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Our later years are our best opportunity to develop our spiritual lives, says Rabbi Rachel Cowan in her new book, Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience and Spirit, written with Linda Thal, PhD. Rachel Cowan was twice named by Newsweek magazine as one of the 50 leading rabbis in the United States. For many years she was executive director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and then became a senior fellow there to develop the Wise Aging program. She recently spoke with S&H about how to shift our culture’s “declinist paradigm of aging” to see the aging process through a lens of opportunity and growth.
You’ve written that our culture “promotes a declinist paradigm of aging.” What do you mean by that?
Our society doesn’t really like old people. People tend to deny that they’re getting older because, as they age, they feel more invisible, irrelevant …