Jewish Elders—Not Expendable

I recently attended the Jewish Elders’ Workshop led by Cherie Brown and Pam Geyer [see article on page 53]. It was transformative for me.

Cherie pointed out that the oppression of Jews and the oppression of elders have devastating messages in common: “You are expendable.” “You are no longer valued or wanted.” “If you are lucky, and careful to not be too big, you may be tolerated.” “You are the problem. We, in fact the world, would be better off [in a better state] if we were free of you.”

We got a glimpse of how much we have internalized the oppression. We were asked to look around the room and notice our feelings as we looked at each other. Many of us struggled to want to spend the weekend together. On the last morning we were asked to look around again. After a weekend of discharge, everyone had become so much more attractive and interesting.

Cherie stressed that ours is a liberation movement that must be grounded in love, honesty, and no one being expendable. Pam reminded us to bring issues of health and aging to our sessions and to work on them persistently.

Many of us who are white Ashkenazi Jews feel that our survival depends on thinking and communicating very fast, and we are terrified that aging might affect how quickly and accurately we can think and communicate. One of my highlights was watching Cherie and Pam value everyone and make the conditions right for each of us to bring forth ourselves and our thinking.

I think we are on the brink of turning an important corner in battling the oppression of elders in RC.

Eileen Nemzer

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion listfor leaders of Jews

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00