TIME TO DOWNSIZE GROWING UP IN BOOMER BALTIMORE KEEPING YOUR BRAIN FIT AND HEALTHY
Baltimore’s Premier Choice for Kosher Assisted Living At Peregrine’s Landing at Tudor Heights, we dedicate each day “To Life” and a lifestyle filled with health, happiness and hospitality. We’ll celebrate and brighten your loved one’s days with cheerful smiles, delicious kosher meals, engaging activities, an on-site synagogue and a compassionate helping hand always by their side.
Call Ryan Bowman at 410-318-8000 for a private tour. Sherri Zaslow, Executive Director 7218 Park Heights Ave, Baltimore, MD www.PeregrineTudor.com Meat
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Jewish BOOMER CONTENTS
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8. Boom Times
photography David Stuck Jewish Boomer is a collaboration between The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and Mid-Atlantic Media. The acceptance of advertising does not constitute endorsement of the products or services. The publishers reserve the right to reject any advertisement that is not in keeping with the standing or policies of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. Copyright 2016, all rights reserved. Reproduction of any part of Jewish Boomer without permission is prohibited. GOLD SPONSOR
Holly and Joe’s story
BY ROCHELLE EISENBERG
BY SIMONE ELLIN
14. G PA, SAT, & BDS, The College List Alphabet Soup What parents and students need to know about anti-Israel sentiment on campuses BY RONA SUE LONDON
39. Body Works How to keep your body fit for a healthier life BY ROCHELLE EISENBERG
44. Use It or Lose It
Researching family histories BY ABE NOVICK
BY MELISSA GERR
22. Taking Care Challenges Facing Caregiver Spouses BY ROCHELLE EISENBERG
Telling your children you’re selling the family home BY SIMONE ELLIN
34. No Time To Stand On The Sidelines… Getting involved in the Jewish community BY ELINOR SPOKES
4 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
Staying engaged as you age proves beneficial for cognitive health
18. Where We Came From
28. Moving Down
3 7. B lending Together
Growing up in Jewish Baltimore
FINANCE 46. Retirement Mythbusters Yes, you can have enough money, find meaning and help others BY ELIZABETH SCHUMAN
PROFILE 50. A Parent’s Perspective: The Empty Nest Conversation with Miriam Jacobson BY AMANDA NOLAN
When the time comes, Weinberg Park will meet your needs with quality care. It’s our privilege to serve you! “Whether I’m checking a sprinkler system or fixing a TV, I always make sure our residents are satisfied.” —Duane, Weinberg Park Professional
5833 Park Heights Ave. Baltimore, MD 21215 firstname.lastname@example.org www.weinbergpark.com
• All-inclusive assisted living at affordable prices • 24-hour care from Certified Nursing Assistants and “Delegating Nurse” supervision • Respite care (Weekly, Monthly and Jewish Holidays) • Emergency Alert System • Private Rooms or Sharing Option • Medication Administration • Assistance with Bathing and Dressing • Three delicious Kosher meals daily plus snacks • Housekeeping, laundry and transportation services • Social, educational and therapeutic activities daily • Conveniently located near medical facilities, shopping and places of worship • Beauty Salon • Wheelchair Accessible
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J EWI S H BOOM E R • 7
FEATU R E
Nancy Finstein Surosky holds a photo of herself and her mother, the former Alma Sollod Finstein. The two were off to Ohio to visit her father, who was learning the building business there at the time.
8 â€˘ J EWI S H BOOM E R
BOOM TIMES Growing up in Jewish Baltimore BY ROCHELLE EISENBERG
N THE YEARS FOLLOWING WORLD WAR II, Jewish families joined the exodus from the cities, seeking out the “good life” of suburbia. Like their national counterparts, the Jews in Baltimore joined this trend. New suburban communities, replete with ranchers and split levels, sprang up along Park Heights Avenue, Reisterstown Road and Liberty Road, with Jews moving to Woodmoor, Milford Mill, Pikesville and Randallstown. Jewish institutions, including the JCC and Sinai Hospital (1959), followed, as well as many of the synagogues.
By 1968, about 80 percent of Jews lived in northwest Baltimore from upper Park Heights to deep into Baltimore County. Twenty-six schools opened in suburban northwest Baltimore between 1949 and 1969, including Milford Mill (1949), Pikesville (1964), Northwestern (1967) and Randallstown (1969).*
Brothers Leslie and Gilbert Polt at their suburban home on Western Run Drive in Cheswolde.
*From the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s traveling exhibit, Jews on the Move: Baltimore and the Suburban Exodus, 1945-1968.
HERE ARE A FEW BOOMER STORIES OF GROWING UP IN BALTIMORE’S JEWISH SUBURBIA:
NANCY SUROSKY Grew up on: Forest Garden Avenue, off Liberty Road in Lochearn, then moved to Pikesville Went to: Campfield Elementary, Sudbrook Junior High and Pikesville High Memories: The Lotus Inn, the egg rolls and profiteroles at Pimlico Restaurant, where you went on special occasions, and ordering the 106 on rye (corned beef, cole slaw and Russian dressing) at Sid Mandel’s
ike many boomers of the time, Nancy Surosky looks back on her childhood growing up in Jewish Baltimore with a particular fondness for her old neighborhood. Back then, she recalls, you knew everyone on your block, and probably 80 percent of the neighborhood was Jewish. There was a special bond among the children as they spent all day either outside or in and out of friends’ homes. “We’d be out until dark when our mother would come to the front door and call for you,” she recalls. Social events, from barbecues, riding bikes and sledding down hills on snow days to even babysitting one another when parents played card games, revolved around these neighborhood friendships. “When I run into people who lived in my neighborhoods, we share a bond, a sense of history. These people were all there as we shaped our personalities.” Surosky moved to Pikesville when she was a teenager. She attended Pikesville High, and joined a high
Nancy Surosky on the steps of her childhood home in Lochearn.
school sorority, which provided her with a group of new, ready-made friends. Although Surosky went to Hebrew school at Beth El Congregation, her most vivid Jewish memories are rooted in the rituals. She remembers her mother’s honey cake on Rosh Hashanah and opening the door for Elijah during the Passover seders, surrounded by extended family. Having lived in Jewish Baltimore her whole life, Surosky feels a kinship every time she sees someone from her past. “There is this thread running through my life with everyone who played a different part, from my first neighborhood to my school to my work.”
Top photp courtesy of the Jewish Museum of Maryland (CP 44.2012.7), with permission from the Polt family.
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 9
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SHELLEY HENDLER Grew up on: Silver Creek across the street from Willow Glen Attended: Milford Mill High School Memory: As a teen, going to Reisterstown Road Plaza with friends
t was a time when life was not so scheduled, when summer didn’t mean eight weeks of camp, when children simply went outside and came back in time for dinner. For Shelley Hendler, growing up in the late ’60s in Jewish Baltimore, it was a time that revolved around the neighborhood. “We weren’t controlled by schedules. Much of our play was spontaneous. In fact, in the summers I didn’t go to camp. Instead, I spent half a day at a local school rec center and the rest hanging out or going to Milford Mill Swim Club, where I learned to swim.” Most of her friends were Jewish. Jewish holidays meant walking to Moses Montefiore with other neighborhood families. “My world was pretty Jewish, and many of my friends were Jewish. Even today, I can say many of my best friends are those I grew up with, even though some don’t even live here anymore.”
DAVID SPITZ Lived on: Finney Avenue until age six, then moved to Randallstown Attended: Woodlawn Senior as an annex to an overcrowded Milford Mill High Recalls: Stopping at Price’s Dairy on the way to see the new house being built
avid Spitz’s earliest memories include pickles, birthday cake and comic books. It was back when he was living on Finney Avenue, near Pall Mall Circle, in the late 1950s. The pickles were a nickel and the birthday cake was purchased by his mother and father, who braved the elements, walking to Silber’s Bakery on his birthday in the blizzard of ’58. As for that comic book store, it was on the other side of Falls Road, the side, Spitz recalls, that was “off limits” for Jews. There was an underlying anti-Semitism at the time, Spitz explains, when Jews didn’t cross Falls Road. It was an anti-Semitism he encountered briefly after moving to Randallstown as one of the first Jewish families to reside in this section of Liberty Road.
10 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
Shelley Hendler (second from right) met (left to right) Debby Fram, Susan Levi-Goerlich and Carol Zuckerman in seventh grade and remains good friends with them still.
In some ways, the all-Jewish environment has changed somewhat in the years that followed, even for those who still grew up in Jewish neighborhoods. “Even though my kids grew up surrounded by many Jewish friends and neighbors, their friends are broader than the Jewish community,” she says.
“I remember we were one of the first Jews in our area and the Rusty Rock Swim Club, which was nearby, was restricted to Jews, at that time” says Spitz. “After a number of years, it seemed like half its membership was Jewish.” Growing up off Allenswood Road, near Old Court, Spitz recalls Sunday runs to Sid Mandel’s in the Woodmoor Shopping Center for bagels, lox, cream cheese and Kaiser rolls, and, of course, a stop at Silber’s for honey-dip donuts and Danish. That was before Liberty Court Shopping Center and Caplan’s Deli opened. He also remembers riding his bike to what is now Northwest Hospital to play ball and being upset when they “stole the baseball fields” to build what would become Baltimore County General Hospital. “It was a time when we were gone all day and didn’t return until dinner,” he says. B
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ABOUT JEWISH BALTIMORE.
Q U I C K F A C T S American Jewish community • 85% of Jewish students go to college • For four years, about 400,000 young Jewish adults are at college in the U.S.
• 80% of Jewish students attend about 200 U.S. colleges • College attendance is the single biggest source of “Jewish Participation” in any group activity Source: Hillel International
Publisher Hillel International
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J EWI S H BOOM E R • 11
Assisted Living & Memory Care programs MD, Peregrine’s personally involved with each resident, customizing Located in the heart of Pikesville, Landing pursuits and passions a premier recreational at Heights Tudor is senior living community to each individual’s a full Living spectrum of Assisted As an integral part of the surrounding neighborhood, offering and Memory synagogues, managed by frequent visitors include schools, professional Care accommodations. It is owned and Living. and families who add to the greater sense of Peregrine Senior organizations, is so much a part of. In fact, Tudor Beautifully historic renovated, retirement community community Tudor this Heights tradition and unique Heights has a well-earned reputation as a leading community is steepedin ina myriad of ways, not the resource least of which is the convenience of having its our own on-site for those affected by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s which is frequented by disease, a meeting ground for support groups and educational Kehillas Orech Yomim, Synagogue, and surrounding alike. both residents neighbors, forums. It’s also a gathering point for holiday celebrations, distinguished events. The community is further by being Baltimore’s neighborhood fairs, and intergenerational organizations to use their K and Star D Kosher-certified senior community, Tudor Heights also welcomes area only Star meetings. strictest guidelines. hospitality area for private adhering to the dining Heights is designed those who seek a stimulating Tudor for lifestyle and amenities in a caring and distinguished and Director of Staffed hospitality-centered Ryan Bowman, Outreach Coordinator by compassionate, environment. call him Marketing, invites your inquiries. If you’d like a tour, professionals, they offer a wide variety of social, wellness and at 410-318-8000. He just loves to show off Tudor Heights. cultural programs to keep residents active and engaged,
Landing at Tudor Heights Peregrine’s
including their award-winning Brain Health University. Director of Activities, Goldie Milner, with her ‘can do’ approach, is
Check out their website at peregrineseniorliving.com for more information.
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Carroll Lutheran Village and The Lutheran Village at MILLER’S GRANT are regulated by the Maryland Department of Aging. MILLER’S GRANT participates with Howard County in the Moderate Income Housing Unit Program. 12 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
FEATU R E
GPA, SAT & BDS, The College List Alphabet Soup What parents and students need to know about anti-Israel sentiment on campuses BY RONA SUE LONDON
hen Lauren* and her high school teen, Caren,* were looking at colleges they had several criteria in mind. Good academics, a Jewish presence on campus and an open-minded atmosphere. Little did they know when Caren selected a small liberal arts college in New York with a sizable Jewish population that campus life would not be as ideal for Jews as it first seemed. During the winter of Caren’s freshman year, anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli sentiment became pervasive on campus. Two swastika were found — one drawn on a paper posted on a dorm room door and another carved into a door. Eight campus departments and programs sponsored a speaker, Jasbir Puar, an associate professor at Rutgers University, who espoused anti-Israel propaganda. She made false and inflammatory claims of Israelis harvesting the Palestinians’
organs for experimentation — statements eerily similar to blood libel. Later that year, the student government passed a resolution endorsing an anti-Israel resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for economic, cultural and academic isolation of Israel. It was ultimately revoked by the student body. For Lauren, it was an eye-opening experience. “I did a lot of research looking into schools. It never occurred to me to see if any BDS-related organizations were strong on campus.” The BDS Movement, formalized in 2005 by the Palestinian Civil Society, calls for the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands, including dismantling the Wall, referring to the wall surrounding the West Bank. At the same time, the BDS Movement calls for Israel to guarantee full equality to Arab-Palestinian citizens and to honor the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, essentially thereby making the existence of a Jewish state impossible.
“Backpack” ©iStockphoto.com/kravcs; “Soup” ©iStockphoto.com/skodonnell; “Spoon” ©iStockphoto.com/NickS
14 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
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Using inflammatory rhetoric to delegitimize Israel, the BDS Movement’s most successful attempts have occurred on college campuses. Tactics include erecting apartheid walls, staging “die-in” protests and protesting Israeli speakers. One of the more aggressive strategies is to bring referendums before student councils calling for the college or university to divest from Israel. A more insidious tactic is when professors espouse disparaging views against Israel in the classroom. The core organization on campus is often Students for Justice in Palestine, who build coalitions with groups like Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ and environmental committees. Jewish Voice for Peace also supports the BDS Movement. It’s important to note that organizations that might be critical of some of Israel’s policies still strive toward a two-state solution or a solution achieved through negotiations. Even when the BDS Movement hasn’t introduced a resolution at a student government or publically
planned anything on campus, anti-Israel feelings expressed by fellow students and teachers can be just as uncomfortable and troublesome for students and their parents. For those that have encountered BDS and anti-Israel sentiment, the results can range from mildly
counteract BDS,” says Amalia Phillips, director of Israel and Overseas Education at the Macks Center for Jewish Education (CJE), an agency of The Associated. “Make certain students have the information needed if they want to defend their position, but also that they have the ability and
The BDS Movement uses tactics that include staging “die-in” protests, protesting Israeli speakers and bringing referendums before student councils calling for the university to divest from Israel. inconvenient to traumatic. Rabbi Ron Shulman of Chizuk Amuno knows of two students who are transferring colleges because negative attitudes toward Jews were so pervasive.
“Communication, knowledge and education are the secret ingredients to
tools to ignore, navigate or extricate depending on the particulars.” One of the programs Phillips oversees at CJE is Israel High, a program for high school students in public, private and independent schools who may be (or not) enrolled in Hebrew school. Funded by The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education of
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 15
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Amir Bavler (right), Israel Campus Fellow at Johns Hopkins Hillel, creates Israel-based programs and shares personal experiences of modern Israel with the students.
The Associated, the sessions provide students with tools to face the growing upsurge in anti-Israel activities. Sessions introduce students to what is happening on college campuses and investigate topics such as media bias and the origin of the Palestinian refugee crisis. To counteract potential anti-Israel rhetoric on local campuses, The Associated, through its Israel Engagement Center, funds four local Israel Campus Fellows. These
and tools to address anti-Israel sentiment from professors or peers. Amir Bavler, Israel Campus Fellow at Johns Hopkins Hillel, has found that partnering with other student organizations raises the level of Israel knowledge and understanding with a broader community. In particular, Bavler helped organize two programs with the Black Student Union, one with Pnina Agenyahu, spokeswoman and champion for Ethiopian Jews, and
“Communication, knowledge and education are the secret ingredients to counteract BDS.” AMALIA PHILLIPS, DIRECTOR, ISRAEL AND OVERSEAS — EDUCATION, MACKS CENTER FOR JEWISH EDUCATION
post-army educators employed by Hillel strengthen connections to Israel on campus through educational and cultural programming, and provide students with knowledge 16 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
Idan Reichel, Israeli singer/songwriter. The programs were designed to discuss critical issues of identity that speak to the common experiences of Jewish and African-American students.
“It was inspiring to see Jewish and black students crying, laughing and asking questions of the speakers. The experience brought together these two student communities and helped them relate to one another in a deeply authentic and empathetic way,” says Bavler. With the understanding that parents also need to understand what is happening and what they can do to help their college student navigate this new landscape, The Associated held its first of several discussions for parents of college-age students. “I think parents have to know about this when looking for colleges,” says Lauren, Caren’s mom. Goucher student, Jasmine Hubara, believes teens should understand the history of the conflict — especially the Palestinian view. “The best you can do is to not be blindsided. I’m the child of an Israeli immigrant and an AmericanIsraeli citizen, and I still questioned everything I knew and loved about
FEATU R E
Israel ... you cannot change people’s minds. You will hear things that will shake you to your innermost beliefs, but do your research and come to your own conclusions. Listen to everyone, both those who agree with you and those who don’t ... But most importantly, don’t apologize for your beliefs, and don’t be embarrassed to give your opinion.” For Caren who encountered BDS on college campus, something positive did come out of the experience. “When someone questioned my identity. I realized just how important it was to me. It made me think about what it means to be Jewish and what Israel means to me.” B *In an effort to preserve their anonymity, Lauren and Caren are not their real names.
It is ideal for parents to have these conversations before kids leave for school and to become familiar with the resources available. Many colleges have Hillel chapters with seasoned professionals and Israel Campus Fellows to guide students in challenging situations. Let your child know that Hillel is there if they have questions or concerns. Mediation offices on campus create a safe environment in which students are protected when a problem arises. Encourage college administrators to acknowledge anti-Israel activity and help determine what, if any, reaction is appropriate. Valuable resources include: • Baltimore Jewish Council - baltjc.org • Hillel International - hillel.org • The Israel Action Network’s Resources - israelactionnetwork.org • The iCenter for Israel Education - theicenter.org • Anti-Defamation League - adl.org/israel-international/ anti-israel-activity/ • Jerusalem Post article - jpost.com/Diaspora/BDS-impact-onAmerican-college-campuses-is-exaggerated-study-finds-413222
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 17
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Came From Researching our family histories
18 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
BY ABE NOVICK
culture has helped fuel an interest in genealogy with TV shows ranging from Genealogy Roadshow on PBS, where participants embark on emotional journeys that uncover family and community secrets across the United States, to Who Do You Think You Are? You may even recall an episode on that show in which Gwyneth Paltrow traces her lineage to distinguished rabbis.
In fact, according to USA Today, genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies in America—second only to gardening. Although searching for one’s roots can seem overwhelming, the Jewish Museum of Maryland ( JMM) is often a helpful resource for those on their ancestral quest. According to Joanna Church, collections manager at the JMM, “Our archives can help genealogists, and part of my job is to guide them with their research.” (see resources) Typically, Church says they’ve already done some work on their own, but the JMM can help people access records online — including burial records, funeral home records and marriage information. Also, the JMM can provide on-site access with online searches, too, including Ancestry.com.
Helping Kids Connect To Their Past The Jewish Museum of Maryland is not only connecting boomers and older generations to their past, it is also creating an opportunity for families to talk about their histories with their children in a project called My Family Story. The program involves students at day and religious schools with Beit Hatfutsot (The Museum of the Jewish People) in Israel with the help of a grant through the Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education through The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. “Families are talking about their past and where they come from,” says
Elizabeth Strouse, joined by sisters Julia (left) and Alexandra (right) showcases the art project she created as part of the Jewish Museum’s My Family Story project.
Grandparents and parents should tell their children about their childhood, share what life was like growing up, as well as, how they celebrated the holidays and how they met.” — ILENE DACKMAN-ALON DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION, JEWISH MUSEUM OF MARYLAND
Deborah Cardin, deputy director for programs and development at the JMM. “The project brings kids to the museum to research their individual histories, then has them talk to their parents and grandparents about their family. They begin to get a picture of who they are, it strengthens their feeling of belonging.” According to Ilene Dackman-Alon, director of education at the JMM, this project encourages families to talk about the family stories that connect them. Children will learn about the stories from parents and relatives and how their families got here today— and it wasn’t always so easy.” The project involves interviewing relatives, and is then expressed and
ultimately manifested through an art project. Some projects are judged and selected to go on to Israel to be displayed with other projects from Jewish students from communities around the world. One young girl from the Kesher School at Beit Tikvah this year created a project called Around the Shabbat Table. “The reason it was so important to her,” according to Dackman-Alon “was not only that it tied her to the past, but she realized when she grows up and when she has her own family, that’s what she wants to be there.” Elizabeth Strouse, a sixth-grader at Bolton Street Synagogue, created a sculpture of the globe held in a hand, symbolic of her ancestors’ travels from
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 19
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The main regret I hear is I wish I did this when my parents were still alive.” — DICK GOLDMAN
Dick Goldman (right) learned about his third cousin, Asia Guterman (second from left) prior to leaving for Europe with his son, Jeremy and daughter Sharon Wallach. They met her on their trip to Eastern Europe. Prior to that, Dick Goldman thought that side of the family had perished in the Holocaust.
the old world to the United States. She named it “Trust” and writes, “Their travels were difficult across the Atlantic Ocean to their entrance at Ellis Island. Their futures were unknown, yet my ancestors were hopeful and put their trust in G-d. This trust is represented in my artwork by G-d’s hand.” Elizabeth’s mom, Lisa Strouse, whose mom and dad came to Baltimore in 1964, says, “It was pretty amazing to see in her this connection to Israel and to other students
internationally. This project encourages students to think beyond just themselves. It made them think of their family and their family history but also the history of the Jewish people and the much larger Jewish community around the world.” Even if not part of the project, Dackman-Alon says grandparents and parents should use the opportunity to pass down their stories. Tell them about their childhood, share what life was like growing up, how they celebrated the holidays and how they
JMM Archival Resources
met. Photo books are wonderful ways to prompt family conversations. Dick Goldman, a leader with the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland and the former general manager of Pearlstone Center, recently took his two children to Eastern Europe, including Poland, Lithuania and Belaurus, to visit the towns and cities where his ancestors came from. Helping to explain the popularity of genealogy, Mr. Goldman says, “It’s a pursuit they can do individually. And particularly for Jews, it brings all backgrounds together.” As for baby boomers, according to Goldman, it often hits them after they are retired and kids are out of the house and they want to learn about what they always wondered, “Where, for example, did I come from?” But what about those who aren’t caught up in the trend or put it off until much older? The main regret Mr. Goldman hears is, “I wish I did this when my parents were still alive.” B
The JMM has a wealth of resources, particularly for those whose relatives came from Baltimore. These include:
down more information about where business was located; the JMM has several years’ worth for Baltimore City.
• Family Trees: JMM has a number of family trees people have completed that can be used for genealogical research.
• Other Resources: Because the JMM archival, photographic and artifact collections have been donated by members of the community, there’s often material on the people, businesses, congregations and organizations that researchers are seeking. Highlights include the Jack Lewis Funeral Home records, which cover select years in the mid-20th century; records of several midwives and mohels in the early-mid 20th century; and manuscript collections containing material on a variety of charitable organizations.
• Baltimore Jewish Times: The JMM has a nearly-complete run of this weekly newspaper, from 1919 to the present-day, containing birth, marriage and death notices; index projects are ongoing. •C emetery Records: Most Baltimore-area Jewish cemeteries have been inventoried by volunteers, resulting in searchable lists •C ity Directories: A forerunner to the phone book, these directories list businesses and help individuals track
20 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
The JMM collections database is available online, as are many of their research indices and databases. Research at the JMM is by appointment; a small fee applies. Visit jewishmuseummd.org/collections for more information.
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FEATU R E
Challenges Facing Caregiver Spouses BY ROCHELLE EISENBERG
ike many boomers, Sherlynn Matesky planned to spend retirement pursuing her passions. After years of working as a deputy director of legislation at the Maryland State Retirement Agency, she looked forward to socializing with her friends, volunteering, spending time with her husband, Joel, and traveling to Florida, where the couple owned a second home. But shortly after she retired, Sherlynn began noticing changes in her husband’s behavior. First there were the fender benders. Then his handwriting began to change. And for a man who was always good with numbers, Joel could no longer manage the checkbook. Diagnosed with frontal temporal lobe dementia in 2015, which affects judgement, memory and balance, Joel began requiring ongoing care. Sherlynn became his primary caregiver.
22 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
As the disease progressed, socializing as a couple became harder as Joel had difficulty following conversations. When Sherlynn wanted to meet friends or do errands, she needed to hire a caregiver or take him along. Even something as simple as taking out the garbage required oversight, as Joel often left it in the garage. Caring for an ailing spouse at any point in one’s life can be stressful, as well as physically, financially and emotionally draining. As a boomer — in one’s 50s and 60s — it also means forgoing plans made by couples on how they hoped to spend their early retirement years. “You’re at the point in your lives where you are done with a lot of stressors. You may finally have the income to do things like travel. You’re looking forward to a partnership. Now those dreams may be gone,” says Dr. Ruth Klein, director of mental
FEATU R E
health services at Jewish Community Services ( JCS). “One of the hardest parts is to accept the loss of the life you anticipated. We often hear, ‘I didn’t expect at this point in life to have to take care of someone,’ ” adds Carol Wamboldt, a certified registered nurse practitioner who specializes in dementia at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain and Spine Institute at LifeBridge Health. In addition, boomers who become unexpected caregivers often contend with the fact that their spouses are still young, with considerable life expectancy. That adds additional stress and financial concerns for younger caregivers over older ones.
Reaching Out For Support Jan Schein’s husband has multiple sclerosis. After 20 years of caring for
him, she understands how difficult life can become at times — the frustration and stress unique to caregiver spouses. There is a sense of loneliness of living with a spouse, but losing them as a companion.
counteract them, it’s important to take time off. Hire a caregiver or a cleaning service and look into adult care programs when they are available and affordable. And joining a caregiver support group can prove critical.
“One of the hardest parts is to accept the loss of the life you anticipated.” — CAROL WAMBOLDT SANDRA AND MALCOLM BERMAN BRAIN AND SPINE INSTITUTE AT LIFEBRIDGE HEALTH
“It’s an ambiguous loss,” Schein says. “You grieve, but the person is still there.” Klein acknowledges that it’s easy to feel angry and resentful. And she says these are normal emotions that caregivers should own up to without feeling guilt or shame. Yet these emotions also add to caregiver stress and depression. To help
“It doesn’t matter if everyone in the group has spouses with the same diagnosis or is at the same place in their lives. You are looking for a safe place where you can air your grievances and concerns, even if you can’t fix it. These individuals are either going through or have gone through similar situations and can provide valuable feedback,” says Wamboldt. J EWI S H BOOM E R • 23
FEATU R E
Jewish Community Services JCS offers eldercare consultation to assist families in discussing sensitive issues and plans for the future, care management to connect older adults and caregivers to resources and support services, therapy services to enhance caregivers’ emotional well-being, a support group for people with Parkinson’s Disease, as well as their families and caregivers, and service coordination to help navigate access to available financial resources. Learn more at jcs.org or call 410-466-9200 SINAI-United (Survivors In Need After Injury) Survivors of brain injuries, their caregivers and their families are invited to participate in this support group to share their own experiences and to hear the stories of others going through the same things. Held the third Tuesday of the month, this free program also features guest speakers. Call 410-601-WELL (9355) Well Spouse Association Provides peer-to-peer support for caregivers, including local support groups, regional respite weekends and a national conference for caregivers. For more information and a listing of local support groups go wellspouse.org.
24 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
Schein co-chairs a local support group through the Well Spouse Association, which advocates for and addresses the needs of individuals caring for a chronically ill and/or disabled spouse. About 10 of them meet monthly over dinner and wine, and they talk. “We laugh, it’s confidential and it’s non-judgmental,” says Schein. “We talk about feelings that only caregivers can understand.” Asking for help from others is not always easy. Sometimes, admits Schein, you may have to hit rock bottom, when
to watch a spouse for a weekend, but they could stop over for lunch or watch a spouse while a caregiver runs out. Friends can play a role in alleviating stress, but one of the hardest parts with chronic illness is sustaining that help. When someone has a heart attack or an accident, friends quickly rally, organizing a schedule of meals and visits. But when a disease extends over years, it can be harder to maintain that level of commitment. Because caregivers often don’t like to burden others, Schein suggests
“I have to oversee everything.
I’m in charge of his medical needs and financial needs. Caregiving is draining.” — SHERLYNN MATESKY
you are so exhausted, stressed and depressed, to be willing to reach out. “I have to oversee everything. I’m in charge of his medical needs and the family’s financial needs. Caregiving is draining. You have to find time for yourself,” says Sherlynn who volunteers at the consumer protection agency, goes to the JCC and meets up with friends, whom she says have been very supportive. Wamboldt suggests caregivers write down what they do in a day or a week and identify friends who might be able to fill those roles. They may not be able
friends can volunteer to perform simple tasks. “There is this misnomer that caregivers are so strong. They’re not.” For example, she says, instead of friends suggesting the caregiver call if they need something, be proactive. “If you are running to the store, offer to take their shopping list and pick up some items. Or invite them to join you for a movie.” As for engaging one’s young adult children, families often take different approaches. Some caregivers don’t want to ask for help or feel that it’s not their children’s job. Others
“Paper People” ©iStockphoto.com/Paperkites
Northwest Hospital Stroke Wellness Club Stroke survivors and their families hare their challenges and success stories in a supportive environment with opportunities for activities, lectures and fun on the first Wednesday of the month. Program is free. Call 410-601-WELL (9355).
FEATU R E
put expectations, sometimes unrealistic, on their children. The problem, says Klein, is that when children can’t deliver — whether they are busy with their own families and work lives or live out of town — the spouse can become disappointed. It’s important, she adds, to get together as a family to discuss what your wishes are or how much time children can give. And if children disappoint, you may need to learn to manage your expectations or seek the help of an outside therapist to get an objective answer to what is realistic.
Caring for a spouse can be financially draining, particularly when they are younger, even for those who have personal savings or pensions. One of the biggest misperceptions people have, says Sherlynn, is that Medicare will pay for home care or assisted living. “Medicare doesn’t provide these services. You need to count on your personal savings or purchase a long-term care policy. If you can’t get a long-term care policy for your spouse, make sure you get one for yourself. And access everything you can,” she adds. Because her husband served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, he is eligible for veteran’s benefits, which
provide some financial assistance. “We plan for retirement but we should also have contingency plans in case something goes wrong,” says Wambolt. “Fill out advance directives and living wills. Discuss what you want to do if someone suffers from a debilitating chronic illness. Understand your financial constraints. Unfortunately, we need to plan for the future, because lifestyles do change.” An elder care lawyer can also help in the process. Because they focus on the needs of older adults, they have expertise in issues related to health care, long term care planning, retirement, estate planning, Medicare/ Medicaid and other issues. B
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 25
Explore Our Community Looking for long-term involvement, occasional opportunities or a one-time experience, there is something for everyone! Join The Associated and get connected to Jewish Baltimore.
Mix, mingle, network and travel, become a leader and do good in our community with The Associated.
Perform acts of service and kindness â€“ volunteer, help others and advocate. Sign up through Jewish Volunteer Connection, CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc., Baltimore Jewish Council and CHANA. Discover everything that The Associated and its agencies and programs have to offer for Baby Boomers in Jewish Baltimore. Visit associated.org or call 410-727-4828.
Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University 410-704-7117 towson.edu/bhi Baltimore Jewish Council 410-542-4850 baltjc.org CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc. 410-500-5300 chaibaltimore.org
CHANA 410-234-0030 chanabaltimore.org Edward A. Myerberg Center 410-358-6856 myerberg.org Hebrew Free Loan Association 410-843-7536 hebrewfreeloan.org
Expand your knowledge with classes and programs at Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University, Edward A. Myerberg Center, Jewish Community Center, Macks Center For Jewish Education, Maryland/Israel Development Center and Pearlstone Center.
Discover health, exercise and wellness programs to live a healthy and active lifestyle at the Edward A. Myerberg Center and Jewish Community Center.
Discover health, exercise and wellness programs to live a healthy and active lifestyle at the Edward A. Myerberg Center and Jewish Community Center.
Laugh, marvel, applaud and explore culture at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts and the Jewish Museum of Maryland at the Herbert Bearman Campus.
Jewish Community Center Downtown JCC 410-559-3618 dbjcc.org Rosenbloom Owings Mills 410-559-3500 jcc.org Weinberg Park Heights 410-500-5900 jcc.org
Lead a rich, vibrant life and get help when you need a hand. Look towards Hebrew Free Loan Association, Jewish Community Services and CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance. Jewish Community Services 410-466-9200 j csbaltimore.org Jewish Museum of Maryland at the Herbert Bearman Campus 410-732-6400 jewishmuseummd.org Jewish Volunteer Connection 410-843-7490 jvcbaltimore.org
Maryland/Israel Development Center 410-767-0681 marylandisrael.org Pearlstone Center 410-429-4400 pearlstonecenter.org The Louise D. & Morton J. Macks Center For Jewish Education 410-735-5000 cjebaltimore.org
“Often I find the parents are ready to go. It’s the adult children who are upset.” — REBECCA PERLOW
Rebecca and Gary Perlow enjoying the sights in their downtown neighborhood.
28 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
Telling your children you’re selling the family home
s a realtor with 30 years of experience, Rebecca Perlow knows all about downsizing. The purging, the packing, the trauma of leaving a place filled with memories, and the trepidation and excitement that often accompanies beginning a new phase of life. But that all pales in comparison to the reactions of some young adult children when they learn their parents are selling their childhood home. “Often I find the parents are ready to go. It’s the adult children who are upset,” says Rebecca. “They’ll say, ‘How could you sell the house where I grew up?’ These are often adult children who have lived on their own for years!” For all those reasons, some Boomers remain in their homes long after their children leave the nest. Yet, when she and her husband, Gary Perlow, downsized for the first time in 2004, Rebecca says it was a “spontaneous decision.” After showing a property downtown, Rebecca returned to the family home in Greenspring Valley and suggested to her husband that they take a look. “At the time, our older son, Michael, was already living on his own and our youngest son, Jason, was in 10th grade at Boy’s Latin. Our plan was to start looking, but wait until he graduated from high school to move,” she recalls.
Down BY SIMONE ELLIN
“But after we looked at some developments downtown, we began to think that a lifestyle change to an area with more activity would be fun,” says Gary, who was tired of the long commute to and from his downtown accounting office. After getting the go ahead from Jason, who took the news far more agreeably than his parents might have expected, the Perlows purchased a
three-bedroom townhome in Federal Hill. There was plenty of room for Jason and enough space for Michael when he visited. Nine years after their first move, when both sons were out on their own, the Perlows downsized again — this time to a smaller condo in the same neighborhood.
“Since our sons both live in the county, we didn’t need extra bedrooms and were able to make our recent move to a two-bedroom condo,” Rebecca explains. Ilene and Neri Cohen always dreamed of moving downtown once their children were grown. “We loved city living, but had moved to the suburbs for the schools,” says Ilene. In 2012, the couple visited their accountant, who informed them that the time was right. “We started looking in June of that year,” Ilene recalls. Back then, the their daughter, Dena, was one year post-college and living at home and their son, Joel, was a junior in college. By September, Dena found her own downtown apartment and her parents closed on a three-bedroom home in the Towers at Harbor Court in the Federal Hill/Otterbein neighborhood. “When we told Joel were moving, he was so upset,” recalls Ilene. “He was concerned about summer vacations and holidays. ‘None of my friends will come visit,’ he said. ‘I’ll feel abandoned!’” What to tell your kid It’s not remarkable that Joel’s first reaction to his parent’s move was negative, says Jewish Community Services ( JCS) social worker Mimi Kraus, LCSW-C. “It makes sense that college-age offspring are more likely to be affected
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 29
Neri and Ilene Cohen enjoy the view from their downtown home, where they moved when their kids got older.
Rebecca Perlow’s Advice for Downsizing “If you’re downsizing for lifestyle versus square footage, make sure that your priorities are in line with your goals. Be prepared to purge extraneous items you’ve been holding onto for years! Though we still entertain and host holidays, our parties tend to be more intimate, and we do have less storage space than we used to. We do miss being able to grill. But like everything in life, it’s a trade-off. We are very happy with our move!”
by the sale of the family home than older adult children. Even though college students spend most of their lives living away from the home where they grew up, they aren’t fully independent either,” says Kraus. “It’s a time of great change and transition, and the idea that there is a home base to which they can return is a source of comfort for many of them.” Kraus recommends that parents give their adult children as much warning as possible when they decide they want to move. “Don’t surprise them by telling them, ‘Our house is on the market,’ when they come home for Thanksgiving break. If you set things in motion without letting them know first, many young people will feel betrayed and devastated, as if their feelings aren’t important or valued,” Kraus warns.
30 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
Instead, Kraus urges parents to keep their adult children as involved in the process as possible. If you have furniture, artwork, dishes or other housewares that you can’t take to your new home, sit down with your children and let them know what’s up for grabs. “Don’t offer a prized possession to one child without checking with the others first,” says Kraus. Be sure to keep everything above board, and nobody is likely to be hurt or resentful. And she suggests asking them to come see the new house with you. It sends a message that you want their input and care about their opinion. “While the ultimate decision to move is yours, and you shouldn’t give in to them, be willing to hear your child out and to empathize with the feelings of loss he or she may be experiencing.”
These negative feelings are likely to be more intense when a move occurs because of a divorce or other family crisis. “Unless it’s impossible for financial reasons,” Kraus advises, “do your best to create a space in your new home for your adult child to stay when he or she comes home to visit.” Like most young adults ultimately do, Joel quickly recovered from the shock of his parents’ move. “I reminded him that the next time he came home from school he would be 21,” Ilene remembers. “‘All the nightlife is just four blocks away. Your friends will come!’ Now that his friends have graduated and are working, they all live two blocks away from us.” Meanwhile, the Cohens, who recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary, are loving their urban lifestyle. “I often feel like I’m on vacation because we walk everywhere,” says Ilene. “There are days when I don’t need my car at all.” As for the Perlows, they love the ease of condo living. It’s a wonderful community, and we’ve met lots of nice people,” says Gary. “We like being able to walk to dinner and on the promenade by the harbor. It’s so convenient to so many areas.” B
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No Time To Stand On The
Getting involved in the Jewish community
he kids are all grown and the house is eerily quiet. With the nest empty, perhaps this is a time you have looked forward to for many years. With more time on your hands, you are looking for ways to fill it by re-engaging in your community in new ways. So now what?
Volunteering for Empty Nesters “I realized that this time gave me an opportunity to get to know myself again,” says Deana Gaister. “Instead of being someone’s mom or wife, it was time to do things for myself and explore new opportunities.” With her sons grown, Gaister, who had volunteered for a number of 34 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
organizations on her own, in addition to having a busy professional life for many years, was looking to connect
volunteer with other women in a similar phase of life. One of her sons suggested she join Chapter Two, a 10-month program of Associated Women. “Chapter Two
pulled me back into the Jewish community and opened my eyes to its great needs and the many ways The Associated is addressing them. It also surrounded me with like-minded women searching for purpose and meaning and a way to help others.” Standing on the sidelines of the community is just not an option for businessman David Kuntz. Involved over the years with the Jewish community, he says that there is too much critical work to be done not be involved. With a desire to be engaged in a more intimate way, Kuntz joined The Associated’s Solomon Society, a group of men 45 and older focused on gaining insight into issues impacting
“Star and People” ©iStockphoto.com/mathisworks
BY ELINOR SPOKES
learn Deana Gaister joined The Associated’s Chapter Two program where she met like-minded women searching for meaning and a way to help others.
Baltimore, Maryland, the United States and Israel from a Jewish perspective. “Being a part of this group has given me the opportunity to learn more about the community I live in and care deeply about, and surround myself with people who have a shared interest to challenge themselves and learn and grow.” Attorney Susan Flax Posner’s ties to Judaism evolved through her experience living on a kibbutz after college and through family observances and synagogue life. But it was her son’s participation in the Diller Teen Fellows Program which sparked her interest in becoming involved in the larger Jewish community. In 2009, with more time on her hands, she joined Chapter Two which exposed her to the myriad needs in the
community and the many opportunities to engage and contribute through its programs and powerful speakers. But it was the knowledge that she gained about the Israel and Overseas work of The Associated which compelled her to get more involved. “I was most impressed with what I learned about the work being done overseas and I wanted to be a part of the excellence,” she says. She became a member of the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership Committee and is its current co-chair. “My volunteer work has taught me compassion for others, that philanthropy can change lives. It made me a better person and I’ve made a lot of new friends. It has been a wonderful addition at this
stage in my life,” she adds. After many years in the business world, Susan Manekin stepped out of her professional life and into volunteering when she joined Chapter Two. Although she had been involved with a few Federation agencies and nonprofits, it was her participation in Chapter Two which spurred her passion for involvement in the Jewish community. “I found my calling and am so happy and fulfilled with the work that I do,” she reflects. “I feel it is so important to pay it forward, participate in Tikun Olam and set an example for my children, even though they are grown,” she adds. Since Chapter Two, Manekin has became involved with Jewish Volunteer Connection, co-chaired the Women’s Seder and joined the Jewish Women’s Giving Foundation. “These opportunities have drawn me back to my Jewish roots. I have made wonderful friends and I love giving back.”
Learning Opportunities Volunteer work is just one way to reengage.
“People who study together tend to develop real friendships. Jewish study brings meaning to one’s life — but also brings a sense of belonging that may not have been there before.” — ELLEN KAHAN ZAGER
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 35
Six Ways to Engage Chapter Two: Learn about The Associated and its agencies with other women, take part in experiential learning and hands-on social action. Jewish Volunteer Connection: JVC will help you find a volunteer opportunity to meet your passion. Bookworms: Love to read aloud to an energetic audience? Bookworms is a once a month volunteer reading program that occurs in Title I elementary schools.
Melton Adult Education: Explore the texts of our traditions and discover how they relate to us today. Sign up for The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning at the Macks Center for Jewish Education. Northwest Neighbors Connecting: Help our seniors live independently. Volunteer to drive them to appointments, help with computers or fixes around the house or just be a friend.
Susan Flax Posner
Baltimore also is teeming with educational opportunities to enhance your Jewish knowledge base and find community with other adult learners. Lisa Bodziner, director of educational engagement at the Macks Center for Jewish Education (CJE), suggests exploring their programs for grandparents who are looking for ways to engage with their grandchildren. “Increasingly, grandparents are providing childcare, and they are looking for things to do and ways to connect,” she says. Ranging from the Florence Melton School multi-year courses, to a class about the history of Jewish denominations, to a four-week course Edward A. Myerberg Center
36 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
called Modern Living: Maintaining Balance, CJE provides engagement for learners from all backgrounds. Of the Melton courses, Adam Kruger, director of educational initiatives at CJE notes, “classes become not only about learning but about creating community, which is a beautiful thing. The students are there for each other as learners but also become a support for each other when their world is changing.” “Jewish learning is very interactive, and just like Judaism itself, Jewish learning is a communal activity,” says Ellen Kahan Zager, past chair of the board of CJE. “It’s a known phenomenon that people who study together tend to develop real friendships. Jewish study brings meaning to one’s life — but also brings a sense of belonging that may not have been there before.” “To anyone looking to get involved,” says Kuntz, “I would say that community involvement is critical to the overall health of the community and that involvement on any level is good for not only the community but for them and their family, too.” B
Edward A. Myerberg Center: Want to learn how to paint? Or perhaps you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Jewish state? Or maybe just schmoozing with other men over a bagel and a speaker? The Myerberg Center offers everything from art classes and educational programs to social activities and trips.
Together H O L LY A N D J O E ’S ST O RY BY SIMONE ELLIN
Don’t believe in fairy tales? Then you probably haven’t
heard Holly Gainsboro and Joe Machicote’s story. It’s the tale of two people struck by unimaginable tragedy — losing beloved spouses at a much too early age — and a happy ending as they found love while blending together two families. Today, the couple and their four children live in Baltimore. Yet their story begins in Charlotte, N.C., where they both were members and involved in the same synagogue. Ten years ago, Joe and Holly were living a typical Jewish suburban life. Both were happily married (to Rona and Steven, respectively,) and both were parents of two children. Unfortunately, their happiness wouldn’t last long. First, Joe’s wife, Rona, was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome in 2007, a rare virus that attacks the peripheral nervous system. After spending a year in the hospital, she was discharged. During Rona’s illness, Holly kept tabs on the family and lent support to Joe. A friendship developed between the two. Holly’s husband, Steven, was diagnosed with a brain tumor on Feb. 12, 2009. After a valiant 22-month fight, he passed away on Dec. 11, 2010.
“Two months before Steven died, my rabbi called,” Holly says. “She told me that Rona had just been diagnosed with liver cancer. She asked me to call Joe to provide information about cancer treatment at Duke Medical Center, where Steven was receiving treatment. Of course I called Joe and we spoke on the phone for an hour or two. Being a caregiver is extremely isolating. No one focuses on the caregiver; everyone focuses on the patient. So it was helpful to him. On March 23, 2012, Rona died.” After Joe’s wife passed away, the friendship between him and Holly deepened. “The death of a spouse is something we shared that no one else could understand. Our relationship existed on a whole new level,” Joe recalls. “We took long walks and had great conversations,” Holly adds. “Meanwhile, a crazy thing was happening in our synagogue — all of these young people were dying. So, we
decided to start a group for young widows and widowers. I had this rule for the group. No dating was allowed among group members. It was only for friendship and support.” The two broke the group rule and began dating in March 2013 and became engaged in October 2013. “We were so blessed to have shared a friendship and know each other prior to deciding to date,” says Joe.” I never had to ask my kids ‘Could Holly be my best friend.’ She already was. The kids shared the same blessing — knowing each other while they were growing up. Most people don’t have that luxury.” “When we were first engaged, I asked Derek [Holly’s son] if he felt
Holly Gainsboro and Joe Machicote (front row) and blended family members, (left to right) Derek, Liana, Austin and Foster
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 37
LI FESTYLE From left: Derek and Liana Gainsboro, Joe Machicote, Holly Gainsboro, Foster and Austin Machicote at Holly and Joe’s wedding.
Tips on Successfully Blending Two Families Debra Waranch, LCSW-C, a clinical social worker at Jewish Community Services offers the following recommendations for parents trying to negotiate the transition from nuclear to blended family.
Move slowly When a parent finds a new love, he often expects others (including his children) to love the new partner, too. Don’t force it. Realize that it may take time — even years — before your child comes to love or even merely accept your new partner That’s OK. Your child doesn’t have to lover your partner, but she does have to behave respectfully.
Empathize with your child Recognize that children may feel hurt and confused by the intrusion of the new love, who takes so much of their parent’s attention. Perhaps they are still grieving a divorce or, far worse, the death of a parent. In addition, children may feel that by accepting the new partner, they are being disloyal to their other parent.
Be the adult in the room While you may not want to hear that your child is unhappy about your new relationship, encouraging them to share their feelings is part of being a responsible parent. So listen, listen, listen! And remember, your children are watching! When you’re in love, it can make you feel like a teenager again. Make sure the behavior you exhibit when your children are around is appropriately discreet and responsible.
Spend time with your children without the new partner Even if they’re teens or young adults, it’s important that your children get your undivided attention at least now and then. Let them know that your love for them is as strong as ever.
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OK about it,” Holly recalls. “Derek said, ‘Because it is Joe, yes.’ ” Holly was more than happy to honor her children’s one request: that she keeps their father’s last name. “I also sat down with Joe’s boys and told them, ‘I’m not here to be your mother,’” says Holly. “You had an incredible mother. Whatever you feel is OK. My goal is just to be here for you and to love you.” The couple waited seven months before moving in together in order to spare their kids the inconvenience of the move at a time when they were busy with schoolwork. They also took their children into account when it came to setting the wedding date. “We chose to get married during the summer to so that no one’s schedules would be compromised,” she says. “The kids were on board with whatever we wanted. Liana [Holly’s daughter] picked out my wedding dress and her maid of honor dress. The boys went shopping with Joe for new suits. It was all very lovely and easy.” Holly and Joe were married in July 2014. In fact, says Holly, the whole family was married that day. “We say we all married each other,” says Holly. “The kids were part of everything. Foster and Austin walked Joe down the aisle and Liana and Derek walked me down the aisle. In the ceremony, we incorporated our late spouses by lighting memorial candles
for them. Each child also lit candles.” Instead of leaving their children behind while they took their honeymoon, the Gainsboro and Machicote families took a “familymoon.” “It was all about bringing the six of us together,” Holly explains. In November 2014, Joe moved to Baltimore to start a new job. Holly stayed behind in North Carolina with Liana and Derek, until Liana completed her senior year in high school. Then she joined her new husband in their downtown Baltimore home. That home, she says, also includes mementos of their late spouses. “There’s room for Steven and Rona at the table. We talk about them, have pictures in the house and also have pictures of our new family. We even have a plaque that says, ‘A little piece of heaven is in our home.’ We want the kids to know that Steven and Rona are still part of our family,” says Holly. “Over time, we’ve gotten closer and closer. Sometimes Joe’s boys will come to me and Derek and Liana will go to Joe. Liana is the daughter that Joe never had.” In fact, she notes, all four children — three college students and one young professional — just spent a week “staycationing” with their parents in Charm City. “I truly believe that Steven picked Joe for my family. We are so blessed!” B
How to keep your body fit for a healthier life BY ROCHELLE EISENBERG
As adults enter their 50s and 60s, fitness needs begin to change. With metabolism slowing down and increased pain or injuries from long-term use, individuals need to rethink their fitness routines if they want to stay healthy longer. And staying fit over the long haul has long-term benefits, in particular, increasing the time one can live independently in oneâ€™s home.
J EWI S H BOOM E R â€˘ 39
Edward A. Meyerberg Fitness Center
The JCC and the Edward A. Myerberg Center offer fitness and health programs to help boomers live a healthier life. From exercise classes to personal trainers who understand their needs, they can help boomers reach their healthiest potential. In addition, they offer classes for those with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s, to help increase balance, flexibility and endurance.
Here are a few tips from the experts: INJURIES ACCORDING to Niki Barr, certified personal trainer at the Myerberg Center, certain injuries are more prevalent as one ages. She sees a lot of shoulder pain, often a result of years of slouching while sitting at a desk or computer. “Even when we drive,” she says, “we tend to sit forward instead of using our headrest. That increases our risk for shoulder and neck pain.” Over time, the upper back muscles become weakened, causing tension in the cervical spine and general postural weaknesses. A personal trainer can develop appropriate exercises to strengthen
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muscles. A few simple exercises that can be done at home include: • Scapular Retraction: Squeeze the shoulder blades together. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat. • Walk the Wall: Facing a wall, walk the finger tips slowly up the wall as far as you can go. Repeat 10 times on each arm. • Resisted External Rotation: Sit or stand with a resistance band in your hands. Keep elbows at sides, bent to 90 degrees, forearms forward. Pinch shoulder blades together and press forearms away from the body
(in a backhand motion), keeping elbows at your sides. Repeat 10 times. Hip Replacements, Knee Replacements and Other Surgeries If you’ve had a hip replacement or knee surgery, it’s important to tailor your routine to strengthen the parts of the body that are weak. Following a course of physical therapy, a personal trainer can help with strengthening those body parts, beginning with more simple exercises and moving to more advanced ones.
BALANCE ANOTHER CONCERN IS BALANCE. Often, legs become weaker and individuals begin to have trouble with basic daily tasks, like standing up from a chair. Their risk for falling is greatly increased at this point. It is critical to engage in weight-bearing exercises to build muscle in the legs. Ankle mobility is also a major part of balance and stability, so calf raises and calf stretches are important to include in your exercise routine. Fall prevention exercises will help individuals live longer, alone and unassisted. What to do to increase balance: • Squats w/ Dumbbells: With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet hip distance apart, weights at your side. Bend the knees and drop the hips back, as if about to sit in a chair. Try to maintain a straight spine, with your chest facing forward as you squat. Return to standing and repeat 10 times. • Box Stepping: Place a box/step in front of you and near a balance barre for safety. Step up and down on the box, leading with your right foot. Repeat 10 times and then repeat on your left foot. To advance this exercise, time yourself and try to beat your time. • Join a class that works on balance and core strength, such as tai chi, Otago, yoga or boxing
“NUTRITION is as important as exercise,” says Barr. “As we age, we become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, and that takes a toll on the body.” For example, vitamin D deficiency, common to many, increases as we get older. Not only is it a result of not getting enough sun or eating enough foods with vitamin D in them, such as greens, it could be a factor of thinning skin, which makes vitamin D harder to absorb. When you get older, you sometimes find that certain foods become harder to digest. “You may not be able to eat some things you used to enjoy because they don’t make you feel well. For example, you may not have celiac disease, but you may develop gluten sensitivity,” says Amy R. Schwartz, senior director, fitness & wellness, at the JCC. “Adding more natural items, like fruits and vegetables, may be easier to digest.” See your doctor regularly and meet with a registered dietitian, if needed, to ensure you are eating properly.
Can you stand up off the floor without using your hands? If you can, you are on the right track for flexibility and balance. If you need help with one hand or two to lift off the floor, you may want to work on your balance for long-term health.
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 41
WOMEN AND MEN As we enter our 50s and 60s, metabolism slows down, making it harder to lose weight. Women see an increase in mid-belly fat. Women and men often have different exercise needs at this point in their lives. Women need to think about adding more muscle to their bodies (which increases metabolism), while men should begin to add more cardio to their routines. Balance and flexibility training are really important as well. With reduced flexibility, people tend to lose their balance. Loss of balance can result in falls. It doesn’t require a lot of time — 10 minutes of daily stretching and five minutes of balance.
Women The higher the percentage of muscle, the higher one’s metabolism, explains Schwartz. Having more lean muscle means your body will burn more calories at rest. Having more muscle increases your basal metabolic rate, or BMR (that is, how many calories your body burns just to keep itself running). The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day.
On average, women tend to focus on cardio exercise in their younger years. As they get older, in addition to adding muscle, they need to think about their bones, modifying their exercise routine to include more strength training. That goes for women of all shapes and sizes. “Have you ever head of the skinny, but fat syndrome?” Schwartz asks. “Women who have low, normal BMIs (body mass indexes), but no muscle tone. As they lose estrogen and progesterone, they become thicker around the middle.”
To counteract that try squats and lunges, which work on the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, and lifting weights to build the biceps, triceps and shoulders. In addition, weight training, lifting dumbbells or using weight machines help. When looking for classes to join, BODYVIVE, BodyPump and Barre are excellent ways to build strength.
Men When they are younger, men’s fitness routines typically focus more on strength training. As they age, they need to add cardio to their routine. “Luckily for them, when men add just a little cardio, they tend to lose weight fast,” says Schwartz.
JCC and LIFEBRIDGE IN THE SPRING OF 2015 the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore and LifeBridge Health entered into a new partnership designed to provide community members with wellness support and physical therapy services, conveniently located at the JCC. LifeBridge Health and the JCC see this partnership as a way to offer new opportunities to focus on living healthy lifestyles by participating in programs that emphasize fit bodies and minds. B
Owings Mills JCC
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For information on health and fitness events at the JCC, go to jcc.org/fitness-wellness-sports
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J EWI S H BOOM E R • 43
USE IT OR
Staying engaged as you age proves beneficial for cognitive health BY MELISSA GERR
BRAIN GAMES such as Lumosity, CogniFit and Fit Brains are engaging, stimulating and pass the time, but when it comes to some of the associated cognitive health claims, such as staving off the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease or aging-related dementia, that’s when the scoreboard doesn’t quite add up. “What we consistently have found that appears to be [cognitively] beneficial are exercise, social support and continuing social interactions like volunteering,” says Jessica McWhorter, Ph.D., a rehabilitation neuropsychologist at LifeBridge Health’s Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain and Spine Institute. “Things we don’t have evidence for are things like brain games and brain computer training, but it’s not going to hurt you,” she added. “Given the research, [playing computer brain games] means you can get better at a specific task, but doesn’t necessarily apply to the real world. However, we are learning more each day, and we may come to find that some of these brain games have some utility.” Given a choice between attending a local community center class and sitting hunched over a computer or smart phone tapping keys or a screen,
44 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
McWhorter implores, “Go to the class.” Whether it’s learning a new instrument, a new dance step or playing new games, “If you’re using your brain in new ways it’s a beneficial thing,” she says. “Even going out with people and having conversations helps. Use it or lose it — it’s kind of true.” Bev Rosen, 66, a member of the Edward A. Myerberg Center, subscribes to that philosophy. “I give a lot of thought to how to stimulate my brain and engage in creative problem solving. And I look for activities that help do that. It’s a conscious thing to stay engaged, to stay sharp. I don’t sit still.” Rosen certainly doesn’t. She participates in the Broadway Dance class at the Myerberg and attends the History of Comics course. In her semi-retirement from work as a licensed clinician, certified executive coach and owner of Work Wonders, which specializes in workplace training, she also studies French, participates in two book clubs, a drama club and plays tennis. She volunteers as a docent at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, as a walking tour leader for Baltimore Heritage and organizes events for Senior Box
Office through the Baltimore County Department of Aging, which range from behind the scenes tours of Maryland Public Television and Wockenfuss Candies to naturalistled hikes. “I think the reality is that with our careers, we [had] structures which provided opportunities to stay Bev Rosen practicing her routine from the Broadway Dance class at the Myerberg.
Jane Siegel volunteers at Bookworms, where she reads to elementary-age students. Volunteering has been known to be cognitively beneficial.
sharp, and now we’re finishing those chapters,” Rosen says, “so it’s up to us to find [other] things because it’s not being handed to you. And give yourself permission to change, and to have the guts to try something you haven’t done. And if you don’t like it, it’s ok, move on and try something else.” That seems to illustrate Myerberg member Vicki Coronel’s approach, too. At age 61, she’s dedicated to her weight and circuit training but also experiments with Zumba, Nia, ballet, yoga and tai chi. “It takes a lot of coordination, otherwise I would trip over myself. I can’t let my mind wander. I have to be really focused on what I’m doing,” Coronel, who retired first from information technology then spent 11 years as an English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher, says of the classes. She appreciates the physicality but “I like the brain thinking part of it as well. Following the teacher makes me coordinated, and emotionally, I feel really good after I do anything.”
depression and depression is associated with cognitive functioning, so if someone is depressed, if they exercise, then their cognition can improve. It’s shocking to people how much depression can impact cognition.” McWhorter adds it’s not uncommon
“We don’t have evidence for brain games ... what we consistently have found that appears to be [cognitively] beneficial are exercise, social support and continuing social interactions like volunteering.” — JESSICA MCWHORTER, PHD REHABILITATION NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST, LIFEBRIDGE HEALTH’S SANDRA AND MALCOLM BERMAN BRAIN AND SPINE INSTITUTE
“Because I feel better and I’m less stressed then it’s easier to grasp things,” she says. “It’s like your brain is more open. I’m not worried; my brain isn’t occupied by stressful things.” McWhorter says that Coronel’s experience has clinical proof. “First, exercise has been shown to help improve attention. Second, exercise is a very good treatment for
to misdiagnose the two. “The other thought is that [physical and mental engagement] can help with fatigue, so [a person] might be able to remember more or think more clearly” when not feeling so tired. McWhorter laments the fact that many people “are looking for the fastest, shiniest and most exciting way to combat aging and cognitive changes.
What I try to teach my patients is it’s important to take a step back, and sometimes the most basic of things are the most powerful,” she says, such as a commitment to eating balanced meals, exercise and managing stress. “They’re not as exciting and shiny and they don’t make big claims in commercials, but they work and we have the research to back it up.” Longtime co-chair of Bookworms through the Jewish Volunteer Connection, canasta enthusiast and devoted grandmother Jane Siegel says she doesn’t necessarily consider her volunteering and social activities from a health standpoint, but she’s aware of research claims that they can help prevent cognitive loss. “Does this help keep you sharp? I’m only 59,” Siegel says, “but it’s all a natural progression of aging and menopause. Things slow down. I don’t know how sharp it keeps me but it can’t hurt!” B
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 45
Retirement MYTHBUSTERS Yes, you can have enough money, find meaning and help others
BY ELIZABETH SCHUMAN
46 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
From paper routes and babysitting to corporate titles and entrepreneurship, you’ve covered work territory while earning a paycheck. Although your teenaged self could not have imagined your career journey, your adult self needs to plan your retirement path. “A retirement plan must be strategic, mindful and intentional. What does retirement look like to you?” says Ricka E. Neuman, CPA, principal, PBMares, LLP. While financial security is a given, having a clear picture of what you want to do next is equally important. There is no one answer for everyone. “When people work on retirement plans, it’s not about preparing to retire,” says Michael I. Friedman, J.D., CAP®, senior vice president of philanthropic planning and services, The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. “It’s about preparing for a life in retirement.” The best time to map your tomorrow? Yesterday.
enough to meet any employer match and go beyond to achieve at least 10 percent in pre-tax savings. While pensions and Social Security serve as a financial cushion, don’t count on one revenue stream, he adds. Be realistic: Most people spend more in retirement than they imagine, whether for increased leisure activities or declining health, says Neuman. “Allow your tax-free savings to build-up as long as possible. Be strategic about taking Social Security. Be mindful about taking your required minimum distribution at 70½ for your qualified retirement plan.” Ready for risk? Before retiring, you need to understand your existing assets and liabilities. You also need to know
your risk tolerance, says Zolet. “How much volatility can you handle? Stocks go up and down in value, but there is more opportunity for growth.” Conversely, fixed-income tools such as bonds or CDs have less risk but also less growth potential. At every age, saving something — even banking the cost of a latte each day — will help in the long run. “You cannot sacrifice your retirement for other needs,” says Zolet.
Plan Your Legacy
You’ve worked a lifetime and want to leave a legacy to your children and causes you support. Just as you planned your career, you can plan your philanthropic legacy by answering key questions and using the right tools, points out Philip “Pete” Sachs, partner, senior client advisor, senior strategist, WMS Partners. “In addition to the financial aspects, think about what you want to give away, your anticipated tax burden and what you would like to bequeath to Morry A. Zolet CFP®
Shore Up Your Bank Account
Boomer, take your head out of the sand. Imagine living to age 100 and plan from there. Consider living expenses, health care, insurance and a retirement lifestyle. Then ask: Will my money last? Here’s how to answer the question. Start early; contribute often. Thanks to the power of compound interest, dollars add up. “I tell my clients to contribute a minimum of 10 percent of their pre-tax income each year,” says Morry A. Zolet, CFP®, senior vice president, the Zolet Lenet Group at Morgan Stanley. “You cannot afford not to contribute. Pre-tax contributions reduce your taxes and allow you to save.” Vehicles such as a 401(k), 403(b), IRA or Roth IRA are relatively simple. Zolet urges employees to contribute
J EWI S H BOOM E R • 47
Ricka E. Neuman, CPA, principal, PBMares, LLP
your children and to causes you supported all your life,” says Sachs. This is the time to consider:
• What causes or issues matter most to you
• How you want to be remembered • How to involve your family in charitable giving
Working closely with a financial advisor, you can create a legacy to reflect your values and take into account your means and abilities.
their children or grandchildren the value of giving by encouraging the succeeding generations to recommend grants — even small grants as little as $100 — to help their children or grandchildren get in the habit of giving,” says Neuman. Another approach is look first to your IRA or 401(k) for charitable gifting. You can name a charity as the beneficiary of a retirement plan, eliminating both income taxes and estate taxes on your heirs who would
Add Meaning to the Next Chapter
Dollars aren’t the only driver in retirement. Consider how you will fill days no longer packed with projects, meetings and to-do lists. “What are your interests? How you can use your current skills or develop new ones?” says Sachs. “Look at a cause that means something to you and personalize it.” Become open to new directions — teach the next generation, take courses in subjects you know little about, find new hobbies and become involved in new volunteer activities. These advisors agree while it takes time to create the next chapter in your life, the right plan blends financial health, philanthropy and meaning. “More than anything, people seek meaning in their lives during retirement,” says Friedman. “They seek time for family, to pass on values; time for travel, to broaden horizons; and the opportunity to engage with their time and financial resources to give back and make a difference in their world.” B
“Donor-advised Funds help teach children and grandchildren the value of giving.” — RICKA E. NEUMAN
Diverse planned giving approaches allow you to give to charity, while benefiting from tax savings and an income stream. If selling your business or property is in your future, you may opt to pre-fund a donor-advised fund and receive a tax deduction, even if grants aren’t made out of the fund for months or even years later. The benefit is twofold. “Many donors love using donoradvised funds to help teach
48 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
inherit the IRA or 401(k). If you are older than 70½ years old, you and your spouse can each give up to $100,000 a year directly to charity from your respective individual IRA. This can substantially reduce your taxable income, creating a substantial legacy during your lifetime. Depending on your situation, there are various planned giving approaches. For guidance, turn to your financial advisor.
Philip “Pete” Sachs, partner, senior client advisor, senior strategist, WMS Partners
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J EWI S H BOOM E R • 49
A Parent’s Perspective: The Empty Nest CONVERSATION WITH MIRIAM JACOBSON BY AMANDA NOLAN
It all happened so fast — your kids graduated from high school and went off to college. They packed up their bags and moved — perhaps minutes, or maybe hours, away. And when you got home, the house suddenly seemed … emptier than usual. We sat down with one mom, Miriam Jacobson, and chatted about her experience as an empty nester:
What was week one as an Empty Nester like? I actually had
a “New Chapter: Empty Nest” party for about 25 of my mom friends after college drop-off. We had supported 50 • J EWI S H BOOM E R
each other through so much and it seemed appropriate to celebrate and share this new stage of our lives, too! … The most moving and meaningful part of the party for me was when we each went around the room and spoke about our hopes and fears and surprises.
What surprised you about becoming an empty nester? I knew I would miss my daughter and knowing the details of her everyday life (where she was throughout the day and who she was with, what she ate for breakfast, what she wore to school, her mood after school, when she went to sleep, etc., but, the most surprising part of being an empty nester was
how much I also missed my daughter’s friends and their comings and goings.
How has your relationship with your daughter changed post-college? We have
grown much closer and I am kvelling over who she is and all that she has accomplished.
Any advice for parents about to be empty nesters? The job
of parenting is never over, but it does change! B
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