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Wise Aging

Background of the Temple Sinai Wise Aging Program

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 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.

Our first Wise Aging group began in February 2020, led by a trained facilitator from Temple Beth El in Berkeley. That group, and others more recently formed, have continued as self-led, after eight facilitated sessions. New groups are led by Temple Sinai members, building on a facilitator training led by the national Wise Aging organization. See Wise Aging Groups below for details.

Our second goal was realized beginning in September 2020. To date, we have sponsored more than 20 presentations, free on Zoom and open to the general public, with registration. For details, and a link to recordings of our presentations, see Wise Aging Speaker Program below.

Wise Aging Groups

Are you interested in exploring your experiences, challenges, and opportunities as an older adult through a Jewish lens? If so, consider joining a Wise Aging group, which can help build insight, resilience, and camaraderie. 

The Wise Aging program was developed by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality in New York and is based on the book, Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, & Spirit, by Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal. Topics include: cultivating nourishing relationships, living with loss, forgiveness, accepting our aging bodies, legacy and stewardship, and more. At each session, participants have opportunities for personal sharing, basic mindfulness practice, and text study. 

Groups are open to Temple Sinai members age 55 or older. The facilitated program is eight sessions long, held roughly every other week for two hours. (Participants may choose to continue after that as a self-led group.) Each group will have 8-10 participants, in addition to the facilitator(s). Participants are expected to be present for all sessions, unless something urgent arises. 

No dates are currently set for the formation of the next group, so there is no current application deadline. An announcement will appear when the next group is scheduled and those on the waiting list will get first consideration. If you are not invited to be part of the next group, you will be put on a waiting list for the following group. 

We will accept people on a first-applied, first-admitted basis, with a few caveats:

  • Only one member of a couple will be accepted into this group.
  • We will aim to create gender balance in the group
  • We will try to have a spread of ages.

The facilitator(s) and Rabbi Mates-Muchin will review all applications.

Fee: $100, which includes receiving a copy of the Wise Aging text. The fee should not stop anyone from participating. Contact Rabbi Mates-Muchin for alternate financial arrangements.

CLICK HERE to fill out an application form.

Wise Aging Speaker Program

Our highly successful Wise Aging speaker program has reached over 800 individuals, both Temple members and beyond. These presentations are offered free, on Zoom, with registration. The list below shows the range and breadth of our offerings. Announcements of upcoming presentations are made through a Google group list (write to to be added to the list), and on the Temple Sinai website.

Recordings of most of these presentations can be found here
(Note: The presentation by Rabbi Address on 9/12/21 was accidentally not recorded, and the recording of the session by Rabbi Steven Moss on 8/27/23 began 15 minutes into the session.)

  • 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”
  • 6-12-22: Dave Iverson, discussing his book, “Winter Stars: An Elderly Mother, Her Aging Son, and Life’s Final Journey
  • 7-10-22: “End of Life Choices Part 2—Patient and Family Perspective”: Stewart Florsheim and Ann Gordon discuss with panelists Rabbi Mates-Muchin, Julie Stroud, and Alison Clay-Dubof
  • 10-9-22: Dr. Mary-Frances O’Connor, discussing her book, The Grieving Brain
  • 03-19-23: “Chevrah Kadisha—What Is It and Why Should You Care?” with David Zinner
  • 04-02-23: “Aging in Place?” with Barbara de Vries
  • 07-09-23: "The Healthy Aging Brain" with Jay Luxenberg, MD
  • 08-27-23: "You Gotta Have Soul" with Rabbi Steven Moss
Thu, April 18 2024 10 Nisan 5784