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Retirees and Seniors Find Joy in a Conversational Yiddish Course

By Marc Yahrshevsky

June 21, 2024

A five-session, Zoom conversational Yiddish course will start on Monday, July 8th to benefit the retiree and senior community. This will bring tremendous joy and happiness to many Floridians. As individuals age, their connection to their roots and early experiences becomes more significant. For many retirees and seniors, speaking the language of their youth is a cherished practice that brings immense joy and comfort. This linguistic journey back to their formative years serves as a bridge to their past and a means to preserve their cultural identity and heritage.

Language is deeply intertwined with emotion and memory. According to research, speaking one's mother tongue can trigger memories and emotions associated with childhood and significant life events. For seniors, conversing in the language they first learned often evokes a profound sense of nostalgia and belonging. This is particularly true for those who immigrated to new countries and had to adapt to new languages and cultures. Speaking their native language can feel like returning home, providing comfort and familiarity that is especially valuable in later life.

The instructor, Gilda Simpkin is a Yiddish teacher at Norwalk Community College, a learning consultant and corporate trainer for 30 years. She carries an M.S. in Counseling and Human Resource Development. Gilda is on the faculty of Fairfield and Marymount Colleges. She is also the author of My Baby Chase.

Yiddish, the Lingua of Nostalgia
Yiddish holds a special place in the hearts of many elderly Jewish individuals. For these seniors, Yiddish is more than just a means of communication; it is a vital link to their cultural heritage and communal history.

For many elderly Jews, Yiddish connects them to the rich tapestry of Yiddish literature, music, and theater. Engaging in conversations or listening to Yiddish songs and stories allows seniors to relive their past, and ensure that their cultural heritage endures.

Engaging with the language of one's youth has been shown to have several psychological benefits for seniors. It can enhance cognitive function, as using multiple languages helps keep the brain active and engaged. Moreover, it provides a sense of purpose and belonging, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation that are common in older age.

For retirees and seniors, consider joining a conversational Yiddish course for emotional well-being, memory health, and brain stimulation. The comfort of familiar words and phrases offers a timeless solace. United Jewish Generations, a Chabad organization for retirees and seniors, is offering a 5 session Conversational Yiddish Course on Zoom starting Monday, July 8th. Sign up at: - Or call: (954) 458-6000. The course is limited to 30 participants. $50 Early-Bird Price and scholarships are available. Sign up today.

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