Fall 2023 | Winter 2024 Program Course Descriptions

Friends of Encore Learning of Stockton (FELS), in conjunction with the Margate City Public Library, offers a unique selection of entertaining, interactive, and educational courses for lifelong learners. Browse our fall/winter catalog and find programs that spark your interest, class favorites plus new offerings. Summer Classes are held once a month for three months.

Programs are held at the following venues:

Margate City Public Library
8100 Atlantic Avenue, Margate NJ

Stockton University Atlantic City Campus
3711 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ

FELS is a non-profit whose mission focuses on education.
We offer several annual scholarships to Stockton University students,
and have proudly contributed more than $100,000
in scholarships over 10+ years.
Classes are $35 for Registration ($50 Per Couple)
plus a nominal charge for each class,
please see the registration form for the cost of each class.
which is used to support our instructors and scholarship program.     



British Film and Theatre
Instructor – Tom Chin
Stockton University Atlantic City Campus Room 313
Wednesday afternoons 1:30-3:30 PM
October 11, November 8, December 13, January 10, February 14, March 13

By popular demand Tom Chin will once again offer his wisdom, insight, and knowledge of British theatre, film, and TV, along with the actors and actresses who have made the British masters of stage and screen. Spend an afternoon viewing films, TV and movie clips, and whatever else Tom decides to surprise the class with.

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Documentary Films
Instructor – Tom Chin
Stockton University Atlantic City Campus Room 313
Wednesday afternoons 1:30-3:30 PM
October 18, November 15, December 20, January 17, February 21, March 20

Documentaries employ video & film scenes, photographs and/or sound of real people and actual events to create a particular story, viewpoint, message or experience. Moderator Tom Chin presents a range of outstanding films on a variety of topics, a few films created decades ago while others are recent releases. His choices captivate viewers and promote lively discussion.

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Hooray for Hollywood
Instructor - Sharon Harris-Zlotnick
Stockton University Atlantic City Campus Room 313
Wednesday afternoons 1:30-3:00 PM
October 4, November 1, November 29

Post-World War II was an era of social and cultural change. Radio and emerging TV technology of the late 1940s and early 1950s created a feeling of both hope and caution about life and the future. The baby boomer era dawned and suburbia soared after 1946. In this three-session fall course learn how the post-war film era reflected the highs and lows, the uplifting and unsavory, that was always there, but often unknown to millions. We will talk film noir, political intrigue, and celebrations of the times.

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Comparative Religions
Instructor – Neil Brandt
Margate City Public Library
Thursdays 10:30 am -12:00 noon
October 12, November 9, December 14, February 8, March 14

Comparative Religions introduces a new FELS instructor, Neil Brandt. Brandt taught world religions at the college level, and has an MA in Holocaust/Genocide Studies from Stockton University, and a BA in History from Penn State, with an emphasis on Middle Eastern History (a course he will teach winter session).
Brandt asks the question: What do you know about religions other than Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? This five-session program will NOT focus on those religions, but delve into the origin stories, founders, practices, deities, holy text, birth and death rituals, and taboos of world and indigenous religions of North America and Africa, including but not limited to: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Confucianism, Sikhism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism.

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20th Century Middle Eastern History
Instructor: Neil Brandt
Margate City Public Library
Thursdays 10:30 am -12:00 noon
January 25, February 22, March 28

How did the Middle East arrive at the situations it’s in today? Israeli conflict, decades-old Palestinian refugee camps, Arab terrorist groups, economic crisis, etc...This three-session winter course will take a look at the major players: Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, the United States and Russia.
Instructor Neil Brandt taught social studies for 29 years at Atlantic City middle schools, and world religions and philosophy for 15 years at community colleges.

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Artistic Journeys:
What can we learn from viewing a piece of art?
Instructor – Shirley Bilesky
Margate City Public Library
Thursdays 2:00-3:30 PM
October 5, November 2, December 7

What does a painting, sculpture, or other art form tell us about the society, lifestyle, and trends in which the artwork originated? Was a piece of art part of a movement, or was it innovative, creating a new artistic style? This three-session course will review schools of painting and how artists reflected the lifestyle and political circumstances of their time period.

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Flash Fiction
Instructor: Meryl Rodgers
Tuesdays 10:30 am – 12:00 noon
October 3, November 7, December 5, January 2, February 6, March 5

Flash fiction are very short stories, usually 1,000 words maximum. Participants read assigned pieces before class, and discuss them during each class session. Stories for discussion are all available in the following book, and the stories to read for October will be emailed to class registrants:
Flash Fiction America: 73 Very Short Stories
By James Thomas, Sherrie Flick , et al. (published Feb 14, 2023, paperback)

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Great Decisions
Instructor – Steve Baer
Margate City Public Library
Wednesdays 10:30-12:00 noon
October 18, November 15, December 20

Great Decisions is a program of the Foreign Policy Association, the aim to increase awareness of international issues with the American public. The three-session fall class will evaluate significant issues facing American foreign policymakers. Each topic considers the historical, current relevance, and strategic value to the United States.
New Great Decisions participants will be contacted to pick up reading material at the Margate Library. There is a $30 charge for the book. We will use the 2023 Great Decisions book, the same one used for the summer class, so summer participants will have no additional charge.
Steve Baer has over 50 years international business experience in manufacturing, management, and environmental consulting. Previously adjunct professor at University of Pennsylvania.

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The Holocaust in the Courtroom:
Famous, Infamous, and Unknown Trials
Instructor - Mary Maudsley
Thursdays 10:30-12:00 noon
Stockton University Atlantic City Campus Room 313
Three sessions: October 5, November 2, December 7

Retired lawyer and professor Mary Maudsley discusses the post-World War II prosecutions and court-martials of war criminals.  Every trial of Holocaust perpetrators has been inextricably intertwined with the politics of the time and place. The course will consider multiple trials, starting with the Nuremberg trials, the Adolf Eichmann trial in Israel, and multiple lesser-known trials in various venues. The discussion will cover the legal issues of each trial superimposed on the political factors influencing the prosecution, the conduct, and even the outcomes of the trials.

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So That's Why They Wrote That: Poets and Their Poetry
Instructor - Elaine Geller
Margate City Public Library
Tuesdays 10:30-12:00 noon
October 10, November 14, December 12, January 9, February 13, March 12

Virtually all writing shares the goal of communicating to an audience, but how a communication is broadcast can vary significantly. Poetry is one way authors throughout history have expressed their ideas and spread their message. We will read biographies of poets, review a sampling of their poetry, and examine why they wrote what they did. For the first class read a biography of Edgar Allan Poe.  Any biography covering his life is acceptable. Please read the book during daylight hours and not “upon a midnight dreary.”  

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Psychology of Everyday Relationships
Instructor – Phyliss Merion Shanken
Stockton University Atlantic City Campus Room 210
Wednesdays 10:30 am – 12:00 noon
October 11, November 8, December 13, January 17, February 14, March 13

This will be the 14th time Phyliss Shanken will be facilitating this Psychology Discussion Group. Some of the same members from the original class continue to return. They are looking forward to welcoming newcomers. Please join us as we share our feelings and thoughts in a safe and confidential environment.
Hone your listening skills; become more assertive without pushing other people away; learn how to overcome stress; discuss issues around honesty versus telling “white” lies, and more.
Phyliss Merion Shanken, psychologist, author, and professional group facilitator, has 40 years experience in private practice and serving as Co-Director of a psychological/psychiatric center.

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It Takes a Woman Film Series
Instructor – Arlene Halpern
Stockton University Atlantic City Campus Room 313
Friday afternoons 1:30 – 3:30 PM
October 13, November 10, December 8

Start your weekend with a thought-provoking movie and stimulating discussion.
This three-session film series profiles real women throughout history who faced challenging life circumstances, persisted and thrived. They inspire us today.

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The Films of Martin Scorsese
Instructor – John Lynskey
Venue -to be announced
Saturday afternoons 1:00 - 4:00 PM
October 21, November 18, December 16, January 20, February 17, March 16

This Saturday afternoon course explores the work of an American filmmaker known for his harsh depictions of modern crime and American culture. Since the 1970s, Scorsese has created a body of work that is ambitious, bold, and brilliant, much influenced by his Italian-American background and upbringing in New York City. His films include Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Gangs of New York (2002), The Departed (2006), and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). We will  preview and discuss six of these masterpieces. Please note this class is scheduled for three hours because many of these movies are over two hours.

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Historical Fiction Book Discussion Group
Instructor – Fels Staff
Margate City Public Library
Tuesdays 1:30-3:00
October 17, November 21, December 19

Historical Fiction is set in a real place, during a culturally recognizable time. The details and the action in the story can be a mix of actual events and ones from the author's imagination as they fill in the gaps. Characters can be pure fiction or based on real people (often, it's both). The first book we will read for the October class is Take My Hand by Dolens Perkins-Valdez.

Classes are $35 for Registration ($50 Per Couple)
Please see the Registration Form for All Class Prices.

Class sizes limited, sign up early as some classes will close out.

Please fill out the Registration Form
print and mail with full payment, check payable to FELS to:
P.O. Box 3380
Margate NJ 08402

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