Golden Years, also known as N’shei Northwest is a charity catering for senior orthodox ladies in the community.
The group started in 2005 as a way to provide these ladies with opportunities to socialise and learn new skills through activities and recreation.
The Jewish Weekly spoke to Dalia Kramer, Project Co-ordinator and two of the Golden Years trustees, Anita Gefilhaus and Lea Winegarten to find out more.
●Where is the Golden Years, N’Shei NW group based and how often does it meet?
The group does not have its own premises, but we use other venues in the area. Our monthly social afternoons take place in the Golders Green Beth Hamedrash shul hall (GGBH) and regular daily classes are held at the Michael Sobell Centre on Golders Green Road. Both venues are wheelchair friendly, and volunteers are on hand to assist.
● What kind of activities do you offer?
We offer a different activity every day, so there is something for everyone, from exercise classes through to creative activities, such as jewellery and pottery making classes on Tuesday afternoon and a mosaic class on Thursday afternoon. The classes are suitable for all levels, even those who have not done any arts or crafts before. The teachers are very experienced and encouraging, and the classes are always a lot of fun. Some of the women have produced beautiful work in these classes.
Every Wednesday morning, we have the Friendship Zone, a joint venture between GGBH Ladies’ Guild and N’Shei NW.Although we do not offer activities on Fridays due to Shabbat, during the winter months, we organize a lecture/shiur every MotseiShabbos at the Sage nursing home on Golders Green Road.
● Tell me more about chair based exercise?
This is one of the most popular classes run by a personal trainer every Monday at the Michael Sobell Centre. It is a very friendly class focussing on gentle stretches, movement and flexibility. Besides the obvious physical benefits, it gives the women a reason to get out and socialise. Many of them have lunch and a chat in the cafeteria afterwards. Being with people of the same age with a similar outlook and background means that they can share their experiences, and many feel more comfortable talking to their peers about their issues and daily struggles than their children or grandchildren.
• How many people attend the group?
The daily classes tend to attract up to around 20 ladies, and the monthly social afternoons, up to 100 ladies might attend.
This event is very much a highlight for the members. The speakers we have are engaging, often humorous, and inspirational giving a positive message to the audience.In the past, we have been lucky enough to have many interesting lecturers and speakers including the Chief Rabbi, and the Queen’s Royal jeweller who brought along some images of the beautiful pieces he had made. We also have musical entertainment, and a raffle. RebbetzenEhrentreu, a trustee and patron of our organisation recently received a BEM for her services to the community, and is a well-loved figure who chairs these events.Our volunteers always make the event special, and the ladies often feedback on what a lovely time they have had, which helps us to make these events better!
● What are the ages of the women that attend?
Many who attend are probably retirement age and older. When there is a popular speaker, ladies of all ages attend, and the hall is filled to capacity!
● What new projects or activities do you have on the horizon?
We are planning an inter-generational skill- exchange programme, which is something very exciting. We believe that everyone, no matter what age, has the ability to volunteer and help those within the community and this programme will help encourage this. Another activity we are hoping to develop is a book club, which will be another way for people to connect and socialise, and enjoy new books from personal recommendation. .
• Does N’Shei only provide activities for women, or is there a group for men as well?
About 4 years ago, aware that there was a need for a similar group for men, we introduced the Anshei programme, set up in the memory Late Dr Solomon Adler, the renowned GP in the community. These gentlemen meet every Wednesday afternoon for chair based exercise class followed by a talk from a popular speaker from the community covering a variety of subjects. One of its regular speakers calls the group ‘a model of excellence that provides for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the attendees’ which is a great accolade to receive.
● How many members of staff work at N’Shei?
We have a large committee of volunteers each involved in different areas of the organisation, and 3 trustees who are actively involved.
● If I want to attend or volunteer, how can I get involved?
For enquiries about our programme, it is best to contact Dalia.No pre-booking is necessary, and we are always happy to welcome new members.
Volunteers are always appreciated, and there are lots of different ways that people can help. If anyone wishes to find out more about volunteering opportunities, Dalia would be happy to speak to them personally.
To get in touch with Dalia and find out more about N’Shei & Anshei Golden Years, please contact her on 07956 561 706 during business hours only.