Aging Well in the Jewish Community

“Beyond just feeling useful, a key need for successful aging is to feel that you have contributed to leaving the world better than you found it.” ~ Dr. Linda P. Fried

In an article published in The Atlantic in 2014, Dr. Linda P. Fried, one of America’s most respected geriatricians, noted that adults 60 and older are now the fastest-growing segment of our population, with more and more people living well into their eighth, ninth and tenth decades. The shape of our society, Dr. Fried noted, is significantly changing. And yet, she observed, with these new “stages of life,” we have not really envisioned the role that our elderly can play in our communities. And that is no small problem.

But it’s one that the Federation will be addressing in 2018 with vigor and creativity. Indeed, many new ideas on all aspects of aging will be shared at our “Aging Well Community Convening,” a forum we are holding with partner agencies on March 20. The keynote speaker, Mark Freedman (a longtime colleague of Dr. Fried), the CEO and founder of, is at the forefront of re-envisioning our older citizens not as challanges but as vital solutions and a “powerful source of talent with the accumulated skills, experience, and wisdom.”

Elisa Gollub

Elisa Gollub, PhD, a senior program officer at the Federation, has a similar view of the role that our Jewish seniors can play in our community. “Though we don’t have all the specifics yet, our new focus is on aging well,” said Elisa from her San Francisco office. “And that encompasses not just social services, but reaching, engaging, and connecting with members of our community, and then tapping them as the vital assets that they are.”

According to Elisa, a lot of the action-oriented “specifics” are likely going to be a function of information we glean from the recently completed Federation-comissioned community study, A Portrait of Bay Area Jewish Life and Communities, as well as from the guidance we will be getting from our community partners and the aforementioned “Aging Well Convening.” In other words, a lot of decisions will be forthcoming. “Out of those conversations and that convening, we want to make some choices about where and how to fund, and what we can do differently,” Elisa said. “Obviously we’re not quite there yet, but I imagine we’re probably going to focus on the intersection of our priority areas that are aging well, social activism, and service.”

This growing recognition of our older community members, not only as people to be cared for but as powerful resources of wisdom, volunteerism, and service, seems to be an invigorating way for our Federation to enact its vision of a vibrant, caring, and enduring Jewish community.

Together with our partners, we help seniors engage and participate to their fullest potential in the Jewish community. Learn More

Categories: Seniors, Community


March 01, 2018


Jon Moskin