About Us

Brooklyn Lifelong Learning (BLL) is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit program that is affiliated with Brooklyn College.

We foster peer learning among adults through noncredit classes, seminars, and cultural activities designed and conducted by members and volunteers in an informal, noncompetitive, and intellectually stimulating environment. We are one of the oldest lifelong learning programs in the United States and continue to adhere to our basic concept—to create, adapt, and maintain an academically oriented lifelong learning program run by adults for adults.

In addition to our regularly scheduled courses on many subjects, we offer lectures and documentaries. BLL caters to every interest and is a vital force in the lives of our members. Although we are independent of Brooklyn College, we owe it a debt of gratitude for giving us a home. We would not be able to exist without the support of the college.

BLL, founded as the Brooklyn College Institute for Retirees in Pursuit of Education (IRPE) in 1977 under the leadership of Violet D. Klein, its first president, began with a membership of 150 and only a few course offerings. From the beginning, Leslie Jacobson and Vi Klein and her group laid down certain basic principles that would guide the new organization and to which we still adhere.

  • BLL is self-governing and independent of Brooklyn College.
  • Policy is established by a board of directors and carried out by the president and officers. A number of committees assist in the formulation and execution of policy.
  • Membership dues are kept as low as possible.
  • Services are provided by volunteers.
  • BLL is academically oriented, run by adults for adults to provide intellectual stimulation, information, and recreational activities.
  • BLL plays a social role in its participants’ lives, centering on the commonality of intellectual and other interests.
  • The curriculum emphasizes but is not restricted to academic learning. Courses cover a range of topics and interests.

Membership Fee

Visit our Join page for details. The fee entitles you to attend all classes and participate in events. Some events, such as a museum tour, will require an additional fee or payment.

Attendance and Registration for Class

Prior to the start of each semester, a catalog will be e-mailed to our members. If you do not have an e-mail address, the catalog will be mailed to you. In addition, each week members will receive an e-mail with a list of the classes and events that will be held the following week. If the class is being held on Zoom, the e-mail will include a Zoom link. With the potential reopening of the Brooklyn College campus, BLL might hold some classes at the school. Members will be notified in the weekly e-mail whether a class will be held on Zoom or on site.

BLL does not require registration for classes. Simply go to whichever classes you wish to attend. No sign-up is needed.


Donations are greatly appreciated. A Gift Fund has been established for those who wish to make a contribution to BLL. Checks should be made out to Brooklyn Lifelong Learning and mailed to BLL Treasurer, Joel Duckoff.

Mr. Joel Duckoff
165 Carroll Street, Apt #1
Brooklyn, NY  11231

If the contribution is being made in honor or in memory of someone, a suitable acknowledgment will be sent in your name to the person or family honored. Gifts of any amount are gratefully accepted.

Board and Committees


President—Joan Meyer
Vice President—Annette Libert
Treasurer—Joel Duckoff
Secretary— Maura McGovern


Laura Fishman
Marilyn Gallo
Sheila Gerstein
Rona Goldwitz
David Krupp
Susan Levine
Morton Marshack
Robert Mishaan
Gail Naftalin
Susan Tischler

Committee Descriptions

Catalog/Program—develops a balanced program to meet intellectual and recreational needs
Grants—investigates means of obtaining financial aid
Membership Recruitment/Publicity—recruits new members
Summer/Winter—develops and arranges programs for summer and winter break sessions
Travel—arranges for visits to places of cultural and historical interest

Committees and Chairs


Susan Tischler

Cultural Events

Gail Naftalin


Rona Goldwitz

Membership Recruitment/Publicity

Robert Mishaan


Rona Goldwitz


Sheila Gerstein

Brooklyn. All in.