Wise Aging



There is no set of instructions for getting older—for the shifts in our social and support networks, the feeling of invisibility, the angst of dealing with aging parents, the mixed signals of entering retirement, or the surprising turns in our relationships with ourselves, our partners, friends, and colleagues. On the other hand, those of us currently in this stage can count ourselves as part of an extraordinary, history-making generation—pioneers in understanding and making the most of this “third chapter” of life. Many of us will be blessed with unprecedented healthy years ahead, full of potential for learning and growth.

The Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Wise Aging program is designed to:

  • Give Jewish adults 55 and older spiritual resources and a meaningful place in the Jewish community
  • Open up conversations about what it means not just to get older but to age wisely
  • Create space in our hearts and new understandings about life so we can live with spirit, resilience, and joy

Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit:
The Book

Co-written by Rabbi Rachel Cowan, of blessed memory, an early Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and Dr. Linda Thal, a pioneer in transforming synagogue life to include spirituality and spiritual development, the book is grounded in Jewish mindfulness and spiritual practices such as meditation, journaling, movement, and blessings. Wise Aging offers social, emotional and spiritual insights to help individuals meet the challenges of these years with a sustaining spirit.

In addition to its use as a foundational text for facilitated Wise Aging groups, Wise Aging can be read as a standalone book. It is also an excellent resource for clergy- or lay-led book groups, lifelong learning groups, and other places where ongoing learning, reflection on experience, spiritual practice, and pursuit of wisdom define the agenda.

Wise Aging provides the road‐map for the journey we are all on, and that is especially relevant for baby boomers: achieving a fulfilling older age. No subject is off limits. Rabbi Cowan and Dr. Thal explore a wide range of issues including: relationships with adult children and spouses; body image; romance and sexuality; living with loss; and, cultivating well-being.

Wise Aging is the only Jewish program of its kind that considers mindfulness and contemplative practices such as meditation, text study, journaling and gentle movement to be foundational to aging wisely.

For individuals who would like to join a Wise Aging group

Here is a list of Wise Aging Group Facilitators listed by state. Please contact the Facilitator near you to learn when the next Wise Aging Group might be forming.

For individuals who would like to become Wise Aging Group Facilitators

IJS does not provide Wise Aging Facilitator Training. We refer you to the following independent Trainer(s), experienced members of the training team that has trained 450 Facilitators-to-date.

Dr. Linda Thal [email protected]

Dr. Batya Perman [email protected]

Karen Frank [email protected]