Retirement in Style

by | Feb 18, 2019 | Uncategorized

Ever wonder why Tidewater and the Jewish community have so many active retirees and busy seniors? We all know that our weather is mild (everything is relative, I know, as I’m always checking temps in Boston, DC, and points south), getting from place to place is easy, we’ve got all that water for recreation and beaches for tranquil walks, the museums boast first class art, and on and on.

In fact, last year, WalletHub ranked Virginia the fifth best place to retire in the nation. Florida was number one. Our closest neighbors, Maryland and North Carolina, were ranked 38 and 28, respectfully. Rankings were based on scores for affordability (18), quality of life (9), and healthcare (21).

But for Jewish retirement-aged adults, it’s also about the countless activities that take place nearly every single day, such as intellectually stimulating speakers from across the globe, cultural and social events, a state-of-the-art fitness facility with classes just for seniors, places to volunteer, and, of course myriad synagogues for worship. All anyone has to do is peruse the pages of Jewish News and it’s apparent that the Tidewater Jewish community is jam packed with things to do.

Who would ever want to leave?

Yes, WalletHub has it right…Virginia, and especially, Tidewater is a great place for retirees. The pieces written by three area retirees: Alan Bartel, Linda Samuels, and Louis Sherman are personal confirmations of the area’s ranking. Bartel recently published a book (a great read, by the way!) based on a collection of his father’s writings—written during his retirement.  Sherman, who is busy traveling and serves as a Retired Judge, tells his story below. And Samuels shares how her focus is now about volunteering. All are leading inspiring lives in this busy chapter of life.

On a more serious note, Scott Kaplan discusses new tax-wise strategies for those 70½ and older.

A fun article about Jewish retirees not too far from Boston who hosted a tailgate-style gathering for the Super Bowl is sure to make everyone smile…no matter which team you preferred to win.

Of course, there is more, including information on activities at the JCC and seminars on estate planning.

Retiree or not, we hope you find an article of interest, or an advertiser to connect with.

Terri Denison


What Retirement?

“What will I do?”

After more than 40 years as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist/ Laboratory manager, I decided to retire. It was a wonderful career of hospital lab work and work in a private practice with the Group for Internal Medicine, where I had the privilege of working closely with patients and being a part of their health care team; not to mention the incredible amount of knowledge that the physicians shared with me. That was followed by a stint of managing several laboratories for Sentara Medical Group after the practice joined the group.

For the first three months after I stopped working, I just relaxed. I was unused to not being responsible for something. I caught up with old friends, made a few new ones, and began to have precious time for my children and grandchildren. I was available for them when they needed me to help out. I joined a canasta group and began to volunteer at my synagogue, Beth El. I was able to read tons of books! My husband, Stanley, and I began to travel a little more. (He was still working.) It was a wonderful time, but I did miss my friends at work.

Several years later, I was approached by one of my former graduate school professors at ODU, who asked if I would “like to help out” in the Medical Technology Program. I said, “What kind of help?” She answered, “Why teaching, of course!”

I had never thought about teaching in a classroom. I had taught in the hospital systems, but that was one on one or one on two! Still, I accepted and found myself as an Adjunct Assistant Professor. I have to say that I discovered a newfound respect for teachers and the amazing job that they do, day in and day out. I had to review and relearn so much material in order to teach it, but I loved it! I loved working with my students and cannot even describe the sense of accomplishment that they gave me.

So much for retirement! I taught there for six years and retired again in 2018 to take another “job.”

In April of 2018, I was elected president of my synagogue, Congregation Beth El. It is a different kind of job, but one from which I get so much satisfaction. Having had family there for six generations, I feel that I am able to give back to the community that nurtured me as a child and gave me a sense of who I am as a Jewish woman today.

So, I say, “What Retirement?” I love being active and feeling that I have something to contribute to our greater Jewish community and to Tikun Olam.

By Linda Samuels


Carol and Louis Sherman.

‘Golden Years’ filled with family, travel, and…work

I’m glad to have this opportunity to reflect on my “golden years.”

My long-suffering wife of 45 years, Carol, and I are worriers. So, prior to retiring, we spent lots of time worrying about having adequate health care and income so that once we retired we would, for the most part, not lose sleep over those important issues. Kudos to Sally Kocen and the folks at the Frieden Agency for their expertise in helping us make the best decisions for our retirement years.

Retirement, assuming reasonably good health, left us with LOTS of time on our hands. We love to travel, so Carol and I have cruised quite a bit, often with family or friends, sometimes just the two of us, throughout the Baltic Sea, the Greek Isles, much of Europe, Alaska, New England/Canada, and the Caribbean (a great place to avoid the misery of winter).

Our sons, Eric and Scott, our daughters-in love, Anna and Aly, and our amazing granddaughters, Elizabeth, Lily, and Ashley, all live out of town. So, we travel to see them as much as possible. The last couple of years we have all enjoyed getting together to share a condo in Myrtle Beach during the summer, and to gather at each other’s homes for Thanksgiving.

As a retired Virginia Judge, I also enjoy serving as a Retired/Recalled Judge (frequently called a “substitute judge”). This requires the approval of the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court and attendance at mandatory continuing judicial education. I average about a week a month hearing cases, mostly in Hampton Roads. Serving as a substitute judge helps keep my mind fresh, and allows me to stay in touch with my judicial colleagues and members of the bar.

Finally, I also enjoy volunteering my time in the community. I am an Honorary Board member of Ohef Sholom Temple, and have participated in the NEST Program, Men’s Club, and other activities that serve people in need.

By Louis Sherman


Has your tax situation changed? Looking for a new tax-wise strategy this year?

As you begin to collect your 2018 income tax information and prepare to file a return, are you:

  • Realizing that your tax situation may be different from previous years?
  • No longer able to itemize your deductions due to the increased standard deduction?
  • Interested in learning about a way to support your community in a tax-wise manner?

What if you could use some retirement assets to make an impact on the community today?

If you, or someone you know, is 70 ½ years old (or older), you must withdraw a portion of your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) each year based upon your age. This Required Minimum Distribution (or RMD) is mandated and you must pay income tax on the portion you withdraw. If you fail to withdraw your RMD, you will face stiff penalties.

Did you know you may have another option? It’s called the Charitable IRA Rollover. It’s a tax planning strategy for donors that was made a permanent part of the tax law as of 2016. Now, since the new tax cuts bill went into effect for 2018, it will be even more relevant as millions of Americans are realizing they will take the increased standard deduction and lose the ability to itemize their gifts to charity, among other deductions. These “charitable rollovers” count as part of your required minimum distribution, but aren’t taxable income to you.

Rather than simply take your RMD as a withdrawal this year, you can direct your IRA administrator to distribute a gift from your IRA to benefit the Jewish community. Any amount you transfer counts against your required minimum distribution (RMD), and you can direct up to $100,000 to your favorite causes this year.

So, how does it work? Making an IRA Rollover gift is easier than ever and here are the simple steps:

  1. If you are 70½ or older, contact your IRA administrator. Because of the popularity of the rollover, most administrators provide forms and a procedure to help you make a rollover gift, also known as a Qualified Charitable Distribution or QCD.
  2. Direct a transfer of any amount (up to $100,000) from your IRA to the Tidewater Jewish Foundation (TJF). This gift can be designated to benefit any local charitable organization.
  3. You will pay no income taxes on the amount transferred. Note: Because you are not claiming the transferred amount as income, you will not receive an income tax deduction for your gift (though you may realize those deductions are harder to claim with the new thresholds).
  4. Contact Scott Kaplan at 965-6109 or email to let us know how you would like your gift to be used.

Caution: The check from your IRA must be made out to a charity (such as TJF), not to you. Call the financial institution that holds your IRA and ask about its charitable rollover procedures. You will likely need to fill out a simple distribution form, naming TJF as the recipient and specifying the dollar amount.

Scott Kaplan

This information is not intended as tax, legal, or financial advice. Gift results may vary. Consult your personal financial advisor for information specific to your situation.


Time to Write

Alan and Ralph Bartel.

I formally retired from my Cardiology group after 45 years of practice in July 2018. Fortunate to be able to ease into retirement by ending night and weekend call after 35 years (which is obviously quite demanding and stressful), for the last several years, my practice was limited to two days per week in the office—with no hospital or invasive Cardiology commitments.

This allowed time for family activities, continuing with my passion for music and flute playing and physical activity. Plus, I now had time to enshrine my father’s hobby and pastime of writing stories. He started writing during his retirement years at age 62, and continued writing into his 90s. I saved his carefully typewritten stories and decided to publish them in a book, to hopefully preserve them for my family. Hal Sacks, of blessed memory, who recorded his fascinating Navy experiences and writings for the Jewish News in two books, encouraged me.

Mom and Dad wrote more than 100 stories, so I needed some central theme for the book. Immigration and assimilation is such a pertinent and poignant topic; thus I chose related stories for the book. Dad had such a good way with words and a “folksy” style. Since I did not want to alter that aspect of his writing, my main job was editing his stories, including his slang and Yiddish expressions. His incredible memory for details and clear descriptions of his past environments, as well as his great sense of humor, made this a fun task. My son and two nephews were very helpful and supportive and made my work much easier. The book, Family, Faith and Love: Beyond Immigration, is available on Amazon Books. I hope you like it!!!

Editor’s note: A book review of Family, Faith and Love: Beyond Immigration is slated for an upcoming edition of Jewish News.



Simon Family JCC offers plenty of opportunities for a healthy retirement

The weekday Simon Family JCC schedule of activities for retirees offers opportunities for socializing and physical fitness. For many who are no longer in the full-time workforce, avoiding isolation is one of the many challenges. Becoming involved in classes or interest groups can be helpful in maintaining a healthy rhythm of life.

JFit, the JCC’s fitness center, offers classes designed for participants who are 55 years and older, in addition to all of the machines, weights, and classes that are available for all ages. Zumba Gold, for example, is a class with all the elements of regular Zumba, but with active older participants in mind; and Water 4 Arthritis involves no swimming, but the water makes it easier to perform gentle motion exercises. Class schedules are available at the JCC Front Desk, Fitness Center and on Facebook (Simon Family JCC). For more information, contact Tom Purcell 321-2310 or

For something more cerebral and sedate, an array of mah jongg and card games run Monday through Friday. The JFS Knitting Circle meets every Wednesday morning, producing scarfs and blankets for area nursing home residents and JFS clients. Others meet to discuss current events, to read books, and to learn Yiddish.

The schedule for all these groups and others is at the JCC Front Desk and on the Federation calendar. Contact Sheryl Luebke, senior programs coordinator at 757-321-2334 or for specific information.

By Sheryl Luebke


Alperin Law to host seminars at Sandler Family Campus

How a Properly Drafted and Maintained Estate Plan Will Protect You

Wednesday, Feb. 27; Tuesday, March 19; and Wednesday, April 17, 10 am

A native of Norfolk who maintains law offices throughout Hampton Roads, Scott Alperin has practiced law for over a quarter century and focuses in the areas of estate planning, elder law, special needs planning, disability law, real estate, and business law.

Alperin Law provides its clients with a personalized, comprehensive, and relationship-based approach to estate and asset protection planning.

Alperin is also active in community service, serving on the boards of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater, the Alzheimer’s Association, and Vanguard Landing, an intentional special needs community being developed in Virginia Beach.

Russ and Daughters, iconic appetizing shop, expands to Brooklyn

Brooklynites can now have bagels and lox from the iconic Russ & Daughters in their home borough.

The family-owned Jewish appetizing shop, located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side for more than a century, just opened in the refurbished Building 22 in the Navy Yard.

“Over the past two years we have designed and built out a 18,000 square foot base of operations, which includes our bakery, nationwide shipping facility, kitchens, a beautiful appetizing store, and (future) private events space,” the company said.

Russ & Daughters also has a café around the corner from its original location and a café in the New York Jewish Museum. It is co-owned by cousins Niki Russ Federman and Joshua Russ Tupper, the fourth Russ generation to run the business.

“We want to preserve the tradition, the quality, the recipes, the experience of 105 years of history,” Federman told Eater NY website. “In order to do that, we have to stay relevant and have the infrastructure to do that. It’s this interesting dance that we do constantly of, how do you maintain 105 years of history and keep it moving forward at the same time?”

By Marcy Oster


Four ways a retirement plan can survive a volatile market

A volatile stock market is raising the anxiety level of some investors—especially those nearing retirement.

In the wake of last year’s closing tumble—the S&P 500 lost 6.2 percent in 2018, its worst showing since the 2008 financial crisis—market analysts and those with equities comprising much of their portfolio aren’t quite sure what to expect in 2019.

Such uncertainty necessitates reviewing and perhaps adjusting a retirement plan to protect against market downturns, some financial advisers say.

“When you’re getting closer to retirement and truly planning for it, you have to understand the effects of volatility,” says Christy Smith, founder of Presley Wealth Management and an Investment Adviser representative. “People forget easily the pain of the recession when the markets are doing well. But the market will always go up and down, and it’s a struggle teaching people that to have a successful retirement, they need to truly diversify, and recession-proof, their retirement portfolio.

“How do you do that? You build a lower-volatility, long-term plan that puts some safety nets in place to protect us if we do see a recession.”

Smith gives four tips for protecting a portfolio from a volatile stock market and a possible recession:

Know your risk level. “We tend as a society to not understand the difference between accumulation and preservation,” Smith says. “It’s extremely important to understand how much risk you can handle. If you build a plan based on that, you won’t make emotional decisions—which are often bad ones—when the markets go down.”

Consider a fixed-index annuity. With interest rates trending upward, bonds aren’t as safe an investment as they were. “A fixed-index annuity is an alternative to bonds because it has principal protection built into it and thus provides safety,” Smith says. “The last few years people have been trained to think they need to invest in bonds to offset risk in their equities, but we’re in a time period now where we’re treading in some uncharted waters. The equity market is going down, but then we also have rising interest rates, which affects the bond market. When you’re using a fixed-index annuity, you won’t see the value of it go down as interest rates go up.”

Don’t overanalyze. “When market conditions are good, you’re looking at your 401(k) and not seeing a lot of losses, and you tend to step away and not check your account as often,” Smith says. “But in times like right now, when the market has been turbulent, people start to be more proactive and analyzing things more than normally would. Sometimes it’s better for people not to watch as much of the news, because it’s so negative and we can overreact. Put a good recession-proof plan in place with a fiduciary and don’t panic.”

Diversify your plan. “You don’t want to have, say, 80 percent of your portfolio in stocks, especially right now,” Smith says. “It’s important to diversify and also to understand how your money is truly invested. Have a written investment plan tailored to your goals.”

“You have to understand the importance of having the mind shift of, the closer you get to retirement, the less you need to be aggressive like when you were young,” Smith says.


Jewish senior citizen Patriots fans celebrate yet another Super Bowl win

CANTON, Mass. (JTA)—At a kickoff party Sunday, February 3 at the Orchard Cove senior home in this suburb about 25 miles from Boston, boisterous cheers erupted from a small ballroom.

Dozens of residents had begun an evening-long tailgate-style gathering as their New England Patriots started yet another Super Bowl, this time against the Los Angeles Rams.

Of course, the residents didn’t know that at the final whistle their team would be hoisting its sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy hours later.

“Everyone was so excited,” Harvey Sandberg, 93, says about the game, which ended with the Pats topping the Rams, 13–3, in Atlanta. “They couldn’t stop cheering. Everyone was thrilled.”

The kickoff party was new this year, organized by Sandberg and Charles “Bud” Liftman, both Jewish residents—but the community’s Patriots fandom was decades old. The party, with a jumbo TV and plenty of team regalia, created quite the buzz throughout the facility, where not all but many of the residents are Jewish.

“The community atmosphere here is why we wanted to do this,” Liftman says.

Canton is only about a dozen miles from Gillette Stadium, home of the Patriots. The team’s owner is Robert Kraft, a businessman and Jewish philanthropist who was recently awarded the Genesis Prize for contributions to the Jewish community.

At other places Liftman has lived, management may have set up some snacks and put out Patriots’ banners.

“But people wouldn’t be coming together,” says Liftman, who retired following a longtime career as a Boston Globe editor.

“To organize something like this, it makes us proud. It makes everyone happy,” Sandberg adds.

As lifelong sports enthusiasts, Liftman and Sandberg have followed Jewish sports figures and feel great pride in watching outstanding Jewish players like Julian Edelman, the Patriots’ star wide receiver, succeed on the field. Edelman would win the Most Valuable Player award in the Super Bowl, the first Jewish player to be so honored.

Sandberg can’t remember a time when he wasn’t a Patriots fan, dating back to his youth, when the team was the Boston Patriots and played in the old American Football League. Years later his family-owned toy distribution company was located in Foxborough, across the street from Gillette Stadium.

One year before Kraft bought the team in 1994, two women who worked for the Patriots came to Sandberg’s retail outlet looking to buy 2,000 Christmas stockings to donate to children. His shop was their last hope and he was able to deliver. Later that day, the Patriots reciprocated with 40 tickets to the day’s game for his employees and their families.

Sandberg and his wife, Thelma, have been hosting Super Bowl parties for years, sometimes at their home, but often for larger crowds, including at the Naples Jewish Congregation in Florida, where the couple lived for 20 years before moving back to the Boston area last year.

As people were leaving after the Super Bowl victory, Sandberg and Liftman were already looking ahead.

“Next year,” they say, “we’re planning earlier and it will be even bigger.”

By Penny Schwartz