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Rabbi Laura Geller: A Revolutionary Perspective on Aging

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Aging can be one of the scariest things for us to think about! We all want to be eternally young.

The thought of wrinkles, gray hair, less physical strength and the unknown can be daunting.

But if we let THAT (what I just mentioned) above become our vision of aging, then we have bought into a great deception. We have narrowed down the scope of our imagination. Why do I say that?

I say that because embedded within the process of aging, there is an opportunity and hopefulness that is possible. And here in this episode, Rabbi Laura Geller shares some thought-provoking insights and deep truths on this very subject.

Get ready for a timely conversation that offering us all a revolutionary perspective on aging. Whether young or old, this perspective has some powerful implications and the potential to mark the trajectory of all our lives in a significant way.

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Rabbi Laura Geller has been serving as a rabbi for forty years.  After her ordination by the Hebrew Union College in 1976, she went on to serve as the Director of Hillel at the University of Southern California for 14 years and as the Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress for 4 years.

In 1994, she was selected as the Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, becoming the first Reform woman rabbit to be selected as the Senior Rabbi of a major metropolitan congregation.

Temple Emmanuel in Beverly Hills. © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com (Email: glennfrancispacificprodigital.com)

Temple Emmanuel in Beverly Hills. © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com (Email: glennfrancispacificprodigital.com)

She has been recognized with numerous awards and honors throughout her lifetime. Forward Magazine name her one of the 33 Most Inspiring Rabbis in America in 2015. And Newsweek has twice named her in their list of 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America. 

On June 24, 2016, she transitioned to Rabbi Emerita of Temple Emmanuel, after serving as Senior Rabbi for 22 years. She still attends Temple Emmanuel, and she has dedicated this season of her life to initiatives, research and work related to aging. This includes a a groundbreaking new project called Next Stage: Temple Emanuel’s Boomer and Beyond Initiative and the community building program ChaiVillageLA.

3 Big Takeaways:

  1. How people treat you, often, tells you something about them. How you respond to them tells you something about: you. 
  2. When experiencing challenges and adversities, one question that will give you perspective is: what is the invitation here?
  3. Where there are areas you need to grow in your character, there are spiritual practices that can help you grow and change that precise area.

Some of the questions I ask:

  • What drew you to become a Rabbi? (16:33)
  • Why are some elderly people so bitter? And why are others so happy? What makes the difference between the two? (39:12)

Sneak Peak of More:

  • Rabbi Laura Geller talks about her upbringing (8:44)
  • How Psalm 23 helped her not turn bitter against those who gave her a hard time over being a female Rabbi (28:28)
  • The opportunity and hopefulness found in aging (31:57)
  • Eulogy Values vs. Resume Values [Reference to David Brooks’ work] (44:10)

Resources:

1 Comment

  1. Kenton McPhie Easy on September 5, 2016 at 4:31 PM

    It is not often that we are reminded that gratitude is to be a central part of our existence. It grounds us and makes us appreciative of life. This appreciation allows us to live a more meaningful life and to tell stories of beauty, wonder and of joy. I am moved by this reminder and can easily confirm that life is a gift and we are to be grateful.

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