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PAGE 2B HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 26, 2013 Living life to the fullest: tips from Dr. Ruth By Maxine Dovere Born Karola Ruth Siegel in Frankfurt, Germany, the woman now known as "Dr. Ruth" saw her father ar- rested by Nazis and said a final goodbye to her mother as she boarded a Kindertransport rescue train to Switzerland. By 17, she was in the Brit-" 'ish mandate Of Palestine on a kibbutz, and, later in Jerusa- lem, the diminutive teenager became a sniper for the Haga- nah forces. A bombing on the night of her 20th birthday left her badly wounded, but she recovered and went on to study at Paris's Sorbonne, as well as the New School and Columbia University (for a doctorate in education) in New York. Three marriages (two brief ones, followed by the last to ManfredWestheimer for more than 30 years), two children (Miriam and Joe.l), and a self-designed and determined persona later, the Octogenar- ian found herself in a theater in Western Massachusetts, watching an on-stage por- trayal of her life. "I had to pinch myself a By Debra Rubin JTA Not many people attend summer camp with their par- ents. Mindelle PierceWentwith her momwhen her motherwas in her 90s. They chose a two-week program for senior adults at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn. Aside from typical camp activities such as swimming and arts and crafts, there were myriad specialty pro- gramn3ing for senior adults: lectures on health and nutri- tion, genealogy, flowers of the Torah and biblical prophets, as well as trips to area cultural ac- tivities, including the theater and the philharmonic. Some 80 participants rang- ing in age from their 50s to 90s attended the camp. Pierce, who is in her 60s, said she was drawn to the program five years ago by the "natural beauty infused few t|mes to realize that I was in the audience and not on stage," Dr. Ruth Westheimer said in an interview with A self-created, resilient survivor, Dr. Ruth .became an internationally known sex educator at a time when many consider retirement. Dr. Ruth's essential focus is living as fully as pos- sible. "People have to be ac- tive, to do things," she said. "Do a new activity every single day. Take a course, go to a concert, make sure to keep a relationship with a neigh- bor--to schmooze a little, not just to cry on someone's shoulder. If you have to cry, go to a professional; no one wants to hear about problems." She is a firm propo- nent of continuous growth and change. "Things have changed since Lady Chatter- ley's Lover or Fear of Flying. Establish a new vocabulary," she advises. "Read books; look at sexually arousing material." Dr. Ruth recommends 50 Shades of Gray --aall three volumes." "If someone doesn't like it, you can close the chapter," she said. "If [she] does like it, the book proves the point that women can get aroused." Whether they are young or old, most singles would like to be doubles. asked Dr. Ruth what she recommends to help people--especially seniors--find partners. "Be involved! Go to concerts, performances, lectures--events of inter- est. Women have to take the risk of being the one to start a relationship, to say to a man 'would you like to go for a coffee. If the answer is 'no; go on to the next one!" she said. If partnership is not pos- sible, Dr. Ruth advises, "find a place that will be enjoyable, and give you some satisfac- tion-even if you don't meet a partner." Even for those seniors lucky enough to find an emo- tional partner, establishing a physical relationship can sometimes be difficult. "Even older people should go to see a sex therapist," said Dr. Ruth. "Very often, a problem the morning. Do not have expectations that he can hang from a chandelier!" "Don't ask me about my sex life!" she added. "You will not get an answer. I don't ask intimate questions except of my patients." What, asked J, if one does remain alone and does not find a new partner? "People have an obligation to themselves," Dr. Ruth said. "If they feel a sexual urge and are alone, they should get used to the idea of masturbat- ing-even to orgasm. They will be more satisfied--have a different way of walking. Of course it's not the same as with a partner--that's true. But, I am someone who stands with two feet in reality: make the best of it! No one will be helped by crying about things they cannot change." That, said Dr. Ruth, in- cludes adult children. "They will never understand," she said. "You have to cultivate your relationship with your adult children and grand- is something physical. Go" children. Call them. Ask 'do to your family physician or you have a moment?' Don't gynecologist. Use whatever say, 'you didn't come to see physical or mechanical aide me.' Say 'whatever is con- is needed. Engage in sex in venient--that fits with your plans.' Be flexible. Go to a coffee shop. Let them know, 'I would like to see you...I'll take the time you can give me and be satisfied.'" The same "children" who may have little time to spend with a parent, often have much to say about a parent's new partner. Says Dr. Ruth, while the new partner "wilt never replace the father or mother, never be an intimate part of the family," children should be "civil and po- lite" and recognize that the mother or father's companion makes life easier. "One would never go on the .assumption the partnerwill be an intimate part of the family." Dr. Ruth is essentially a practical realist. She said companionship, perhaps even romance, adds much to living; so do existing assets. "It's very important for an older person who finds a new partner to write a detailed ar- rangement about money," she said. "The children won't have fears--even in their subcon- scious-that the inheritance from their parent will go to the partner's family. You don't need a fancy lawyer. Go to someone who can witness Senior camps turn active With the spirituality that I felt while I was there--and the fact the programming was exceptional." The Isabella Freedman program is among a number of senior camp programs across the United States, including a handful geared to Jews. Yet despite the growing population of American senior citizens, the number of sonior camps has been dropping slightly,. according to the American Camp Association, which has 225 senior camps as members. That has made for a chal- lenging environment for Jew- ish senior camps, too. In September, one such camp, the Block and Hexter Vaca- tion Center in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, closed due to lack of demand. With more resorts available in exotic locales and seniors more active than they were a few decades ago, mountain camps have lost some of their cachet. "The new senior is more A Senior Living Community where Hospitality is a Way of Life. Assisted Living - Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Care Variety of Apartment Suite Selections, some with Lake Views Weekly Happy Hour hosted by the Jewish Pavilion Monthly Shabbat Service Monthly Bagels and Lox luncheon Call us today, stop by for a visit, join us for lunch, or all of the above. You are always welcome/ Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center Participants at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn., dancing next to the tree mural they created, with notes expressing the accomplishments in which they take the most pride, and their hopes serving as the leaves. active and discriminating in taste than the senlor of prior g6nerations," said Elliot Forch- heimer, assistant director of the New Jersey Y Camps, which runs the Kislak Adult Center offeringsightseeingitineraries to places such as Florida, the Poconos and Texas. To help stem the tide, some camps have changed or are planning changes to their of- ferings in hope of attracting a new generation of older adults. "With tweaks and changes, these programs should be able to thrive," said Adam Wein- stein, director of the Berkshire 1301 W. Maitland Blvd. Maitland, FL 32751 407-645-3990 Assisted Living Facility, Linense N.9 8447 4,,-, . , --00AVANNAH 1301 W. Maitland Blvd. Maitland, FL 32751 Loed dR cro the str fom Con oeJ Oev Shalom 407 -645-3990 Hills Emanuel Camps-Adult Vacation Center in Copake, N.Y., which offers kosher food and Shabbat services. "We're looking at programs that will also bring in a younger crowd of seniors," said Irene Drantch, director of the Circle Lodge Retreat In Hopewell Junction, N.Y., an 85-plus-year-old facility that is affiliated with Workmen's Circle and draws anywhere from 25 people a week to a capacity participation of 135 for its Yiddish Week. At Berkshire Hills, there are plans to split the 10-week summer into two five-week programs. One session will be geared to those who have been coming for years and arenT seeking changes, Weinstein said. "There's swimming, there's lectures, there's evening enter- tainment, there's buttermilk in the afternoon," Weinstein said, noting that some 600 campers came this past sum- mer--about half for the full summer and the rest for one or two weeks. Most were in their 70s and 80s. The other session will be aimed at younger seniors, al- lowing them to take advantage of both the facilities and nearby attractions, including the United States Military Acad- emy at West Point. the Norman Rockwell Museum and Hyde Park. the home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. "By splitting our summer between our traditional senior program and a program that is more like a Jewish version of Road Scholar. we are try- ing to make that transition" to younger seniors, Weinstein said, "while still serving the guests who have been our base." Pairing sightseeing with educational lectures is the raison d'etre for Road Scholar, formerly known as Elderhostel, which offers about a dozen Jewish programs that explore Jewish culture, history and religion. Jewish programming has been available since the organization was founded a legal agreement assur- ing that money will remain separate. In today's conten- tious world, it is essential; an agreement is very inportant to calm any fear. DScumenta- tion is especially important when there is any unusual circumstance, such as when a grandparent is responsible for a minor child. Everything must be written. No one can foresee the future." The experience of being a senior--she is 84 and a wid- ow-is one Dr. Ruth shares with many in her audience. Yet, she is clearly a work in progress. This summer, she wil] present Vin d'Amore, a California-bottled line of low alcohol wines--avail- able in red, white, and rosG of coursereplete with her picture on the label. "I tell people to drink a little, then have sex," Dr. Ruth said. "But," she cautioned, "not too much--she falls asleep and he can't perform. With wine, less is more." "Sherry Lansing," she added, "said 'not to retire but to re-wire.' It's very im- portant. It's exactly what I am doing." more than three decades ago, and Road Scholar works with an array of JewiSh organiza- tions, museums, synagogues and educators, according to Stacie Fasola, its associate vice president of public and media relations. GerrySuskinwent onaRoad Scholar trip earlier this year that focused on New Mexico's Conversos and Crypto-Jews. The subject matter, not the age of her fellow travelers, is what drew her to the trip, Suskin said. "I had always been some- what knowledgeable about what happened during the Inquisition to the Jews," said Suskin, 75, "but I had no idea until I tookthis class" that Jews who hadbeen forced to convert ended up in New Mexico. For Judy Oppenheim of Hampden, Conn. lectures are only part of what has drawn her and her husband, Jerry, both 73, to Isabella Freedman for the past seven years. They're also taken with the physical setting, the diverse program- ming, sitting and chatting with Holocaust survivors as well as youngsters in the facility's children's camp and the many friends they have made over the years. "I like being back at camp as an adult," Oppenheim said. "I always liked it as a kid, and now I look forward to it as an adult." For |nge Hershkowitz of the Bronx, N.Y., two weeks at *Berkshire Hills last summer was a homecoming of sorts. Back in the 1950s, she and her three sons spent about six summers at what then was a family resort typical of the many bungalow colonies in the area, with her husband joining them on weekends. This year, she particularly enjoyed the lectures on Jew- ish humor and outings that included seeing Academy and Tony Award-winner Olympia Dukakis onstage in "The Tempest." "I really, really like it," Hershkowitz, 88, said of the camp."I already mde reserva- tions for next summer."