Ever since I’ve retired, I have indulged myself in learning more about my favorite subjects, taking classes in art appreciation, history of just about anything, photography, all Jewish-related topics, cooking, etc, etc. I figure by the time I’m 102, I’ll be really, really smart. I’m not sure where all this education is leading but I figure it can’t hurt. Besides, I keep meeting new friends or running into ones I already have. Then they meet each other and more friendships are made. Note that I said “friends I already have.” At my age, the term “old friends” is to be avoided at all costs.
Recently, I took a class in, of all things, Klezmer music. As I expected from a class held in Montgomery County, the class was well attended. I’m guessing about 50 people were there. The speaker was a young-ish man (okay, everyone seems younger than me these days) who played, loved and studied Klezmer. He was a delight – starting the session by playing Klezmer music himself. He played on an actual instrument but sorry, I have no clue what it was. Maybe my next class should be “identifying musical instruments for the totally clueless.”
A few days later, I attended a lecture by a woman whose parents and grandparents escaped from Austria just before World War II. So many people had signed up for the talk that the woman offered to hold two sessions. Her living room was packed. For a group of Jewish women, we were unusually quiet as we listened to this amazing story of bravery, good timing and just plain luck. And I should add, several stories of kindness from the most unlikely of sources. The real story, though, for me, was evident in the many family photographs in that living room, the woman’s family, now three generations.
I am also taking a music appreciation class and just finished yet another art history class. This is loads of fun. I keep thinking I need to stop and perhaps stay home a bit more and enjoy the retired life. After all, I have all those books waiting for me on my Kindle, photos to fix on my computer and movies on my DVR. But I guess I’m either too restless or too curious to stay home. Besides, I keep reading that exercising is just as important for the brain as for the body. Since I seem to neglect the later, I might as well keep the brain cells active!! Education is a Jewish tradition that I’m happy to keep.
I shouldn’t be the only smart one around. I encourage you to attend Routes: A Day of Jewish Learning on March 11. Check it out by clicking here. There are tons of topics to choose from. Great instructors. A flexible schedule. And in the unlikely event that you get bored, you can look around and wonder who in the crowd is the “Royal Philanthropist!”