Comedian George Burns, said, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”

In 2014, Jewish Family Services (JFS) started a new program, L’Chaim, a now annual event that highlights different ways that we can each remain vibrant, active and engaged as we age. When L’Chaim was first conceived, Helene Gordon was the JFS [Advisory] Board Chair. She explained that JFS had been delivering holiday bags to isolated seniors for some time, but wanted to engage with different demographics – empty nesters, those who were newly retired, and active seniors. And what do these three populations have in common? The answer is spare time.

Since its inception, L’Chaim has worked toward answering the question, “What can we do with our spare time to remain young, independent, and young at heart?” For the most part, JFS has explored the answer to this question through culture and the arts.

So what topics have past L’Chaim programs addressed?

2014 L’Chaim to Life!: Reinventing Ourselves through Enrichment, Engagement, and Education expanded our horizons. With twenty vendors and a lineup of exciting speakers, including Dayton Daily News columnist Meredith Moss, community members found information on volunteering and learning opportunities across the Miami Valley.

L’Chaim 2015: The Arts Come Alive in Dayton highlighted the importance of culture and the arts as a way to remain active and engage with the community. Participants enjoyed interacting with representatives from cultural and art organizations such as Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, Dayton Metro Libraries, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, Dayton Visual Arts Center, Human Race Theatre, K12 & TEJAS Gallery, Muse Machine, The Neon, Sinclair College Theatre, University of Dayton Theatre Department, We Care Arts, Zoot Puppets, and more! Afterwards, Eddie Shapiro, author of Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations with the Great Women of Musical Theater, spoke about his fascinating encounters with the women of Broadway.

We stress that it is not just for the aging population. It is for the 50 and over age group. It is for those who are younger and who are caregivers…there is something for everyone.

~ Helene Gordon
Previous JFS Advisory Board Chair

We stress that it is not just for the aging population. It is for the 50 and over age group. It is for those who are younger and who are caregivers…there is something for everyone.

~ Helene Gordon
Previous JFS Advisory Board Chair

We stress that it is not just for the aging population. It is for the 50 and over age group. It is for those who are younger and who are caregivers…there is something for everyone.

~ Helene Gordon
Previous JFS Advisory Board Chair

L’Chaim 2016: Companionship is Ageless emphasized the importance of companionship and its impact on our health. At The Neon, we viewed Steve Loring’s documentary The Age of Love about individuals seventy and older seeking companionship. Following the film, JFS held a panel conversation about dating, relationships, intimacy, and online fraud (related to online dating sites).

L’Chaim 2017: Schtick Happens focused on the importance of humor on our emotional and physical well-being. As the cliché goes, laughter is the best medicine! Together, we enjoyed improv exercises with Karen Jaffe followed by skits performed by Dayton’s own senior theater troupe, The Young at Heart Players.

L’Chaim 2018: Our Brains Come Alive with the Sound of Music explored the impact of music on our brains, emotions, and overall health. Music therapist Debbie Benkovitz Williams provided interesting insights. The Kleptz YMCA’s own Senior Showcase Dancers performed its award-winning line-dance routine. Participants had the opportunity to get moving and learn a line dance!

What does JFS have planned for L’Chaim 2019? Mark your calendars for September 16, at 1:30 PM and plan to join us at the Dayton Metro Library. Watch the Jewish Dayton Magazine, the Dayton Jewish Observer, JFS Facebook page, and the mail for more information. L’Chaim!

For more information on JFS programs, please contact Tara Feiner, JFS Director at (937) 401-1546  or tfeiner@jfgd.net.

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