OLLI Danube Trip


By: Lisa Troute, OLLI Advisory Board Member

Imagine floating down the beautiful Danube River on a riverboat, exploring history along the way!  Well, that’s exactly what 32 friends and family of OLLI did from June 26-July 9, 2019. These lucky people sailed with Dr. Jeffrey Morton on a fabulous excursion through the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary.  (Some OLLI members also took pre or post excursion trips to Germany, Poland, or Budapest.)   What a grand experience it was, as the food, the service, the tour guides, and the scenery were all superlative—and punctuated with amazing lectures from Dr. Morton who provided the background and history of the storied places we were seeing!

Lisa Troute and the OLLI’s tour guide, Zsanett (Jeanette)

Dr. Morton’s five excellent lectures, distributed throughout the cruise, took us from the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg reign, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and finally to the political and economic status of the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.  These lectures were especially meaningful since we were visiting the places he talked about.

In Prague we visited Stare Mesto (Old Town), the fabulous Charles Bridge with historic statues on each side, and a castle. In a Prague garden, we heard from a local professor who told about his personal experiences during the communist takeover, and the events surrounding the fall of the Iron Curtain.  History truly came alive!

From Prague, we took a bus to Cesky Krumlov—a well preserved medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We visited Mauthausen, one of the Nazi’s first large-scale concentration camps—and the last to be liberated.  It was sobering to see the barracks, the gas chambers,  the crematorium and the 180,000+ names of those who had perished there.

Durnstein in the Wachau Valley of the Danube

Floating through the Wachau Valley, we admired the stunningly beautiful landscape of sculpted hills, vineyards and medieval towns on both sides of the Danube that comprise this UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stop at Krems included a visit to Gottweig Abbey, a still-active monastery that has been sitting on a hilltop overlooking the unspoiled Wachau Valley since 1072.   Another stop was at Durnstein, a charming little town with cobbled streets and a distinctive blue church, and then it was on to a winery.  Winzer Krems is part of a wine cooperative of all the wine growers in the region.  And of course we tasted the wines while learning about the area’s wine heritage.

Vienna was our next stop, boasting 1,000 years of Jewish cultural history—including a period in the 18th century, when more Jews lived there than anywhere else in the world. The city has seven synagogues (among them Europe’s oldest), a Jewish Museum and an Old Jewish Cemetery where the stones are practically atop one another.

OLLI members: Donna Adair, Lois Steinberg, Marcia Halpern, Lisa Troute (seated)

While walking past the Imperial Palace, home to many generations of the Habsburg family, we saw Lipizzaner horses from the famed Spanish Riding School trotting around one of the castle’s courtyards.

But what is Vienna without music?  One evening we went to Kursalen Vien, a palace built in 1865, and thrilled to the music of Strauss and Mozart.  Vienna has many palaces, and we toured the expansive summer estate of Habsburg royalty, Schoenbrunn Palace (whose name means “beautiful spring”). It features 1,400 rooms, meticulously maintained gardens, and an architectural legacy that stretches back to the 17th century.  It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“Man at Work” —the most famous statue in Bratislava

Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital, known for its picturesque setting at the foot of the Little Carpathian Mountains, is the smallest of the four capitals we visited. It was once the seat of power of neighboring Hungary.  One evening we broke into small groups and joined local Slovakian families for dinner in their homes.  This interpersonal connection allowed us to glimpse everyday life along the Danube.

The Grand Circle Foundation usually includes school visits in its tours, but because it was summer vacation, a teacher came on board to talk about the educational system She explained the exams that were necessary to graduate from high school, and the exams needed to get into a university, which is free to those who qualify.

Another interesting opportunity was riding a communist era bus, which took us to the border between Slovakia and Austria.  Two parallel roads ran side by side, about 10 feet apart with a no-man’s line of grass or low bushes in between.  Many died trying to bridge those few yards.  Today, there is only grass and some bushes between the two borders (roads). Until 1991, it might have felt as if there were hundreds of miles between the two roads as people looked across at each other with guns drawn.

Castle Hill in Budapest

In Budapest, a bus tour took us to both sides of the Hungarian capital that straddles the magnificent Danube River. Buda, the western (hilly) side features Castle Hill, complete with ramparts that protected the massive castle complex. Destroyed during World War II, the palace has been restored and it is now a museum.  We also went to a hill in Buda overlooking Pest, the eastern (flat) side of the capital. From here, Russians fired down into the city during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.  Bullet holes can still be seen on some buildings.

Natural connected underground limestone caves lie beneath Castle Hill. There, a hospital was created. The Hospital in the Rock had tended to scores of sick and wounded during World War II, and again during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. In the Cold War era, it was outfitted as a nuclear fallout shelter. Today, it is a museum, with over 200 wax figures in period clothing, military uniforms, bandaged patients, and vintage medical equipment, giving visitors a feel for the intensity of the work performed here.

Beyond all the wonderful places we saw, we learned much about the history, culture, and people of the places we visited.  Our guides were well informed and eager to share and make our experiences memorable.  As an added bonus, we got to know other OLLI members and make new friends.  Thank you, OLLI, for the opportunity to take this wonderful trip!!

Posted in Uncategorized

Kind Hearts and Coronets

By Benito Rakower, Ed.D

Many people regard this as their favorite film.  Its flawless wit, brilliance and acting never stale nor seem dated.  It shares with “Casablanca” the virtue of repeated viewings, each with the original freshness.

Set in Edwardian England, it recounts the methodical manner in which an ignored and rejected member of an aristocratic family plots his revenge.  He does this to secure his legitimate place in the line of succession.  That, of course, means eliminating everyone who stands in his way.

Essentially, the film recasts Shakespeare’s “Richard III” into a modern comedy of manners.  That the greatest English film comedy could be based on a criminal enterprise is itself an astounding tour de force. It is impossible not to relish the polish, refinement, and poise of the villain/hero.  The film is also a stunning portrait of what makes the English “English”.

Dr. Rakower will teach a six-week course, “The Sense of the Ridiculous in Film,” starting on Thursday, May 16 at 1 p.m.

To register, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized

OLLI Jupiter Presents National Theatre Live and the Bolshoi Ballet

You may not know, but OLLI Jupiter is a venue for National Theatre Live programs and Bolshoi Ballet performances. OLLI at Jupiter began showing limited presentations in 2016, and over the past few years OLLI Jupiter has consistently added new programs and performances. Don’t miss out!

National Theatre Live (NTL) is the National Theatre’s groundbreaking project to broadcast world-class theatre to cinemas in the UK and internationally. Though each broadcast is filmed in front of a live audience in the theatre, cameras are carefully positioned throughout the auditorium to ensure that cinema audiences get the ‘best seat in the house’ view of each production. Where these cameras are placed is different for each broadcast, to make sure that cinema audiences enjoy the best possible experience every time. The Bolshoi Theatre is a symbol of Russia for all time. It was awarded this honor due to the major contribution it made to the history of the Russian performing arts. This history is on-going and today Bolshoi Theatre artists continue to contribute to its many bright pages.

At this time, OLLI Jupiter is presenting recorded versions of performances from NTL and the Bolshoi Ballet that have already been shown live. If you missed the live version, join us for a recorded version.

Tickets are $20 for members and non-members.


Upcoming NTL Programs and Bolshoi Ballet Performances at OLLI Jupiter

“Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow: The Golden Age”
In the 1920s, “The Golden Age” cabaret is a favorite nightly haunt. The young fisherman Boris falls in love with Rita. He follows her to the cabaret and realizes that she is the beautiful dancer “Mademoiselle Margot,” but also the love interest of the local gangster Yashka. With its jazzy score by Dmitri Shostakovich and its music-hall atmosphere featuring beautiful tangos, “The Golden Age” is a refreshing and colorful dive into the roaring ‘20s. A historic ballet that can be seen only at the Bolshoi!

Register Early! There is a $5 charge for registering on the day of a one-time lecture or event.

Course # S1R6 — One Time Event
Dates:   Thursday, April 11 2019
Time:     3:30 – 6 PM
Fee:       $20 / member; $20 / non-member
Register Now


National Theatre Live “MacBeth”
The ruined aftermath of a bloody civil war. Ruthlessly fighting to survive, the Macbeths are propelled towards the crown by forces of elemental darkness. Shakespeare’s most intense and terrifying tragedy, directed by Rufus Norris (“The Threepenny Opera,” “London Road”), sees Rory Kinnear (“Othello”) and Anne-Marie Duff (“Suffragette”) play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. This is a modern version of the play.

To view the trailer, click here.

Register Early! There is a $5 charge for registering on the day of a one-time lecture or event.

Course # S1S2 — One Time Event
Dates:   Saturday, April 20 2019
Time:     2 – 4:45 PM
Fee:       $20 / member; $20 / non-member
Register Now


“Water Lilies of Monet: The Magic of Water and Light: Great Art on Screen”
Voyage through the masterpieces and obsessions of the genius and founder of Impressionism, Claude Monet. An art-world disruptor at the turn of the 20th century whose obsession with capturing light and water broke all convention, Monet revolutionized Modern Art with his timeless masterpieces. An in-depth, exclusive tour led by Monet scholars of the museums that house the largest collections of the prolific artist’s lily paintings, including the Musée Marmottan Monet, the Orsay Museum, the world-famous panels at L’Orangerie and concluding with Monet’s own house and gardens at Giverny, the site where his fascination for water lilies was born.

This is a documentary film, not a live lecture.

Register Early! There is a $5 charge for registering on the day of a one-time lecture or event.

Course # SUM1 — One Time Event
Dates:   Monday, June 3 2019
Time:     1 – 2:45 PM
Fee:       $20 / member; $20 / non-member
Register Now


Posted in Uncategorized

A Walk in Space


John Grunsfeld, Ph.D.

On Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 11:15 a.m.,  astronaut John Grunsfeld, Ph.D., will present a one-time lecture, “A Hubble Story.”  In May 2009, a team of astronauts flew to the Hubble Space Telescope on space shuttle Atlantis. On their 13-day mission and over the course of five spacewalks, they completed an extreme makeover of the orbiting observatory. Scientific results from the new and repaired instruments hint at a bright scientific future for Hubble and will be presented in the talk, as well as a narrative of the adventures on orbit. Pictures and video will be utilized during the  lecture.

As a child, John Grunsfeld dreamed of becoming an astronaut. He studied science and his dream came true. A veteran of five space flights, STS-67 (1995), STS-81 (1997), STS-103 (1999) STS-109 (2002) and STS-125 (2009), John has logged more than 58 days in space, including 58 hours and 30 minutes of extravehicular activities (EVA) in eight spacewalks. He visited the Hubble Space Telescope three times as an astronaut to service and upgrade the observatory.

John Grunsfeld, Ph.D., repairing the Hubble Space Telescope

He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980 and then returned to his native Chicago to earn a master’s degree and a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago. After he earned his doctorate, he joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology as a senior research fellow in physics, mathematics and astronomy.

In 1992, he joined NASA’s astronaut corps, and qualified for flight selection as a mission specialist.  He was assigned as the lead for the development of portable computers for use in space. He first flew to space aboard Endeavour in March 1995.  His second flight was aboard Atlantis in January 1997. This mission docked with the Russian space station Mir, exchanged U.S. astronauts living aboard the outpost and performed scientific research. John then flew on three more shuttle missions — Discovery in December 1999, Columbia in March 2002 and Atlantis in May 2009. He was the lead spacewalker in charge of Hubble activities. During this mission, he successfully serviced and upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope.

After the 1999 mission, he served as NASA’s chief of extravehicular activity. John also was an instructor in the Extravehicular Activity Branch and Robotics Branch of the astronaut program and worked on the exploration concepts and technologies for use beyond low Earth orbit in the Advanced Programs Branch. In 2004 and 2005, John was the commander and science officer on the backup crew for Expedition 13 to the International Space Station (ISS). He also served as the NASA Chief Scientist detailed to NASA  headquarters from 2003 to 2004. In this position, he helped develop President George W. Bush’s “Vision for Space Exploration.”

He retired from NASA in December 2009 and served as deputy director for the Space Telescope Science Institute, in Baltimore, managing the science program for the Hubble Space Telescope and its partner in the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope. He returned to NASA in January 2012 as the associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA HQ in Washington. One facet of John’s duties as associate administrator is representing NASA’s current and future space science programs and projects to Congress, the media and the public.

To register for the one-time lecture, click here.

To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
To approve a single suggestion, mouse over it and click “✔”
Click the bubble to approve all of its suggestions.
Posted in Uncategorized

My Darling Clementine – A 1946 Film

By Benito Rakower, Ed.D.

Benito Rakower, Ed.D., will teach an eight-week course this winter titled, “Eight Signature Films by Five Legendary Directors.” The course will begin on Friday, Jan. 18 from 1:30- 4 p.m. The first film to be shown will be “My Darling Clementine.”


The American “cowboy” is America’s contribution to the mythology of the male hero.  The archetype is Homer’s Achilles who cast his long shadow over the doom of Troy and the splendor of Western literature.  The darling of the goddess Athena and the son of the goddess Thetis, Achilles epitomized brief glory, pride, and tragic grandeur.

This marvelous and poetic Western, brings the Homeric conception of man into conflict with a new concept of man embodied in the American “cowboy.”

Victor Mature, as “Doc” Holliday, is the American East, with its close ties to European culture –  Shakespeare, Harvard, and worldly status.  Wyatt Earp is the American frontier, the new territory, and the struggle against Nature, the wilderness, and “savage” humanity.  Putting it simply, a primitive beginning, the development of society, the threshold of civilization.  Almost the entire history of America is contained in this film as John Ford intended.


To learn more about and register for Dr. Rakower’s eight-week course, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Taking Stock of the Nations that Want to Give America a Bad Day

Steve Clemons, Editor-at-Large, ‘The Atlantic’

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter will present a lecture by Steve Clemons, the editor-at-large of The Atlantic magazine, on Tuesday, Dec.11 at 7 p.m. in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute complex at FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus, 5353 Parkside Dr., in Jupiter.

“Iran, North Korea, Syria, Russia, China: Taking Stock of the Nations that Want to Give America a Bad Day,” will examine  the high fragility in global affairs today and how the U.S.-centric global order is fading and giving way to ad hoc, temporary arrangements. Clemons, in an exchange with his audience, will map current trends and what the upsides and downsides are for U.S. foreign policy in the coming years.

Clemons is a senior fellow and the founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, a centrist think tank in Washington D.C., where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the former director of the Japan Policy Research Institute which he co-founded with Chalmers Johnson. He writes and speaks frequently about the D.C. political scene and foreign policy and national security issues, as well as domestic and global economic-policy challenges.

Tickets are $35 for members and $45 for non-members.

To register for the class, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Time’s Up in Work and Politics: How the Me Too Movement Creates Permanent Change

Hilary Rosen

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter will present a lecture by Hilary Rosen, political analyst and founding chair of the Time’s Up legal defense fund, on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 2:30 p.m. in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Auditorium.

Rosen’s lecture, “Time’s Up in Work and Politics: How the Me Too Movement Creates Permanent Change,” examines the creation of Time’s Up, formed by the women of Hollywood in response to exposing the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. As a longtime political analyst and founder of the Time’s Up legal defense fund, which supports survivors of sexual harassment in the workplace, Rosen will provide a unique perspective on these issues.

Hilary is the former chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the leading trade association of America’s record companies, where she served from 1987 to 2003 and helped the music industry navigate the rocky waters of the digital transition. She left RIAA and helped to start the D.C. bureau of the Huffington Post as political director and editor-at-large for two years. She also consulted for several tech and media companies expanding into online entertainment, such as Facebook, Showtime Networks, MTV and Apple. Prior to CNN, she was a political commentator at CNBC and MSNBC.

She previously worked as Chief of Staff for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, as an assistant to New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne and has been an advisor to many Democratic elected officials over the years. Rosen’s close association with Senator Feinstein goes back to her days as the City of San Francisco’s Washington representative when Feinstein was mayor, and Rosen started her career at Liz Robbins Associates.

At SKDKnickerbocker, she specializes in clients and issues that need high-octane assistance for a variety of public affairs challenges, such as creating and executing large-scale campaigns, reputation management and crisis communications. For example, SKDKnickerbocker was selected by Edie Windsor’s legal team to lead the public relations efforts behind the successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (United States v. Windsor, 2013). SKDK was recognized by Out Magazine, which placed Hilary on its 2013 Out 100 list, and the team won several awards for their work. Notably when the Obergefell case went to the Supreme Court two years later and legalized same-sex marriage, Hilary and SKDK led the communication efforts.

Planned Parenthood hired Rosen to help manage the 2015 undercover videos controversy. Her work extends to important corporate efforts as well. Rosen was the lead D.C. strategist guiding the public affairs issues for the merger between American Airlines and US Airways and when a nutrition company was being attacked by a Wall Street short-seller, Rosen led the political defense in Washington and across the states.

Hilary’s ability to lead issue campaigns in Washington is profiled in the book “Pennsylvania Avenue: Profiles in Backroom Power” by The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reporters Gerald Seib and John Harwood. Throughout her career, Hilary has regularly been featured on power lists in a variety of sectors, including the New York Post’s Ladies Who Launch Entertainment Trends, Entertainment Weekly’s Annual Power List, The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 50 Women and The Washington Post’s Power 20.

She is the founder of Business Forward, the progressive network of leaders seeking change in Washington, and Rock the Vote, the voter mobilization organization credited with increasing voter turnout among young people. She currently serves on several nonprofit boards including the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Hilary is a graduate of George Washington University with a degree in international business and lives in Washington, D.C.



Gayle and Bob Jacobs, long-time members and supporters of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at FAU in Jupiter, are sponsoring the event.

Tickets are $35 for members and $45 for non-members.

To register for the event, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Toward a New History of the Tet Offensive: Spies, Allies and Murder in Hanoi

By Kami Barrett-Batchelder, Associate Director

On Thursday, October 25 at 2:30 p.m., OLLI at FAU in Jupiter will host Lien-Hang Nguyen, Ph.D. She will present “Toward a New History of the Tet Offensive: Spies, Allies and Murder in Hanoi.” Dr. Nguyen is the Dorothy Borg Associate Professor in the History of the United States and East Asia at Columbia University. She specializes in the Vietnam War, U.S.-Southeast Asian relations, and the global Cold War. Dr. Nguyen is currently working on a comprehensive history of the 1968 Tet Offensive for Random House. She is the general editor of the forthcoming Cambridge History of the Vietnam War, 3 vols., as well as co-editor of the Cambridge Studies in U.S. Foreign Relations. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. from Yale University.

Dr. Nguyen was fine months old in April of 1975 when her family fled Vietnam. Growing up, her family did not discuss leaving Vietnam because it was too painful to talk about the experience. It was not until she was working with John Gaddis at Yale, who was focusing on the Cold War era, did she focus her studies on Vietnam. Her initial focus was on the American Civil War.

Her lecture at OLLI will cover the 1968 Tet Offensive. It  is perhaps the most well-known event of the Vietnam War. Much of its origins, however, remain shrouded in mystery even a half century later. Using new materials from Vietnam, this talk will explore the Tet strategy deliberation in Hanoi to reveal how North Vietnam’s foreign relations and domestic politics contributed to the planning for the communist offensive. In particular, it will reveal how spies, allies and even murder played a role in the 1968 Tet Offensive.

Lien-Hang Nguyen, Ph.D.

To see a clip from 2012 of Dr. Lien-Hang Nguyen’s speech at the 12th annual National Book Festival on the National Mall in Washington D.C., click here.

To register for “Toward a New History of the Tet Offensive: Spies, Allies and Murder in Hanoi” on Thursday, October 25 at 2 :30 p.m., click here.

A book signing will follow the lecture.


Posted in Uncategorized

The Economic Thoughts and Actions of President George Washington

Mark Schug, Ph.D.

Many of you have seen Hamilton: An American Musical.  Alexander Hamilton seems larger than life. He takes all of the oxygen out of the room!

But, Hamilton did not appoint himself to be the first Secretary of the Treasury.  That was President George Washington.  Hamilton was a financial genius and a brilliant political theorist.  Washington was neither.  And, he certainly did not consider himself to be an economist.

How do we know the economic thinking of George Washington?  Because of his actions. Washington’s experiences as a business man taught him (and others) the value of creating wealth through accumulation of assets (land), diversification, and innovation. He left tobacco for wheat.  George Washington flour was a household name in Virginia before the Revolution. He developed a fishery, distillery, a spinning house, and more.

As commander-in-chief, he established management systems that saved the nation millions and engaged economic self-interest of civilians. He protected civilian private property.

As president, he knew he could not command prosperity.  Only a free people could do that.  Instead, he insisted on rule of law, fiscal stability, national unity, international credit, and peace. Well known as a micromanager, he agreed with and approved of every move Hamilton made.

Come learn more about the economic thoughts of President George Washington.  I think you will find a few surprises and gain some new respect for a great man who seems to be fading from the American consciousness.


Professor Schug will be giving a one-time lecture titled “The Economic Thoughts of George Washington” on Monday, December 4 at 9:30 a.m. He will also be participating in the “All-Star Panel of  Economists Analyzes Happenings in the News,” on Tuesday, November 13 at 4:30 p.m.

To register for “The Economic Thoughts of George Washington,” click here.

To register for “All-Star Panel of Economists Analyzes Happenings in the News,” click here.

Posted in Uncategorized