Beyond Midlife

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Letter to Tamid from Rabbi Darren
January 7, 2022

Join me Tuesdays, Jan 18th to Feb. 8th from 7:30 to 8:30 PM on Zoom

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“Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be.”

– Robert Browning

Dear Tamid,

Today marks a new stage in the life of our community and I approach this moment with excitement, awe, and humility. When we started Tamid ten years ago, my dream was to create a positive and uplifting place to be a Jewish kid and raise a Jewish family. I believe we are well on that path.

Along our way the most beautiful and surprising thing happened. Our fastest growing set is no longer young families, but individuals and couples beyond midlife. Now it is time to grow, to evolve as a Jewish home for people at each of the greatest stages, in the most positive, caring, and life-affirming way.

“Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be,” wrote Browning in a 1864 poem to “Rabbi Ben Ezra.” It’s hard to believe I, myself, am turning 50 years old this year. Who is that older guy looking back at me in the mirror? Aren’t I still 28?  But that bald spot is getting larger, the skin looser, and I need a full day to recover from my jogs around Central Park.

And you, kid, reading from the Torah at your bat mitzvah, didn’t we just do your baby naming last year? And you’re getting married? Mazel tov! I’m thinking, I remember watching you learn to ride your bike along the Battery with your young dad running after you. How did you grow up so fast? How have I?

I can only imagine that many of you already in your  60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and beyond, similarly cannot fathom how fast the time has passed. Along the way, new and unexpected physical and emotional challenges came into your life. Loss, frustrations, aches, yet also a new level of wisdom and perhaps a softening.

In the Bible, the townspeople call to Naomi and Ruth, “He shall be to you a restorer of your life, and a nourisher of your old age (Ruth 4:14).” There is a treasury of Jewish wisdom to explore for both the wise elders among us and their loving, caring, and devoted children in the sandwich generation, perhaps recent empty nesters yourselves.

The man in the park called out to me last weekend from his bench, “enjoy pushing that stroller now, some day he’s going to be pushing you!” The caregivers among us are also on my mind and we’re going to support you with education, tools, and resources, to help you at this new phase of your lives – and your parents.

To begin, I hope you will join me for a 4-week study series called “Beyond Midlife,” on Tuesday evenings from 7:30-8:30 PM over Zoom, January 18 to February 8. It’s open to Tamid members, designed especially for the 65+ set.

In late February and March, programs for the 50+ age group will begin. For now, I ask that you write me directly with your interest so that we can begin this journey together, with you in mind.

This is where we are headed at Tamid.  We are still going to be that incredible place for young kids and parents. And now, we’re going to become an incredible place to grow old, “because the best is yet to be.” I look forward to sharing this next stage with you.

May we all continue to grow from strength to strength,

Shabbat Shalom,