Navigating the Empty Nest—with Jewish Community


How do you build community when you’re an empty nester? Where do you go to connect with others when you’ve retired from work, and friends have moved away? For many Jewish women, the answer lies with Federation.


Federation staff and National Women’s Philanthropy lay leaders are spearheading local efforts to bring together women ages 50-70 through unique educational programs, cultural events and even travel—all informed by a Jewish perspective.


Though participants come from diverse backgrounds, sessions addressing what they have in common—transitions in life, body and friendship—help bridge the gaps and forge relationships. Facilitators weave relevant Jewish texts into discussions, from Biblical sources on spiritual journeys to Talmudic commentary on beauty.


Federation also helps women build individual relationships in small groups outside of sessions. Janyse Weisz, a participant, considers these person-to-person conversations one of the most enduring parts of the experience. “It is amazing how warm and intimate those chats are,” she shares. “They have definitely created relationships that will continue outside of Federation.”


The program has also helped welcome uninvolved women into organized Jewish life. And many participants are now exploring other opportunities with Federation, from attending one-time events to making deeper commitments, like chairing campaigns or becoming a Lion of Judah.


“I am looking forward to the next phases of my life much more,” says one participant. “I recognize opportunities in the community that I didn’t realize I had before, and feel energized and extremely optimistic.”


We thank the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington for sharing this inspiring story with us. 

  • Women's Philanthropy

    Women's Philanthropy provides a place in the Portland Jewish community for all women to come together to promote, enhance and celebrate Jewish life.