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The Learning CollaborativeWinter 2021

Register here

To download a copy of the registration form, please click here


You may register in one of three ways, starting on Tuesday, December 8, 2020:
1. Mail the registration form with check made out to NCJC-TLC to:
New City Jewish Center – TLC
47 Old Schoolhouse Road
New City, NY 10956

2. Enter NCJC through the glass doors and place your registration form and payment in the drop box.

3. Register and pay online by clicking here.

TLC will close registration if it becomes too large. So don’t procrastinate – register now!

If you need assistance in registration, contact Jessica Trokel at

Refunds will be given for a cancellation only if such cancellation is received at the NCJC office no less than 48 hours before the start of the first class of the first day.





In these trying times, it is more important than ever before to ensure that we shut-ins have the mental stimulation that is so important to our overall health.

Therefore, The Learning Collaborative (TLC) is excited to offer you another winter program – one that is greatly expanded from last year’s.

Last year, we offered two full days with a choice of six classes out of a total of thirty. This year we offer three full days and one partial day with a choice of ten classes out of a total of forty. There are no repeats; all forty classes are unique. With just three exceptions, noted below, all classes are new!

The full days, with three periods each, are January 5, 12, and 19. The partial day (period 2 only) is January 26. Since it is clear that the COVID outbreak will not be over by January, all classes will be by Zoom only. (Obviously, there will be no snow days as in the past.)

The remote aspect of our current operations will allow TLC to expand its operations to other regions. For example, for the current fall season we already have students enjoying our programs from outside the local area. For the winter program, we will have one instructor coming to us directly from Israel. We are also preparing to establish a website to provide you with up-to-date information, to answer many questions, to post catalogs, and to provide many other features that you will be enjoying in the 2021 calendar year.

Getting back to the winter 2021 semester, here is your chance to learn from instructors you may have never met before and/or to enjoy sessions with some of your favorite instructors from the past. Following the lead of our past successful winter and summer programs, there will be no advance registration for individual classes.

There is no need to commit to any class in advance. Just send in your registration fee (as usual, a great bargain) and “show up”! The fee is only $50 for three full days and one partial day of classes. If two people will be at one terminal, the discounted fee is only $75 for two.

Please Pass This On
For those not already familiar with TLC, we have grown over the past fourteen years into a large group of adults who continue to enjoy the pleasure, stimulation, and fellowship of learning and sharing our thoughts and observations.

If you know of any others who might be interested in joining us, now or for subsequent semesters, please provide their names and email addresses. Email the information to Jessica Trokel, at our host organization, the New City Jewish Center, at or call her at 845-638-9600 ext. 103.

If you have any questions about this catalog or can suggest ways to improve it, feel free to contact the editor, Marty O. Cohen, at Marty is grateful to Sam Mazen for his support throughout, to Mary Buchbinder, chair of the new instructor committee, and to his wife, Judy, for yet another great proofreading job.


Course Descriptions


“Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” – T.H. White

ARTHUR ALDRICH – From Rabinowitz to Robbins: Why did Jews change their names?
Having freed themselves from oppression in Europe, some Jewish emigres felt they could only achieve their American dream with a new name in their new land. But would they also sacrifice their identities?

SUZANNE ALTMAN #1 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 150
This class will review the history and many expansions of this great museum, including the various departments and donated wings, the Costume Institute, the Temple of Dendur, and the roof garden installations.

SUZANNE ALTMAN #2 – Great African American Artists
This will be a look at the contributions in painting and sculpture made by Black artists from Colonial times to the present day. We will examine the work of Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Augusta Savage, Faith Ringold, Kehinde Wiley and others.

HON. CHARLES APOTHEKER – Drug Treatment Courts
Learn how, why, and when Drug Treatment Courts began, how they operate, the judge’s role in effecting change of behavior, coercive treatment, and successes and failures. Suggested reading: Social Worker with a 2’ by 4’ which is available at and Amazon.

HELENA BARDUSCO – Let’s Get Organized!
Use the winter months to finally get organized. Join Helena, a professional organizer, as she shares her secrets for creating more space, finding a place for everything, and organizing papers. You’ll feel better about your home and your life – and your children will thank you for taking charge of your “stuff” so they don’t have to do it later. Helena will present organizing solutions that will include expensive products as well as practical dollar store gadgets. Stop procrastinating. Get organized! (A repeat of this summer’s class.)

JULIE BARETZ – Biblical Leadership Models
Trying times demand strong leadership. What are the qualities of a good leader? As an educational text and a social document, the Bible offers many models of leadership, both ambitious and unwitting. We will examine three stories that showcase different examples: Elijah and the prophets of Baal, David and Bathsheba, and Ruth. In preparation for the class, please read 1 Kings 18, 19; 2 Samuel 11-12:25; Ruth 1-4.

SUSAN BARNETT #1 – Grace Paley: Goodbye and Good Luck!
Grace Paley wrote fiction, essays and poetry. She was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. As an activist in feminist, racial, and anti-war protests in the 20th century, her work resonates today more than ever. In this class, we will read and discuss one of her earliest short stories, “Goodbye and Good Luck,” which can be found in the collection A Grace Paley Reader, as well as online.

SUSAN BARNETT #2 – Grace Paley: Two Essays
An activist in feminist, racial, and anti-war protests in the 20th century, Paley and her work resonate today more than ever. Two essays, “Women's Pentagon Action Unity Statement” and “Traveling”, which can be found in the collection A Grace Paley Reader, are vivid examples of her reflections and participation in the movements that meant so much to her. They can be found online as well and should provide us with some interesting discussions.

BILL BATSON – Nyack Sketch Log Turns 10
Bill Batson celebrates 10 years and 500 columns chronicling his Hudson Valley river village through his column Nyack Sketch Log. Bill will share a slideshow that will include his ten favorite columns and new content and commentary.

COURTNEY BONIFACE – Estate Planning: Post-2020 Election
Will you need to update your estate plan? We will look at where the estate tax laws are now, where they may head depending on who wins the presidential election, and why you should be paying attention. We will also review key estate planning documents that you should have regardless of presidents or pandemics.

ROBIN BRANCATO #1 – One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (book and film)
We’ll be reading Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, (1962) and watching the film (1975) by the same name. The book was once banned in some schools and is now criticized, by some, for other reasons. We’ll discuss, compare, and decide what we think of it in 2021.

ROBIN BRANCATO #2 – Homeland Elegies
In advance of the class, we’ll read the 2020 novel Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar, a playwright known for Pulitzer Prize-winning plays Disgraced and Junk. Akhtar is the new president of the writers’ organization P.E.N. and has been featured lately in the N.Y. Times, The New Yorker, and other publications.

KAREN CACCAVO – De-cluttering and Downsizing
How can we improve our lives by removing clutter and downsizing? Karen will explore with you how to go about this. We’ll discuss the work of Marie Kondo of Japan. Ask anything – even how to choose and work with a professional organizer.

PHYLLIS CITRIN – CRISPR Gene Editing The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for developing this gene editing technique. The technology is based on the immune system used by bacteria against viruses that attack them. What are the basics of this targeted cut-and-paste DNA editing? How does it work? What does this technology mean for the future?

DR. MARTY O. COHEN #1 – Science in the News during the Prior Week
Every day, new and exciting discoveries and developments in the various fields of science are announced. In this class, the prior week’s most important scientific news items will be presented and discussed. Participation by class members is encouraged. Subject matter will be completely different than for Marty’s class #2.

DR. MARTY O. COHEN #2 – Science in the News during the Prior Week
Every day, new and exciting discoveries and developments in the various fields of science are announced. In this class, the prior week’s most important scientific news items will be presented and discussed. Participation by class members is encouraged. Subject matter will be completely different than for Marty’s class #1.

TRACY DRESSNER, ESQ. – Stories from a Death Penalty Lawyer
This will be a discussion about what it is like to represent people sentenced to death. It will include an overview of the status of the death penalty in this country, with an emphasis on California where Tracy practices.

R. PAULA MACK DRILL – Gratitude 101
Is gratitude more than just a platitude? In a series of conversations and experiences, find out the many benefits of developing an attitude of gratitude.

JIM EVERS – Informed Hope and Responsible Concern for the Future
We fear what we don’t know, but being informed can be the best strategy for allaying fears and moving forward.

RICK FEINGOLD – The Lowell Mill Girls: Organized Labor and the First Strikes in America
They were fed up and wouldn’t take the factory working conditions anymore so the Lowell mill workers went on strike in 1834. The textile industry was the first to become mechanized and working conditions were harsh. Young women recruited off the farms worked 70 hours, six days a week. When wages were cut the workers walked out. Join us as we learn about the Luddites – the machine-breakers who rejected the regimentation of the factory system and the working conditions of the early industrial era.

What has the pandemic done and how may we respond?

DR. WARREN GRODIN – An Ode to Lyric Poetry
We’ll be reading and discussing lyric poetry from Longfellow, Frost, Kipling, and perhaps others, and comparing it with more “modern” verse.

R. AMI HERSH – The Work of the Masoretes: Guardians, Editors, and Scribal Artists of the Hebrew Bible
Over 1,000 years ago a group of scholars, known as the Masoretes, standardized the text of the Hebrew Bible, developed the musical notation known as trope, and catalogued just about every aspect and nuance of the text. This class will examine the history of their work, show examples of the systems they developed, and look at the broad influence this group continues to have on the development and transmission of the ancient text.

RICHARD LAIRD – Use Your iPhone Camera Like a Pro!
In this class, photographer Richard will show you the seven tips that will turn your photos into works of art suitable for framing. You will also learn about the best iPhone app for editing photos. (A summary of a full course given in the fall.)

FLOYD LAPP – Frank Sinatra’s Big Band Era: Selected Recordings and Radio Appearances
In 1939, at the age of 23, Sinatra became the boy singer with the Harry James band. From 1940-1942 he was with Tommy Dorsey. This nostalgic session will capture some of his major recordings and selected radio transcriptions, representing a very important segment of the big band era. Sinatra emerged as “The Voice” and the number one WWII heart-throb.

JIM LEVEY – China in Latin America
This is a case study in Chinese geopolitics, examining how China is exploiting the peoples of developing regions through trade imbalance, predatory loans, and extraction of strategic minerals to support its goal for primacy on the world stage.

DR. STEPHEN LEVY – Grief, Loss, and Loneliness in the COVID Era
Quarantine, masks, social distancing – public health wisdom dictates these actions and more. We are social beings by our very nature and these separations are taking a troubling toll on us all. We are grieving the loss of face-to-face contact. We miss the handshakes, the hugs and kisses, and other forms of intimacy. Processing feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, and despair are harder without physical contact. Stephen, a psychologist, discusses how to face and cope with this eerie and unwelcome reality.

DEBORAH LOEWENBERG ESQ. – My Experience Arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court
Deborah will lead a discussion centered about her experience arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court. She will describe the legal process of getting the case accepted by the Court, about habeas corpus relief, and about the facts of her case. She will include the inordinate preparation that the brief and argument required and how, ultimately, the proceedings (the actual fact of it) affected her family – especially her parents, who were both Holocaust survivors.

JOAN MALLORY – Opera Reunion Class
This class will be a deviation from Joan’s usual operatic presentation. It will showcase music, poetry, and reflections on the creative and inspiring ways that people have dealt with COVID. There will be some opera, but not primarily so.

SANDRA MARTIN – The Story of Museums in America
Where were our first museums and what were they like? What was the mission of our fine arts museums? Were they temples to inspire or organizations to educate? Which museums are really memorials to rich robber barons? How important are objects and do museums still need them? Are science museums aimed at children only? Why are there so many paintings of nude women in MoMA? Why do some museums fail and others succeed? (A repeat of this summer’s class)

MICHAEL NEVINS – My 40-Year Quest for Information about My Grandparents’ Shtetl
Dabrowa was a shtetl (Jewish village) in the Polish province of Bialystok. Michael recently wrote down all he learned about Dabrowa for his family archives in a booklet entitled Digging up Roots: Exploring My Grandparents’ Polish Jewish Past and will share what he learned with the class.

ALAN PIERCE – From Science Fiction to Reality
Science fiction books, movies, and TV shows have long been predictors and inspirations for invention. From debit cards to cell phones to submarines, many of the inventions imagined in science fiction have become part of our reality. In this class, we will explore many of these once fictional technologies. We will compare the authors’ fictional musings to the equivalent technologies that now exist.

Gentle yoga stretch routines are designed to assist you in maintaining flexibility and balance. Breathing techniques and meditation are included. Dress comfortably, eat light prior to class. [Editor’s note: Yes this can be done successfully with Zoom.]

JUDITH ROSE – A Vital Movement Workshop for Our Time
Spend a special morning with Judith Rose, the founder of Vital Movement™, and return to the land of your body and soul. Participants will enter a dynamic and fluid ritual that incorporates movement, music, and words to encourage growth, joy, and renewal, all within a context of beauty, rhythm, and meaning. You will need a cleared space, comfortable clothing, an armless chair nearby, and a willing heart.

R. CRAIG SCHEFF – The Transformative Power of Vulnerability
From the time most of us were very young, we have been taught to project strength. And projecting strength meant hiding our emotions, our fears, our imperfections, and our uncertainties. In turn, we came to view these pieces of ourselves as sources of shame. In an exploration of classical Jewish texts and modern social science, we will learn why personal vulnerability is the true path to individual and societal transformation.

*MARTIN SCHNEIT – Irving Berlin: An American Institution
Jerome Kern concluded that Irving Berlin has no place in American music. “He is American music.” During Irving Berlin’s career he published an estimated 1500 songs. Marty will discuss how the immigrant boy from Russia became the classic ragtime to riches story. Berlin’s first published song earned him 37 cents. Listen to the story of one of the greatest writers of popular songs who wrote songs like “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “God Bless America,” “White Christmas,” “A Pretty Girls is like a Melody,” “Puttin’ on The Ritz,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

ADAM SIETZ – Joy Through Improvisation
Add joy to your life through “Improv.” Stretch your mind by opening up the dusty files of your imagination. This improvisation series, with all new situations, provides an enjoyable brain workout through games, exercises, and imaginary play. The results are humor, fun, and a sharpened mind.

SANDRA SMITH – The Arts under Louis XIV
Louis XIV was a great patron of the arts. He encouraged the development of literature, music, and dance that had begun under his father but blossomed during his reign. This class will concentrate on the history and work of the Academie Francaise, the Academie Royale de Danse and the Academie de Poesie et de Musique (currently known as the Opera National de Paris), with video clips of reconstructions of some of the music and dance of the period.

ALICE TWOMBLY #1 – Decision: “Brown vs. The Board of Education” (1954)
We will look at the events and cases that led up to the 9-0 unanimous Supreme Court ruling that ended legal school segregation in the United States.

ALICE TWOMBLY #2 – Reaction: Responses to the Brown Decision
We will examine the history of the 10 years that followed the Brown decision and the reactions that led to the eventual re-segregation of schools.


Helena Bardusco is a Golden Circle Member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. She has been providing organizing services in the Manhattan, Westchester, and Rockland areas for over 20 years. She was featured in the Holiday Issue of Rockland Magazine.

Julie Baretz, through the wonder of Zoom, will be coming to us directly from Israel. She grew up in Valley Cottage and has lived in Israel for 35 years. She is a veteran tour guide and the author of The Bible on Location: Off the Beaten Path in Ancient and Modern Israel (JPS).

Deborah Wolikow Loewenberg, Esq. started her career as an Assistant Attorney General where she represented the Department of Correctional Services in the federal district courts. Thereafter, she worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Rockland County where she was Chief of Appeals. She entered private practice in New City in 1995 and has devoted the bulk of her practice to the criminal defense of clients in both the state and federal courts.

Martin Schneit, a born and bred New Yorker and historian, has lectured at the New York Public Library, various JCCs, the 92nd Street Y, the Health Outreach program of New York Presbyterian Hospital, The Central Synagogue, The Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale, The Ziegfeld Society of New York, the patients at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, and the Lincoln Center Campus of Fordham University. The Jewish Braille Institute has recorded Marty's lectures for their audio magazine and lecture series


Carol Baretz
Sally Borgman
Jeffrey Brown
Mary Buchbinder
Phil Carmichael
Phyllis Citrin

Martin O. Cohen
Joseph Epstein
Nancy Goldman
Howard Goldstein
Berton Greenberg
Warren Grodin

Theresa Jackson, M.D.
Jean Kelly
Phyllis Levin
Sam Mazen
Marsha Safran


The contents of this brochure were submitted by the Learning Collaborative Board. If you or someone you know is interested in teaching a course, please contact Mary Buchbinder at

If you have suggestions for improving this catalog, please contact the editor, Dr. Marty O. Cohen, at

Thu, April 15 2021 3 Iyyar 5781