Osher classes at SFSU offer options for lifelong learning

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers a robust lineup of classes at San Francisco State University throughout the year — and the good news is that you don’t have to be enrolled in the university to attend.

The small, interactive classes are aimed at people 50 and older who are interested in enriching their lives before and after retirement. There are interest groups and discussion groups, as well.

Although a new session of classes started recently,  another session will begin in early April. One of those classes will be “Sondheim and the American Musical,” an exploration of the Jewish composer and lyricist through his work and personal life, taught by Bonnie Weiss.

Two other upcoming classes are a writers’ workshop taught by longtime journalist David Weir (Rolling Stone, Salon.com) and “The Soup to Nuts of Performance” taught by comedian Debi Durst.

All OLLI courses are open to the public and cost $75 or more per class, with discounts for taking multiple classes. Courses are offered at both the main SFSU campus and the downtown campus in the Westfield Centre. The classes focus on a large range of topics, including art-making, music, politics, history and geography.

“The institute frequently offers courses that explore the Jewish experience and courses that go into detail on great Jewish Americans, such as Sondheim,” said Matt Itelson of the SFSU College of Creative Arts.

The institute is one of 118 centers across the country for people age 50 and up, designated and funded with grants from the Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco.

On March 15 from 3 to 5 p.m., there will be a free information and meet-the-faculty session in the SFSU Creative Arts Building, Room 152, 1600 Holloway Ave. at 19th Ave. On March 24 at the SFSU downtown campus (sixth floor), there will be a free information session at 1 p.m. For more information, visit www.creativearts.sfsu.edu/olli, call (415) 817-4243 or e-mail director Debra Varner at [email protected].