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Lunchtime Event Series - Spring 2017

Spring 2017:  To enhance the LLAIC learning experience, a number of presentations by stimulating speakers, and lively current events discussions, will take place on during lunchtime at our host site, the educational annex of St. Demetrios Church.  These will be given at 11:45 - 12:45 on Tuesdays, and 1:10 - 1:55 on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

There may also be occasional special Monday and Friday morning programs at Temple Shir Tikva
, 141 Boston Post Road, Wayland, MA 01778 (Route 20). 

Events will be posted here as soon as they are scheduled.
Your unique ideas are always eagerly solicited and welcomed.

Presentation days and times (to see the dates, speakers, subject and bio,
click on the day below):

Tuesdays, 11:45 - 12:45

Feb. 28
Welcome Program

March 7
Phil Radoff
Phil Radoff, LLAIC's resident opera buff, will preview La Traviata, the famous Verdi Opera, in advance of the Met in HD production which will be featured in local theaters
on Saturday, March 11

March 14
Mary Mansfield
Canceled due to weather conditions

Mary will present
a TED Talk video followed by discussion, featuring "A Prosecutor's Vision for a Better Justice System" By Adam Foss.

As Assistant District Attorney in the Juvenile Division of Suffolk County, Adam Foss has become one of Boston's leading voices for compassion in criminal justice. Recognizing that prosecutors have a unique opportunity to intervene in offender's lives, Foss co-founded the Roxbury CHOICE Program, a collaborative effort between defendants, the court, the probation department, and the D.A. to recast probation as a transformative experience rather than a punitive process. In addition to his work with the DA's office, Foss is the founder of the SCDAO Reading Program, a project designed to bridge the achievement gap of area elementary school students.

March 21
Nasda Alam
"The Civic Engagement of Muslims"
She is chairwoman of the Massachusetts Muslim Voter Registration Project
March 28
Joe Mullin
America’s Dilemma:  Should Candidates Who Finish Second Still Win the Presidency of the United States?

April 4
Yvonne Abraham
"Journalism in a Post-Factual Era."

Yvonne Abraham has been a Metro columnist at the Boston Globe since 2007. Born in Sydney, Australia, to Lebanese immigrants, she earned a degree in History and English Literature at the University of Sydney.  She came to Boston on a Rotary Foundation fellowship in 1993 to get a master's degree in journalism at Boston University.

After a year as a staff writer at Boston Magazine, Yvonne was hired by the Boston Phoenix, and then joined the Boston Globe in January 1999. She has chronicled the evolving face of America, covering assignments that have taken her from the State House, on presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004, and to Pakistan after September 11, 2001. In her columns on Thursdays and Sundays, she focuses on the lives of those who might otherwise be invisible, and on defending them from the politicians whose words and deeds affect us all.
April 18
Neville Frankel
"Under the Soviet Shadow: The Family History that Inspired the Novel"

Emmy award-winning writer, Neville Frankel, addresses the challenges of writing historical fiction, using as an example the work on his new Soviet-era novel, On the Sickle’s Edge. This talk provides deep insight into the author’s creative process, as he discusses the delicate balance between integrating historical detail while remaining faithful to the family stories that inspired the work. Signed copies of On the Sickle’s Edge will be available for purchase.

Biography: Neville Frankel was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and immigrated to Boston with his family when he was 14. After graduating from Dartmouth College, he pursued doctoral work in English literature at the University of Toronto.  
While in Canada, he wrote The Third Power, a well-reviewed political thriller about the transformation of Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. He also received an Emmy for his work on a Frontline/BBC documentary, The Mind of a Murderer: Part 1. In 2005 he returned to South Africa for the first time in 38 years. Over the next decade he went back several more times, researching what would become Bloodlines. On the Sickle’s Edge, a work of historical fiction set in Latvia, Russia and South Africa and based on Frankel's family’s history, was published by Diálogos Books in January 2017. The work has been nominated by the American Library Association for inclusion on its Notable Books List. Frankel is a 2013 and 2017 Jewish Book Council Author and has participated in more than 100 speaking engagements around the country. Following a thirty-year career in finance, he is now a full-time author. He also has a keen passion for painting and mountain climbing. Frankel has three grown children, and he and his wife divide their time among Boston, Cape Cod and Santa Barbara.

April 25
Chip Berlet
"Defending Democracy in Angry Times"
Defending democracy is like rowing upstream…if we stop rowing we get swept backwards.  In an era of fake news and biased reporting on the Left and Right we all need to ensure that our democracy remains healthy and strong.

Chip Berlet is an investigative journalist and independent scholar whose byline has appeared in The New York Times, Boston Globe, Progressive, and Amnesty Now and more. He has appeared on ABC's Nightline, The Today Show, NPR's All Things Considered, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Democracy Now and many other radio and television programs in the United States and Europe. Co-author of the book Right-Wing Populism in America, Chip’s scholarly work has been published in Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, Contemporary Sociology, American Anthropologist, Critical Sociology, Criminology and Public Policy, and Research in Political Sociology.

As a human rights activist, he has spent over forty years studying prejudice, demonization, scapegoating, demagoguery, conspiracism, and authoritarianism. He has investigated far right hate groups, reactionary backlash movements, theocratic fundamentalism, civil liberties violations, police misconduct, government and private surveillance abuse, and other anti-democratic phenomena. He is a lively speaker defending democracy and diversity.

Berlet is co–author, with Matthew N. Lyons, of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, (Guilford Press, 2000), which received a Gustavus Myers Center Award for outstanding scholarship on the subject of human rights and intolerance in North America. He is on the board of the Defending Dissent Foundation. From 1981 until 2011 Berlet worked at Political Research Associates, spending over a decade as PRA's Senior Analyst. specializing in the study of right-wing movements in the United States, civil liberties, and the global Human Rights Movement.

Berlet also has written scholarly articles on conspiracy theories, religious apocalyptic aggression, and organized racist groups. For thirty years he was senior analyst at Political Research Associates.


May 2
Jan Darsa
“Facing History and Ourselves” is a nonprofit international educational and professional development organization.  See their website at  
May 9
Bert Levine
“Money in Politics: the Strategic and Ethical Issues Related to Campaign Finance and Lobbying”

Starting out as a legislative analyst for Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, Bert has spent his entire career in politics. He worked as a Congressional Counsel on Capitol Hill (with the Health Subcommittee) and a lobbyist for Johnson & Johnson. Currently he is a political science professor at Rutgers University. He teaches courses in American Institutions, Constitutional Law, Interest Groups, etc. He has both a JD and a PhD and has authored two books on interest groups and lobbying and published several articles on these topics.

May 16
LILAC Players
Make-up week:  Performance of three short plays

Wednesdays, 1:10 - 1:55

March 1
Welcome Program

March 8
Ruth Baden
Ruth Baden will read her poetry. 

Author and frequent course leader, Ruth is teaching the second half poetry course, The Wild Braid by Stanley Kunitz.  Ruth will be reading two poems from her book, East of the Moon, plus some poems to be published in her next book on women and aging.  She writes, and will read about love, death, and living; about growing up and growing old.  If we are lucky we will hear her Pavanne for a Dead Potato Latke

She will have copies of her book for autographing and signing.
March 15
Sue Goldberg
Canceled due to weather conditions

Every year  Sue spends a month with about 16 other people speaking English with school children in Haifa, Israel. She gets to know the country, the kids and often has the  opportunity to hear lectures from different government and retired military.  At the end of the program she spends a week walking in the desert with her cousin between the camels and the sheep. She has graciously agreed to share her fascinating experiences with us.

March 22
Mary Mansfield
TED Talk "Do Schools Kill Creativity" with Ken Robinson
March 29
Jane Karol
"Therapeutic Riding"

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy: Learn how a horse can be used as a co-therapist in a unique experiential psychotherapeutic method.

The Bear Spot Foundation for Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy was established in 2004 to provide therapeutic services to children, adolescents and their families. Jane is the owner and head trainer at Bear Spot Farm, and the program director of the foundation. As a psychotherapist with extensive experience treating children and adolescents with a myriad of diagnostic presentations, and a Grand Prix dressage rider she is in a unique position to bring the profound presence of the horse into a directed therapeutic experience.

Jane will explain how this powerful psychotherapeutic practice works by briefly describing the method and then presenting three case studies to illustrate the often profound therapeutic effect her equine co-therapists can have on her clients.

April 5
Rabbi Hank Zoob
"A Lifetime of Genesis"

In my new book, A Lifetime of Genesis, I seek to explain how the Covenant of Abraham, the contract between God and the Patriarchs, provides the basic theme and focus for the Book of Genesis. Every other chapter in the book includes a story or theme from my own life that parallels the lives of our Genesis ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah. For example, following the story of how Abraham and Sarah confronted the problem of infertility, Rabbi Zoob shares how he and his wife Barbara struggled with infertility for more than a decade until they were blessed with a son.

Rabbi Zoob is the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth David, in Westwood, MA, a Reform congregation which he served for thirty-six years prior to his retirement in 2006.  He is the Founding Chair of the Rashi School, the Boston Area Reform Jewish Day School, and served on the founding boards of the Gann Academy (a pluralistic Jewish high school in Waltham, MA) and Mayyim Hayyim, Living Waters Community Mikveh. He is a Past President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis.

April 19
Peter Schmidt
Robotics: Friend or Foe?

Recent newspaper articles have featured numerous stories about robots taking American jobs.  What are robots and what can they do or not do? How do they relate to artificial intelligence? This presentation will give a brief tour of robotics and some recent developments in the field.

After a first career in experimental high-energy physics, Peter Schmidt joined a robotics startup company to work in machine vision for industrial inspection, and then continued in that field in several other high-tech companies until retirement. As a frequent course leader he has given classes in robotics as part of science and technology courses.

April 26
Bob Berlin
Bob will show and lead a discussion of an episode from National Geographic Channel's climate change series Years of Living Dangerously entitled "Gathering Storm," in which:
  1. Jack Black explores how Miami and other low-lying coastal areas can survive rising sea-levels caused by climate change, and
  2. Ian Somerhalder travels to the Bahamas to talk with scientists from Woods Hole to learn how the warming of the oceans' surface will increase the strength and destructiveness of hurricanes and superstorms.
May 3
Ruth Baden
Leading a poetry slam

May 10
Membership Committee

End-of-semester celebration

Thursdays, 1:10 - 1:55

March 2
Welcome Program

March 9
Harriet Starrett
Harriet Starrett will lead a current events conversation, the first of many on Thursdays this semester.

March 16
Harriet Starrett Harriet Starrett will lead a current events conversation, one of many on Thursdays this semester.
March 23
Harriet Starrett Harriet Starrett will lead a current events conversation, one of many on Thursdays this semester.

March 30
Alorie Parkhill
A Workshop for potential Course Leaders

Members of Curriculum Committee will be available to work with anyone who would like support designing a new course. All are welcome, including those who have taught before. Please join us.

April 6
Marguerite Dorn
"Standing Up in the Age of Trump/We Were Warned; They Explained; We Persisted."

The Trump election has galvanized creative and innovative methods for challenging his agenda – and has turned otherwise apolitical Americans into activists. For many, newfound politicism is not about partisanship but rather about character, decency, integrity, bigotry, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and Presidency-for-Profit.
Meet the Resistance. From consumer boycotts to masses in the streets – these activists build on the rights movements that have come before to create a stand against actions they believe go well beyond conservative policy. They work from a sense of common purpose, though they often fight for differing causes. And they have found quite a bit of success in the process.

Francine Prose wrote recently, “Everyone can do something; each of us should do as much as we can. The important thing is to keep saying no to each new outrage, and not to become complacent or inattentive.” If this resonates with you, join us to learn more about strategies that you can employ in your “upstanding.”

Marguerite Dorn is  a lawyer, a political activist, a human rights advocate and an adjunct professor at Wheelock College

April 20
 Allen Taylor and Kim Kronenberg STEP (Science Training Encouraging Peace)
"Bringing Together Israeli and Palestinian Health Care Leaders"

STEP is a person-to-person program that brings young Israeli and Palestinian healthcare leaders together and funds their training, in pairs, in academic graduate programs in the health and medical sciences in Israel/Palestine. STEP Fellows study intensively together for the full length of a MS or PhD program. Face to face and day after day, they hone their skills and pursue answers to the region’s public health or medical problems. These academic “boot camp” experiences build trust, interdependence and friendships. 
STEP Fellows commit to being professional resources to one another during and after completion of their training when they return to their communities, establish careers, build businesses, enhance community services and act as bridges between their populations.

For more information, visit the website at

April 27
Bob Berlin
Bob will show and lead a discussion of an episode from National Geographic Channel's climate change series Years of Living Dangerously entitled "Gathering Storm," in which:
  1. Jack Black explores how Miami and other low-lying coastal areas can survive rising sea-levels caused by climate change, and
  2. Ian Somerhalder travels to the Bahamas to talk with scientists from Woods Hole to learn how the warming of the oceans' surface will increase the strength and destructiveness of hurricanes and superstorms.
May 4
Harriet Starrett Harriet Starrett will lead a current events conversation, one of many on Thursdays this semester.

May 11
Harriet Starrett Harriet Starrett will lead a current events conversation, one of many on Thursdays this semester.

Mid-day Event Archive:
To view mid-day events of past semesters, click here.

Updated April 16, 2017