For many of us, summer is traditionally a season for exploration ... whether it’s embarking on a family vacation, traveling solo, or with our partner. With the world still largely impacted by COVID-19, travel to certain destinations just isn’t possible, and many of us might not even feel comfortable leaving our homes or going outside of our own cities yet. The good news is you can stretch your tourist legs, expand your mind, and learn about new cultures through many of CJE Cyber Club’s free and exciting virtual programs and sightseeing tours.
Here are some of the ways older adults can travel to amazing destinations, experience other cultures, and connect with others virtually through thoughtfully curated programs from CJE’s Cyber Club.
Our Newest Programs to Expand Your Horizons
Grandparents, Grandfriends, and Beyond – Explore exciting and meaningful materials from Jewish text and tradition that you can share with your school age grandchildren. This program is for any older adult who wants to connect with a younger friend.
Classic Comedy: Still Funny Today – Come laugh with us as we watch and discuss why we love classic comedians like Charlie Chaplin, Carol Burnett, and Mel Brooks with an Emmy Award-winning writer and Second City instructor.
“I loved visiting Boston! Thank you, CJE, for everything you are doing during this stressful time.”
—S, Virtual Tour participant
Venture out into the world on live, guided virtual tours. Through CJE’s My Go-To Place programs with JCC Chicago and Niles Township, CJE’s Cyber Club hosts interactive virtual walking tours of popular and off-the-beaten path landmarks, including museums, special exhibits, historic homes, and more. Led by museum docents and other subject matter experts, these live Zoom field trips explore history, culture, art, and other topics, depending on the destination. Participants can ask questions that are answered by tour leaders along the way. Comfortable walking shoes are optional!
Past virtual tours have “walked” participants through the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center’s special exhibits like Mandela: Struggle for Freedom, the New York Jewish Museum’s unique collection of artwork and ceremonial objects, downtown Boston’s neighborhoods and historic Freedom Trail, an overview of the part New Orleans played in America’s wars, the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens in Rockford, and Norway’s breathtaking landscape.
“Cyber Club is an intellectual and emotional “oasis” during this pandemic. The programs on art, music, literature, the sciences, cooking, the theater, movies, museums, and worldwide virtual travel destinations—as well ones on mental, physical, and spiritual well-being—are so enriching and inspirational. Thank you!”
—DS, Cyber Club Participant
In the spring, CJE’s Cyber Club introduced a new multinational travel series called Insider’s Guide. Funded by AgeOptions, monthly classes cover language, culture, and more, giving participants a chance to discover local secrets about their bucket list destinations and share their own travel stories.
Live classes are taught by language educator Kelly Shipman, MA, and history and geography educator Christopher Hudak, MA. For the first destination, participants visited Spain—famous for Picasso, Dali, flamenco dancing, and the world’s first modern novel—tapping into the country’s culture, language, and cuisines. They’ve since explored China and France, and participants can look forward to visiting Mexico, South Korea, Italy, and Australia soon.
Lyric Opera Series: Concerts at Home
Volunteers from the Lyric Opera Stage Artists and Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra are graciously performing a series of live virtual concerts for CJE’s Cyber Club participants. Lyric Opera musicians are showcasing some of their favorite songs for older adults to experience at home through Zoom and will continue to do so until they can perform in person again.
Join CJE volunteer Jay Lewkowitz for all things Yiddish—from cultural discussions to movies. This weekly program is open to all levels of Yiddish speakers and those interested in Yiddish language and culture.
“Thank you so much for all the beautiful music. Everyone is so very talented and inspirational to watch!”
—SC, Lyric Opera Concert Attendee
You can watch travel, culture, language, and music videos created by CJE volunteers and staff for CJE’s Cyber Club on our YouTube channel anytime. “Travels with Alice” videos take viewers on journeys to spectacular destinations like Australia, Morocco, Antarctica, India, Israel, Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Hawaii, the Badlands, cultural sites along the Danube River, and more. You’ll also find Spanish lessons for beginners and Yiddish singalongs performed by the MameLoshn Yiddish song group on our channel. These programs are always accessible … no registration required! Just visit YouTube.com/CJESeniorLife on the web or find us through the YouTube mobile app.
How to Participate: CJE’s Cyber Club programs are free and open to all, and most are accessible through Zoom with both video and telephone dial-in options. For the latest details about Cyber Club offerings, be sure to check our website at cje.net/cyberclub. Once you’ve signed up for something, you will receive email reminders, so you won’t miss your program. You can also have info on the latest programs delivered straight to your email inbox by signing up for Cyber Club’s weekly e-newsletter at the above website. Plus, get alerts for bnew videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/CJESeniorLife.