Shalom. It is a busy time. I am in between several road trips for our Sacred Aging project. Last weekend in Bangor, Maine and this coming weekend in Columbia, S.C. and then on to do several sessions at the URJ Biennial on our work. After several years, it seems that congregations and organizations have come to realize that the Boomer generation needs some attention. I have written in this space, and others, of the need NOT to forget what is almost 25% of our population in USA. The other reality of this awakening is also very reality based, the trend is, in many congregations, that Boomers are not renewing membership. Often, our needs are left un met in a serious adult manner. We are looking for Jewish based directions on the various issues that confront our generation; from our own search for a sense of meaning in light of hoped for longevity, to how to deal with family dynamics that often present us with a variety of options, choices and realities that we never imagined.
So far this Fall, there seems to be a greater awareness of what Jewish texts have to say about issues related to health and wellness; both physical and mental. Also, there is a rise in interest on creating new rituals for life’s third age.(see previous blog post) The usual subjects of care-giving and end of life issues continue to be requetsed and, as a result, there is also a growing interest in the subject of the economics of aging. We have posted several articles on this on our Facebook page and rest assured that this issue will continue to be important. Indeed, if you look at the JewishSacredAging Facebook page you can look at an article we recently posted on the costs of health and caring around cancer, heart disease and the most expensive, dementia.
We are also monitoring a slow but steady increase of congregational programs that focus on Boomer issues. We have tried to post some of these on the Jewish Sacred Aging home page and if your congregation is developing such a program, please think about sending us details so we can spread the word. This revolution in aging is here and will continue for the next several decades as Boomers age out. The census people keep reminding us that 10,000 people turn 65 in the United States every day. The spiritual needs and concerns of this population will test the creativity and resources of our Jewish world. We are seeking meaning and purpose in ways not experienced before. It is an exciting time to be in this cohort. I look forward to seeing how our institutions respond to this powerful and changing demographic.
Rabbi Richard F Address, D.Min
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.