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The Learning Collaborative

Fall 2020

For general questions about the Collaborative, call 845-638-9600, select “3”.



So much has changed since the last catalog was being prepared!

At that time, we were all looking forward to another semester together of learning and comradeship. Who among us had any idea that a highly communicable plague would break out – one that is especially dangerous for seniors?

The Collaborative reacted very quickly to the arrival of the Corona virus in the New York metropolitan area and suspended all remaining on-site classes for the spring.

Being of the mindset that the “show” must go on, we embraced the available Zoom technology and most of the enrollees for the spring program finished up, first with some Zoom classes conducted by the spring session teachers. This was then followed up by a glorious July program (now in progress) of 30 instructors who volunteered their time for a one-class-per-instructor effort. We are so grateful to them for allowing us to keep our momentum.

As we look ahead to the fall, it is clear to us, and to all serious health experts, that the pandemic will not be over by that time. Therefore, we are moving ahead with Zoom classes, as outlined in the pages that follow. It will be immediately apparent how relevant to today’s problems a goodly number of the courses will be. It looks like we will have a wonderful semester.

Though we know that the personal contact will be missing this time around we, with some humor, ask you to look upon the bright side of a Zoom semester.

No time and gasoline spent in driving to and from classes. No driving in bad weather.
No parking problems.
No decisions as to what to do with outer garments.
You control the temperature.
You set the volume control for your own needs. No obstructed views.
Sit in your favorite comfortable chair.
No noise from other classes.
No waiting for bathrooms.
No food restrictions.
The cookies will be as good as you want.☺

Nevertheless, we are all looking forward to the time when we can be together again physically. Until then ....

Be well,
Marty O Cohen, Catalog Editor

Course Descriptions

1. Courses are identified by three digits, where the first digit is the session number, the second is the time period, and the third is the alphabetical order, by instructor, in that section timeslot. E.g., 1.3.4 would be session1, period 3, and the fourth course alphabetically by instructor’s last name.

2. “NEW!” denotes that a course is totally new or is an extension of a prior course with all new material. Instructor biographies follow this course descriptions section.3

SESSION 1: TUES – SEPT 8 TO OCT 13, 2020

Session 1 – Period 1: 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.

1.1.1 AMERICAN BUSINESS HISTORY (1760-1880) – Rick Feingold
The class will start with the Industrial Revolution in England and Adam Smith’s pin factory followed such topics as: Alexander Hamilton founding the nation’s financial system and establishing a national bank. John Jacob Astor making two fortunes – first in fur trading and then in Manhattan real estate. Cornelius Vanderbilt building a massive steamship company and then a railroad empire from New York to Chicago. Learn about the transportation revolution in 19th century America and the “Famine Irish” in New York. NEW!

Building on his recording career as a boy singer with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey between 1939 and 1942 and as a soloist on Columbia and Capitol records in the 40s and 50s, Sinatra created a new recording company, Reprise Records, in 1960, and through 1988 he recorded more than 450 songs! With background and stories from the 60s -80s we will listen and learn much about these recordings during the “September of His Years.” NEW!

Claude McKay, Georgia Douglass Johnson, and Langston Hughes are considered the best poets to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance. The legacy of their written word describes the world of yesterday as much as it describes the world we are living in today. We’ll read their works along with many others and compare and contrast how they influenced generations from the protests of the 1920s to 2020. NEW!

This class will focus on the media and methods of art making: how design factors and creative concepts govern artistic creation; how drawings, paintings, sculpture, prints and architectural forms are made. NEW!

1.1.5 Policing in America: HOW DO WE FIX THE PROBLEMS? – Chief Daniel Wilson
The media is inundating us with images of police brutality. Is the problem as bad as it looks? How are police officers selected? How are they trained to handle potentially violent situations? What about the toll on our police officers? And how are we going to make this better? Join us for this very timely discussion with lots of opportunity for Q and A. NEW!

Session 1 – Period 2: 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

1.2.1 A VIRTUAL TOUR INTO THE WORLD OF ART – Six Tri-state Artists
Take a virtual tour each week of the studio of six remarkable artists from the tri-state area. See their artwork and hear the inspiring stories behind their artistic creations. There will be opportunities to ask questions of the artists. (The artists and the dates of their presentations can be found in the biography section, below, under “Artists.”) NEW!

What have we learned about: our microbial world, including SARS Co-V-2; our immune system, including how it fights disease and what can go wrong; the medical and natural methods to fight this battle; and what mysteries remain? This course will include introductory material as well as much newly discovered research that will allow for expansion of the summer and spring session (that was not completed due to the pandemic). NEW!

1.2.3 OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO – Harley Riak and Guests
The world of travel has undoubtedly changed, but many adventures still await us in this new landscape for those who yearn for both far-off lands and closer to home destinations. Join us as we explore the possibilities and what you can expect as you embark on new journeys. NEW!

1.2.4 SEEN ANY GOOD MOVIES? – Robin Brancato
This is a class in which you’ll view for the first time, or re-watch, six films, one per week. When we meet we’ll discuss the content, relevance, style, and intrinsic value of that week’s movie. You’ll receive in advance a list of six films, chosen because they’re worth discussing, diverse in subject matter, not overly lengthy, and readily accessible. You’ll get advice along the way about how to access each title on your TV or other device. NEW!

1.2.5 RACISM – Mark Silberstein
We are going through unprecedented times based on issues of racism. This class will make it clear how racism has been percolating through our society since the inception of our nation and help you understand what brought it to a boil. The class will present a direction for positive change. If you took one of Mark’s courses before, you will again see the “Diversity Model” presented, this time explored through the lens of racism. NEW! Also given session 2, period 2.


LUNCHTIME BREAK: 12:45 – 1:45 p.m.


Session 1 – Period 3: 1:45 – 3:00 p.m.

The title of this course is meant to be both ominous and absurd. You are invited to join the class and find out why. Please read Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (available in paperback on Amazon) before the first class. After our discussion of this novel, we will then study the following two short stories that are accessible online: “Charles,” by Shirley Jackson, and “The Rocking Horse Winner,” by D.H. Lawrence. NEW! Also given session 2, period 3.

1.3.2 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!

In this course, you will learn all the ways to turn your ordinary photos, taken with your cell phone, into works of art suitable for framing. In the first class you will learn the most important tips to instantly improve your pictures. Next, you learn how to edit your photos to prepare them for framing. This is where the fun begins! Please download the free iPhone camera app, Snapseed, from the App store prior to class. NEW!

We will explore the lives, study the paintings, and learn about the time periods of French artists from the 18th century up to the time of the first Impressionist Exhibition in Paris in 1874. Some of the artists we will study are Chardin, Fragonard, David, Ingres, Géricault, Corot, Delacroix, and Courbet. Last given four years ago.

1.3.5 SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER – Alice Twombly
Leading African American Poets address Racism, Mass Incarceration, Income Inequality, Justice Denied, and other concerns in the America of “Black Lives Matter.” Poets include Tracy K. Smith, June Jordan, Claudia Rankine, Gwendolyn Brooks, Kevin Young, and Jericho Brown. NEW!



Session 2 – Period 1: 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.

2.1.1 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!

2.1.2 BIOETHICS IN THE AGE OF COVID 19 – Mary Lou Dillon
Recent events have highlighted long-standing ethical issues such as: Who gets treatment? How do we weigh the potential conflict between personal autonomy with public health needs? Who gets tested when a vaccine is being developed? Perhaps most important of all, what’s next? NEW!

2.1.3 PLATO’S RELEVANCE TODAY – Howard Goldstein, M.D.
Twenty-four hundred years since written, the dialogues of Plato remain meaningful to our times. Excerpts from these dialogues will be explored in this introduction to the minds of Plato and his teacher, Socrates. NEW!

The original use of “Brother’s Keeper” that has become famous is Cain’s reply when God asks Cain where his brother Abel is. His answer means that he does not feel responsible for knowing his brother’s whereabouts, or, by extension, keeping him safe. In the wider context, it is an old question that goes to the heart of social organization. Do we bear any responsibility for those around us? In our current myths of independence and competition, people are responsible to look out for themselves, and those who have less or encounter troubles are seen as lazy and thus failing the social compact, so they deserve no help. NEW!

2.1.5 POETRY IN MANY FORMS – Alice Twombly
This class will examine many of the fixed forms of poetry from a wide range of authors to understand the advantages and disadvantages of meter and rhyme in poetry. Such forms will include rhymed couplets, ballad and rhymed narrative poems, triolets, Elizabethan and modern sonnets, villanelle, sestina, blank verse, dramatic monologue, nursery rhymes, and you name it. Join in and have fun. NEW!

Session 2 – Period 2: 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

2.2.1 CIVICS: 911 – Bill Batson and guest speakers
This is the sixth 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 be presented so the course is NEW!

For over four thousand years, China enjoyed an advanced civilization that contributed to the world in science, technology, the arts, and the humanities. This longevity was largely due to China’s intellectual foundations that enabled economic prosperity and political stability for an agrarian society that viewed the world through the lens of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Understanding these beliefs is key to understanding the great traditions of China inherent in the Chinese character throughout history. This course will trace the cultural and historical patterns in ancient and imperial China that explain the current events that are shaping the world today. NEW!

During each session, we will look at new, exciting, and important breakthroughs in different areas of technology. NEW!

2.2.4 EATING POETRY – Judith Rose
What would it feel like to fully relish a poem the way one relishes a savory meal or the finest of wines? Together we will enjoy the varying flavors of poems that have been selected, less for their use of literary devices, but more for their ability to say something truly important in a most startling way. Sessions will include short writing practices inspired by the poetry and the examination of parallel works reflecting the phenomenon of “The Zeitgeist.” Texts will be emailed to students in advance for at-home printing. NEW!

2.2.5 RACISM – Mark Silberstein See course 1.2.5, above.


LUNCHTIME BREAK: 12:45 – 1:45 p.m.


Session 2 – Period 3: 1:45 – 3:00 p.m.

In these times, when a road trip is more feasible than international travel, you will learn about museums in six regions of America: Mid-Atlantic, New England, the Midwest, the Southwest, and the southern and western states. This will include well known venues such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Clark, as well as many lesser known sites, and the unique art treasures they display.

See course 1.3.1, above.

We’ll read and share ideas on two stories every week, most of them from the past year or so of The New Yorker. Stories will be selected on the basis of relevance to our world today, diversity of content and style, and likelihood of inspiring good discussion. Stories will either be available for you to access directly on the Internet or sent by me to you in digital form. NEW!

Since the victory of Mao Tse Tung in 1949, China has been on a path to regain its primacy and restore its dignity within the world order. Mao’s successor, Deng Xiaoping rebuked communism and embraced free enterprise to enable China to ascend economically. China’s rise since then has been nothing less than spectacular, lifting over a billion people out of poverty to rival the US today as a superpower. During this time, American leadership in the US believed China’seconomic success would lead to an open and liberal domestic policy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The advent of Xi Jinping in 2012 proved China to be an assertive and aggressive superpower with an agenda derived from the early days of Mao. This course will present a comprehensive view of China’s quest to redefine the world order in the 21st century and offer a blueprint for US foreign policy to offset China’s threat. NEW!

Healing naturally arises when body, mind, and heart come into synch with each other. Grounding, Uplifting, and Opening act as keys to that synchronizing, inspiring healthy sensing, attending, and feeling. Then we can fully experience through all our senses, and move in harmony with what we sense and feel. NEW!

Instructor Bios

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

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.

*Artists (and the dates of the virtual tours of their studios) (Course 1.2.1) (See the “Artists” section following this regular biography section.)

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.

Mary Lou Dillon is a certified bioethicist from a program jointly sponsored by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She earned an M. A. in History from NYU. She has been a participant in the Road Scholar program in which she was designated as a Gifted Scholar.

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., a pathologist, has studied public policy conflicts, epidemic disease, climate change, and moral philosophy.

*Richard Laird spent 30+ years as a Professional photographer in NYC. He currently resides in Rockland County and teaches iPhone camera classes on Zoom for regional libraries and learning centers.

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.

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.

Dr. Steve Levy, a psychologist, has worked in the fields of mental health and addiction for 50 years. He is the author of Managing the Drugs in Your Life, Children of Drug Abusers and The Mentally Ill Chemical Abuser, and the editor of Addiction in the Jewish Community. He has taught courses on addiction in colleges and medical schools and has lectured around the country. He is the founding director of the Rockland County Crack Cocaine Program and the Nyack Recovery Center.

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.

*Dr. Alan J. Pierce, Ed.D., is the co-author of six textbooks on technology published by West Publishing and Glencoe McGraw-Hill. He was the technical consultant on the children’s book Discover How Things Work and was an editor for the six books created by The Techknow Project and published by Centre Pointe Learning. His magazine column on new and emerging technology is published monthly in TechDirections Magazine.

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.

*Harley Riak is a veteran travel and event planner with over 40 years in the industry, spanning leisure and corporate travel. Harley is the President of HBR & Co., specializing in creating bespoke travel experiences for discerning travelers. His network of friendships and partnerships across the travel industry, and literally across the globe, ensures the most genuine welcome for his clients wherever their destination.

Judith Rose is an award-winning poet with an extensive background in the fields of education and the arts. She writes and performs her original poetry and teaches uniquely woven courses in literature to readers and writers of distinction. Recently, Judith collaborated with poet Litany Burns to write and produce “Lighting the Silence” for Maureen’s Jazz Cellar. She is also the founder and director of the Vital MovementTM program. Her belief in the healing andtransformative power of the arts continues to inspire her work.

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.

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.

Joan Whitacre, M.A., R.S.M.T., Dir. of Embody the Journey and Whole Women Healing, is a registered somatic-movement therapist, a meditation teacher in Tibetan Buddhism, and a writer. Since 1971, she has offered private practice/teaching in embodied presence for healing, stress reduction, and creative living, with an emphasis on women’s needs

*Chief Daniel Wilson of the South Nyack-Grand View Police Department has 18 years of experience: nine years in the South Nyack-Grand View PD, five years in the Orangetown PD, and four years in the New York City PD. He was promoted to Police Chief of the South Nyack-Grand View PD in 2018. Chief Wilson is the current President of the Police Chief's Association of Rockland County.

ARTISTS BIOGRAPHY SECTION (and the date of their tours)

Eric David Laxman (9/8) is a multi-media artist who created a unique studio and showroom at the Garnerville complex. He has been creating a diverse body of work that includes sculpture, custom furniture, and decorative metalwork. He has exhibited nationwide

Ruth Geneslaw (9/15) creates carved wood vignettes, often conceived as visual puns, that offer wry comments on contemporary life. She is a past recipient of the County Executive Arts Award for Visual Artist, two fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts, as well as a grant from the Empire State Crafts Alliance.

Ann Weiner (9/22) is a conceptual artist and philanthropist who has worked in many media. Her technological interventions in digital photography have expanded the possibilities of how images are seen. In 2018, she produced a body of work featuring nine life-size sculptures that represent current day heroines for Women’s Rights.

Susan Eisen (9/29) is well known for her tactile vessels and sculpture, which evoke an ancient timelessness. Among major collections which include her work are the Brooklyn Museum, The International Museum of Ceramic Art, Valla Uris, France, and The Keratin Museum, Germany. She is the first American to win the Grand Prix at the International Biennial of Ceramic Art.

Diane Churchill (10/6) is an abstract painter working on paper and canvas. Her abstractions are based on elements of nature: water, wind, heat, and earth. Her work aims to harness the power of color to affect the psyche as well as symbolize the aspects of our work and history.

Eve Vaterlaus (10/13) currently works in sculpture, painting, graphic design, fountains, and glass sculpture. She spends every summer in northern Michigan, following four generations of family and artists. Deeply rooted in the woods and water, these influences are strong in her work.


We wish thank Jessica Trokel from NCJC who continues to rise to the occasion to help us solve problems.

The editor extends his loving thanks to his wife, Judy, for once again proofreading the catalog. Her eagle eyes have not dimmed.

The editor also thanks Board President Sam Mazen for numerous helpful conversations and suggestions.

Thanks go out to the Curriculum Committee for its ongoing efforts to recruit new and high quality instructors for our program.

And finally, our sincere thanks to our wonderful teachers who devote themselves to our program and who helped us overcome the barriers to holding a Zoom semester of learning under today’s trying conditions.

Class Tuition/Rates

Special Registration Procedures for Fall 2020 Semester Only (We Hope!)

  1. Registration is by mailed-in check only.

  2. The Security Fee has been removed.

  3. If two people will be at the same terminal and will be taking the exact same courses, they may register, for example, as Joe and Jane Doe and pay just one registration fee for both plus a $100 multiple viewer fee.

  4. If two people are at the same location but are taking different courses, they have to register, as usual, as two individuals and, of course, use two different terminals.

Class rates are as follows:

1, 2 or 3 classes = $200
4 classes = $260
5 classes = $315
6 classes = $370

Plus Multiple Viewer Fee ($100) when applicable. (See #3 above.)

Make check out to NCJC–TLC and mail to:

New City Jewish Center – TLC
47 Old Schoolhouse Road 
New City, NY 10956


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, October 29 2020 11 Cheshvan 5781