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The Role of Stories

The Role of Stories

with Shanie Levin and Al Stein

The First Empowerment session of the 2018-19 year on the theme of “Renewing and Reinventing Yourself as an Older Adult” was held on Friday, November 30th. It was cosponsored by the Jewish Seniors Alliance and the Sholom Aleichem Seniors of the Vancouver Peretz Centre. Thirty-five ‘older adults’ gathered to listen to stories on the “Reinventing Yourself” theme, read by Shanie Levin and Al Stein.  

The session was introduced by Gyda Chud, she is both vice-president of Jewish Seniors Alliance and Coordinator of Sholom Aleichem seniors. Gyda spoke about the goals of JSA in advocacy, education, information and peer support services. She emphasized the aim of our motto “Seniors Stronger Together.” She then introduced the readers.  

Shanie began by explaining that it had not been easy to find the appropriate stories that would correspond to the theme in the translations of Yiddish stories. Searching further afield, they found stories in English by Jewish writers. Al Stein began with a short parable from Roman times about a one hundred year old man who was still planting trees. Shanie continued with a story by Grace Paley called “Goodbye and Good Luck.” This is a very New York story set in the 1930’s. An older woman describes her colourful life to her niece. Al continued with a story by a Canadian Jewish writer, Jack Ludwick, about an older woman who is constantly drawn back to the area of Montreal where she grew up and spent her early married years.


The session closed with Shanie reading a short section of Sholom Aleichem from “Menachem Mendel.” A discussion about the pleasure and the purpose of passing on stories to the next generation followed. Gyda thanked everyone and invited all to tea, coffee and cookies in the lounge. 

The second session in the Empowerment series will be the film “A Song for Marion (Unfinished Song)” to be held at the Jewish Community Centre with the JCC seniors at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16th. For more information contact the JSA office at 604-732-1555 or Lisa Quay Cohen at the JCC seniors at 604-257-5111.

The Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture sponsors a program “Exploring Jewish Authors” in English, on the 2nd and 4th Saturday mornings of each month, as well as reading Yiddish authors in Yiddish on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 11:00 a.m.  For more information contact the Peretz Centre office at 604-325-1812.

Written by Shanie Levin




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