Renaissance Institute Partnership Brings Exciting Educational Opportunities to Residents 

A new partnership with the Renaissance Institute of Lifelong Learning will provide North Oaks residents with the opportunity to take continuing education classes right here on our Pikesville campus.  

The Renaissance Institute, which is affiliated with Notre Dame University of Maryland, offers a curriculum covering a wide range of topics – including art, history, science, literature, music, philosophy, politics, public affairs, create writing, drawing and painting, film, language, and yoga.  

Renaissance instructors come from all walks of life. While some are experienced educators, others join the program to share their passions or special talents in art, music, writing, and more. The program has a long tradition of member instructors who volunteer to teach classes.  

“We’re thrilled to offer this unique educational opportunity to our residents,” Executive Director Reuben Rosenfeld said. “We strive to provide programming that keeps our residents active and engaged, not just physically, but mentally. The Renaissance curriculum has something for everyone, and we’re confident that this partnership will greatly enhance the educational offerings at North Oaks.”  

When the spring semester kicks off at North Oaks in early April, residents will have a selection of three classes to choose from – Twilight of Vienna: The Final Years of the Habsburg Empire, The Science Behind the Ten Plagues and More, and I’m Right You’re Wrong. Descriptions of all three courses, as well as instructor bios, can be found below.  

For more information on the Renaissance Institute, visit  

Renaissance Institute Spring Class Offerings at North Oaks 

Twilight of Vienna, the Final Years of the Habsburg Empire 

Class begins Monday, April 3 at 2:30pm in Wilson Hall. Class will run for 6 weeks. 

This course will explore the sociological, political and cultural history of the Habsburg Empire as experienced in the capital city of Vienna from the beginning of the 19th century through the final years of the Habsburg Empire. The final class will also examine Vienna during the interwar years of the 1920’s. The course will be conducted with lecture, film and discussion.  


Christine Bentley holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland.  She loves history and the arts and has traveled to Vienna numerous times. 

Warren Bentley holds an MBA from Loyola University Maryland.  He enjoys history and science and has traveled to Vienna numerous times.   


The Science behind the Ten Plagues and More 

Thursday, April 6 at 2:30pm in Wilson Hall 

What might have caused the 10 plagues to occur about 3,500 years ago when the Israelites were the slaves of the Pharoah in Egypt?  Besides the plagues, did Moses and G-d really divide the Red Sea and what is this about the burning bush and talking with and hearing G-d speak?  



Donald Finkelstein was a Baltimore County Middle/High School teacher for 22 years implementing the State Common Core Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. He was School chair of Green School Committee and school wide STEM program. He holds a B.A. in Biology (Bridgeport) and M.A. in Education from UMBC. 


I’m Right You’re Wrong 

Class begins Wednesday, April 12 at 2:30pm in Wilson Hall. Class will run for 4 weeks.  

In a never-ending attempt to help people converse constructively with people who have different ideas, we will look at the ideas shared by Liberals and those valued by Conservatives. We will explore the aspects of human nature that sustain controversy and focus on shared values, major points of division, and how to hold the conversations that heal our divisions. 



Betty Loafmann currently serves as the President of the Renaissance Institute. Prior to retiring, Betty was a management consultant, innkeeper, and minister, thus learning the importance of multiple viewpoints!  She uses discussion to help participants translate important feelings into clear insights. 

Leave a Comment