Baby Boomers face an unprecedented path forward into a promising future – and, as a result, the Jewish community faces an unprecedented challenge as this emerging cohort of Jewish Boomers enters a new stage of life. Never before has the tie between 55 and 75 provided an encore stage of life, an opportunity for new professions, new challenges and multiple decades of opportunities to explore (barring any health or family limitations.) Retirement as understood by previous generations has lost its appeal – at least for now.
Our institutions are only slowly getting prepared for the type of programming, engagement, and relationships that Boomers seek and expect. Boomers as a group have always gone their own way in pursuit of ideas, issues and resources that interested them or meet their needs. Today is no different: we can either capture this opportunity to engage Boomers or can watch them leave to participate elsewhere.
We need to share the message and the urgency for our Reform movement to address this constituency’s unmet need and place them on our shared national agenda. In fact, as Boomers represent the largest cohort of Jewish adults, our growth and vitality as a movement and as a community depend on it. We need a new conversation about aging.
The Baby Boomer engagement symposium at the recent URJ Biennial gave attendees the opportunity to learn from experts in the field of Baby Boomer engagement. It featured the work of congregations participating in the URJ Engaging Baby Boomers Community of Practice. This session is co-sponsored by Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ), Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) and Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ).
Marc Freedman, CEO & President, Encore.org
Rabbi Richard Address, Director and Founder, Jewish Sacred Aging, LLC
Julie Unger, 50’s and 60’s Coordinator, Temple Israel (Boston, MA)
Jeanne Lovy, Vice President, JCC Greater Boston (Newton, MA)
Rabbi Marion Lev-Cohen, Rabbi for Community Engagement, Central Synagogue
Amy Asin, Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Emerita, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills (Beverly Hills, CA)
Stuart Himmelfarb, Chief Executive Officer, B3 The Jewish Boomer Platform, Inc.
Beth Steinhorn, President, VQ Volunteer Strategies
Dr. Linda Thal, Wise Aging author and trainer, IJS Central Synagogue (New York, NY)
Julie Vanek, Director, Jewish Learning Connections, Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Dr. Frank Friedman, Congregant, Temple Israel (Boston, MA)
Susan Ridker, Congregant, Temple Israel (Boston, MA)