Local | Senior Lifestyle

Tucson J’s program variety is boon for seniors

‘Chair Yoga’ is an ongoing class at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. (Courtesy Tucson Jewish Community Center)

From “Painting the World Jewish” to “Senior Shimmy Belly Dancing” to kosher cooking, the Tucson Jewish Community Center’s Arts & Culture, Fitness & Wellness, and Jewish Life & Learning departments will offer a wide array of programs for seniors this fall.

The Tucson J will partner with Ballet Tucson to host two performances in the J ‘s Sculpture Garden: “Putting Your Best Foot Forward,” where participants and dancers alike will create their own “art that moves” on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m., and “Sole Impressions: New Works by Ballet Tucson” on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m.  Ballet Tucson faculty also will teach “Senior Swans,” a new ballet class geared for seniors, Thursdays at 10 a.m. beginning Aug. 17.

Local musician Robin Bessier will perform “The Jewish-Jazz Connection and the Great American Songbook” on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 6:30pm. The Celebration of Heritage Concert Series will highlight the music of siblings Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m., a celebration of America’s history through original compositions by Richard Fuchs on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., and Italian operatic melodies on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

Along with “Painting the World Jewish: Basic Watercolor Techniques” (Sept. 11-Oct. 2), studio art classes will include “Anyone Can Draw & Paint” (Aug. 29- Dec. 29) and “Chinese Calligraphy” (Sept. 12-Oct.  17), part of an ongoing partnership with the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center.

The Chinese Cultural Center also will present “Introduction to Mandarin” (Sept. 12-Oct. 17) and the J will partner with the Alliance Française de Tucson to offer “Beginner French” (Oct. 17-Nov. 21). The J’s Spanish language program continues to grow and will include a literature class (Sept. 20- Oct. 25) focusing on Luis Lopez Nieves’s “The Silence of Galileo.” “Beginner Hebrew” (Oct. 19-Nov. 30) will be offered in addition to “Intermediate Hebrew” (Oct. 18-Nov. 29) and “Advanced Hebrew” (Oct. 19-Nov. 30), and the Yiddish group will continue to meet on the second Wednesday of the month.

Adult classes focusing on culture, finance, and history will include “Geniuses of Russian Literature: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov” (Oct. 9-30); “Writing Family History” (Oct. 10-31); “Introduction to Food Writing” (Nov. 1-22); “The Communist Utopia and Its Jewish Victims” (Nov. 8-Nov. 29); “Tax Efficient Retirement” (Nov. 9); “Journey Through World Music” (Nov. 10-Dec. 8);  and “Musical E-Motion” (Nov. 27-Dec. 18 ).

The J is partnering with Pima Community College to offer new courses this fall. Highlights include “Coiled Basket Weaving” (Sept. 18 and 27); “Poker Strategy” (Oct. 3-Nov. 7); “Makeup for Boomer Women” (Nov. 3); “Introduction to Floral Design Techniques” (Nov. 7-Nov. 14); and “Introduction to First Aid” (Nov. 12). 

The Fitness & Wellness department is continuing several popular programs designed to get seniors up and moving and having fun.

“PWR!™” is a comprehensive neuroplasticity-principled program that integrates the latest research on Parkinson’s disease and rehabilitation, exercise, and wellness. Certified PWR! trainer Mary Byrnes will present free meet and greet sessions on  Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. and Aug. 25 at 11 a.m.

The next session of the “BEST Protocol for Osteoporosis” begins Oct. 4 and runs through Dec. 20, with three sessions a week.

“Elder Rehab” starts a new semester on Sept. 18. This program partners a senior, memory-impaired participant with a University of Arizona volunteer who supervises them, one-on-one, in physical fitness workouts and engages them in memory and language stimulation.  Applicants must be screened prior to registering. For an application, call Sharon Arkin, Ph.D. at 603-2912.

New classes  will include “Senior Shimmy Belly Dancing,” held on Mondays at 11:30 a.m. (Aug. 7-28, Sept. 11-Oct. 2, Oct. 9-30 and Nov. 6-27); “Yoga for a Healthy and Happy Back” on Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m., Sept. 13-Oct. 18; and “Get the Most Out of Your Knee and Hip,” Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 25-Nov. 15 (if students have had a total knee or hip replacement, they must be at least four months post-surgery).

The J has partnered with Banner University Medical Center for a free, three-part “Senior Stand Tall” program, Oct. 10, 17 and 24 at 10 a.m. Registration is required; contact Susan Kinkade at 694-4713.

A “Healthy Back” program with Colin Easom, certified orthopedic exercise specialist, will be held on Thursdays at 6 p.m.; and “Getting Ahead of Menopause,” which will include 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise and 30 minutes of interval training, will be held Tuesdsays and Thursdays at noon. These are continuous four-week classes; check tucsonjcc.org or call 299-3000 for start dates.

Jewish Life & Learning will present a family cooking class in the demonstration kitchen on Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. The class will bring kids and grandparents together to celebrate International Grandparents’ Day and to prepare for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, by learning new dishes that are kosher and vegetarian.

Senior Shabbat Luncheons will be held on the third Friday of each month from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. (Sept.15, Oct. 20, Nov. 17, and Dec. 15.) The luncheons will begin with Shabbat music and blessings with children in the J’s Early Childhood Education Center. Participants will then enjoy lunch and a featured program with eighth-grade students from Tucson Hebrew Academy. On Oct. 20, Tucson writer Lynn Saul will lead a writing program focused on how to tell one’s story. On Nov. 17, the Senior Shabbat Luncheon will host Evan Schreiber, news anchor from Tucson News Now on KOLD Channel 13. Advanced registration is required for the programs.

For more information or to suggest new programs, contact Barbara Fenig, director of Arts & Culture, at 299-3000, ext. 236 or bfenig@tucsonjcc.org; Amy Dowe, director of Fitness & Wellness at 299-3000, ext. 251 or adowe@tucsonjcc.org; or Jennifer Selco, director of Jewish Life & Learning, at 299-3000, ext. 106 or jselco@tucsonjcc.org. To register for fitness classes, call the Sports and Wellness desk at 299-3000, ext. 118.