There is such a thing as a free lunch

JCC serves up smorgasbord to open the year for seniors

By Susie Davidson

Special to the Advocate

Seniors can sample exercise, lecture, and arts programs at the JCCGB

Midweek at the Leventhal Sidman Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston is prime time for seniors to exercise their minds, bodies, and aesthetic sensibilities.

According to JCCGB Communications Director Larry Keller, the Wednesday Program for Senior Adults at the JCC in Newton features entertainment, lectures, programs and classes. Seniors also enjoy socializing with friends and exercising in the onsite fitness facilities.

On Sept. 17, just in time for the new year, they can sample it all at no cost. The Free Wednesday Program Open House for Seniors is inviting senior adults to a community program that will include a Jewish New Year talk with Rabbi Mark Sokoll; an art lecture on Sargent and Whistler; and a musical performance by The Bo and Bill Winiker Trio.

The full day of cultural programs for seniors will begin with Sokoll’s talk at 10 a.m. Sokoll, who has been at the JCC since June of 1988 and has served as JCC’s President/CEO since 2000, has addressed the older adults every year around High Holyday time. He said that he considers it a privilege. “This year I will be speaking on ‘The Oys and Joys of the New Year’,” he said. “As we look back at 5774 and ahead to 5775, this is a time to both reflect on our tsuris (troubles) and celebrate our Simchas (triumphs), and find the hope and optimism that is so much a part of our tradition.”

At 11 a.m., Henry Altmann, who teaches art at universities throughout Greater Boston, will present an art lecture on John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler. At 1 p.m., attendees will be treated to a concert with the Bo and Bill Winiker Trio, followed at 2 p.m., when Lillian Mamon, a longtime JCC senior programming coordinator, will discuss “Yiddish and Yiddishkeit.” Seniors can also try out the JCC fitness facility and its indoor pool. Lunch is included. It’s free but there is a suggested $3 donation for the entire program.

The Jewish New Year signifies a time of introspection,” said Donna Tarutz, Senior Adult Program Manager for the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston. “During these times, seniors reflect on their personal memories.” Tarutz explained that these reflections can be quite complex. “These holydays/holidays have different meanings and memories for each senior,” she said. “During this time, seniors may be feeling the loss of a loved one, perhaps a family member that was an important part of the holiday celebration.”

According to Sokoll, the Wednesday program has been a fixture at the JCC since it opened in 1983. “It is a day for intellectual and recreational development for all who participate,” he said. “Most importantly, it is a time for our older adults to connect with friends who are like family, and find a sense of warm and welcoming community at the JCC.”

That is certainly true for Michael Franklyn of Natick, who will be leading the Current Events discussions . “It’s given me a new sense of identity, and of being part of a vibrant and thriving Jewish community,” he said.

The JCC Wednesday Program runs from Sept. 17-June 10 at the Leventhal Sidman Jewish Community Center, 333 Nahantan St. in Newton. Seniors can join the program for $185 for the entire year (Sept-June) or $95 per semester. Transportation is available from Brookline and Brighton. For more information, call 617-558- 6443 or email senioradults@jccgb.org.

Copyright 2008-2014 The Jewish Advocate, All Rights Reserved.