Jewish seniors who live on Seattle’s north end have literally stepped outside of the box to solve the problem of lack of space at the Jewish Community Center’s north end branch.
Years ago, when they couldn’t find room at the small center, which uses its small space to focus largely on programs for children, the north end seniors worked with the JCC staff to build a Senior Center Without Walls.
Rich and varied programs give members a chance to share their talents, join in activities, or just enjoy each other. Some programs, such as the well-attended Current Events monthly discussion group led by George Levy, are held in a rented space, such as Congregation Beth Shalom. Twice a month schmoozes are held in members’ homes. There the agenda is noshing, courtesy of the hosts, and discussions. Wintertime lunches and summertime dinners in local restaurants are another regular feature of the center.
There are outdoor activities for people with different physical abilities. Recent excursions included Point Defiance in Tacoma, the Mercer Slough, and the Langus River Park Wildlife Refuge. The wildlife park visit was led by our member Stan Briller, an avid “birder.” Other trips go to art galleries, musical and theatrical events, including two visits to the Olympic Music Festival and walking tours of the city. Stan Briller’s presentations of his research on Jewish aspects of Leonard Bernstein’s music was another highlight.
Allan Michaels, one of the original lay leaders of the Center Without Walls said, “The result of what we do is we bond. We see each other and do all kinds of things together. We care for and support each other. That gets more and more important as we grow older. Sometimes I think I’ve made closer friends here than at any time in my life.”
Ulla Rychter, another long-time member added, “It always amazes me how quickly newcomers become friends in an atmosphere where people are open, warm and gracious and where multiple interests are served.” A key point noted by singles is that they and couples feel equally part of the group.
The group is always looking for interesting activities to pursue. The activities are listed in the JCC’s bi-month calendar, “Prime Time Press.” Members also contact each other via a phone tree and e-mail. New members are welcome. For more information, contact Cherie Eisner at 206-526 8073 or Patti Fell at 206-232 7115.