10:00 AM-11:00 AM Classes
Invited speakers give historical background and depth to issues facing the US today and respond to questions from the audience. Filmed and aired on Wellesley cable television and YouTube, the course is designed to stimulate a discussion that extends beyond the classroom and to contribute to a more informed community.
- September 18 Gerald Rovsner, attorney at law, “Current US Immigration Policy”
- September 25 Alice Peisch, MA Rep. for Wellesley, “Update on Our Infrastructure”
- October 2 Mark Lee, assistant district attorney, Suffolk County
- October 16 Phyllis Mays, “State Legislation Regarding Immigrants in Massachusetts”
- October 23 John Lambert, emeritus exec. VP, ImmunoGen, “From Toxins to Magic Bullets for Cancer Treatment: A Biotech Success Story”
- October 30 TBD
- November 6 John Dirlam, Wellesley Historical Society, “Six Other Unusual Elections in American History”
- November 13 Cynthia Stone Creem, MA Senator for Newton & Wellesley, “Mandatory Minimum Sentencing and Other Criminal Reform Justice Issues”
- November 20 Andy Molinsky, professor, Brandeis Business School, “If You’re Not Outside Your Comfort Zone, You Don’t Learn Anything”
- November 27 Alan Schechter, emeritus professor of political science, Wellesley College, “The First Year of the Trump Administration”
Course Coordinators: Ann Dolbear, Marian Stevens & Jill Strang
Videographer: Bill Stanwood.
Dancing is the perfect combination of physical activity, social interaction and mental stimulation. It’s a full body workout for the mind, body and spirit. Learn the basic step elements, posture, poise, lead/follow, technique, etc. Merengue, waltz, foxtrot, tango, swing, rumba, salsa/cha cha. No partner or prior experience necessary.
Teacher: Paul Hughes is a certified member of the Dance Teachers Club of Boston, the American Society of Teachers of Dance and National Dance Council of America, and teaches ballroom dancing in the Cambridge Public Schools.
Bright Moments of Jazz and Rock
Minimum enrollment 6
This course celebrates the great bands and stars of pop, rock and jazz of the 20th century. We will listen to recordings, watch videos and talk about a wide variety of musicians and bands. Social, historical and musical context will be provided. Examples of the artists included are Fats Domino, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Santana, Miles Davis, Elvis Presley, BB King, Charlie Parker, Carole King, Michael Jackson and Buddy Holly.
Teacher Tom Doran is a bassist/vocalist who has played locally for 48 years. He is currently rehearsing a Funk/Rock/Soul band and is pursuing a jazz vocal project. He likes to share music gems and is thrilled when you bring in some of your own as well!
Greater Boston Cultural Institutions
Boston, a major cultural center, boasts a wealth of museums, libraries, gardens, historic destinations, art galleries, authors, etc. The following will visit WWLL this semester:
The following will visit WWLL this semester:
- September 18 Wendy Cadge, professor of sociology, Brandeis University, “Hidden Sanctuaries”
- September 25: Kimberly Dawson, executive producer, Actors’ Shakespeare Project
- October 2 Carole Charnow, president and CEO, Boston Children’s Museum
- October 16 Jocelyn Gould, park guide, “Shipbuilding Women of the Navy Yard,” Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown
- October 23 Susan Wilson, historian, The Omni Parker House
- October 30 Jackie Blombach, historic preservation consultant, The Gibson House Museum
- November 6 Rose Doherty, author, Katharine Gibbs: Beyond White Gloves
- November 13 Dennis Fiori, president, Massachusetts Historical Society
- November 20 Shana Dumont Garr, curator, Fruitlands Museum
- November 27 Gordon Wilkins, assistant curator, Peabody Essex Museum Photography Collection
Course Organizers: Ross Atkin & Fran Weisse
Learning to Express Yourself in French
Using selections from literature to be distributed as a basis for conversation, we learn to narrate in French the action in those selections, and to describe the characters, the setting and the meaning. We will then apply our new knowledge to events in our personal lives. An intermediate level of French capability is required.
Teacher: Norman Gaudet taught French at Newton North. A graduate of Boston College, he has an AMT from Harvard and did advanced studies in French at the Sorbonne.
Poetry For The People X: Modern And Contemporary European Poetry
The class will read and discuss poems by poets from 20 European countries. Just what are the issues and conflicts expressed by modern and contemporary poets from Bulgaria or Russia or Wales? This class encourages you to share your thoughts and ideas about these poets and their work.
Teacher: Chuck Kamar taught English for 34 years in the Newton Public Schools, the last 20 at Newton North. He has a bachelor’s from Boston State and a master’s from Boston University. In 1998, he won the Paul E. Elicker Award for Excellence in Teaching.
The Butterfly Effect: How Random Events Affect History
History from the perspective of “now” often assumes the mantle of inevitability. It appears logical and linear. Standard texts march from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance to the Age of Reason. But what if we replayed the tape of history? Would we have the same result? To what extent are historical events, trends, eras, the results of a series of unpredictable contingent events that cascade into a particular outcome? What if William of Normandy’s cavalry lacked the simple stirrup? Would Harald Sigurdsson have continued his reign in 1066? What language would we be speaking now? We look at these questions and other seemingly inconsequential developments that altered the course of history from Themistocles’ navy in the Persian War to Kaiser Frederick III’s untimely death in 1888.
Teacher: David Moore taught in the history and social sciences department at Newton North. He received his master’s from Boston College. He won the Charles Dana Meserve outstanding teacher award in 1993. His particular history interests include classical Greece, American studies and the Holocaust.
Wollen Sie Deutsch Sprechen?
An hour of conversation for students of German and for German speakers. Basic knowledge of the German language is necessary. We read stories, plays, newspaper articles and poems. Participants write short essays, which we correct in class and use as bases to review or teach grammar points. Talents represented in the group make for a lively class.
Teacher: Renate Olsen has a bachelor’s and a master’s from New York State University at Albany. She has taught English and German in high school. She had a Fulbright scholarship in Germany and is a retired serials librarian at Regis College.
11:30 AM-12:30 PM Classes
Celebrating Science In The 21St Century
Sessions 6-10, starts October 30
Science is an important tool of society. This course presents lectures on science related issues facing us in the modern world. We’ll tackle a different subject every week and discuss topics ranging from nuclear politics and energy to public health and genetics. Join us as we discuss the most up-to-date science in a clear, concise manner that is both thought provoking and fun.
Teacher Frank Villa has a lifelong interest in the natural sciences. An award-winning lecturer, he finds great joy in explaining complex principles and processes. He is a former teacher of high school physics and earth science, a fully rated commercial pilot and flight instructor, and a small business owner specializing in the design and outfitting of science laboratories.
This course presents a variety of historical topics.
- September 18 Bob Begin: Life and Times of John Paul Jones. Today Jones would be a perfect CEO of a large company. He wanted recognition, credit and fame, but his resources (i.e. ships and crews) were always inadequate. Yet he was the captain America’s fledgling navy needed to fight the British Royal Navy.
- September 25 Bob Begin: Something Old & Something New: Barbary Coast Pirates of 1803 and Somali Pirates of Today. How to counter: Pay tribute or use naval force?
- October 2 Chris Klein: The 34 Boston Harbor Islands. The history of these islands, many endowed with natural beauty, is fascinating. Chris Klein has written a book about them.
- October 16 Joe Weisse: Henry Wilson, U.S. Vice President, 1873-5. Wilson lived his adult life in Natick, MA. He rose from a cobbler to become a senator, then VP in Grant’s second administration.
- October 23 Tim O’Connor: U.S. Postal History as a Primary Source. Colonial letters from the presenter’s award winning collection provide insights into early American and world history. Ben Franklin, first Postmaster General, will be impersonated.
Speakers: Bob Begin spent 35 years in management in the paper industry. Chris Klein is a regular contributor to History.com and author of three books. Joe Weisse was public information officer for the MA Commission for the Blind for 34 years. Tim O’Connor was a physician and chief of hematology/oncology at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
Course organizer Bruce Belason.
Makers Of The Modern Mind
We use words and concepts like evolution, alienation, repression, nihilism and relativity. These and other similar concepts represent what has been called modernity or the modern mind. The thinkers who developed these modern ideas included Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Einstein. In this course, we study the lives and ideas of these men. These thinkers also articulated critiques of religion. How does a modern religious believer respond to these critiques? Thus, in this course, the role of religion in the modern world is also evaluated.
Teacher William E. Kaufman, Ph.D, is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth El in Fall River, MA. He also served as adjunct professor of philosophy at Rhode Island College. He is the author of seven books and numerous articles.
Not Just Yoga: A Taste Of Indian Culture
Sessions 6-10, starts October 30
Many aspects of this fascinating culture will be explained and discussed. Topics will include cultural icons (Bollywood, bindis, yoga, henna tattoos, turbans, etc.); Hinduism and its traditions (a Hindu wedding, Durga Puja, Diwali, Holi, etc.); garments, textiles and handlooms; Indian classical and folk music with live singing performances. A focus will be Tagore’s music—composed by the Nobel Prize-winning philosopher and poet Rabindranath Tagore. There will also be discussion of the joys and quandaries of living in USA for second-generation Indian Americans.
Teacher: Maitreyee Chakraborty immigrated to the USA from India at a young age. She obtained graduate degrees in English and music, taught, married, raised two sons and became a U.S. citizen. She frequently visits India. She is a professional singer of Tagore and has a CD: His Spirit Within. She is eager to explain Indian culture.
Sharing Your Values From Generation To Generation To Generation
Most of us will be remembered for what we do in life and how our deeds reflect our priorities, our core values and what we love. The ancient practice of writing an ethical will is a way to distill what is most important to us in life, to pass on personal truths and to serve as our guideposts as we strive to act in harmony with our most deeply held beliefs. In this class, we identify our values, skills and wisdom that we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren, and create a document to accompany the other legacies we leave.
Teacher: Merle “Glee” Snyder is an educator and administrator who has taught and served as school head in Providence, Atlanta, Cleveland and Danbury, CT. She has degrees from Brandeis, Rhode Island College and Hebrew College of Brookline. She also served for 15 years on the staff of Institutional Advancement at Brandeis.
Stories Of Conflict As Seen Through A Narrator’s Lens, Part VII
We will discuss how narrators’ perspectives affect our appreciation of works including selections from Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, “In A Grove” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien and Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.
Teacher: Helen F. Smith has taught at the Winsor School, Newton North and in Armenia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Georgia, Romania and Zambia. A Smith College graduate, she edits texts about writing and journalism.
The Human Predicament: The End Of An Era
The first half of the 20th century marked the end of an era. Most of the traditional beliefs, not only about human nature but also about the nature of the world, had been undermined. All of the short novels we will read were spawned by this predicament, but each offers a different response.
The importance of the topic should be self-evident, for as time has passed our world view has, if anything, become more and more exacerbated by a series of wars, ominous climate changes and drastic political upheavals. Books: Death in Venice, Thomas Mann; Demian, Hermann Hesse; Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka; The Stranger, Albert Camus.
Teacher: Lois Ziegelman, Ph.D., Brandeis, is professor emerita from Framingham State College, where she taught World Literature and Drama for 31 years. A recipient of five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has studied, taught and performed works from Classical Antiquity through the 20th century.
Weekly News Discussion Group
Maximum enrollment 20
A discussion group on the important news of the week, domestic and international. There are many significant events in the arts, business, science and technology, politics, medicine and sports among other fields. A list of suggested topics will be offered for group selections at each class. Possible topics include new medical procedures; a developing sports dynasty; a hard fought political election; racial, religious and ethnic tensions; conservative and liberal social practices; challenges of aging. Join us with your knowledge, interest, views, questions and conversation.
Moderators: There will be a moderator and co-moderator for each class. They will be George Martins, who taught chemistry many years, and Jay Kaplan, Jack Rubin and Joe Weisse, all of whom have helped moderate current events discussion groups at WWLL in past years.
Writing Your Story (Memoir, Not Autobiography)
Maximum enrollment 20
Our memories are an essential part of who we are. This class is a community for those with stories to tell and reasons to write them down—to recapture treasured moments, leave a record for family and understand the past. Writing is done at home, then read aloud in class; comments focus on helping the writer. For those who can stay, the class extends to 1 p.m.
Leader: Pat Herlinger, B.A., UC Berkeley. Elementary teaching certificate. Teaching experience at the elementary level (classroom, substitute, remedial).