“Griffin Museum of Photography,” by Ellen Moskowitz

July 12th, 2022

Opened in 1992, Winchester’s Griffin Museum of Photography has four small, lovely and well-curated galleries. Named in honor of early twentieth-century photographer Arthur Griffin, whose first camera was a second-hand folding Brownie, the Griffin features works from both renowned photographers and talented newcomers who “explore important themes and thought-provoking ideas.” As an added benefit, the grounds feature a large outside terrace overlooking Judkins Pond with ample space for relaxation and bird-watching at the finish of your tour. For more information, or to take a virtual tour, visit the Museum website.


From the Archives: “The O in Our Name is for Osher,” by Joan Kleinman

June 27th, 2022

(This article originally appeared in October 2010.)

Bernard Osher is passionate about education. “My four siblings and I had the benefit of a college education—an opportunity unavailable to our parents who emigrated from Russia and Lithuania to America,” he explains. “I decided early on to support scholarships for people who desired education but had severely limited financial resources. I know what a big difference higher education makes in a person’s life—enhancing career choices, earning power, and self-esteem—and I would like to help as many people as possible to have that chance.”

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“A Conversation with Sophie Freud,” by Joyce Lazarus

June 7th, 2022

Longtime BOLLI member and Study Group Leader, Sophie Freud, died peacefully at her Lincoln home on Friday, June 3 at the age of 97. ​Sophie was a free spirit who lived according to her own high-minded values and principles, and in doing so became an inspiration to us all. Member Peter Bradley met recently with Sophie to interview her for the BOLLI Oral History Project, which he is spearheading.* During their time together Sophie relived some memorable moments of her childhood and young adulthood, as well as her more recent experiences at BOLLI. Some may recall Naomi Schmidt’s October 2007 Banner essay on Sophie’s memoir, Living in the Shadow of the Freud Family. In both the memoir and in Peter’s recent interview, Sophie demonstrated her outspoken nature, courage, and strong drive for professional achievement.

During the interview with Peter, Sophie observed that both good luck and tragedy had marked her life. She felt fortunate to have escaped from Vienna in May 1938 before she could witness the horrors of Kristallnacht (November 1938) and the Holocaust. She had a happy but overly-protective childhood in Vienna with a nanny who accompanied her to school every day, when she would have much preferred to go there on her own. Sophie remembered her famous grandfather, Sigmund Freud, as caring, protective and generous, though emotionally distant.

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“A Visit to Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary,” by Mark Seliber

May 31st, 2022

Standing: Richard Laing, Mark Seliber, Art Shearman; Seated: Bill Hollman, Jean Wood. Judy Kaplan

It was very appropriate for members of the You Think You Own Whatever Land You Land On study group to have an in-person get-together on May 18 at Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in South Natick, since the site was once the scene of bitter and sometimes bloody battles over ownership. We met at the outdoor pavilion, where our Audubon host Jonathan Davis gave a short talk on the history of the land on which we stood, which had been occupied for many years by the Massachusetts tribe. During the 17th century, Puritan missionary John Eliot created “praying towns” of which present-day South Natick was the first. He subsequently converted indigenous people to Christianity and translated the Bible into their language. By the late 1600s, a series of water mills were built which for the next two centuries used the flowing water of the Charles River for industrial purposes. The land, including some mill ruins, now belongs to Broadmoor and Audubon. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, so we hiked together for about an hour and a half on boardwalks, over bridges and on trails through marshlands, lily ponds and forests. It was a peaceful way to end our exploration of land struggles throughout history and around the world.


“Mount Auburn Cemetery in the Spring,” by Susan M. Schmidt

May 23rd, 2022

“Spring,” Larry Raskin

When I heard BOLLI was offering several outdoor classes this spring, I was ecstatic. This would mean that I could shut off my computer, remove myself from the couch and head off to the great outdoors, but only if I scored a spot in the class lottery! As the Gods of Luck would have it, I won a spot and enrolled in Helen Abrams’ Mount Auburn Cemetery in the Spring, a course which Helen was well-qualified to lead, since she has been a docent there for over 14 years. Our class would Zoom together for two sessions and walk the Cemetery’s hills and dales the other three.

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“Harvard Art Museums,” by Phil Radoff

May 16th, 2022

Harvard Art Museums

It’s not exactly around the corner from 60 Turner Street, but the Harvard Art Museums are worth the trouble to get there. Many BOLLI members probably recall the days when a trip to Harvard’s museums required visitors to make a choice: Do I want to see the great collection of paintings in the Fogg’s Maurice Wertheim rooms? How about works by Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch, and various 20th century German-speaking artists at the Busch-Reisinger–or perhaps the Chinese jades and Greek vases in the Sackler? Fortunately, since 2014, visitors can have it all in a single building, now referred to simply as the Harvard Art Museums, located just across Harvard Square at 32 Quincy Street. Read the rest of this entry »


“Music of the Harlem Renaissance,” by Phil Radoff and Jack Curley (from the Banner Archives, March 2018* )

April 25th, 2022

In January and February, a large group of BOLLI members attended a series of complimentary lectures on aspects of the Harlem Renaissance, that period in American History from roughly the early Twenties to the late Thirties or the end of World War II (depending on one’s point of view) that saw an explosion of creativity in the arts in Harlem’s African American community. The first lecture–on literary aspects of the Harlem Renaissance–was given by popular SGL Ben Railton, Professor of English Studies and Coordinator of American Studies at Fitchburg State University. His lecture focused on the works of three icons of the Harlem Renaissance: W.E.B. DuBois, Nella Larsen, and Langston Hughes.

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“Nomad from Baghdad: Meet BOLLI Member Ron Levy,” by Peter Bradley

March 28th, 2022

Susan Posner, Sharon Sokoloff and Ron – 2008

Editor’s note: This article was compiled from the author’s recent interview with Ron Levy for the inaugural episode of the BOLLI Oral History Project (see additional information at the bottom of the page.) To listen to their recorded conversation, click HERE

When Ron Levy was just 7 years old, his family sent him on a journey from his home in Baghdad to join his father in England. That extraordinary adventure, at such a young age, is but one chapter in the story of a remarkable life.

Ron joined BOLLI in 2004, and in subsequent years led numerous study groups and became a longtime member of the BOLLI Advisory Council. The journey that led him here began with several family moves, academic success, and a long, successful business career in England, Canada, and the United States.

          Study Group Leader – 2014

Ron was born in Baghdad in 1938. Based on his own research and family stories, he believes the history of his father’s family in the Middle East dates to the time of the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem. His mother’s ancestry doesn’t date back quite as far, but is nonetheless compelling. Her Spanish roots date to the Inquisition, a time of anti-Jewish persecution that led her ancestors to move to Holland and eventually Baghdad. At the time Ron was born, Iraq was embracing a Nazi ideology and Jews faced increasing persecution and violence. Life there became untenable. “We essentially were facing a pogrom,” he says.   Read the rest of this entry »


“Welcome, New Members!”

March 2nd, 2022

This semester, we are pleased to add 62 new members to the BOLLI community!

Pam Adams, Seattle WA
Nina Avergun, Medford MA
Naomi Bar-Yam, Newton MA
Rosalie Beith, Weston MA
Rebecca Benson, Belmont MA
Edward Bloom, Wayland MA
Johanna Bromberg, Clearwater FL
Eve Brooks, Sperryville VA
Barbara Brown, Waban MA
Dianne Caughey, Framingham MA

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“A Lydian Bids Farewell,” by Phil Radoff and Jack Curley

January 31st, 2022

Brandeis’s Lydian String Quartet will lose the last of its founding members when second violinist Judith Eissenberg departs at the end of the spring semester. Judy came to Brandeis 42 years ago, fresh out of graduate school at Yale, to join three other young women in establishing the University’s first and only quartet-in-residence. She leaves Brandeis to join the full-time faculty at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, with which she has had a part-time relationship for 20 years, as Coordinator of Chamber Music. Judy recently sat down with us (via Zoom) to review her musical career, plans for the future, and thoughts on leaving both the Quartet and the University after more than four decades.

Judy Eissenberg

Judy leaves with very mixed emotions: sadness at ending her participation in a string quartet with a close-knit relationship among members that has received both national and international acclaim; appreciation for the opportunity to expand her activities at Boston Conservatory; and gratitude for the professional experiences that her position on the Brandeis faculty and participation in the Lydian String Quartet have afforded her. She has enjoyed teaching chamber music and the Global Soundscapes course in the Music Department, as well as working with graduate composers, and she deeply values the range of repertoire that the Lydian has explored over the many years, with commissions, premieres, and many recordings. Read the rest of this entry »


“Behind the Curtain at BOLLI,” by Jack Curley

January 10th, 2022

In the early spring of 2020, Kamala Harris endorsed Joe Biden for president, a nine-year old tech company named “ZOOM” struggled to gain a foothold in the world of video-conferencing, and a new BOLLI semester was about to get underway at 60 Turner Street. By mid-March, word spread of a newly-discovered variant of the Corona virus that had made the jump from animals to humans and our everyday world turned upside down.

In a March 12 message to members, BOLLI Executive Director Avi Bernstein announced that, due to the spread of the virus, programming would be suspended to allow time for development of a platform with which to support remote learning. The project would be undertaken by staff, with help from a group of members with the requisite talent and knowledge to assist. Remarkably, the new system was up and running in just two weeks, classes resumed, and “BOLLI OnLine” was born. Today, Senior Associate Director, Megan Curtis, says that if anyone had asked her pre-Covid for an estimate of the time it would take to convert to a virtual platform, she would have said “at least two years.”

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