Slowing down is not an option for seniors on the move

by | Jun 24, 2021 | Trending News

Who says an 85-year-old retired dentist would never launch a third career crafting specialty ice cream cakes during a pandemic? What would stop a lifelong community activist from leveraging decades of knowledge gained as a board member (inside and outside the Jewish community) from becoming United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s president at age 75? Or a community volunteer and activist from learning a new skill—writing her story at 87?

Jewish News asked Gerald Einhorn, Linda Spindel, and Miriam Seeherman, three seniors who know how to level up an active lifestyle, what makes this stage of life most rewarding and challenging.

“I would say that a good thing about being older and active is that because of the years of experience I feel like I have a lot more to bring to any situation. Even when I’m trying something new it’s always sort of like something else that I did before, and I have a better idea of how to go about solving problems related to it. And, of course as you get older, you are much calmer,” says Einhorn, owner of Gerald’s Ice Cream at Hilltop in Virginia Beach.

Linda Spindel is the former president of both Jewish Family Service and Ohef Sholom Temple who has also served on boards of non-Jewish non-profits. Everything she invests in has her signature moxie with heart, humility, and humor. “There’s no better feeling than doing for others,” says Spindel. ”In the 20 years, I’ve invested my resources in programs I care about—I get way more than I give.”

Self-preservation is another motivator for staying active. “I heard many years ago, ‘if you rest, you rust.’ I’m taking no chances!” says Spindel.

“I am a huge believer in the power of the elevator speech and making the best of all the experiences I’ve had and apply what I’ve learned to different programs,” she says.

“I must say that the COVID pandemic has been a challenge like no other. My community and cultural activities, which have been an integral part of my life for the last 80 plus years, ground to a halt,” says Miriam Seeherman, 87. “I could either sit and do nothing, or adapt. I chose to adapt, learning new things and tackling new projects.”

Active all of her life, in leadership positions within the Jewish community, cultural, and nonprofit organizations, sitting wasn’t an option for Seeherman. “I play bridge and mahjong, attend many cultural events, and enjoy the occasional meal out, as well as time with family. I continue to serve as a member of the JCRC and the Federation.”

“At my age I have often thought about being technically challenged, but in the past year and a half, I’ve mastered FaceTime, Facebook and Zoom to keep in touch with friends and family. I never thought I’d be a “techie,” but the new skills I’ve acquired have been quite rewarding. I’ve virtually attended UJFT and Beth Sholom Village board meetings and Ohef Sholom Temple Shabbat services. I’ve “gone” to the Metropolitan Opera, to concerts around the world, to a lot of interesting lectures, to baby showers, birthday parties, and family seders. While not as great as being there in person, it keeps me up to date and feeling connected,” says Seeherman.

“Gerald and I are coming up on our 45th wedding anniversary and one-year anniversary for our ice cream store,” says Diane Einhorn. “This is Gerald’s third career!”

Einhorn was a dentist for 46 years, a fine-dining restaurateur at Terrapin, and now he owns and operates Gerald’s Ice Cream Bar.

“For me personally,” says Diane Einhorn, “I have seen my purpose as helping Gerald, and it has been quite the journey. He is a remarkable man in so many ways and at so many levels, and I have felt blessed to have shared a life with him and to get to experience so many interesting activities via his drive and talents.

“Sometimes body limitations can be a pain,” says Dianne. “That is the biggest challenge.”

Another challenge Seeherman accepted came from one of her granddaughters.

“About a year ago, she asked me to share some of my life experiences. She was curious and asked questions such as, ‘How is life different today compared to when you were a child?’ or, ‘All about Love and Marriage,’ first pets, early work life, high school experiences, etc.,” says Seeherman. “The stories weren’t for her ears only; she wanted me to write them down so she can publish them in a book to share with all of my children, grandchildren, and extended family. Despite the pressure (I’m known as a speaker, not a writer), the project has been extremely rewarding in letting me go back in time to revisit places, emotions and events—some of which I hadn’t thought of in years.”

Spindel has no plans to slow down. In two years, at the age of 75, she is slated to become the next UJFT president. Her signature style is a mix of practicality, creativity, simplicity, and humility. “Laura Gross is the new UJFT president who hasn’t had her first meeting,” says Spindel. “They have two years to come to their senses.”

– Lisa Richmon