AJA 50+: Jewish Ottawa’s best-kept secret?

AJA 50+ board member Eric Vernon shares what this critical community organization really represents to Jewish Ottawa.

The fall session of AJA 50+ is in full swing and planning is underway for the winter semester’s programming. Wait, what is AJA 50+, you ask? It’s Active Jewish Adults 50+ and now in its 20th year, AJA 50+ has become Jewish Ottawa’s go-to community resource for those in their sixth decade or more!

AJA 50+ emerged in the early 2000s, as Ottawa’s Jewish seniors clearly expressed the desire to establish an organization geared toward their demographic for low-cost social, recreational, educational and health-related programming.

Working closely with the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, AJA 50+ has become a lifeline to the community-at-large for seniors to enjoy Jewish life in a secular setting and connect to the Jewish family of Ottawa. Our members today include singles, couples, Jews, and non-Jews, those affiliated with synagogues and the Jewish community, as well as those who have no Jewish affiliation. Some of our members have lived in Ottawa most of their lives, while others are newcomers to the city.

Many members regard AJA 50+ as a “quality of life” organization that provides a year-round home for making friendships, staying active and working the mind.

Over the past two decades, AJA 50+ has managed to keep annual fees low while the level of programming goes ever higher. In fact, the lifeblood of AJA 50+ has always been this excellent programming that stimulates, educates, celebrates, and fascinates all while we congregate in pleasant social circles.

Of course, another “-ate” verb that is top of mind these days is “vaccinate.” Once the reality of the COVID pandemic became apparent in the spring of 2020, AJA switched to full-time ZOOM programming. But while the social aspect of gathering together has been sorely absent, we haven’t missed a beat. The quality of our programs has remained outstanding and we hope that in-person gatherings will resume in the near future.

Over the past year and a half, AJA 50+ programs have continued to tap into a wide variety of disciplines and subjects, taking advantage of ZOOM eliminating the restrictions of distance. Online programming has enabled us to offer intrepid global journeys; enlightening museum visits; fun and brain-stretching trivia quizzes; encounters with fascinating personalities; uplifting musical concerts; thoughtful book discussions; and deep dives into Jewish heritage and culture.

So now that you know more about AJA 50+, we hope you will agree that this is a great time to sign up and enjoy the benefits of AJA 50+ membership. And if you do head south again for the winter, remember you can Zoom from anywhere with bandwidth! And when spring 2022 comes around, outdoor programs like nature hikes, cycling and golf will return to the agenda as well. All this, plus a tax receipt for the full amount of yearly dues, add up to a great deal.

Click here to join AJA 50+ and we’ll look forward to seeing you virtually for now and in-person as soon as we can!