Fair will offer local resources for aging well

Rabbi William Cutter
Rabbi William Cutter

An information fair for Jewish seniors, families and friends will be held Sunday, April 3, 1-5 p.m. at Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging.

The fair will cover topics from health and wellness to financial and legal matters, says Rabbi Sandy Seltzer, chair of the Senior Task Force, which is presenting the fair in conjunction with SelectCare Managers, a service of Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona.

Seltzer notes that the Senior Task Force, established following the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s population survey in 2002, was organized to meet the needs of older men and women who are active and searching for meaningful activities as well as those who may need a range of assistance.

Rabbi William Cutter, Ph.D., will give the keynote talk, “The Obligations of Aging: The Demands and Expectations of Jewish Tradition As One Grows Older.”

“In Jewish tradition, our obligations for observance — whatever they are, not everybody is observant by any means — but conceptually, we don’t lose our obligations as we get older,” explains Cutter, who is the Steinberg Emeritus Professor of Human Relations at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. Recognizing the obligation “to serve my community, to contribute my intelligence, take an active part in things” can be the best antidote to American society’s tendency to look down on elderly people, as well as the habit of some among the elderly “to view society as owing us something.”

Acknowledging that we do slow down as we age, we do go to the doctor more often, Cutter says there can be elements that compensate — a spiritual dimension, the ability to be more reflective. Sometimes backing off a bit can lead to more joy, he suggests, than the frantic pace most people keep up in the decades between age 30 and 60.

Cutter “also has the ability to apply examples from Jewish poetry,” adds Seltzer, a longtime friend and colleague.

Cutter calls this “therapoetics” and says his selections April 3 will include works by Israeli poets. “I think the poems will be the most helpful part of the talk. They’ll set the tone.”

Two concurrent breakout sessions will follow Cutter’s talk.

“Aging Well: Health and Wellness,” moderated by Pattie Martin, JFCS vice president of community services, will feature Sharon M. Arkin, Ph.D., creator of the Elder Rehab program; Jacque Kaplan, MSW, LCSW, a clinical therapist; Mary T. Maher, MS, ACSM, CPT, a BEST Protocol for Osteoporosis instructor; and Therese M. Velde, Ph.D., an audiologist with Premier Hearing Center.

“Jewish Tucson and Our Seniors: A Perfect Fit,” moderated by Rabbi Helen Cohn, will include Pamela Heiman Dubin, M.D., geriatric care manager at SelectCare Managers; Irene Lloyd, program manager of Jewish Elder Access, a JFCS program; and Ori Parnaby, the Jewish Tucson concierge.

After a break to visit exhibitor booths and enjoy refreshments, the breakout sessions will include another opportunity to attend “Jewish Tucson and Our Seniors: A Perfect Fit,” plus “Aging Well: Financial & Legal Matters” with Paul Bartlett, PC, an elder law attorney; Laurence E. Goldstein, a financial advisor with NOVA Financial & Insurance Services; and Michael Levy, senior financial advisor and senior vice president for wealth management at Merrill Lynch.

Handmaker is located at 2221 N. Rosemont Blvd. Free valet parking will be provided.

To register, call 577-9393, ext. 119, or register online at jewishtucson.org.