Thousands join Orthodox Union online program for retirees during corona

Since March 2020, more than 35 virtual programs have been started, about topics such as physical movement, mental health, Jewish learning, learning how to use social media, cybersecurity.

Elderly couple (illustrative) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Elderly couple (illustrative)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Living through the coronavirus pandemic isn't easy.
The older you are, you harder it is, given the most impacted population is, by far, the elderly.
Not only because their age range is the most susceptible to contract the coronavirus and develop more serious complications, but also because, for their own safety, they had to be isolated from all their family and their loved ones.
This is where the “Stimulating Program Initiative for Retirees that Inspires Thought” (SPIRIT), an Orthodox Union (OU) program for people looking for spiritual, educational and intellectual stimulation, played a vital role for the men and women above 60 during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has been very difficult for our entire community, especially retirees who are more confined to their homes than others. At the same time, they want to engage in intellectually stimulating programming, and the OU sought to fill that gap by bringing the programming to them virtually so that they could participate from the comfort and safety of their own home,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane.
The OU, a 400-synagogue network across the US and Canada, is an organization that serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry and advocates for Judaism and Israel in both countries.
With more than 2,600 men and women participating from all over the US and Canada, the SPIRIT program had to expand its content to reach the higher demand that increased very fast from the community the last few months.
Since March 2020, there have been more than 35 virtual programs about physical movement, mental health, Jewish learning, learning how to use social media, cybersecurity, the history of kashrut in the United States and more.
“All of the SPIRIT programs are recorded, distributed and archived so that people can tune in afterwards during a convenient time for them to participate,” said Rebbetzin Judi Steinig, Director of Community Programs and SPIRIT Coordinator.
The program, created a few years ago, intended to provide virtual educational and stimulating content for the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have sought meaningful ways to support and engage all of those in our community. We are pleased that so many retirees from all over the United States and Canada are participating in these programs and that the demand increases each week,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer.
More than 38 other synagogues and communities joined the initiative, seeing the huge impact and benefits the SPIRIT program offered to the retiree population.