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The Learning Collaborative

Fall 2019

“Look what a lot of things there are to learn!”



“If learning is a vital part of your life, the Learning Collaborative provides an opportunity to join with others like yourself – people whose life experiences enrich classroom exchanges. The program’s expert lecturers lead fascinating discussions on topics that range from science to current affairs, the arts and interpersonal relationships.”

The above quote is from the LC catalog, Fall 2010. It was true then, and it is still true now, almost nine years later. And my, how fast time passes.

Please enjoy your first look at the course offerings for the Fall 2019 program. As usual, there are three sessions and over 50 courses to choose from, mostly all of which are entirely new!

We proudly introduce eight new instructors this semester. Please take a look at their course descriptions and biographies.

Due to scheduling constraints involving NCJC-observed holidays in October, Session 1A starts earlier than usual (on August 27) and will have five meetings, each ninety minutes long. Session 2A starts on Tuesday, Oct 29 and Session 2B starts on Thursday, Oct 24 (one week earlier due to the Thanksgiving holiday in November).

Select your courses now. As has been said about traveling - half the fun is in the planning.


Like schools, houses of worship, and other institutions, NCJC is greatly concerned about the matter of personal safety. Security at the site is being upgraded in many ways. Some of them will directly affect The Learning Collaborative, and the Board would like you to be fully aware of the new security measures.

1. The existing front doors will be replaced by double doors, both of which will lock and will be 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 will 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.

These rules are for the safety of all. Please abide by them at all times.

Learning Collaborative Board Members

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



Description of Courses

Notes: “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.

SESSION 1A: Tuesdays: August 27- September 24 (no breaks)


SESSION 1A – PERIOD 1: 9:45 – 11:15 a.m.

1. HAMILTON, JEFFERSON, MADISON, WASHINGTON, THE SCHUYLER SISTERS AND THE HAMILTON MUSICAL – Tom DeStefano and Rick Feingold Hamilton, a penniless orphan immigrant, founded America’s financial system. Jefferson, a Francophile, opposed him and formed a new political party. Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” was his ally first and later his foe. Elizabeth Schuyler married Hamilton after being seduced by his love letters. Married sister Angelica would charm Jefferson while he was Minister to France. Washington presided over these fascinating characters. Presented with music and video from Hamilton: An American Musical. NEW!

2. JOYCE’S ULYSSES: PART VIII – Dr. Warren Grodin
Ulysses, by James Joyce, may well be the most influential book of the twentieth century. It is not easy to understand, but with appropriate historical, geographic, and biographic support and text analysis, it becomes a fabulous read. This course starts where it left off in the fall. However, Parts I through VII are not prerequisites and a catch-up will be given for new students that will also serve as a refresher for prior students. NEW!

Each week, Kim will demonstrate a different kind of pastry, explaining the techniques and the reasons why certain actions for each recipe are important to the final result. Different pastries, such as pie crusts, cream puffs, apple strudel, and rugelach will be demonstrated each week, with samples and recipes handed out at the end of each class. A food fee of $6 is payable at the first class. NEW!

4. EARLY FRANK SINATRA (1943-1952) – Dr. Floyd Lapp
After his years as the boy singer with the Harry James and Tommy Dorsey bands, Sinatra became a vocal soloist and recorded 285 songs on Columbia records. He became “The Voice” and the bobby sox idol, but with a change in musical taste he fell from popularity. Listen to and participate in discussions of these timeless vocals and orchestrations. NEW!

The scores which Kurt Weill composed for the musical theatre have kept his name alive for theatre-goers, and lovers of popular song and jazz. His compositions for the concert hall, opera house, and recital stage are not nearly so well known. We will sample his symphonies, string quartets and other chamber works, operas, and secular and liturgical vocal music, some of which utilizes the jazz idiom. We will also examine his choice to concentrate on writing for the Broadway stage, after moving to the United States. 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. ALL NEW SITUATIONS!

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!

SESSION 1A – PERIOD 2: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

1. NEW YORK STATE POLITICS: PART IV – Bill Batson and colleagues
For nearly 20 years, Bill worked in New York State politics as an operative, organizer, communications officer, and candidate. He will bring his war stories and observations to reflect on the current state of NYS politics. Six new speakers, exploring issues that impact Rockland County, will join us. NEW!

2. THE ROOTS OF FANTASY – Prof. Ira Bloomgarden
Let’s explore the originals of popular characters like Aragorn (Lord of the Rings), Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), and Sir Brienne of Tarth (A Song of Ice and Fire). Modern fantasy has its roots in the Middle Ages as do almost all of today’s types. Those tales are often great literature and include Romance, Epic, and Poetry. A look at the old and new will give us a better appreciation of the genre. NEW!

3. LET’S SPEAK FRENCH – Greta Inowlocki
Visiting France? Study French history, culture, and culinary traditions with a native French speaker and improve your conversational skills. Learn how to buy food at the market, make restaurant reservations, order meals, ask for directions, request information at the airport, and introduce yourself to strangers. NEW!

We will examine the lives and careers of some of the most celebrated concert musicians of the twentieth century by way of documentaries about violinist Jascha Heifetz, pianist Vladimir Horowitz, cellist Pablo Casals, guitarist Andres Segovia, contralto Marian Anderson, and conductor Arturo Toscanini. NEW!

In the past, Biblical stories were common knowledge. There are 1,300 allusions to the Bible in the works of Shakespeare. We will concentrate on major works of art from
the Renaissance to the present time, relating the paintings to their biblical themes. Some of the artists studied will be Rubens, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Velázquez, Bosch, Michelangelo and Brueghel. We will also view parts of films based on biblical stories. Bring a copy of the Bible to class. NEW!

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

7. INTERPERSONAL SKILLS, PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT – Mark Silberstein This course will feature an assortment of workshops focusing on skills that will enhance interpersonal skills to foster more effective communication and improve interactions with others. Topics will include Effective Listening, Feedback, and Managing Conflict, among others. NEW!

The breakup of British colonial rule after the end of WWII caused violent Third World upheavals. Last Train to Pakistan, by Kushwant Singh, is concerned with the partition of India in 1947. Weep Not, Child, by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, covers the Mau Mau uprising from 1952-1960 that resulted in Kenya’s independence. We will read and discuss the books in that order. NEW!

LUNCHTIME ACTIVITIES: 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.

This semester we are again offering lunch-time round table discussion groups led by Dr. Howard Goldstein. He will select the weekly topic, announced by a sign in the entrance hall, and will preside over conversations that will last 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.

SESSION 1A – PERIOD 3: 1:45 – 3:15 p.m.

Once again, we will read and discuss a variety of essays about contemporary topics by intriguing authors. Reading materials will be provided in class. (Class limited to 20). All new essays!

2. THURGOOD MARSHALL COMES TO HILLBURN – Bill Batson and colleagues
This is the foundation of Brown v. Board of Education. Speakers will include men and women who lived during the period when public schools in Hillburn were segregated. Joe Allen’s documentary, Two Schools in Hillburn, will be screened, and the activists, attorneys, and members of the African American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha who helped establish a Thurgood Marshall Day in New York State will join us. NEW!

Ray Kurzweil, a “restless genius” (W.S. Journal), “the ultimate thinking machine” (Forbes), and “the heir to Edison” (INC) is an inventor, futurist, founder of Singularity University, chief engineer at Google, and author of five best-selling non-fiction books. His semi-biographic novel, Danielle, integrates fiction with non-fiction in an alternative world. We’ll discuss how Kurzweil’s “superheroine,” Danielle, solves world problems by using Ray’s problem-solving techniques. Then Ray shows how we all can be Danielles. Pre-reading Danielle would be helpful, but not necessary. NEW!

What does the anesthesiologist do while the surgeon is cutting and sewing? This is
a historical review of the operating room, both medical and surgical, with a look at anesthesiology, both historical and contemporary, how patients are monitored, and a look at various types of equipment. Perhaps even a peek at secret OR humor. NEW!

5. THE HISTORIC JESUS OF NAZARETH – Prof. Charles Reynolds
Jesus of Nazareth was a first century Jewish apocalyptic prophet. There is a day in history when he was born, he grew up, he had a ministry, and he was executed. Using the methods of historical analysis, what can be discovered about this historic person? NEW!

“Rolling Thunder Revue” bandleader, arranger, harmony singer, and bassist Rob Stoner will discuss the 2019 Scorcese film and cd box set of Dylan’s famous “Revue.” He will answer questions and give live performances of music from the 1975 tour. NEW!

We received such nice feedback about last semester’s Aesop’s fable that we decided to present another. Here, from ancient times, is the story of “The Bear and the Two Travelers.”

Two men were traveling together when a bear suddenly met them on their path. One
of them abandoned his friend, quickly climbed up a tree, and concealed himself in its branches. The other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground. When the bear came up and felt him with his snout and smelt him all over, the man held his breath and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could. The bear soon left him, for it
is said he will not touch a dead body. But before the bear left he whispered into the ear
of the prone man. When the bear was quite gone, the other traveler descended from the tree and jocularly inquired of his friend what it was the bear had whispered. “He gave me this advice,” his companion replied. “Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger.”

Moral: Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.

SESSION 2A: Tuesdays: October 29 – December 3 (no breaks)

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

1. ESTATE PLANNING – Courtney Boniface
Part 1 - To Probate or Not to Probate: This part will focus on what probate is and isn’t, why probate isn’t as bad as some people want you to believe, when probate should be avoided, and how to avoid probate the right way. NEW!
Part 2 - Your Estate: This part will focus on how the new tax laws affect your estate and your family, why you may need to shift your focus from estate tax planning to income tax planning, why you should review your estate plans NOW, and how to deal with relatives and even pets. NEW!

2. GARDENING TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS – Master Gardeners of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Rockland with one new topic each week.
October 29 - Caring for and Decorating with Houseplants - Vivienne Dieckmann
November 5 - Putting the Garden to Bed - Donna DeSousa

November 12 - Succulents and Cacti - Steven Becker
November 19 - Trash to Garden Treasure - Vivienne Dieckmann
November 26 - Reclaiming Property Swept into the Hudson River by Storm Sandy - Mootsy Elliot

December 3 - Caring for Poinsettias, Amaryllises, Winter Cacti- Vivienne Dieckmann
Course and instructor descriptions are at ALL NEW!

In Bioethics, we will look at the applications of technology to health care and the challenges that have arisen from them. Our conversations will explore six factors that should be considered in all discussions: autonomy, resource allocation, constitutional issues, death and dying, technology, and what might be on the horizon. This class is
for those who have no formal professional experience with medical ethics and public policy. The format of the class will be seminar fashion. (Class limited to 25.) ALL NEW CASES!

– Edward Kallen, Esq.
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 course closed out this past spring).

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!

Topics to be examined in this class are: Approaching Art, Basic Aesthetic Questions (What do I see? Is it Art? What kind of Art is it? How good is it? What does it mean?), The Tools, Elements and Principles of Design. (This class, last taught in 2015, will contain some new material.)


Mike Rossi

The 55 Founding Fathers established the Constitution. On September 17, 1787, 39 of the 42 delegates present signed the document. Since the U.S. was founded, the three branches of government have jockeyed for position, with each trying to get one over on the other branches. What is so different since 1787? Where are we in 2019? Let’s find out! NEW! (This course is also given in Session 2B, Period 1.)

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


Robin Brancato

Classics will be paired with contemporary stories in this exploration of writings about gender and parenting. You’ll get print copies of the stories. Some will be available on audio. NEW! (This course is also given in Session 2A, Period 3.)

This class is for those people who have formal professional experience with medical ethics and public policy OR have completed the “Foundations” introductory class. What issues are trending in health care policy? Are lawmakers and citizens focused on the same health care issues? What are the responsibilities of citizens, if any, with regard to their own health care? The format of the class will be seminar fashion. (Class limited to 25) ALL NEW CASES!

3. ALL ABOUT ISLAM – Azeem Farooki
This course will cover many aspects of the religion from the birth of the Prophet to
the present situation of 1.5 billion Muslims. Some included topics are: The life of
the Prophet, revelations of the Quran, the “Five Pillars” of Islam, the importance of knowledge (“Ilm”), the status and rights of women, the concepts of Jihad and martyrdom, Sharia Law, and an ideal Muslim Society. NEW!

– Michael Nevins, M.D., and colleagues
Rabbi Heschel (1907-1972) was one of the leading Jewish theologians of the 20th century. His influence was profound and varied. After an introductory overview by Dr. Nevins, each subsequent session will be led by a different speaker who will explain how Heschel’s ideas influenced his or her own thinking. Speakers and their subjects will be Prof. Wally Glickman (Mysticism vs Science), Prof. Leonard Grob (Prophetic Activism), Dr. Michael Nevins (The Patient as a Person), Rabbi Paula Drill (Feminism), and Rabbi Daniel Nevins (Golems, Robots and Human Identity). NEW!

5. ENTERTAINERS OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE – Charlese Randolph Talented singers, dancers, and musicians of this era left a legacy of work that helped African American art forms thrive. We will explore the histories and talents of such legendary performers as Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Cab Calloway, and others to see what inspired them to create as they did. NEW!

Planning a trip to Latin America? Immerse yourself in the culture of Argentina and other Spanish-speaking countries while using Spanish language to negotiate reservations, transport, order meals, shop, and meet people. This course is designed for first-time Spanish learners or those with very little background in the target language. 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 and fully choreographed chair dances. Movement patterns
are specifically designed to align with the latest research in the fields of Neuroanatomy and Elder Care. ALL NEW CHOREOGRAPHY!

George Eliot’s masterpiece, subtitled “A Study in Provincial Life,” covers the period from 1829 to 1832. This “Great Victorian Novel” is 800 pages long so start reading it now! (A pre-reading is not, however, required.) NEW!

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

This semester we are again offering lunch-time round table discussion groups led by Dr. Howard Goldstein. He will select the weekly topic, announced by a sign in the entrance hall, and will preside over conversations that will last 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.

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

Back by popular demand! More fascinating opening chapters from novels by a variety of authors – we will explore the power of beginnings in fiction. Materials will be provided in class, although you will have to get your own copies of any books you want to read in full! (Class limited to 20). NEW!


Robin Brancato

(See Session 2A, Period 2)

Engage yourself in the exquisite nuances of opera with an interactive educational session that includes operatic highlights, synopses of the plots, and the background of the composers. The six sessions include, Porgy and Bess, Daughter of the Regiment, Eugene Onegin, Roberto Devereux, The Magic Flute and La Boheme. Yes, La Boheme is a repeat from last semester, but one can never hear it enough! (These classes will go an extra 15 minutes at the end. No extra charge.J) NEW!

This course explores the prison education of men in long-term confinement. Through narratives of lived experience inside cells and prison classrooms, we will explore what it means to be human and what makes life worth living within the context of maximum- security incarceration. Regardless of outsiders’ beliefs on what prisons are or should be, inmates want to be known as complete human beings and held to the same standards as any other undergraduates. NEW!

Irene Nemirovsky was a Russian Jewish immigrant to France, most famous for the novel Suite Francaise. She also wrote hundreds of short stories before being murdered at Auschwitz in 1942. We will look at three short stories (“The Virgins,” “We Once Were Happy,” “Noel & Parisian Symphony”) and two longer ones “The Ball” and “Snow in Autumn,” with different styles and themes. NEW!

Mindfulness is being taught at hospitals and universities around the country. But what is it and how can it serve us? Mindfulness is a practice that the Buddha developed to help people appreciate their lives and experience joy. This practice is always available to you and its benefits are numerous – from helping to manage stress and anxiety to reducing depression and addictive behavior, and more. We will explore mindfulness of body and mind and will practice together with guided meditations. NEW!

SESSION 2B: Thursdays: October 24 – November 21, December 5


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

Each week we will examine in depth the work of leading composers and lyricists of the Broadway musical theater with video interviews (where possible) and demonstrations at the piano. Subjects range from Leonard Bernstein to Kander and Ebb (and much in between.) This course was last given many years ago and has much new content.

2. BEGINNER’S DRAWING – Suzanne Altman
This class will focus on basic drawing techniques, such as contour drawing, negative space drawing, perspective, value studies, line techniques, and much more, to allow students to greatly improve their drawing skills. We will work from still-life setups and photo reference. We will use pencils and charcoal. There is a $10 supply charge, due the first day of class, or you can bring your own supplies. (Class is limited to 20.)

3. THE ISRAEL-ARAB CONFLICT – 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 look to the conflict’s origins in the rise of the nation state, the wars that it generated, and why peace remains so elusive. We will also examine sociological and cultural differences between Israeli and Palestinian communities as well as commonalities in their respective historical narratives. The class will be taught from a non-biased, historical perspective. NEW!

The Five Books of Moses (Pentateuch or Torah) and the Psalms are the most well known books of the Hebrew Bible. However, five books still read from scrolls (Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Esther,) and also Daniel are among the most fascinating of all. We will read some text and have discussions that will illuminate these less familiar but important books. Bring a Bible with modern translations to class. NEW!


Mike Rossi

(See Session 2A, Period 1.)

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

1. PHILIP ROTH LOOKS AT THE 1950s – Arthur Aldrich
Roth, one of the leading social critics and commentators of this century, looks at the 1950s, the formative years in American culture. We will reprise his films, interviews, and stories that emerged from this period and show the influence of his family and neighborhood background in Newark, NJ. NEW!

Each day this course will take students on an artistic journey through a different country. We will travel to France, Italy, Greece, The Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. We will discuss the most important sites of art and architecture in each place. This is great for planning a future trip or reliving a past one. NEW!

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. Feedback from students is encouraged. NEW!

4. THE CHERNOBYL DISASTER AND MORE – Dr. Philip Goldberg Chernobyl, nuclear energy, fission, fusion, global warming, plutonium, radioactive isotopes, Fukushima, ozone layer. Let’s make sense of it all. NEW!

5. LEGAL EASE: THE BAR ASSOCIATION TALKS – Nancy Low-Hogan and colleagues
Hear from several different local attorneys on various aspects of the law, including Criminal Law, Professional Malpractice and Estate Planning. Each class will feature a different attorney with expertise in his/her area of law. Attorneys will share legal insights and real-life stories. NEW!

LUNCHTIME 12:45 – 1:15 p.m.


SESSION 2B – PERIOD 3: 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.


Jim Levey

In the past 67 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 her ambitions for hegemony. Yet, as China takes its place in the modern world, it faces immense difficulties. We will examine China’s past, from ancient times onward, and explore its history, philosophies, and traditions to try to understand the underlying forces that explain China today. (This course, closed out in the spring semester, is being offered again.)

2. BODY STRETCHING – Charlese Randolph
In this course, we will discuss the benefits of stretching regularly for physical, mental, and physiological health. We will explore seated and standing stretches in each class. Wear comfortable clothing and sneakers and bring water for each session.

To encounter the philosophy of Martin Buber (1878-1965) is to experience the enduring power of his revolutionary concepts of I-and-Thou, Dialogue, and the realm of the “Interhuman.” Special topics will include: I-Thou vs I-it; the holiness of the everyday; Buber vs Gandhi and ML King on the pursuit of peace; and Buber’s spiritual socialism (face-to-face community vs capitalism). NEW!

This course for women offers a restorative journey into their presence for themselves and others. We will use contemplation, sensing and movement exercises, unconditional presence, and sitting in a circle to inspire awareness and compassion. We’ll
explore bodily awareness, vulnerability’s power, the play between feminine and masculine energy, and how awareness and compassionate energy arouse healing of ourselves and connection with others. NEW!

Instructor Biographies

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.

Prof. Ira Bloomgarden is a retired English professor from John Jay, CUNY. His specialty is Medieval Literature, but he has a lifelong love of Heroic Fantasy.

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.

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.

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.

Jim Evers, M.A.T., Oberlin, writer, entrepreneur, and retired educator, has taught all grades, K-12, graduate school, and corporate training programs. He is the Co-Facilitator of Grassroots Community Service Projects. Jim is the founder of the Center for Exploring Creativity and New Possibilities.

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, studied Joyce under John Berryman and Wallace Grey, and has lived in Dublin. He is a retired anesthesiologist.

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.

*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.

Nancy Low-Hogan and the Bar Association. No biographic information at this time.

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.

Michael Nevins, M.D., is a retired cardiologist and past president of the Medical History Society of New Jersey. He is the author of twelve books on various subjects in medical history.

*Prof. Christina Carver Pratt is professor of research and social policy at NYU with service in prison education. She earned a Ph.D. in forensic psychology from CUNY, an MSW from Columbia University, two Fulbright fellowships, and certification in Human Rights Law, U. of Parma, Italy. Her extensive record of publications focuses on procedural justice and alternatives to incarceration.

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.

*Veronica Diaz Reinhagen was raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is a lover and lifelong learner of foreign languages, tango, and culture. She received her M.A. in L.S. Culture & Arts from Rutgers University and is the president of Cultural House of Language in Nyack NY. Veronica hosts local Spanish and Italian practice meetups and organizes immersion programs abroad for adults.

*Prof. Charles Reynolds is a retired college professor with a 30+ year career as a teacher of computer science. He has studied Christian history as an amateur historian for many years and full time since retirement. He has led Bible history groups throughout these years.

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

Prof. Ernest Sherman holds an M.A. from The New School. He is a retired Professor of Philosophy at Pace where he taught existentialism and myths. He is the co-author of The Fabric of Existentialism.

Adam Sietz has many years of experience bringing enjoyable improvisation into the lives of all who want some fun – from ages 5-95. His career includes award-winning accomplishments both on the Broadway stage and behind it. He is a co-founder of “Improvolutions,” an enterprise that reaches out to organizations and businesses, offering an “improv” approach to 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.

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.

*Linda Hoju Strauss is a long-time Zen practitioner and an authorized assistant Zen teacher
since 2007. She is a Dharma Holder and novice Zen priest, and a student of Roshi Joan Hogetsu Hoeberichts at the Heart Circle Sangha in Ridgewood, NJ. Linda also teaches Zen at a prison in NJ.

*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.

*Rob Stoner has astounding credentials in classic rock including being Bob Dylan’s ex-bandleader and performing gigs with many world famous artists like Chuck Berry and Joni Mitchell. He is currently a guitar instructor in Nyack, specializing in beginners. His website is

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.

Thank You So Much

The Learning Collaborative wishes to express its deep gratitude 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.

Additional Thanks

We also 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. Without any prior knowledge of our operation, she jumped right in and has become invaluable to The Learning Collaborative.

Photography for the printed catalog by Carol Baretz, Sheila Bunin, and Suzanne Altman.


I don’t like to brag about our program (well, to be truthful, I do) but here are some actual, verbatim comments from the student evaluation sheets for the Spring 2019 session. To avoid charges of favoritism, I have replaced the names of the actual instructors and courses with “__”. Do you recognize your own evaluation? – The editor

Always well prepared and always interesting.

Excellent preparation. __ is always prepared. His class was informative, interesting, interactive, and engrossing.

The class was very interesting! It was presented beautifully.


The professor is enthusiastic and the course is well tailored to us (seniors) and useful.

Fascinating! __ was wonderful.

Wonderful opportunity to study this book in detail.

__ and __ are outstanding teachers. We are lucky to have them.

__ is a wonderful instructor. I have taken many courses with her – each one different from the other. She is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subject

__ is an excellent instructor. I have taken many of his classes.

Learning Collaborative is a fabulous program. Course offerings are varied and something to please everyone. Keep up the good work. Thank you for your contribution.

__ is always well-prepared and fascinating!

Love the Collaborative – since the inception.

Interesting concepts well presented. As usual, __ presents well and seems to have experienced the subject matter.

I start the class feeling lousy, but finish the class feeling like new money!

__ is always great and he didn’t disappoint in this course.

__ is one of the best instructors ever! She brings so much to the classroom. One can just sit back and listen – she should not be missed.

The instructor is a bit eccentric but is so passionate about __ that one can’t help but enjoy the class. She is a gem.

Excellent teacher – involved and stimulated student discussion. So knowledgeable.

Wonderful, very beautifully organized course!

__ is a master teacher! There were highly stimulating analyses of these tales!

Professor made the work and time profitable and enjoyable.

Wonderful experience in class and in readings. I am so grateful for that!

Congratulations on another great season!

Everyone would benefit from this course. Very enlightening.

Incredibly well prepared. Obviously, a previous educator.

Well prepared, well structured. Promoted class participation.

Well organized with good class participation. Good delivery.

Great choices and handouts. Stimulating discussions.

__ is wonderful. Knows his resources and is able to recruit good speakers.

You keep expanding and getting really high quality instructors. I’ve been coming

here for ~8 years and it keeps getting better.

Great, delightful. I hope to take this course again.

Fantastic teacher!

Such a knowledgeable instructor. Well prepared.

I’ve got lots more but I’m getting embarrassed. I’ll end with a response to the evaluation 17 sheet question asking about improvements. “Happy with the way it is now!” – Editor



As you see by the caption above, we are introducing a new feature in this semester’s catalog based on feedback the board receives from the student body. Actually, this involves comments passed on personally, remarks in the student evaluation sheets, and just plain hearsay. To save space, we’ll leave out the usual “Dear Editor” and “Dear Reader” headers. Questions are in regular bold font; answers are in italics.

Q: Why are the rooms so hot?

A: See the answer to the next question.

Q: Why are the rooms so cold?

A: Perhaps a good reason for couples living together before marriage is to see if they are temperature-compatible. What constitutes comfortable room temperature varies widely from person to person. We aim to satisfy most of the people most of the time.

Q: Why do some periods have, for example, two literature courses and some have none. Couldn’t the schedule be arranged better?
A: Some may think that when instructors volunteer to teach they are usually willing to be placed just about anywhere on the schedule. The reverse is true. Most instructors respond to a call to teach with severe restrictions as to session and period. When all responses are in, it takes the committee (the editor and Sam Mazen) about four hours to fill up all the timeslots. Sometimes, two literature courses in one period are unavoidable.

Q: Why does the Collaborative prefer registering online?

A: For several reasons. First, online registration shows courses that may already be closed out. Second, paper registrations require detailed time-consuming data entry by the staff, especially on day one of the registration. Therefore, by the time the staff gets to a paper form, that may well have been submitted when registration opened, a preferred course may be closed out. Then the staff has to contact the registrant personally, explain the situation, and come up with alternatives. Finally, online registration is the fairest to all. Your registration goes in the moment you press “Submit.”

Q: Why close out courses at all?

A: Except for the summer program when we need air-conditioning, most sessions are held in the regular classrooms. These have amenities that instructors like such as extensive whiteboards, many electrical outlets, and moveable chairs. They also have a limited capacity for chairs. For the most popular courses we either go to an alternative space or allow as many people as we feel can be reasonably accommodated. When that number is reached during registration we must reluctantly close out the course. Another reason for closeouts is instructor preference. Some teachers want smaller, more intimate groups.

Q: What happened to Instructor ____ ?

A: An instructor who taught previously may not appear in a current semester. There are several possible reasons for this. First, that instructor may have decided to skip the new semester or not to teach at the Collaborative again. Second, the instructor may not be in good health. Third, unfavorable student reviews may have convinced the board not to engage that teacher again. Fourth, there may be too many similar courses being offered in the timeslot(s) requested by the instructor.

Q: Why is there no course offered in ______________?

A: If enough students request a certain topic, the board will go out of its way to try and locate someone who can teach it. Often no such person can be found. However, if your interest is too esoteric, say “Bridge Building in Ecuador in the 1970s,” it might not be considered at all.

Q: To what extent does NCJC, our host organization, influence the choice of courses taught at the Collaborative?

A: Zero.

Q: Why are there problems with the audiovisual equipment?

A: This is one of our major concerns. The NCJC staff allocated to help the Collaborative has many functions to perform. There is limited time to get all audiovisual equipment ready for presentation. The course presentations come in many modes and formats and the multi-purpose computer-projector-CD player is called upon to do a lot. We ask the instructors many times to work out their needs in advance but not all cooperate fully. Also, between periods equipment that may have been set up properly in advance may have had settings changed, a plug disconnected, etc. In addition, as we all know, equipment sometimes fails. Murphy’s Law is operative! We are currently looking into acquiring some newer equipment that will reboot faster and be more robust.

Q: Is there always enough parking?

A: We believe the answer is “yes.” During the registration process we carefully monitor the number of registrants for all timeslots for all sessions (1A, 2A, and 2B.) If and when the number of registrants indicates that the parking lot will be filled to capacity, even with carpooling, we close that timeslot. Please note, however, that just one-tenth of a mile past NCJC (on your right hand side) there is plenty of on-street parking on Primrose Lane.

Q: Why are there not more handicapped parking spaces?

A: NCJC serves many communal functions. It sets the number of handicapped spaces as it sees fit for its overall mission.

Q: How do I get rich?

A: Buy low and sell high. (Maybe you’ll learn how to do this in one of our finance courses.)

Q: What is the meaning of life?

A: Believe it or not, we have courses that address that very question.

Q: When will the New York Mets win the World Series again?

A: That is unknowable. Miracles cannot be predicted!

Q: That’s a great quote on the front cover. Who said it?

A: Author T.H. White, in “The Once and Future King.” The speaker is Merlin the magician whom the Mets probably need to win the World Series.

Sat, November 16 2019 18 Cheshvan 5780