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The Learning Collaborative


For general questions about the Collaborative, call 845-638-9600, select “0”.


I’ve been a participant in The Learning Collaborative since its very first days (2007), as both a Board member and a student. At the beginning, I couldn’t have known how wonderful it would be to have so many moments of my life filled with new stimulation and new ideas that I’d never encountered. I’ve always liked learning, but never had the opportunity to sit back, relax, and just enjoy absorbing such a range of information and creativity offered by knowledgeable, passionate teachers. This is school, and it isn’t school. No homework most of the time, no grades, but also lots of potential companionship from others who are enjoying this very special world.

The Board makes all the Collaborative decisions, and does outreach to teachers and students. In our 13-year history we were first hosted by Long Island University, and now by the New City Jewish Center. Our curriculum is independent of our sponsors, and we welcome teachers from all areas of expertise, many of whom seem most interested in teaching a “passion” separate from their professional life. We’re also committed to an environment that welcomes students with all kinds of life experiences, backgrounds, and viewpoints.

If you are interested in our program, please look through this catalogue and join us in the classroom. We look forward to welcoming you. Finally, if you’d like to offer suggestions to our Board, please let us hear from you.

Mary Buchbinder – Board Vice President

The Board wishes to mark the sudden and heartfelt loss in December of our good friend Dr. Diana Worby. She was a founding member of the Collaborative, a superb teacher, and, for many years, a member of the Board. The Collaborative was just one of many community activities that Diana wholeheartedly embraced. Everything that she did, she did well. There will always be a place in our hearts for this very special lady.


The Board also announces the passing of our beloved colleague (Rev.) Bill Saum. Bill was a member of the Collaborative Board almost from the beginning. His wit and wry sense of humor brightened up many a meeting. In addition, he was one of our most popular teachers. His courses on “Contemporary Religious Issues” were always popular and he taught this subject thirty-four times. Bill will be missed very much by all who knew him.

Course Descriptions

SESSION 1A: Tuesdays: February 25, March 3, and then March 17-April 7

SESSION 1A – PERIOD 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.

Does modern archaeology support the historical accuracy of the (Hebrew) Bible or does it contradict it? In this course, from historical and scientific bases, we will try to answer this question. Bring a Bible with a modern translation to class. NEW!

2. GEORGE ORWELL’S 1984 – Vivienne Dieckmann
Endless wars, invasion of privacy, rats used as instruments of torture, abuses of power, language undergoing constant revision, and Big Brother’s face overseeing all in the society of 1984. Has the world changed since George Orwell envisioned the future when he wrote the novel in 1948? We will examine the literary elements of the novel and also the factors present in today’s society that could evolve into Orwell’s prophecy. NEW!

This course will involve reflections on social issues including political divisions, work, education, identity, and loneliness. NEW!

We usually go about our lives without consciously thinking that everything we do is controlled by law, whether it’s driving on the right side of the road or paying for groceries at the supermarket. This course will review twelve important legal subjects that all well- informed Americans should understand. The topics won’t make you a legal scholar, but you’ll know enough to appreciate the law and our legal system on a totally different level. (This is a repeat of a prior course with some new material.)

Roe vs. Wade is under attack. The right to bear arms is being balanced against public safety, especially the safety of school children. Defendants’ rights in criminal cases may become an oxymoron and victims’ rights are emerging. This course will consider these hot topics. We’ll examine the evolution of key Supreme Court cases as we explore the Bill of Rights and State efforts to define how these rights should be applied. It promises to be a lively class. The class will start fifteen minutes early, at 9:45 a.m. NEW!

This course will cover many different periods of jewelry production, precious stones and minerals, and the buying and selling of jewelry.

SESSION 1A – PERIOD 2: 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

You’ll be provided with a dozen stories, paired up, so that we discuss two each week. Some writers likely to be included are William Trevor, Louise Erdrich, Joyce Carol Oates, and Roddy Doyle. (Also given session 2A, period 2.) NEW!

We require the presence of beneficial microbes for our existence while we continuously battle with potentially harmful ones. Health results from a balance achieved in this battle, but disease results from its lack. We will discuss how our immune system protects us from harmful microbes and what happens when the immune forces mistakenly attack “self.” (This course is adapted from a prior higher level course with updates and more discussion to ensure understanding by all participants.)

3. SCIENCE IN THE NEWS – Dr. Marty O. Cohen
Every day, new and exciting discoveries and developments in the various fields of science are announced. In this course, the prior week’s most important scientific news items will be presented to the class and discussed. Participation by class members is encouraged. NEW!

French for beginners. This fun, interactive course is taught by a native French
speaker. The classes focus on practical, easy French conversations about daily activities. You will learn correct pronunciation in a friendly, stress-free atmosphere. NEW!

Add JOY to your life through “Improv.” Stretch your mind by opening up the dusty files of your imagination. This improvisation series provides an enjoyable brain workout through games, exercises, and imaginary play. The results are humor, fun, and a sharpened mind. (Also see session 2B, period 2.) ALL NEW SITUATIONS!

6. PHOTOBIOLOGY – Bill Stern
This will include various effects of sunlight including, but not limited to, skin cancer. There will be some basic principles discussed as well as historical perspective. NEW!

7. SCORN NOT THE SONNET – Alice Twombly
“Scorn not the sonnet” wrote William Wordsworth. Starting with the Italian roots of the English sonnet in the 16th century, we will read a number of sonnets from Wyatt through Shakespeare and Donne up to contemporary American poets such as Millay, Hacker, Tretheway, and Hayes to demonstrate its power as a poetic form. NEW! (Also given session 2A, period 1.)

LUNCHTIME ACTIVITIES: 12:45 – 1:45 p.m.

(CLICK HERE for a description of this year’s planned Tuesday lunchtime program.)

SESSION 1A – PERIOD 3: 1:45 – 3:00 p.m.

1. ANTHONY TROLLOPE – Susan Barnett
Who was Anthony Trollope and why should we read him today? Although he died in 1882, all of his books are back in print. Let’s read the following books to understand why: The Warden, Barchester Towers, and Phineas Finn. Be prepared to discuss The Warden for the first class. NEW!

(See session 1A, period 2.) NEW!

In the past 86 years, China has made a phenomenal transformation through a careful blend of capitalism and a centrally planned economy. China’s 2025 technology program and the “One Belt, One Road” initiative underscores its ambitions for hegemony. Yet, as China takes its place in the modern world, it faces immense difficulties. We will examine the future of U.S.–China relations in light of ongoing conflicts in trade, military, and other issues. (Much new material.)

In the past, biblical stories were common knowledge. We will concentrate on major works of art from the Renaissance to the present time, relating the paintings to the biblical themes. Some of the artists studied will be Bernini, Michelangelo, Rubens, Gentileschi, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt. This is a continuation of Part 1 taught in fall 2019. We will pick up at Ruth and Naomi and continue to Esther and Ahasuerus. NEW!

Topics to be examined are drawing, mainstreams in modern art, art and psychology, avant-garde, censorship, and reflections on culture. (This class was last taught in 2016 and there is much new material). (Part 1 is not required.)


SESSION 2A: Tuesdays: April 21 – May 26 (no breaks)

SESSION 2A – PERIOD 1: 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.

We will explore the Baroque era (17th century) and its many influential artists. We’ll examine several who were emblematic of their time and place: Vermeer and Rembrandt of the Dutch Baroque, Caravaggio of the Italian, Velasquez of the Spanish Baroque, Van Dyck in England, Rubens in Flanders, and Poussin in France. We will examine the political, social, and artistic climate of the times. NEW!

Despite her being an epic abolitionist, whose heroic efforts to free slaves arguably eclipsed those of Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, there has been, until now, a dearth of full-scale academic and cinematic attention paid to Harriet Tubman. She is the subject of a major studio production, Harriet, and still a contender to be on the $20 bill. It’s time to go beyond the children’s books treatment and meet NYS resident, combat veteran, apothecary, and narcoleptic Araminta Ross, also known as Harriet Tubman. NEW!

3. GARDENING TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS – Master Gardeners of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Rockland with one new topic each week.
April 21 – Terrariums - Vivienne Dieckmann
April 28 - Edible Landscaping - Donna DeSousa
May 5 - Ticks: What Everyone Needs to Know to Combat Them - Brian Hughes May 12 - Ornamental Grasses - Steven Becker
May 19 - Growing Vegetables in Containers - Vivienne Dieckmann
May 28 - Dealing with Wildlife in Your Backyard - Ann Barry
Course and instructor descriptions are at ALL NEW!

4. TYCOONS AND PRESIDENTS - 19TH CENTURY U.S. – Rick Feingold & Tom DeStefano
The late 19th century was an era of unprecedented economic expansion that gave rise to the modern-day corporation. Andrew Carnegie built a steel empire and then gave away 90% of his money. John D. Rockefeller made a fortune in the oil refining industry. J.P. Morgan bailed out the federal government two times during the panics of 1895 and 1907. Three presidents – U.S. Grant, William McKinley, and Teddy Roosevelt – presided over the era of fortune-making for some and economic hardship for many others. NEW!

Each class will be devoted to a discussion and tasting of one of the following six foods: beans, rice, potatoes, corn, salt, and honey. Each food has played an important role in history and our diets, and their stories need to be told and enjoyed. Kim will discuss the important historical events and include trivia and stories to bring this history alive. There will be a small tasting of each food category during class. No food fee. NEW!

The presidential election of 2020 could be historical. Who will be the major party nominees? Our class will explore the pre-November Election atmosphere – the candidates, the primary and caucus season, and some predictions. (Also given session 2B, period 1.) NEW!

7. SCORN NOT THE SONNET – Alice Twombly (See session 1A, period 2)

SESSION 2A – PERIOD 2: 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

In this class you will learn the basics of drawing, including use of materials, contour line drawing, shading to create dimension and texture, perspective, and composition. We will work from still life and photo references. $10 materials fee. NEW!

2. CIVICS: 911 – Bill Batson and guest speakers
This is the fifth in a series of discussions between TLC students and local civics leaders moderated by Bill Batson. Bill worked in New York State politics for 20 years as an operative, organizer, communications officer, and candidate. Six new speakers will discuss urgent matters that impact Rockland County and beyond. NEW!

3. SEEN ANY GOOD MOVIES? – Robin Brancato
We’ll view one film during class time, plus you’ll have a vote in choosing several others that we agree to watch in advance at home (ones that are easily accessible). Then, together, we’ll talk about each choice, share some background information and criticism, and come to conclusions about how to get the most out of watching films. (Also given session 2A, period 3.) NEW!

Vital MovementTM is a unique program for wellness enhancement that integrates the teachings and principles of a variety of kinetic and artistic disciplines to provide effective, joyful, and restorative movement experiences. Classes are divided into segments of standing movement work, movement meditation, and fully choreographed chair dances. Wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to move and be moved. ALL NEW CHOREOGRAPHY!

Do you believe that the root of most relationship problems is poor communication skills? This course, formerly titled “Interpersonal Skills, Personal Empowerment”, offers workshops on receiving and delivering messages clearly. Some topics are understanding differences in individual communication styles, strengthening listening skills, and ways to manage inevitable conflicts. The theories presented are centered in the field of Human Relations.

Maupassant wrote many short stories in his brief lifetime, mainly concentrating on three themes: French life, the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, and the Supernatural. We will read and discuss three to four stories from each theme. Sandra Smith’s own new translation of Maupassant will be used: The Necklace and Other Stories: Maupassant for Modern Times. Please borrow from the library or purchase (about $8 from Amazon.)

This is for students who have never played an instrument before and who also want to learn to read music. We will learn to play the recorder, which is a simple flute, as we learn to read the notes. There is a $22 fee for the recorder, a music notebook, and a music book (all of which you keep) payable at the first meeting of the class. (Costs are actually higher but this course is partially sponsored.) (Class is limited to 10.) NEW!

Join characters Lady Sneerwell and Lady and Lord Teazle in Sheridan’s comedy of manners, The School for Scandal written in 1776. We will read the play aloud in class. If we have time, we will look at some other pieces of satire of this period. NEW!

LUNCHTIME ACTIVITIES: 12:45 – 1:45 p.m. 

(CLICK HERE for a description of this year’s planned Tuesday lunchtime program.)

SESSION 2A – PERIOD 3: 1:45 – 3:00 p.m.

Once again, we will read and discuss selections of nonfiction devoted to both timely and timeless topics and themes. All new materials will be provided in class. NEW!

2. SEEN ANY GOOD MOVIES? – Robin Brancato (See session 2A, period 2.) NEW!

Engage yourself in the exquisite nuances of six operas with interactive educational sessions that include operatic highlights, synopses of the plots, and the background of the composers. The operas are Elixir of Love (Donizetti), Pearl Fishers (Bizet), Masked Ball (Verdi), Cosi Fan Tutti and Idomeneo (Mozart), and Manon Lescaut (Puccini). (These classes will run an extra 15 minutes at the end. No extra charge.J) NEW!

Are you frustrated or embarrassed due to difficulties hearing and communicating? Join us as we host informational sessions about how one hears, communication strategies, and group problem solving surrounding communication breakdowns. Gain insight and strategies from our audiology staff and the experiences of others who may struggle in similar ways. NEW!

5. THE SHORT STORIES OF GUY DE MAUPASSANT: PART 2 – Sandra Smith NEW! (See session 2A, period 2.) (Part 1 is not a prerequisite.) We will read and discuss three to four stories from each theme. Sandra Smith’s own new translation of Maupassant will be used: The Necklace and Other Stories: Maupassant for Modern Times. Please bring your copy if you previously took Part 1, borrow from the library or purchase (about $8 from Amazon). NEW!


SESSION 2B: Thursdays: April 23 – May 28 (no breaks)

SESSION 2B – PERIOD 1: 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.

Woody Allen looms large in American comedy as a writer, stand-up performer, director, and actor. How did this nebbish kid from Brooklyn achieve such success and acclaim? This class will examine the social-cultural messages in his comedy, especially his portrayal of his alter ego and women as leading characters. NEW!

2. THE ISRAEL-ARAB CONFLICT: PART 2 – Rabbi David Berkman
This Middle East conflict has proven to be one of the most stubborn and complex international problems on the world stage today. In this course, we will continue where we left off last semester, in 1948, the year of the creation of the State of Israel. The class will be taught from a non-biased, historical perspective. (Students need not have taken Part 1.) NEW!

The name Rudolf Caldecott (1846-1886), the groundbreaking illustrator and occasional author of picture books for children, is best known today for the medal bearing his name. His life and work, and that of Beatrix Potter, E. H. Shepard, Wanda Gag, Virginia Lee Burton, Robert McCloskey, Dr. Seuss, William Steig, and Maurice Sendak, will be examined in documentaries and on the printed page. NEW!

4. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2020 – Mike Rossi (See session 2A, period 1.)

This timely topic will be a review of NYS and federal limitations on the ability of towns and villages to regulate the size and location of religious and educational uses, including the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). NEW!

SESSION 2B – PERIOD 2: 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

1. KINGS OF COMEDY – Arthur Aldrich
This will be a look at the writers and funny men and women who shaped American comedy from vaudeville to TV. NEW!

2. FRANK SINATRA’S SONGS FROM HIS SENIOR YEARS – Floyd Lapp During this period in Sinatra’s career, he had major hit recordings such as “Strangers in fthe Night,” “My Way,” and “New York, N.Y.” It was a very creative time with diverse musical arrangers and genres. As owner and chairman of the Board of Reprise Records, Sinatra had full artistic control of his works. It was a highly productive period with an output of more than 500 recordings! NEW!

We will examine the lives and careers of some of the world’s most celebrated violinists by way of documentaries about Nathan Milstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, and Gidon Kremer. NEW!

(See session 1A, period 2.) (Situations in Part B are all different from Part A.) NEW!

This will be a mix of history, religion, current events, opinion, and group discussion. Topics include: enabling Biblical scriptures, how Catholicism became the official religion that stabilized Roman Empire slavery, religious conflicts over slavery contributing to the U.S. Civil War, the case against government reparations to the descendants of African- American enslaved people, and Christianity’s Achilles’ heel. NEW!

LUNCHTIME 12:45 – 1:30 p.m.

We have not scheduled any lunchtime activities for Thursdays and so the lunch break will be only 45 minutes.

SESSION 2B – PERIOD 3: 1:30-2:45 p.m.

In the depth of the Great Depression, artists turned their feelings of anger and resentment outward, launching a wave of American Expressionism that was realized in musical theater. Instead of mere entertainment, these shows also conveyed a political message, sometimes subtle, sometimes unmistakable, and sometimes overtly didactic. Relive those years of anger and activism. NEW!

2. DOSTOEVSKY’S THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV; PART 1 – Dr. Warren Grodin We will explore one of the great masterpieces of literature which examines the themes of not judging one another, forgiveness of sins, and praying for the redemption of criminals rather than for their punishment. NEW!

3. A CAVALCADE OF FOLK SONG: PART 4 – Richard Markowitz
We will hear well known and neglected gems of folksong, examining such varied topics as sea chanties; variants of the song Frog Went a-Courtin’; traditional songs arranged by Aaron Copland; French and English songs from Canada; recordings of folksinger and activist Hedy West; and folk instrumentals for banjo, guitar, dulcimer, and other instruments. NEW!

4. STRETCH AND TONE – Charlese Randolph
This class is about creating a stretch routine that is usable in class and at home. We will explore various stretching exercises that help maintain flexibility, muscle tone, and balance. Eat light, bring water, and wear comfortable clothing. NEW!

Instructor Bios

Note: An asterisk (*) before an instructor’s name indicates new to the Collaborative’s regular program.

Arthur Aldrich is the founder, editor, and publisher of Our Town newspaper. He earned an M.A. from SUNY, concentrating in media and communications. In the 1950s, he was stage manager of an off-Broadway theater and technical director of the Folksbiene Theater on the Lower East Side. He was an adjunct professor at Rockland C. C. and has taught more than 60 Elderhostel and adult education courses.

Suzanne Altman, B.F.A., Tyler School of Art, Masters in Art Education, Pace University, has taught art and art history in public and private schools. She lectures on art history at many venues in the Hudson Valley and New Jersey. Suzanne is also a painter who works and teaches out of her studio in Ossining. Her works have been widely exhibited.

Susan Barnett holds a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from Queens College. She has taught at Bronx Community College and at Fairleigh Dickinson. She has also taught ESL for many years in the Teaneck Public Schools as well as at the Tenafly Adult Education program.

Bill Batson, a Historical Society of the Nyacks trustee, publishes a weekly sketch and short essay about Nyack in NyackNewsAndViews. He chaired the effort, with the Toni Morrison Foundation, that created a monument to the Underground Railroad. Bill has worked for non-profits, labor unions, and in NYS government as an organizer, writer, and public relations specialist.

Rabbi David Berkman is Senior Rabbi at the New City Jewish Center. He received both his Master of Hebrew Letters and rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Berkman studied sculpture and performance art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he received his B.F.A. As a rabbi, he frequently calls on his fine arts background to guide him in his pulpit work.

Robin F. Brancato has taught English, journalism, and creative writing at Hackensack H.S., Teaneck H.S., and Kean University, all in New Jersey. She has published eight young adult novels with Alfred Knopf and two nonfiction books for teenagers with Scarecrow Press. She is a member of the Authors Guild, PEN International, and Writers Guild East.

Phyllis Citrin holds a B. S. in Biology and a Masters in Science Education from CCNY. She did research and participated in leadership institutes at Princeton, Cold Spring Harbor Labs, Nathan Kline, and Cornell University. She was a finalist for 1999 New York State Teacher of the Year and has taught Advanced Placement Biology and Science Research for over 44 years.

Dr. Marty O. Cohen has a doctorate in Nuclear Science and Engineering from Columbia University. He has lectured on history, science, and the historic approach to Bible at Road Scholar (nee Elderhostel) seminars, the Melton Institute, alumni associations, synagogues, culture clubs, and here at the Collaborative. He is a member of TLC board and is the catalog editor.

Cornell Cooperative – Descriptions of all instructors and their courses can be found online at www.

Tom DeStefano taught American History at Paterson H. S. for 30 years and currently teaches at Bergen Community College. He has presented many programs at local libraries. His specialties include the American presidents, the Civil War, and New Jersey history.

*Vivienne Dieckmann holds a B.A. in English from SUNY, New Paltz, an M.S. in Computers from LIU, and a certificate in Horticultural Education from Cornell University. She taught English and AP English in Pearl River H.S. for 31 years as well as Project Advance, a freshman English program through Syracuse University. Since retiring, she has presented many programs in libraries and in continuing adult education centers throughout Rockland County.

Rick Feingold holds a B.A. in History and Business from Rutgers and an M.B.A. from Penn
State. He has 30 years of teaching experience, currently teaching “American Business History” and “The Air Force in World War II” at Bergen Community College. He also teaches at Ridgewood Community School and Emerson Community School. He has lectured at over 50 local libraries. He has written for the Boston Herald and Christian Science Monitor.

Howard B. Goldstein, M.D., is a pathologist with interests in science and public policy, effects of climate change, sustainable development, and global health.

Warren Grodin, M.D., FACA, is a retired anesthesiologist. He recently completed an 8-part course here at TLC on James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Kim Hendrickson holds a B.A. in Literature (William Paterson University) and is a Pastry Technique graduate from the French Culinary Institute in NYC. She has written three cookbooks, teaches assorted cooking classes locally and afar (NC, MN, LA), and is a regular contributor to Tea House Times magazine.

Hudson Valley Audio Team, led by Sophia Patrikis, Au. D. has provided auditory evaluations and hearing aid services in the Rockland County area since 1975.

*Greta Inowlocki is a native French speaker who has been teaching adults and children for many years. She taught French at the Clarkstown schools, Albertus Magnus, the Immaculate Heart Academy, and the Blue Rock School, as well as Rockland Community College. For the past ten years, Greta has been the organizer of the Hudson Valley French Language & Culture Meetup in Rockland County.

Edward P. Kallen, Esq. has been a practicing attorney since 1972 and has practiced in virtually
all of the courts in the State of New York. Ed received his undergraduate degree from Penn State University and later put himself through Brooklyn Law School at night. He has had the rare privilege of being a law clerk to several judges both in the Family and Supreme Courts.

Dr. Floyd Lapp has an M.A. and Ph.D. from NYU in Public Administration/Urban Planning and has been a practicing urban planner for more than half a century. He was attracted to his profession from the personal experiences of neighborhood change as he was growing up in the Bronx. While at home, he listened to his sister’s Frank Sinatra records. City planning, baseball (he lived within walking distance of Yankee Stadium), and Sinatra have been with him all his life.

Dr. Duncan Rogers Lee II is a local attorney and former acting Village Justice. His newspaper column “The Law and You” and his WRCR radio show of the same name ran for over a decade. He coaches the Nyack High School Mock Trial team.

Jim Levey, formerly a partner at American China Mercantile and a senior manager at IBM, holds an advanced degree from the China Studies Asian Institute of St. John’s University and is now working to introduce China education to mainstream Americans at various institutions.

Joan Adinolfi Mallory has been an educator for 54 years both in public school and as head of the Music Education department of Nyack College, 1998-2015. She received the Model Classroom Teacher award from MENC at the end of her public teaching career and now enjoys taking her “Opera Experience” class on the road.

Richard Markowitz has made a lifelong study of domestic and foreign record catalogs (from 78s to LPs and CDs) and has focused in detail on the history of sound recordings and published scores in the areas of concert works, folksong, and musical theater.

Sandra Martin has a B.A. and an M.A.T. plus 36 hours of graduate work in Spanish. She has studied art formally at the Prado in Madrid, The National Gallery in DC, and the Met. For 32 years she taught in Ramsey, NJ. Since 2004, she has been an adjunct professor at Ramapo College where she has audited many courses on art and art history as well as other subjects.

Charlese Randolph has an M.S. in Dance/Movement Therapy from Hunter College. She is a former Exercise Instructor for the RCC Senior Institute. Classes there also included retrospectives on Broadway and the Harlem Renaissance.

Dr. Carl Rattner is a graduate of Grinnell College (B.A.), Cranbrook Academy of Art (M.F.A.), and New York University (D.A.). He is a sculptor and a recently retired art professor.

Judith Rose, the founder of Vital MovementTM, is an experienced educator, choreographer, published poet, and movement artist. She has an extensive background in a variety of movement arts, therapeutic modalities, and specialized trainings. Her private practice in therapeutic wellness work is located in Nyack, NY.

Mike Rossi was an undergraduate at Saint Thomas Aquinas College, a graduate of LIU, and a post graduate of Iona College. He taught high school social studies and was a high school administrator. As a retired educator, he has authored four mystery novels, has become an education consultant, and advocates for elder care providers.

Barbara Shair was the N.Y. Outreach Director of Amishav, an organization that helps emerging and returning Jewish communities. She was the Director of Barbara has lectured at the JCC of Rockland. Her current website is

Adam Sietz is an award-winning actor/comedian. A veteran of the Broadway stage, film, and television, he brings his experience and joy of improvisation into the lives of all who want to simply “Let Go, Just Be” and have some fun! He moonlights teaching Improv to kids and adults from ages 5-95. He is the founder and CEO of “Improvolutions,” an enterprise that reaches out to organizations and businesses, offering the “Improv” approach to creative development and problem solving.

Mark Silberstein was a science teacher for 30 years and a professional development specialist and training facilitator for 14 years in the Yonkers public schools. He specialized in human relations skills and diversity and trained students, teachers, school aides, and administrators. He has served on a community diversity committee for the Human Rights Commission of Rockland County.

*Steven Silverberg, Esq. is an attorney who has represented real estate developers and municipalities in all aspects of zoning and land use regulations and has lectured on related issues for various organizations.

Sandra Smith (NYU, the Sorbonne and Cambridge) taught French Literature at Cambridge Univ. for many years before moving back to New York. She has lectured at Barnard, Columbia, Harvard, and Sarah Lawrence. She is also the prize-winning literary translator of Irene Nemirovsky (12 novels including Suite Francaise), Camus (The Stranger), and Guy de Maupassant, among others.

*Stefani Starin has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber flutist at Carnegie Hall and many other international locations. She has recorded for seven different musical labels. As a soloist, she has received awards from The Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, The Alice Ditson Fund, and Affiliate Artists. Stefani has over 35 years experience teaching in the classroom and at music conservatories.

*Dr. William Stern, a retired New City dermatologist, is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Dermatology. He has authored several articles concerning photobiology. He was Associate Clinical Professor and Chief Dermatologist at Westchester County Medical Center.

*Robert Tompkins has degrees from NYU and Cornell in majors unrelated to the course description. As a teenager, he learned that his Dutch Reform Protestant ancestor in 1739 was a slaveholder and Robert thought him to be evil. Decades later, he discovered enslaving was not deemed a Christian sin. He had to understand why and this led to writing a manuscript. He has taken many Learning Collaborative classes, and was a candidate for Orangetown Town Clerk in 2018.

Alice Twombly has a B.A. in English from Brandeis and an M.A.T. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She taught Shakespeare and AP English at Teaneck H.S. for over 35 years. An educational consultant, photographer, and poet, Alice frequently lectures on literary topics at regional libraries, is the Curator of Thursdays Are For Poetry, a monthly poetry reading in Teaneck, and a member of Brevitas, an online poetry collective of over 70 poets in the NY Metro Area.


Kudos to Michael Kitt, of M-Tech Printing, Nanuet, for the magnificent work he and his company do in setting up and printing our catalogs. Mike does the job so quickly and so accurately that we are constantly amazed.

We wish to thank the incredible staff of NCJC who continue to provide room setups, make coffee, and rise to the occasion to solve our emergency audio-visual, copying, seating, and other problems. In particular, we thank Brenda Drucker, our main office support.

The editor extends his personal thanks to his wife, Judy, for once again proofreading the preliminary catalog. She’s the best.

The editor also thanks Sam Mazen for assisting with timeslot assignments and for numerous helpful conversations and suggestions.

And finally, on behalf of TLC Board and hundreds of satisfied students, our sincere thanks go to our wonderful cadre of instructors who, semester after semester, devote themselves to our ongoing program and make it the phenomenon that it is.


This semester we are again offering (on Tuesdays) lunch-time TED talks in the Youth Lounge led by Berton Greenberg. The world-renowned TED talks will cover a wide range of interesting topics. The weekly topic will be announced by a sign in the lobby. After the film, Bert will moderate the conversation that follows as time permits. The reception room will also be available for socializing with your friends. There may be other lunchtime activities from time to time. If so, such information will be posted.

How to Register

You may register in one of three ways starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 23.

(Paper registrations received before January 23 will be accepted but not processed before then.) If you need help, email Brenda Drucker at

1. Online registration (this page). Click the blue link above. If a course is closed, it will be grayed out. (A telephone aid squad is being organized, with details to be provided at a later date.) Online registration will open at 10 a.m. on January 23 There are no extra fees for online registration unless you have to cancel (see below). If you select to pay by check, it must be received at NCJC within one week.

2. Postal mail the registration form with check or credit card information to:
New City Jewish Center – TLC
47 Old Schoolhouse Road
New City, NY 10956

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

Fees and Refunds

You are free to choose up to 9 courses from Sessions 1A, 2A, and/or 2B. The minimum fee of $215 entitles you to 3 courses. If you wish to attend just 1 or 2 courses, the minimum fee still applies.

Rates (A registration is for one student only. Classes may not be split between two or more students. The rates all include a $15 security fee. NCJC members, already paying
such fees, will receive a $15 credit unless they register online.)

3 courses = $215
4 courses = $275
5 courses = $330
6 courses = $385
7 courses = $440
8 courses = $495
9 courses = $550

The lunchtime programs are free. Cookies, hot drinks, and water will be provided. Registration begins on January 23 at 10 a.m. on a first-come first-served basis.

Refunds, less a minor processing fee, will be given for requests made at least 48 hours before your class starts in order to allow other students time to register in your place. Fees deducted from refunds cover costs incurred by NCJC, depending on method of payment.
(The following fees are applicable only to refunds.)

• No fee will be applied if you paid by check, either by mail or in person. (Remember to do so within one week of online registration to hold your place.)

• A $5 processing fee will be applied if you paid by credit card, either by phone, by postal mail, or in person at NCJC. (This is the credit card company fee.)

• A $10 processing fee will be applied if you paid by credit card during online registration. (This is to cover fees charged by the online company.)

For general questions about the Collaborative, call 845-638-9600, select “0”.


Like schools, houses of worship, and other institutions, NCJC is greatly concerned about the matter of personal safety. Security at the site has been upgraded in many ways including a guard at the front door. Other safety measures include:

1. The existing front doors have been replaced by double doors, both of which lock and are made of shatterproof glass.

2. Identification badges must be prominently worn in order for anyone to have access and to move about the premises.

3. The back doors to the outside are to be used only in emergencies. Opening them will set off an alarm. Anyone violating the rule will be recorded on closed circuit TV and may be barred from using the facilities going forward. This matter of the back doors is very important. Those doors do not always lock securely and anyone waiting outside could enter the building unnoticed.

We ask all participants in The Learning Collaborative to observe NCJC regulations:

• Please drive slowly because nursery school children are about.
• If you are interested in a carpool, contact Phil Carmichael at with your name, phone number, email address, home town, and zip code.
• Only dairy and vegetarian lunches may be brought into the facility in accordance with the dietary laws of a Conservative congregation.


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, June 4 2020 12 Sivan 5780