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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:

  • 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?”

Recording 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.

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.



Upcoming Event

Wise Aging Speaker Series— Caregiver: A Love Story Film Screening and Discussion Sunday, December 12, 1:00pm (Pacific Time), via Zoom Caregiver: A Love Story is the tale of one man struggling to care for his dying wife. When 59-year-old Bambi decides to forgo further treatment for her cancer and die at home, her husband Rick leaves his job to become her primary caregiver—a role for which he has no experience and little support.

Join us for a screening of the film, followed by an intimate conversation with Rick Tash (the caregiver in the film), Director Dr. Jessica Zitter, and Wise Aging committee member Dan Fendel. We will discuss the making of the film and the broader issue of family caregiver burden.

Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter, MD, MPH — Producer/Executive Producer/Director. A national advocate for transforming the way people die in America, Dr. Zitter is Harvard- and UCSF-trained to practice the unusual combination of Critical and Palliative Care medicine. She works as an attending physician at a public hospital in Oakland, California. Dr. Zitter’s work is featured in the Oscar and Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary, Extremis. She is the author of Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and her articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Time Magazine, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Washington Post and many other publications.

> Register Here

Mon, May 16 2022 15 Iyar 5782