fenimore Cooper, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sergeant, and Oliver Wendell Holmes; others are less well known, but were nonetheless pioneers in their fields – Emma Willard, Elizabeth Blackwell and Charles Sumner. Why was “going abroad” such a rite of passage for these Americans? What was special about Paris? How did the experience influence their lives and their work and, in so doing, the thought, culture, and politics of their native land? What were the historical events going on in Europe at the time?

Format: Class participants should read the text prior to the beginning of the class and are expected to choose one of the following three options: (1) A 10-20 minute oral presentation on a suggested or approved topic or individual followed by class discussion. (2) Participation in a debate or performance on a suggested topic or individual. (3) Lead a class discussion on one of the suggested topics (researching the topic, developing and distributing discussion questions and additional relevant material in advance of discussion date).

Resources/Expenses: Our basic text will be The Greater Journey by David McCullough, available used on Amazon for $2.40 and up. No additional expenses are anticipated.

Coordinator: Marilyn Kaplan has Masters degrees in teaching and history and has coordinated several LLC courses, including a prior offering of this course.

Tuesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00 - 3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 13-May 15, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.


Scrabble Social Club
Coordinators: Pete DuPont, Bob Goodwin

Do drop in any Tuesday by 3:30 for a friendly game or two of Scrabble. All levels welcome, including any who have never played before. No fee, no sign up, just show up. Hopefully, you’ll become a regular. We generally have three to five games in play and there is room for more. Cathy will be on hand for documentation and rule clarification. Sheila will create our groups of threes and twos each week and we shall see if Pete will continue to hold onto his distinction as our Scrabble Icon. Then join us afterwards, if you wish, for supper at a local restaurant. We may touch on many interesting topics or just relax and unwind in a convivial group.  Game boards provided.

Coordinators: Bob Goodwin is a long-time LLC coordinator who relishes bringing people together informally. Pete DuPont is a more recent member of LLC. He and Bob have also collaborated on group hikes with LLC friends and others.

Tuesday late afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 3:30 - 5:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 13-May 15. There is no fee for this course, but you must be a member of LLC. Registration is not required. Just drop in and play.


“A Novel Approach” to Discussing a Novel – One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni
Coordinators: Celene Healy, Maggie Miles

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be trapped with strangers in a dangerous situation? How would you respond? Divakaruni answers these questions by inviting her readers on a journey with nine diverse characters. To quote Jhumpa Lahiri, “One Amazing Thing collapses the walls dividing characters and cultures; what endures is a chorus of voices in one single room.”

Format: Unlike traditional book clubs, the format of this six-week class will include creative approaches to make the text come alive! The first two weeks the coordinators will model unique ways to lead discussions on the chapters of this book. Then class members will take turns discussing assigned pages. The class will also include a guest speaker, TED Talks, and some background on the art of story telling.

Resources/Expenses: One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni is available on Amazon for $12.00. There will be no additional expenses.

Coordinators: Both Celene Healy and Maggie Miles are retired English teachers and recently have coordinated other LLC classes.

Wednesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM, 6 weeks, Mar 14-Apr 18, Fee: $30, Class size limit: 15.


Modern Africa - Deeply Distressed, Pulsing with Potential
Coordinators: Carole Collins, Richard McWhirter

Africa is a land immeasurably wealthy in resources with a rapidly growing economy but with massive poverty, food insecurity and roiling political unrest. Come join us in identifying trends, both detrimental and hopeful, for the future of the Continent. Starting with examination of the heritage of colonization on the formation of independent African nations, we will proceed to explore major impacts – e.g., climate change, political instability, land wars, population growth and rapid urbanization. Then we’ll focus on specific countries – e.g., Congo, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa to compare methods of handling these challenges. Our goal is to understand the problems and potential of Africa today, to get a glimpse as to what Africa is all about and what it can be.

Format: LLC is a team sport! Whether kneeling, standing or sitting, techie or non, all are expected to select one topic from the syllabus on which to make a short presentation including questions to stimulate discussion. The backfield (i.e., rest of the class) will be relied upon to participate actively in these peer-led interactions.

Resources/Expenses: No formal reading requirements. Discussion leaders may circulate articles pertinent to their topics in advance of their selected session. Coordinators to provide reference material as needed. No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: Carole Collins, retired clinical social worker and Dick McWhirter, retired from a career in finance. Both have developed a keen interest in international issues, events and interrelationships.

Wednesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 14-May 16, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.


Snapix: 3-in-1 Photography
Coordinators: Tom Backman, Sheila K Lawrence, Nickerson Miles

3-in-1: Camera and photo basics, travel photography, and portraiture. This is an interactive photography course that will be divided into three chapters. Chapter 1 will focus on basic camera settings and operations, photo composition, and working the photography scene, coordinated by Tom Backman. Chapter 2 will focus on travel and vacation photography, coordinated by Nickerson Miles. Chapter 3 will focus on photographing people in outdoor settings from individual portraits to families and groups, coordinated by Sheila K Lawrence. The course is open to photography enthusiasts of all levels. The only requirement is that you have a digital camera, have a basic understanding of its operation, and a willingness to learn and try new things.

Format: The participants will be given weekly homework assignments consisting of readings, YouTube videos, and individual photo shoots with photo submissions to the class for discussion. Classroom format will consist of discussing the participants’ submitted photos, discussion and demonstration of different photography topics, and periodic group photo shoots which could possibly be on different days and times.

Resources/Expenses: There will be no required expenses for this course. A suggested and optional book would be Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Composition. It is available used from Amazon from $9.00. It is possible that a photo shoot will require an entrance fee such as to the zoo or another photo shoot location. This however will be discussed and agreed to in class.

Coordinators: Tom Backman has been an avid amateur photographer for over 10 years, and has coordinated several Snapix courses, and currently is interested in street photography. Sheila K Lawrence is the founder of Snapix, and a former journalist and communications business owner. She has coordinated LLC courses for the past six years on a variety of topics including the arts, feminism, writing, and photography. Nickerson Miles has been a photographer for many years and is a member of the Providence Art Club where he teaches photography. Nick is also a coordinator of one of the LLC Theatre Conversations classes.

Wednesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 14-May 16, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.


Moral Reasoning: The Right Thing To Do
Coordinators: Oliver Chappell, Frank Schaberg

Have you ever wrestled with dilemmas like the following: What are our obligations to each other and to ourselves? Can meaningful civic discussion be saved? How do we deal with increasing inequality and bias? Is affirmative action fair? Should economic markets be constrained? Who should decide end of life issues? How should society manage genetic engineering issues? In this course we will explore classical and contemporary theories of moral behavior that have present day applications. As our basis to analyze some of the great moral dilemmas of our time, we will use the acclaimed lecture series with Michael Sandel, Professor of Government, Harvard University. Join us to examine our own ethical beliefs, exchange ideas with each other, and perhaps see these issues in a new light.

Format: Class members will be expected to view the lectures (available at no cost on at home and come to class prepared to discuss them. The discussions will be facilitated by the coordinators. No presentations are required.

Resources/Expenses: Access to the Internet is required. Links to specific sites will be provided. No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: Oliver Chappell is a former attorney who has coordinated several LLC courses in American history, the law, and music. Frank Schaberg is a retired surgeon who has coordinated courses in American history and the law.

Wednesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 6 weeks, Apr 11-May 16, Fee: $30, Class size limit: 18.


Marc Chagall - A Time to Learn and Discover Together
Coordinators: Pat Moriarty, Arthur Richter, Pamela Romano

Murals, stained glass windows, art- what else do you know about the creative genius of Marc Chagall? His varied works go way beyond his obvious achievements. Let’s discover them all. Chagall lived to be 97 years old. He began his career in a tiny village in Russia in 1887 and died in France in 1985. Chagall’s life experiences were amazing. Follow us into his world, not only the world of his village, but also of his imagination.

Format: This course will be presented in a chronological progression of his life and work. Each week, class members will give a one hour presentation sharing what they have learned about an aspect of Chagall’s various art forms and the years in which they were created. Once registered, an outline of the weekly topics will be provided. One field trip is being planned with easy parking access.

Resources/Expenses: All research or information will be available through local libraries, YouTube, Wikipedia or other internet sources. There may be $20 in expenses per person over the length of course.

Coordinators: Pat Moriarty is a retired middle school teacher and volunteer for several nonprofit organizations. She can often be found stoking the braziers at WaterFire or ushering at local theaters. Arthur Richter is a retired importer, designer. A long time member of LLC, he has created and coordinated many unusual classes. Pamela Romano is retired from a career in public education as an administrator and teacher and taught at the college level. Arthur, Pam and Pat have recently collaborated on two successful courses, “Making a Difference” and “Made in Rhode Island.”

Wednesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00 - 3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 14-May 16, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 25.


Theatre Conversations, 1 and 2
Section 1 Coordinators: Kathy Webster, Mike Webster
Section 2 Coordinators: Maggie Miles, Nickerson Miles

Join our popular Theater Conversations course, a successful collaboration with Trinity Repertory Company and the Sandra Feinstein Gamm Theatre. We will feature two plays at Trinity (Native Gardens by Karen Zacarias and Ragtime based on the EL Doctorow novel), two plays at the Gamm (A Human Being Died That Night by Nicholas Wright and As You Like It by William Shakespeare) and a production TBD.

Format: Participants will obtain and read the script and attend a performance of each play. They also will lead short, lively class discussions on all aspects of a play, including production aspects, themes, the playwright’s background and intent as well as the director’s interpretation. Actors or other members of the theater companies will join both sections of the class on several occasions to enrich our understanding of the plays and the production process. Some classes may be at locations other than the Temple.

Resources/Expenses: In addition to the registration fee, there will be costs related to the purchase of scripts and attending the Gamm performances ($20 each) and the additional performance, TBD. We will be attending the Trinity dress rehearsals at no charge for class members.

Section 1 Coordinators: Kathy and Mike Webster have co-coordinated this class for several semesters. They are active and avid supporters of our local theater companies.

Section 2 Coordinators: Maggie and Nick Miles have co-coordinated this class before. They are active and avid supporters of our local theater companies.

Thursday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 15-May 17 (First play is Mar 9), Fee: $70, Section 1 Class size limit: 30, Section 2 Class size limit: 17.



Famous Trials That Made History
Coordinators: Linda Guccioine, Bruce Ruttenberg, Mel Zurier

This course will explore some of the great trials over the millennia, from Socrates to O. J. Simpson. Each trial will be discussed in light of its particular time, place and relevant surrounding circumstances. In our discussions, we will also look closely at the elements of each trial; how the case arose, the particular issues that it raised, the advocates and their trial tactics, and the historical significance of the trial. Individuals who participated in this course last year are encouraged to enroll since many new and different trials will be discussed. New participants are encouraged since no prior knowledge or experience is necessary.

Format: All are expected to participate actively in class discussions. Class members will select a particular trial to present to the class, followed by general discussion.

Resources/Expenses: There is no required text. Famous Trials: Cases That Made History by Frank McLynn, available from Amazon (and the library) provides summaries of significant trials and may (but need not) be purchased as a resource. Suggested collections and summaries of famous trials will be available. Participants may also choose a different trial to present after discussing same with the coordinators. Participants are encouraged to supplement their presentations with articles and other appropriate background information relative to their trial presentation. No expenses are anticipated other than the cost of any supplemental materials purchased on an individual basis.

Coordinators: Linda Guccione has coordinated courses at LLC and has taken several of Mel’s LLC courses. Mel Zurier and Bruce Ruttenberg are both retired lawyers and former law partners. Mel’s background includes trial experience in the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Department as well as in both state and federal courts. Bruce practiced primarily as a corporate attorney.

Thursday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00 - 3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 15-May 17, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.


A Traveling Man - The Peripatetic Times of Mark Twain
Coordinator: Tim Walsh

For a man “who loathed all travel, except on foot,” Mark Twain spent over a decade of his life roaming around the globe. His first novel, Innocents Abroad, was the most popular of all his books during his lifetime. We will examine why travel was such a compelling subject to both Twain and his readership.

Format: The class will depend largely on class members’ presentations, supplemented by a video presentation of Hal Holbrook and a class trip to Twain’s home in Hartford, CT.

Resources/Expenses: Required text by Neider, Chas,. ed., The Travels of Mark Twain, N.Y., Cooper Sq. Press, 1961, available used on Amazon or other sources.

Coordinator: Tim Walsh is a former high school history teacher, who has coordinated courses in Irish history and literature, Moby Dick, Ulysses and Don Quixote.

Thursday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00 - 3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 15-May 17, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.


Mah Jongg
Coordinator: Carol Desforges

Enjoy playing a challenging game and forming a social group? Learn how to play Mah Jongg, a tile game formerly played only by Chinese royalty, which may have originated with Confucius about 500 BC. The American version has a set of 152 tiles marked with Chinese symbols. Though the game is played worldwide, it did not become popular in the U.S. until the 1920’s. At that time, it was the most popular board game in the US exceeding even Monopoly. In order to play the game you must learn the symbols on the tiles, the patterns of hands on a score card, the many rules of the game, and the protocols of play. It is a challenging game to learn but we will guide you through it. Once you master it, Mah Jongg is addicting and you will not want to stop playing it.

Coordinator: Carol Desforges is a retired high school science teacher who loves to play and teach Mah Jongg. She has been teaching Mah Jongg at senior centers, with social organizations, and in private homes since 2007.

Thursday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00 - 3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 15-May 17, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 11.


Still Life Drawing
Coordinator: Bunny Fain

Learn still life drawing with a master in a friendly, non-judgmental environment in the home of Bunny Fain. We can only accept 8 people, and would prefer those with little or no experience.  Come see what you can do!  A list of materials will be provided to registrants.

Coordinator: Bunny Fain has coordinated many LLC classes and is a highly skilled artist and excellent teacher..

Thursday afternoons, Barrington (address will be provided after registration), 1:30 - 3:30 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 15-May 17, Fee: None, Class size limit: 8. 


Big Plans, Little State: Planning the Future of RI
Coordinators: Nickerson Miles, Sam Shamoon

In this course, we will learn how state officials are working to make sure that our state will have the resiliency, resources, economic strength and people power to survive and thrive into the future. In our ten-week course, we will hear from top officials in State government who are helping to guide RI into the future. Depending on our guest, the class will learn about topics, such as: “All Urban? Suburban? Farms? RI’s Land Use Dilemmas and Solutions.” “Climate Change: Hurricanes, Rising Sea; Can the Ocean State Survive and Thrive?” “Water – Will It Be Clean Enough to Drink in 2050?”, “RI’s Energy Addiction: Can RI Reduce Its Fossil Fuel Addiction and Get Clean with Renewables?”, “‘Gimme Shelter’: Housing for Every Rhode Islander.”, “What is the Department of Transportation up to?”, “Who’s the Better (Economic) Driver: Locally – Made or Bring in the Big Firm?” etc. This list of topics will be refined in the syllabus.

Format: Volunteers will have a chance to interview a guest speaker, one-on-one. On the day of the guest’s appearance, the interviewer will introduce the guest and provide some background on the topic of the day. The guest will speak during the second hour, plus Q & A. The background research on the speaker and topic may be accomplished through the interview and through online resources. Two field trips to relevant sites in RI may be included. One of the field trips will be on April 6, when the Temple will be closed.

Resources/Expenses: Selected readings in PDF formats, news articles, video files. Class participants must have access to the Internet. No expenses are anticipated, other than the cost to drive to a field trip location.

Coordinators: Nick Miles spent his career in communication and marketing before moving to RI three years ago. He has co-coordinated a section of the Theatre Conversations class for the past two years. Sam Shamoon is a certified planner with over 45 years experience in planning throughout the State of Rhode Island. Before retiring, Sam was the Director of Planning for the City of Providence.

Friday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Mar 16-May 18, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 22.


Poetry Workshop
Coordinators: William Carpenter, Ira Schaeffer

A peer-to-peer workshop, where poets meet to refine their poems through deep engagement with a community of writers. To this end, participants will engage in weekly critiques, writing prompts, and occasional craft sessions. The key element, however, will be your willingness to exchange feedback for the purpose of revision.

Format: Each week you will read and discuss model poems (that illustrate a particular theme, style or prompt), participate in critique sessions, and write, both in class and at home. Expect to create at least eight “raw” poems in class, and to have four of them undergo the full workshop cycle of presentation/feedback/revision. These “finished pieces” will be your offerings for our group reading, a culminating event to celebrate the poetic creativity of our class.

Resources/Expenses: Copies of model poems; YouTube clips of poets reading and discussing their works; writing prompts, devised and adapted. No additional expenses expected.

Coordinators: Bill Carpenter worked as a rehabilitation counselor for the State of Rhode Island. Since retiring, he has filled his time working as a tour bus driver, writing poetry, making wine, and generally enjoying life. Ira Schaeffer is a former English Professor at CCRI, who has taught a wide range of literature courses, including short fiction. In addition, Ira has offered courses in creative writing (both poetry and the short story.) He also continues to dabble in writing both short fiction and poetry.

Friday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 9 weeks, Mar 16-May 18 (No class Apr 6), Fee: $45, Class size limit: 12.