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.

*Please note an important change to our registration policy:  You can register by postal mail using the printable registration form (above), but please note that registrations received by postal mail will not be processed until 2 PM on the day registration opens, as administrative time permits. Therefore, spaces are not guaranteed if your class selection fills up prior to 2 PM.  We strongly encourage you to register online and early.

Spring 2020

Registration opens Monday, January 20 @ 9 AM.

Cover photography by Elizabeth Siftar taken Spring 2019 at Roger Williams Park.

Click to view/print Spring 2020 catalog (PDF).

Mondays
Open Studio Art (AM)
Painting with the Masters (PM)
Laughter Yoga (PM)

Tuesdays
The Short Stories of Alice Munro (AM)
Women in Science (AM)
Winning the Vote (AM)
Strong Films/Strong Women (PM)
Peeling the Tangerine, Calming the Restless Mind (PM)
The Middle East and the Emergence of Israel (PM)
Scrabble (PM)

Wednesdays
Criminal Justice Reform (AM)
Bioethical Deliberations (AM)
Life as Fiction (AM)
Read and Screen: Books That Were Made Into Movies (PM)
Hot Topics (PM)
Knitting (PM)
Exploring Improvisation (PM)

Thursdays
Theatre Conversations 1 & 2 (AM)
Russia – 20th Century to the Present (AM)
Antarctic Exploration (PM)
Voyager: Outlander, Book 3 (PM)
One Nation or Two: America at a Balance Point, April 1865 (PM)
Mah Jongg Drop-In (PM)
Snapix (PM)
Fiction Critique Group (PM)

Fridays
The Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela (AM)
The Poetry of Joni Mitchell’s Lyrics (AM)


Monday mornings
Temple Beth-El
9:30 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 9-May 11
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 12

Open Studio Art
Coordinator: Kathy Webster

Are you an artist (or budding artist) who enjoys working in the company of other artists and wants to keep improving this spring? Please join your friends for an informal meeting of artists who will independently pursue the paper/canvas medium of their choice using acrylics, oils, watercolor, pastel or drawing. There will be no instruction, just camaraderie and informal sharing by all. NOTE: This class will be held in the Temple craft room, which is upstairs above the offices, with no elevator access.

Resources/Expenses: There will be water and trash available in the room, and ample lighting. It is suggested you bring a small tabletop easel if desired. No expenses required other than supplies you want to use.

Coordinator: Kathy Webster is a summer Plein Air painter since joining LLC. Kathy has co-coordinated many LLC courses.


Monday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 9-May 11
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 12

Painting with the Masters
Coordinator: Mary Snowden

What do the Masters have to teach us about painting? Join us as we study well known landscape painters and apply those lessons on canvas, creating an artwork based on each artist. We will study such artists as Monet, Bonnard and Hockney, among others, which may inspire you to try some new approaches and techniques. This class is limited to oil and acrylics. NOTE: The painting room is on the second floor, so it will entail climbing stairs, as there is no elevator.

Format: This course will begin with an overview of all of our artists, followed by a weekly focus on one artist. Each week, we will select an artist and the student will choose an image to paint, creating an artwork during class in the style of that artist the following week.

Resources/Expenses: There will be expenses associated with buying art supplies. A supply list will be sent to those enrolled.

Coordinator: Mary Snowden is Professor Emeritus at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where she taught painting and drawing for over 40 years. She has led numerous classes at LLC. For a more complete bio, check out Mary Snowden on Wikipedia.


Monday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-2:00 PM (Note 1 hr length)
4 weeks
Session 1: Mar 9-Mar 30
Session 2: Apr 6-Apr 27
Fee: $20 per session
Class size limit: 20

Laughter Yoga
Coordinator: Kik Williams

NOTE: This is a four-week course which will be repeated twice, consecutively. Members can take one or both sessions.

Did you know that laughter changes the chemicals in the body to make one feel more relaxed and peaceful? Practicing Laughter Yoga is a great way to relieve stress, worry and pain. Join us as we spend a joyful and playful hour together doing simple and often silly exercises to promote laughter. We may start out “fake” laughing and will end with real laughter – either way, the same results will be achieved. You will leave the class refreshed, clear-headed, look and feel younger!

Format: Students will participate in Laughter Yoga exercises that are low stress, low strain and physically easy to do. The instructor will lead all exercises. Participants will stand and move around the room or stay in their chairs. Students will not sit on the floor.

Resources/Expenses: There are no resources required and no expenses are anticipated.

Coordinator: Kik Williams is a certified Laughter Yoga instructor. She was awarded an “Ambassador of Laughter Yoga” by Dr. Madan Kataria, the creator of LY, for her work at DIX women’s prison in Cranston, RI. She has taught Laughter Yoga at multiple locations in the area. She was also awarded Best Of Rhode Island 2009.


Tuesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
8 weeks
Mar 10-Apr 28
Fee: $40
Class size limit: 20

The Short Stories of Alice Munro
Coordinator: James Heath

Alice Munro has written 14 collections of short stories and received 22 literary awards. By age 14 she knew she wanted to be a writer, and in 2013, at the age of 82, Alice became the first Canadian woman to win the Nobel Prize. Her stories are considered remarkable for revealing how she can place the “fantastic next to the ordinary” with each undercutting the other in ways that simply and effortlessly evoke life. In these stories we discover a husband who can’t fathom his wife’s reaction to a possible murder-suicide next door; a piano teacher among whose developmentally disabled piano students is one who produces a recital performance that stuns its listeners; a woman living with a child-abusing taxidermist who believed “what was living with a man if it wasn’t about living inside his insanity?” Join us to discover how Munro can take us through a story where we know the beginning and the end but without any clues as to how we got there.

Format: Participants will be expected to read one or two stories each week, to develop questions for and lead one discussion, individually or in pairs, and to participate actively each week.

Resources/Expenses: Required text: Vintage Munro: Selected Stories by Alice Munro (Vintage/Random House 2010). $14.18 Amazon.

Coordinator: James Heath has coordinated several LLC courses in Creative Photography and the short stories of Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, and John Cheever.


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

Women in Science
Coordinators: Chuck Nickles, Pat Nickles

Today, there is a push toward encouraging girls to study in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Join us as we find and celebrate the women who have led the way and contributed significantly to advances in STEM and the medical sciences.

Format: The class will read the text Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World by Rachel Swaby. Class sessions will include discussions of the book as we read through it and participant presentations on the featured women. Guest speakers may include local women working in the sciences. Each class member will choose a “Headstrong” woman or a woman of your choice and lead a class discussion on that woman.

Resources/Expenses: The text, Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World by Rachel Swaby is available on Amazon for $16 or less. There will be no additional expenses.

Coordinators: Chuck Nickles is a retired physics lecturer. He also worked in industry on automated precision measurement and robotics and now coaches a middle school robotics team. Pat Nickles studied environmental science and has worked as a municipal pollution control director and municipal planner.


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

Winning the Vote – Launching a Legacy
Coordinators: Sheila Brush, Norma Rossi Mead

In August, America will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. The hard-fought campaign for women’s suffrage took more than 75 years of courage, strategy and resolution. It’s an inspiring story, but also a complex and at times troubling narrative of trade-offs and compromises shaped by political calculations, racism, sexism and differing views of the Constitution. If you want to meet a remarkable group of fearless and indomitable individuals... learn about African-American women and other minorities whose important role in the suffragist movement has only recently been recognized... explore thought-provoking questions about pragmatism and idealism in advancing political goals... and discuss our ongoing responsibility to ensure voting rights for all... then this course is for you.

Format: All members should read and view the background material prior to the start of class and participate actively in class discussions. Members are expected to choose one of the following three options, individually or in partnership with one or more other class members: (1) A short oral presentation on a topic or individual followed by a class discussion. (2) Participation in a debate or performance on a topic or individual. (3) Researching and leading a class discussion on a suggested topic.

Resources/Expenses: The coordinators will provide online articles/YouTube videos for background reading, and a bibliography of books and websites for those who want to learn more about specific individuals/topics. No additional expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: Sheila Brush earned her degree in American History and pursued a career devoted to historic preservation and community planning. She has participated in a variety of LLC classes and co-coordinated one class. New to Providence, Norma Rossi Mead had two career paths: marketing and public relations and training and development in Peoria and Chicago, IL.


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

Strong Films/Strong Women
Coordinators: Helen Hawkins, Paul Wortman

Today women are striving to end the patriarchy and to achieve equality in all domains of life from their personal and work place relationships to control over their bodies. Join us as we focus on nine award-winning films – The Accused, Gravity, Her, Hidden Figures, Million Dollar Baby, Still Alice, Thelma and Louise, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Volver – dealing with women facing various types of adversity in their struggle for equality. We will ask: Do the films forecast the issues confronting women as they struggle for equality both physically in dealing with issues like dementia and rape as well as psychologically in their romantic and work relationships, and even spiritually? And, do they depict how women can cope successfully?

Format: Each week we will all watch the film listed for that session at home and then discuss it in class. You will be asked to sign up to lead the discussion of either the content of the film or its technical aspects that include the acting, costumes, directing, photography, music, sets and special effects.

Resources/Expenses: Nine films that are available to rent and stream from Amazon or on DVD from your local Ocean State Library.

Coordinators: Helen Hawkins, M.S., is a retired Special Education teacher. She has also worked for The Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, Amherst and Hampshire Colleges, and Harvard University. She has always loved movies. Paul Wortman, Ph.D. is a retired Professor of Psychology who has taught courses on the psychology of Carl Jung in a retirement learning community at Stony Brook University and the author of a memoir, Think Jung! How I Found Meaning in My Life.


Tuesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-2:30 PM (Note 1.5 hr length)
10 weeks
Mar 10-May 12
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 16

Peeling the Tangerine, Calming the Restless Mind
Coordinator: Susan Glogovac

NOTE: This class is a repeat of the popular course offered in the Winter 2019 and Fall 2019 semesters.

Do you find yourself engaged in NST (Non-Stop Thinking) more than you’d like? Does your mind dwell too often on things that happened in the past or jump ahead to what might happen in the future? Do you long to calm your restless mind and stay more grounded in the present moment? In this class, we will explore together a variety of mindfulness practices, such as mindful eating and sitting and walking meditation, in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. These help us stop so that we can be more present to life as it unfolds in and around us. They offer us a pathway for healing and transformation. Our home practice will be to explore them further and keep a journal of our experiences. In class discussions, we will reflect together on ways to calm our restless minds.

Format: The coordinator will introduce mindfulness practices and relevant readings, followed by direct experience and discussion.

Resources/Expenses: There are no resources or additional expenses. Various resources will be recommended for those wishing to learn more.

Coordinator: Susan Glogovac has been practicing meditation for more than 25 years and has facilitated meditation groups for the past 15 years. In 2009, she was ordained into Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing. She enjoys sharing mindfulness practices with those who want to be more present to life in and around them.


Tuesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
9 weeks
Mar 17-May 12 (No class May 5)
Fee: $45
Class size limit: 20

The Middle East and the Emergence of Israel
Coordinators: Marilyn Kaplan, Stephen Kaplan

The conflicts in the Middle East grow more confusing and dangerous every day and understanding the region is no longer optional – it is mandatory! This two-course sequence is intended to be a “GPS” to help navigate the dramatically changing region. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the conclusion of WWI; the arbitrary creation of nation-states; spasms of Arab nationalism; animosities within the Islamic faith and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 have all created an ominously unstable region. We will focus on the dynamic 19th and 20th century movements that shaped the political and social landscape in the current Middle East. A second course, in the fall, will focus on post WWII realities, including the emergence of the state of Israel, and the ominous tensions behind today’s headlines.

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 presentation on a suggested or approved topic or individual. This will involve a 10-20 minute oral presentation followed by class discussion. (2) Participation in a debate or performance on a suggested topic or individual. (3) Leading a class discussion on one of the suggested topics (researching the topic, developing and distributing discussion questions and additional relevant material in advance of the discussion date).

Resources/Expenses: Our basic text will be A Concise History of the Middle East by Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. and Lawrence Davidson. There are many editions available as both new and used paperbacks at varying prices on Amazon. An additional bibliography will be provided by the coordinators.

Coordinators: Marilyn Kaplan has master’s degrees in teaching and history and has coordinated several LLC courses. Stephen Kaplan is a retired academic physician/professor with a lifelong interest in history. He previously coordinated LLC courses relating to Jewish history and literature.


Tuesday late afternoons
Temple Beth-El
3:15-5:15 PM
10 weeks
Mar 10-May 12
There is no fee for this course, but you must be a member of LLC.
Registration is not required. Just drop in and play.

Scrabble Social Club
Coordinators: Cathy Hurst, Sheila Zompa

Drop in any Tuesday by 3:15 for a friendly game or two of Scrabble. From 3:15-3:30 we will set up the tables, the boards, and the players so that we can start playing right at 3:30. All levels welcome – no fee, no registration. 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 and Sheila will create our groups each week. Then join us afterwards, if you wish, for supper at a different local restaurant each week. We may touch on many interesting topics or just relax and unwind in a convivial group. Game boards and dictionaries provided.


Wednesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
8 weeks
Mar 11-May 6 (No class Apr 15)
Fee: $40
Class size limit: 20

Criminal Justice Reform
Coordinators: Jodi Glass, Nondas Hurst Voll

There is general agreement that our criminal justice system is broken and badly in need of an overhaul. Join us to explore some of the major areas of concern and possible solutions. Topics addressed will include juveniles at-risk, gun violence, violence against women, prosecution, incarceration, probation, reentry, drug addiction, private prisons, and progressive trends in sentencing. Each week will feature a guest speaker whose professional experience highlights specific issues and solutions.

Format: Along with guest speakers, the class will focus on a different topic with questions and handouts provided by the coordinators as needed, to prompt active interest and discussion among members. Presentations, though not required, are welcome. Clips from film and video may be shown. Criminal justice issues that arise during the semester may be discussed as well.

Resources/Expenses: The film 13th by Ava DuVernay, available on Netflix and at local libraries, is recommended for discussion during the opening class. The book, The Nickel Boys by Colin Whitehead, is suggested for further insights and is available at local libraries and bookstores or on Amazon for varying prices.

Coordinators: Jodi Glass is the coordinator of the RI Commission on Prejudice and Bias. She has taken many LLC courses and been an invited guest at several, as well. Nondas Hurst Voll has coordinated LLC courses in theatre, short stories, museums and criminal justice and has been actively engaged in the latter topic for much of her career in social justice.


Wednesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
8 weeks
Mar 11-May 6 (No class Apr 15)
Fee: $40
Class size limit: 20

Contemporary Bioethical Deliberations: Can They Save Us and Our Planet?
Coordinators: Ruth Levy Guyer, Frank Schaberg

NOTE: The coordinators welcome participants who have not previously engaged in bioethical discourses as well as those who joined them last year for the Bioethical Quandaries course. This course will address topical issues affecting living organisms – us, other animal species, plants, microorganisms – and the planet.

What can citizens do to ensure that advances in medicine, science, and technology promote good outcomes rather than destructive ones? How has climate change already damaged human health, plant growth, and ecosystems? What are the effects of unending war on human behavior and health and the balance in nature? What scientific advances are altering our understanding of gender, identity, and the rights of future generations? What medical advances are changing our understanding of patients’ rights, including the rights to try unproven drugs/treatments and the rights of individuals to die with dignity? How can patients protect themselves from charlatans and scam artists? This course will focus on case studies illustrating these and other topics. We will consider where the responsibilities lie with individuals, communities, governments and international organizations – both for creating current problems and for solving them.

Format: Participants should come prepared to discuss assigned materials. They will be encouraged to do half-hour presentations on a syllabus topic of their own choosing.

Resources/Expenses: There is no text and there are no anticipated expenses. The coordinators will distribute handouts in class.

Coordinators: Ruth Levy Guyer taught courses in medical ethics and bioethics at Haverford College. She is co-director of the Arts & Ethics in Palliative Care program at Brown University and is a member of the Miriam Hospital ethics committee. Frank Schaberg is a retired surgeon. He has coordinated several LLC courses, including Moral Reasoning.


Wednesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 11-May 20 (No class Apr 15)
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 12

Life as Fiction
Coordinator: Sheila K Lawrence

If you’ve ever had the desire to write about your life but still want to protect the innocent and defame the guilty, then this course is for you. The Life as Fiction workshop will examine memoir as creative fiction. Designed for both beginners and more advanced writers, participants will be encouraged to draw upon their own life experiences to craft works of fiction. Through writing prompts and challenges, along with weekly discussions and helpful writing tips, we will learn about plot, setting, character, conflict and point of view to develop relatable and engaging stories and/or novels.

Format: Participants are expected to submit weekly drafts, via email, no later than the Monday before the class meets on Wednesdays. Class members are expected to read submissions in advance and be prepared to offer constructive criticism to the individual writers.

Resources/Expenses: Participants are encouraged to purchase Elements of Style by Strunk and White (available on Amazon and in bookstores). In addition, reading and viewing materials will be suggested on an ongoing basis. Participants must be prepared to write in class with fully charged laptops or other writing implements.

Coordinator: Sheila K Lawrence is a former journalist and author of Leap of Faith: A History of Sophia Academy – 2001-2014. She has coordinated many LLC writing workshops, including courses in literature and feminism.


Wednesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 11-May 20 (No class Apr 15)
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

Read and Screen: Books That Were Made Into Movies
Coordinators: Sidney Okashige, Joe Petteruti

Read and Screen is for you if you enjoy talking and hearing about books you’ve read and movies you’ve seen. Combining the two modes for three book/movie titles, we will start with To Kill a Mockingbird, just to warm up and model our class format and discussion skills. The class will choose the second and third books from a list of possibilities, among them The Shawshank Redemption; classics by Stephen King or Jane Austen, and new titles like Motherless in Brooklyn.

Format: We will read each book incrementally for approximately a month, discussing a portion of the reading/book each week during the first hour and screening of a portion of the movie during the second hour. Class members will contribute ideas for discussion prompts a few days before class. They are also invited to make ten-minute presentations, sharing information about the author or the movie.

Resources/Expenses: The coordinator will provide all movies. Participants may obtain books from the public library or from a book seller. The coordinator will provide any assistance that participants need in obtaining books.

Coordinators: Sidney Okashige has led a variety of LLC courses and loves sharing books and short stories with LLC members. She is a retired educator with degrees in American literature and literacy education. Joe Petteruti has a lifelong interest in both reading and literary criticism. He has been a member of LLC for almost ten years and participates in our photography club, Snapix.


Wednesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 11-May 20 (No class Apr 15)
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

Hot Topics
Coordinators: George Champlin, Lee Golden

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 Lee Golden have coordinated this very popular course in prior semesters.


Wednesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 11-May 20 (No class Apr 15)
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 9

Knitting: Beyond the Basics
Coordinator: Doris Briggs

This knitting course will take you beyond the basics of knit and purl. We will build your skills together one stitch at a time and learn such things as how to READ your stitches, fix dropped stitches, pick yarn for your project, increase/decrease stitches, bind off to finish the project, do a gauge swatch, learn several cast on methods, and basic tools for knitting and how to use them. If you have a knitting question, you can bring it to class.

Format: The sessions will be divided into three parts: (1) review and status of your project and questions, (2) discussion and practice of a new technique, and (3) time to sit and knit.

Resources/Expenses: A list of patterns and materials will be provided before classes start. Expenses will vary depending on your project and material selected.

Coordinator: Doris Briggs is a happily retired Registered Nurse who has been knitting for many years. Her interests include knitting samples for a yarn shop, spinning fiber, weaving, wine making, volunteering with WaterFire as a boat captain and learning new things.


Wednesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
8 weeks
Mar 11-May 6 (No class Apr 15)
Fee: $40
Class size limit: 12

Exploring Improvisation
Coordinator/Leader: Naida Weisberg
Guest Leaders: Melissa Bowler, Barry Marshall, John Roarke

Come and share life’s daily drama, humor and what if’s where learning and spontaneity are the coin of the realm. By starting with simple, directed activities, we stretch body, mind and imagination. It’s well known that the act of playing and improvising can influence the quality, depth and breadth of our creative work, interaction, and group discussion. Our goals are to evoke sensory awareness, develop skills and abilities in improv, have fun while engaging in activities that stimulate thinking and imagination.

Format: Each week we shall check in with participants, do warm-up exercises and games, build skills through a series of improv activities, reflect, share and discuss.

Resources/Expenses: Newspaper clippings, stories, props, and poems may be shared. There are no expenses anticipated.

Coordinators: Naida Weisberg, M.A. was the director of !Improvise! for 50 years, She has led two previous Improv classes at LLC. Melissa Bowler co-founded the Providence Improv Guild. Barry Marshall, M.A., taught theater at Moses Brown School for 30 years and has co-led Improv for LLC. John Roarke, M.A., is a comedy writer and has a degree in drama therapy.


Thursday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
9 weeks
Mar 12-May 14 (First play Mar 6; No class Apr 9)
Fee: $65
Section 1 Class size limit: 30
Section 2 Class size limit: 23

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

Do you like to see live theater? Do you like to talk about it afterwards? Then join our popular Theatre Conversations course. We will feature two plays at Trinity (Sweat by Lynn Nottage and Sweeney Todd by Sondheim and Wheeler), and two at the Gamm (Assassins by Sondheim and Weidman and Mary Jane by Amy Herzog) all of which we will attend as a group. We will also independently attend Junk (by Ayad Akhtar) at the Burbage and Miss You Like Hell (by Quiara Hudes) at the Wilbury.

Format: Participants will obtain and read several of the scripts and attend a performance of each play. Participants also are expected to present material or lead short, lively class discussions on 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: There will be minimal costs related to the purchase of scripts (all available on Amazon) and for attending the Gamm ($20) and other performances ($15). 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 for several semesters. 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 12-May 21 (No class Apr 9)
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

Russia – 20th Century to the Present
Coordinators: Rick Keogh, Bob Schnare

"Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma..." – Winston Churchill

Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has morphed from an almost failed and collapsing state into one that is internally cohesive and authoritarian, and externally more aggressive.  How and why has Russia changed so dramatically in the 21st century?  We will seek answers to this question by tracing Russia from its Soviet revolutionary origins until the present day, concentrating on political, economic, social and foreign policy development since 1917.

Format:  Class members will be expected to provide a 10-20 minute oral presentation followed by class discussion or to develop and distribute discussion questions and additional relevant material prior to leading a class discussion.  Presentations may include YouTube videos, PowerPoint, printed handouts or any combination of these.

Resources/Expenses:  Our basic text will be A History of 20th Century Russia by Robert Service (Harvard University Press, 1998), available from Amazon, used in paper for $2.99 and up. Coordinators will help suggest any supplementary resources (print, online or media) which may be useful. In addition, an extensive bibliography will be distributed for class members who want to explore specific topics or personalities. This will include fiction by Stuart Kaminsky and Martin Cruz Smith, whose novels give in-depth insights into Soviet society in the 21st century.  There is a wealth of material on PBS, the History Channel, the American Heroes Channel (AHC), HBO and streaming services.

Coordinators:  Rick Keogh, a retired college librarian, holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history as well as library science.  He is a film aficionado. Bob Schnare, who is new to LLC, is a retired director of the Naval War College library.


Thursday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 12-May 21 (No class Apr 9)
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration: Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton, Crean, et al.
Coordinator: Tim Walsh

At the turn of the twentieth century, Antarctica became the scene of numerous expeditions. Their findings changed our understanding of the planet forever. This course will examine the explorers of the last continent to be discovered. Join us as we learn about the motivations, challenges, strengths and weaknesses of these heroic men.

Format: Participants will read selected chapters of the texts and lead weekly discussions. Active class participation and making a class presentation is expected.

Resources/Expenses: The texts, 1912 – The Year the World Discovered Antarctica by Chris Turney and An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean – Antarctic Survivor by Michael Smith, are both available from Amazon from $5.95 and up.

Coordinator: Tim Walsh has coordinated LLC courses for over 9 years, most notably focusing on Irish history, literature and film.


Thursday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 12-May 21 (No class Apr 9)
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

Voyager: Outlander, Book 3 by Diana Gabaldon
Coordinator: Deborah Chorney

NOTE: This course is a continuation of the successful LLC courses that covered Book 1 and Book 2. Completion of the previous 2 courses is not required, but reading the books is encouraged.

Outlander was voted by PBS viewers as American’s #2 best loved novels in The Great American Read. Join us as we find out why America loves this book and study the history of the time and the author’s language and writing style. Book 3 finds Claire back in the 20th century, having been sent there by Jamie Fraser on the day of the Battle of Culloden, pregnant with their child. Claire is taken back by her first husband, Frank. In the meantime, Jamie has survived the battle of Culloden. Will Claire and Jamie find each other again? Will Claire return to the 18th century? And what about Claire and Jamie’s baby? This course will be fun, informative and thought-provoking. We will not be watching the TV series

Format: Class members will be expected to read Book 3, choose a topic provided in the syllabus, make a 30-40 minute presentation and join in the discussions.

Resources/Expenses: The book is available on Amazon, prices ranging from $3.99 to $9.99, as well as on Kindle.

Coordinator: Deborah Chorney has been a member of LLC since 2011. She has coordinated the Outlander, Book 1 and Book 2, and the Memoir Group for four semesters.

 


Thursday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 12-May 21 (No class Apr 9)
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

One Nation or Two: America at a Balance Point, April 1865
Coordinators: Eugene Mihaly, Bruce Ruttenberg

Years of civil war left the outcome hanging on desperate military initiatives by both sides – and on decisions by the major actors. At issue was not only one nation or two but what kind of peace was possible. Join us as we explore that fateful moment in April and the uncertainties that dominated events; and shortly thereafter set the country on its very rocky path. We will set those events in the context of the decades long (and continuing to this day) debate over federal vs state power and the legitimacy of secession.

Format: Each participant is encouraged, but not required, to choose a relevant topic from the syllabus and prepare a class presentation and/or discussion.

Resources/Expenses: The primary text will be April 1865, the Month That Saved America by Jay Winik, available on Amazon in paperback, used for $1.19 up.

Coordinators: Bruce Ruttenberg is a retired Senior Partner of Chace Ruttenberg and Freedman and an experienced LLC coordinator. Eugene Mihaly is a former university professor and business executive who has coordinated many LLC courses. 


Thursday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 12-May 21 (No class Apr 9)
There is no fee for this course, but you must be a member of LLC.
Registration is not required. Just drop in and play.

Mah Jongg Drop-In
Coordinators: Sheela Percelay, Sandra Wyn

This is intended for people who know how to play and want some new people to play with! There is no fee, and registration is not required, but please contact Sheela Percelay (401-726-5863) or Sandra Wyn (401-272-8136) for details.


Thursday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:30 PM (Note 2.5 hr length)
10 weeks
Mar 12-May 14
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 18

Snapix: Photography
Coordinators: Tom Amsterburg, Sally Barker, Donna Parker

Take your best photographs ever! Join us in our interactive photography course that will focus on basic camera settings and correct exposure, composition and lighting, common photography mistakes, pre-visualization, ’working the scene’, and shooting creatively. Other topics include the exposure triangle, depth of field, and using aperture and shutter priority modes. We will also demonstrate the use of photo editing software and related post-production techniques, including creating black and white images from color photos. The course is open to photography enthusiasts of all levels but is aimed at individuals who primarily shoot in “automatic” mode and would like to enhance and better understand the technical capabilities of their cameras and gain more creative control. The only requirement is that you have a digital camera (see below) and a willingness to learn and try new things.

Format: 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, presentations and in-class demonstrations of different photography topics, and periodic group photo shoots. Photo Shoots: In addition to in-class demonstrations, there will be four group photo shoots, which will include sessions on landscapes, sunset/night photography, and people and portraits. The photo shoots will be held during normal class hours at agreed locations, except for the sunset/night photography shoot, which will be held at an evening date and time to be determined and agreed to in class.

Resources/Expenses: Students should have a DSLR (or mirrorless) camera or an advanced “point and shoot” having the capability to shoot using semi-manual settings (e.g., aperture and shutter priority}. While not a requirement, an inexpensive camera tripod is highly recommended (options to be discussed in class), particularly for the night photo shoot. There are no required expenses for this course, although it is possible that a photo shoot will require an entrance fee (to be agreed to in class).

NOTE: This is an extended class that will end at 3:30 PM for certain sessions. There will also be an optional camera "boot camp" session on Thursday, March 5 at 2:30 PM at Temple Beth-El to help people with some camera basics prior to the first class.

Coordinators: Tom Amsterburg is an avid amateur photographer and a member of the Stonybrook Camera Club and the Greater Boston Night Photographers. He is currently interested in landscape, nature, and night photography. Sally Barker taught in Textiles and Freshman Foundation at RISD for decades but has always used photography as part of her “sketchbook” practice. Fleeting traces of light have been a long-standing focus, and birds are a more recent subject. Donna Parker has been a photographer for many years and is a member of the Art League of Rhode Island and the Stonybrook Camera Club. She enjoys all types of photography, particularly flowers and landscapes, as well as black and white photography.


Thursday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
3:15-5:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 12-May 21 (No class Apr 9)
Fee: $20
Class size limit: 10

Fiction Writing Critique Group
Coordinator: Mary Ball Howkins

Join a group of fiction writers. We’ll help you mold character, plot, description and narrative structure into fiction! Gather with writers who conjure tales of far away and nearby, who love telling stories and have many to tell. In an intimate and supportive group, learn how to hone your writing, explode it into something brand new, or extract it sentence by sentence from your imagination with cheers and encouragement from others. No judgments allowed – only constructive assessment to urge you on to finding and asserting your writer’s voice.

Format: Two participants will submit a story or chapter online to class members by the Monday before the Thursday class meeting date. Class members will prepare comments, suggestions, and editing corrections by that Thursday and be ready to discuss those comments etc., in the class meeting. The two persons submitting will be expected to ask for specific feedback when emailing the story or chapter to others so that the class will have some direction while reading and commenting.

Resources/Expenses: No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinator: Mary Ball Howkins has coordinated many LLC courses and is an active writer of fiction, an international wildlife volunteer, and art historian.


Friday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 13-May 15
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

 

The Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela
Coordinators: Jim Estey, Michael Dumond

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) is revered today as the inspiring leader of the Black Liberation Movement in modern South Africa and as South Africa’s first black President. His courage, effective political leadership, integrity, strength of character, and commitment to liberation and freedom for all South Africans are especially noteworthy in light of his early life as a poor farm boy and the 27 years he endured as a political prisoner. This exciting course provides a window into the history of modern South Africa. It focuses on an historical and critical study of Mandela’s life: his background, his education, his ideas, his political activities, and his impact on South Africa and the world. How can one explain and understand Mandela? How and to what extent was he successful? What can we learn from him about political leadership, living a good life, how to treat each other well, and creating peaceful and harmonious societies?

Format: Participants will be expected to complete the weekly readings and to provide one 10-20-minute oral presentation and lead a class discussion on a topic suggested in the syllabus.

Expenses/Resources: Our main text will be Mandela’s interesting semi-autobiography Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, available at Amazon used for $1.75 and up. Additional resources such as maps, periodicals and films may be provided.

Coordinators: Mike recently moved to Providence from New Hampshire, and is new to LLC. He has worked in social work/family counseling and public health. Jim Estey is a recently retired professor of World History at Bryant University, has degrees from Cornell and Brown Universities and previously coordinated an LLC course about Mahatma Gandhi.


Friday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 13-May 15
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

 

The Poetry of Joni Mitchell’s Lyrics
Coordinator: Steve Starger

In a career that spans nearly half a century, Joni Mitchell has become an established icon in the worlds of music and poetry. Yes, poetry. In this course, we will explore Mitchell’s songs in a context of poetry analysis. This examination will give continuity to Joni’s evolution as a poet. Even if you’re not familiar with Mitchell’s songs, this class is sure to arouse your interest in this singular artist and her multi-faceted identities.

Format: Each class member will choose two songs from a spreadsheet sent before the first class to present evidence – or not – of Mitchell as a poet. The list will include two songs each from albums spanning Mitchell’s career, chronologically. The first class hour will comprise of a discussion of Mitchell’s life as reflected in her songs. In the second hour, participants will present their reactions to the two songs they selected and explore the lyrics in terms of meter, scansion, metaphor, simile, imagery, etc. Presenters can choose to use PowerPoint, YouTube video, or other visual aids.

Expenses/Resources: There are no expenses anticipated.

Coordinator: Steve Starger is a journalist, author and musician. His latest book is a memoir, Misfits and Supermen: Two Brothers’ Journey along the Spectrum, which was published in 2018. He has coordinated numerous writing courses for LLC.