Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, & Spirit
2016 National Jewish Book Award Finalist-Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice
How can we make aging a good experience?
Aging can feel like an inevitable drift. But each year new doors open with opportunities, while others close with loss. We have the power to prepare--to build our resilience and navigate the challenges. Will we turn towards the opportunities, and continue to find joy and meaning in our lives? Strengthen relationships with our adult children? Have the courage to find new ways of living? How can we make the most of the aging process, and develop into deeper, wiser people?
In Wise Aging, Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal give us the tools we need to find our own answers to these questions. With the same warmth, humor, and wisdom that draws thousands to their innovative workshops on aging, they deliver practical, real world suggestions: journaling exercises, meditations, and activities that dig deep and lead us to a better understanding of how to age well.
Wise Aging provides the roadmap for the journey we are all on: achieving a fulfilling older age. No subject is off limits; Rabbi Cohen and Dr. Thal explore a wide range of issues, including:
- Relationships with adult children & spouses
- Body image
- Romance & sexuality
- Living with loss
- Cultivating well-being
They tackle these issues head on, and with uncanny sensitivity deliver sage advice that inspires, informs, and will help us grow into wisdom with resilience and joy.
In Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, & Spirit, Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal invite us to a new stage of life--active aging--and give us the tools we need to embrace it.
With the same warmth, humor, and wisdom that draw so many to their innovative workshops on aging, they deliver practical, real world suggestions for building resilience and navigating the challenges of aging while finding joy and meaning.
Through texts gathered from a variety of religious and spiritual sources plus reflective questioning, journaling exercises, meditations, and activities that draw on research in neuroscience, psychology, and gerontology, readers dig deep for a better understanding of how to age well.
Rabbi Rachel Cowan
Formerly the Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality is working on a special project on Aging with Wisdom. She was named by Newsweek Magazine in 2007 and in 2010 as one of the 50 leading rabbis in the United States, and by the Forward in 2010 as one of the 50 leading women rabbis. She was featured in the PBS series The Jewish Americans. She received her ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1989. From 1990-2003 she was Program Director for Jewish Life and Values at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Her work has been included in Moment and Sh'ma as well as in anthologies, including Illness and Health in the Jewish Tradition: Writings from the Bible to Today, and The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. She is the author, with her late husband Paul Cowan, of Mixed Blessings: Untangling the Knots in an Interfaith Marriage. She lives in New York City, near her two children Lisa and Matt, and four grandchildren – Jacob and Tessa, and Dante and Miles Moses.
Dr. Linda Thal
After establishing her career in children’s and family education, pioneered some of the early work in synagogue transformation, guiding congregations through a process of re-envisioning and revitalizing their programming. For the past twenty years her work has focused on adult spiritual development. Dr. Thal was the founding co-director of the Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction, an institute that trains rabbis, cantors, therapists and others in providing spiritual guidance. She has a private practice in spiritual direction and serves on the faculty of the Center for Mindfulness at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan.
Linda is a recipient of the Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. Her work has appeared in Reform Judaism Magazine and in books such as What We Know About Jewish Education, A Congregation of Learners, Jewish Spiritual Direction: An Innovative Guide from Traditional and Contemporary Sources, and Every Ending Has A Beginning: Clergy Retirement (forthcoming). She is primary author of Vetaher Libeynu: The Institute for Jewish Spirituality Curriculum for Nurturing Adult Spiritual Development.
In addition to teaching in both the United States and Israel, she has conducted classes and workshops in Canada, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, China, Singapore, and Hong King. She lives in New York City with her husband, Lennard, and travels to California frequently to teach and see her daughters Alona and Ariella, and grandchildren, Mo, Zeke, Noa and Zev.
Without shying away from any of the pitfalls and challenges, the authors have communicated how rich a blessing it is to grow to an age where others may see us old but we feel vital in so many different ways. We have all been told to prepare well in advance for aging. Not to worry. Read Wise Aging, and you will be fully prepared.
-Blu Greenberg, author of How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household
This is a book I want to give to everyone I love. It’s like a series of intimate sessions with two astute and tender guides, who can lead you from confusion and foreboding about aging to opening your arms to possibility.
-Sara Davidson, author of The December Project, a Jewish Book Award Finalist; and Loose Change
Wise Aging opens us to the possibility that we may become more as we age: more heartfelt, more connected, more forgiving and more present to the joys of being alive. A fine book to read if you are considering growing old.
-Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessing