JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE of MetroWest has been awarded a grant by the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey to administer the Wise Aging initiative. The aim of the program, which is a partnership of 12 local synagogues plus JCC MetroWest, is to use Jewish and secular texts to help adults in their 60s and 70s discover their intellectual and spiritual potentials and for seniors to view aging as a time of wisdom and self-realization.
“With seniors living longer and healthier lives, it is important to help them to continue to find fulfillment and joy. It is a perfect fit for JFS MetroWest since we strive to meet the needs of individuals and families at each life stage,” said JFS executive director Reuben Rotman.
Wise Aging peer groups will be led by two volunteer facilitators trained by the Institute of Jewish Spirituality. JFS will provide administrative support and the guidance of a social worker.
Participating synagogues include Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills; Congregation Agudath Israel, Caldwell; B’nai Keshet, Montclair; Congregation B’nai Israel, Millburn; Temple Shalom in Succasunna; Temple B’nai Abraham, Livingston; Temple Ner Tamid, Bloomfield; Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange; Temple Sholom, Bridgewater; Congregation Shomrei Emunah, Montclair; Temple Beth El, Hillsborough; and Congregation Kehilat Shalom, Belle Mead.
The volunteer facilitators, selected by participating synagogue rabbis and JCC staff, will attend a two-day training on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 19 and 20, at B’nai Jeshurun. Social worker Beth Sandweiss will serve as the JFS consultant and liaison. Community members will be able to attend peer groups with the goal of reaching a new understanding about their lives and values. The foundational text for the peer groups is Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience & Spirit, by Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal.