This series initially followed the Jewish life cycle and its reflected values through a series of different stages up to marriage and the married state. At that point, it encountered some of the later stages life cycle, such as divorce and widowhood, but always against the yardstick of the married state. It is now time to move on beyond the married state, towards the later period of life, and address the phenomena of aging in Judaism.
Aging is a significant stage in the life of all peoples. Jews have reflected on the aging process for thousands of years and have produced considerable insights into this stage of life and its significance; as in all other parts of the life cycle process, on the whole, the insights stem from a life-affirming perspective. Upon deeper examination, Judaism offers some interesting and important attitudes and approaches for both the aging person, the family, and members of the community.
However, unlike many other stages of the life cycle which are marked by rich ceremonies, traditional Judaism has not created any rituals to mark this particular rite of passage. There will be no symbols to analyse and this absence, in and of itself, is something that demands to be explored: the lack of ritual and ceremony at this stage of life, whatever its origins, has important implications and should perhaps be addressed, especially in an era where life expectancy is increasing.
This section, as each of the other chapters, is followed by a text section and an activities section with a number of possible educational activities for use in the classroom, the clubroom, or other educational and community settings. The activities will reflect the text of the main section itself, following and exploring its various themes and ideas.