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A Heart of Wisdom


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Foreword Introduction I. Text Studies II. Midlife Passages III. Intergenerational Relationships IV. Women and Aging V. Journeys and Discoveries VI. Meeting the Challenges of Aging VII. Poetry and Stories VIII. Ceremonies Appendices I. A Guide to Jewish Textual Sources on Aging II. Selected National and International Organizations Serving Jewish Elders and Their Families III. Resources: Publications and Audiovisual Materials IV. Glossary Notes Index

About the Author

Susan Berrin teaches and lectures on Jewish issues, particularly in the areas of aging, Jewish women and spirituality, and interfaith dialogue. She was guest editor for Sh'ma magazine's special issue on Judaism and aging, and is the editor of Celebrating the New Moon: A Rosh Chodesh Anthology. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Harold S. Kushner is author of the best-selling books When Bad Things Happen to Good People and Living a Life That Matters.


As a great number of Jewish baby boomers are hitting middle age, the need for a book that addresses aging from a Jewish perspective becomes increasingly apparent. Berrin (editor, Celebrating the New Moon: A Rosh Chodesh Anthology, Aronson, 1996) offers a study that is not dry or statistical but rather a collection of thoughtful‘often provocative‘essays on the many facets of aging. These essays help gird the reader‘Jew and interested non-Jew alike‘for the many challenges involved. The book is divided into seven sections covering such topics as intergenerational relationships, women and aging, ceremonies involved in aging, and what the Jewish texts have to say about it. The essayists include rabbis, social workers, journalists, lecturers, and everyday Jews. Recommended for libraries serving a Jewish clientele.‘Paul M. Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., Ill.

In Judaism, as in many world religions, the elderly are revered as founts of wisdom. In this marvelous collection of short essays, stories, poems and rituals, Berrin, who was guest editor for Sh'ma magazine's special issue on Judaism and aging, brings together the voices of Jewish writers, teachers, artists and parents to reflect upon what it means to be a Jew growing old in America. Some of the essays explore biblical and Talmudic sources for insights into the process of aging. For example, Tufts University Judaic Studies professor Joel Rosenberg offers a close look at how the Hebrew Bible describes the aging of David, Jacob and Sarah. Other essays and reflections explore the passage through midlife (Letty Cottin Pogrebin's "Time Is All There Is"), intergenerational relationships (Gloria Levi's "A Letter to My Children") and the challenges of aging (Cary Kozberg's "Saving Broken Tablets: Programming for the Spiritual Needs of Jews in Long-Term Care Facilities"). A section of poems and stories and a section of ceremonies that celebrate the process of aging (Anne Tolbert's "A Personal `Seder' for Celebrating Aging") round out the collection. Helpful appendixes provide lists for further reading on Judaism and aging as well as lists of "national and international organizations serving Jewish elders and their families." (Dec.)

"A unique guide to living and aging Jewishly ... a must for all ages at all stages." -Ruth Perelson, chair emerita, Jewish Association for Services for the Aged of Greater New York, a Member Agency of UJA/Federation "Reminds us of Judaism's power to sanctify time and dignify life.... A powerful and personal message of holiness." -Rabbi Richard F. Address, director, Department of Family Concerns, Union of American Hebrew Congregations "Remarkable.... The book is a quilt of the human condition; it is as universal as it is Jewish." -Theodore Bikel, actor, concert performer, author, lecturer "The message of this wonderful book transcends the Jewish journey into old age.... As awesomely powerful a way of knowing about aging as science is in gerontology." -Richard C. Adelman, PhD, director, Institute of Gerontology, University of Michigan

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