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aging jewishly cover

Aging Jewishly

What our traditions tell us about growing old

In 2009 I began a Jewish journey that led me to not only serve as rabbi to men and women in a Jewish retirement community but to live among the residents as well.  I viewed my apartment in the Independent Living wing of the Aviva Campus as a stroke of convenience – not having to drive to work or even cook dinner – as my job description included eating my evening meal alongside residents in the community dining room.

What I didn’t understand at first, but what I came to cherish as the greatest benefit of all, was the opportunity to live among the residents, to share in their daily joys, sorrows, ups and downs.

With my residents I rode the bus to local events, danced at the New Year’s Eve gathering and met their friends and families in our beautiful common area, “The Rotunda.”  As their rabbi, I adapted Jewish rituals, synagogue services, festivals and holidays to meet the needs of our most fragile. As their spiritual guide I visited them in the hospital and held their hands as they passed to “Olam HaBa” the world to come.

From all of these experiences – punctuated with sadness and joy, “tusris” and “simcha,” irony, sarcasm and great good humor, my new book, “Aging Jewishly” was born.

The selections were chosen from among my guest columns for the Sarasota/Manatee (Florida) Jewish News and although many offer a uniquely Jewish perspective, the selections are designed to appeal to readers of all faiths. “Aging Jewishly” offers a unique feature. For group discussions led by Activity and Program staff within retirement communities, “Aging Jewishly” offers audiences an opportunity to learn more about issues surrounding aging from the perspective of those who are living it.

Order your copy from Amazon, and share it not only with your elderly friends and relatives but with adult children of aging parents. The discussion questions that follow each selection of  “Aging Jewishly” will help family members open a conversation about difficult topics and allow seniors to express their opinions as well. Robert W, son of parents in their nineties puts it well when he says, “Aging Jewishly helped us all open up about what growing older means to our families. Many thanks for such a useful book.”

The Cat That Ate The Cannoli
Tales Of The Hidden Jews Of Southern Italy
The first in a series of Rabbi Barbara Aiello Books, a tabby cat, an Italian confection, and a young girl on the threshold of adulthood… A family gathers atop a mountain in Calabria, Italy where hidden Jews have practiced in secret for 500 years. As a rabbi unrolls a Torah scroll, inscribed in Hebrew in 1783, the ancient words illuminate the restored sanctuary, once a hidden prayer room, now brought to life in worship and song. The Italian-American rabbi is determined to uncover the Jewish roots buried in these hills, lost through centuries of persecution and obscured by decades of misunderstanding. Faced with more questions than answers, the tenacious rabbi overcomes the obstacles thrown her way by traditional colleagues to uncover the Jewish heritage that many believe had been lost forever.
When was the last time you had the author of the book your Book Club was reading meet with your club? After having your club select, “The Cat That Ate the Cannoli: Tales of the Hidden Jews of Southern Italy”, your club can have Rabbi Barbara discuss the book with them.
Simply email Rabbi Barbara by clicking here and find out about fees and Rabbi’s availability!
Rabbi’s Recommendations
Passover: Festival Of Freedom (Hardcover)
“I am honored and delighted to have been a part of this wonderful book that features our uniquely Italian Passover traditions – including the secret “Seder Hamishi” that originated in Inquisition times. In Sicily and Calabria Christian families invited their Jewish neighbors to come to their homes to secretly hold a Passover seder.” ~Rabbi Barbara Aiello

During Passover, Jews are reminded of how, more than three thousand years ago, their ancestors emerged from slavery to become free men and women. Bestselling author Monique Polak explores her own Jewish roots as she tells the Passover story, which reminds us that the freedom to be who we are and practice our religion, whatever it may be, is a great gift. It also teaches us that if we summon our courage and look out for each other, we can endure and overcome the most challenging circumstances. Enlivened by personal stories, Passover reminds us that we can all endure and overcome the most challenging circumstances.

52 Things To See & Do In Calabria
From its gorgeous coastline, national parks, and fabulous festivals to its ancient ruins, cobblestone streets, and renowned cuisine, Calabria has got something for everyone.

Michelle Fabio, author of the popular Bleeding Espresso blog, is the perfect virtual tour guide to help you make your way around the toe of the boot. Michelle has lived in Calabria for more than a decade and these are her picks for how you should spend your time there.

Whether you’re planning a trip or are a descendant of Calabria who wants to learn more about this ancient, beautiful land and all it offers, this book–the only Calabria travel guide written by a local in English–is for you.

Too Good To Passover:

Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus And Memories From Africa, Asia And Europe
Kudos to author Jennifer Abadi for a masterful work that combines kitchen and culture – passover recipes, stories and delightful traditions from around the world. Our Calabrian Jewish traditions are featured in the section on Italy. It is an honor for me to be a part of this “libro fabuloso.”