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Wise Aging

Temple Sinai’s Wise Aging Committee began its work in summer 2019, when several people contacted Rabbi Mates-Muchin with ideas for engaging seniors. Out of our initial meetings grew the plan for two initiatives:

  • The creation of a “Wise Aging Group,” based on the book, Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, & Spirit, by Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal.
  • The development of a speaker series to address issues of aging.

We soon added a third goal:

  • The organizing of a facilitator training to build a cadre of leaders for additional Wise Aging groups.

We achieved our first goal with the formation of a group, led by a trained local facilitator from Temple Beth El in Berkeley. This group began in February 2020 (meeting once before COVID shutdown), continued for eight two-hour sessions, every other week, with the facilitator, and continues to meet as a self-led group.

Our second goal saw fruition beginning in September 2020. Our speakers have been:

  • 9-3-20: Katy Butler  “The Art of Dying Well”
  • 11-22-20: Rabbi Dayle Friedman: “Embracing Reality: Preparing Ourselves to Live with Dementia”
  • 2-18-21: Rabbi Laura Geller, speaking about her book “Getting Good at Getting Older”
  • 3-21-21: Rabbi Richard Address: “A Chupah of Values: A Pathway to a Theology of Sacred Aging”
  • 4-18-21: Dr. Louise Aronson, speaking about her book Elderhood
  • 7-11-21: Dr. Linda Thal: “Living with Joy, Resilience and Spirit”
  • Summer/fall 2021: Rabbi Richard Address: A three-part series around the High Holidays:
    • 8-29-21: “Elul: Are We What We Worship?”
    • 9-12-21: “What We Choose Determines Who We Are: The Unetaneh Tokef”
    • 9-26-21: “The Sukkah of Peace?”
  • 12-12-21: Dr. Jessica Zitter, with Rick Tash, sharing and discussing the documentary “Caregiver: A Love Story”
  • 1-9-22: Andrew Mellon, on the topic “Unstuffing Your Life: More Love, Less Stuff”
  • 2-13-22: Dr. Kerry Byrne: “How to Build Strong and Meaningful relationships Across Generations”
  • 3-20-22: Aviva Black: “Family Love Letters: Preserving Your Life’s Stories”
  • 4-24-22: Stewart Florsheim, Ann Gordon, and Rabbi Andrea Berlin: “End-of-Life Choice in California”

Recordings of most of these presentations can be found here.

The third goal was realized in spring/summer 2021, with three Temple members, and three other East Bay Area participants, joining in a facilitator training led by the national Wise Aging organization. Temple Sinai was the prime mover in making this training happen, although it included participants from throughout the country.

A second Wise Aging group began in September 2021, with two trained Temple members as facilitators, and 15 participants. That group ran through February 2022, and now continues (as did our first group) as a self-led group. A third group may begin in Fall 2022.

One other development: As a result of Rabbi Geller’s presentation, a committee has been investigating the concept of creating an East Bay version of the “Chai Village” in the Los Angeles area that Rabbi Geller described. This work is in early stages of exploration.

Sun, August 14 2022 17 Av 5782