Like many others, as retirement approached, I found myself concerned. How would I fill my time after working in government for 38 years in high pressure work settings? Would I continue to be stimulated by current events, politics and religion? Where would I meet new people and be challenged by new ideas? Where would I find opportunities to volunteer?
The answer for me was Active Jewish Adults 50+ (AJA 50+), an independent, non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that provides programming for the active 50+ population. With almost 400 members, AJA 50+ provides a range of cultural, recreational, social, and educational programs designed to meet the needs of mature adults in the Ottawa Jewish community.
So it comes as no surprise that Sophie Kohn Kaminsky and Arnold Finkelstein of AJA 50+ will be among the speakers at a national conference, Engaging with Aging, being held September 18 to 20 in Montreal. The conference, sponsored by the Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA, will see professionals and lay leaders from across Canada gather to collaborate with colleagues on topics related to improving the lives of Jewish seniors.
Sophie, the AJA 50+ president, and Arnold, a past president, have created a presentation called “Hidden in Plain Sight” which raises the issue of active, healthy seniors being rarely targeted by community organizations as an identifiable group with specific needs and wants. They will discuss how AJA 50+ offers opportunities for this segment of the Jewish population to develop new friendships, social connections and ways to keep healthy and active in mind, body, and spirit. Finally, they will present a number of recommended best practices for building a sustainable grassroots organization.
If you would like to experience AJA 50+, join us for our fall registration day, Monday, August 29, from 9:30 am to noon, at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (SJCC). Programs for the autumn series run from September through December. Among the more than 35 programs are in-depth discussions of current world events such as anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, war crimes and propaganda.
Health is always an important issue for all of us so there will presentations which focus on hearing loss, dementia and the medical marijuana controversy.
The discussion of independent travel for seniors will draw a lot of interest. With this in mind, AJA 50+ will offer tours and walks in the Ottawa area. The eclectic selection is designed to appeal to a wide range of tastes and interests from the National Gallery to a visit to the Ottawa Torah Centre. Seniors who like a little tipple, will enjoy a trip to a vineyard and winery.
Of course old favourites such as chess, scrabble, bridge and mah-jongg will be returning to challenge our members. As well, the Creative Connections program will resume for older seniors who are cognitively well.
Finally, in partnership with the Soloway Jewish Community Centre, a course will be offered on “Leonard Cohen: Beyond His Songs.” His prolific works will be discussed in the context of literature, poetry and the visual arts.
Annual membership dues for AJA 50+ are $36 per year. Join us on the morning of August 29 at the SJCC to register. Visit http://aja50plus.ca/ for more information on AJA 50+.