MEET “PEOPLE-WARE PERSON” SANDY SHERIZEN

SANDY SHERIZEN:  “PEOPLE-WARE PERSON”

When asked what led him to join BOLLI, Sandy Sherizen replied, “Two words:  Charlie Raskin.”  Sandy went on to say that, “After hearing Charlie praise BOLLI for about five years, I finally told him that I didn’t really want to take any more courses.  Of course, that didn’t stop Charlie.  Instead, he started talking about how BOLLI has so much more to offer.  He also said that, as we get older, it is often difficult to make new and satisfying friendships.  “BOLLI fills that need as well,” he said.  That did it.

Since joining five years ago, Sandy has found getting to know his fellow BOLLI members to be completely engaging.  “I absolutely love the participants,” he says.  “There are so many different backgrounds, perspectives, and levels of joy among this group.”  He goes on to point out that “Finding such a great source of ‘people-ware’ is inspiring—and sadly missing from so much of our culture today.”  How true.

Sandy says that both taking and teaching courses has been especially satisfying for him, adding that, “I also like Lunch & Learn.”  He goes on to say that “I had neglected music, art and non-fiction in my life and now have the opportunity to take courses in these areas with talented and knowledgeable SGL’s.”  For many years, Sandy taught courses in sociology and criminology at the university level, and he has now taught four different topics at BOLLI.  In addition, he plans to start a new one in the fall.  “I used to tell undergraduate students in my classes that, if they didn’t ask me questions, I’d ask them.  There is no need to say that to BOLLI members!”

A highlight of Sandy’s BOLLI experience to date was participating in the Sages & Seekers program this past fall.  In this program, run by Margie Nesson and Brandeis professor Sarah Lamb, Sandy was paired up with “this really nice and bright undergraduate named Jessica” and was somewhat surprised to find that “I felt very comfortable sharing my life experiences with her—we had trouble stopping when the sessions were over.”  Jessica invited Sandy to several campus plays in which she had parts; he met her parents and sister; and, with her boyfriend, she  attended a service at Sandy’s synagogue.  “She’s now in Amsterdam but will return later in the summer—I can’t wait to hear her stories about Holland and about what she plans on doing next in her life.”

When asked about his “extra-curricular” activities, Sandy is quick to say that “I read a lot and am trying to somewhat limit my New York Times addiction.  Since I love politics, I hate today’s politics.  I am active in my synagogue and am currently working with a number of congregants on immigration assistance.  I used to teach ESL in Framingham and have wonderful memories of meeting people from around the world.  Finally, in my ‘spare time,’ I am a community member of an IRB (an ethics and confidentiality medical research review committee) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.”

A strong bent for social action seems to be in Sandy’s DNA.  He worked in civil rights in Chicago in the 1960’s before teaching sociology at the University of Illinois and then coming to Boston University in 1976 to teach criminology.  He then spent over 30 years working on cyber-security and privacy issues as a consultant, seminar speaker, and writer.”

“I am divorced,” Sandy says, “and I have a son in San Francisco.  We have a wonderful and full relationship.  He inspires me and offers me life lessons.  We are cheerleaders for each other, and, after we talk or chat online, I smile.”

After talking to Sandy, I smile too.

BOLL Matters editor and “Meet Our Members” feature writer, Sue Wurster

There’s nothing I like more than getting to know the people around me even better!  I hope you’ll leave a comment for Sandy in the box below.  It means a lot to each of our profiled members to hear from others.   And I’d love to hear from you about YOU!