eJewish Philanthropy: Aging Expert Barbara Waxman, OneTable and Multi-Generational Connections

OneTable brought Shabbat to thousands of young adults. Soon, empty nesters will dine, too.

As the world emerges from the pandemic, people are ‘looking for ways to connect on their own terms — in their own homes, in their own community,’ OneTable CEO Aliza Kline said

OneTable, an organization that has served as a platform for 80,000 Shabbat dinners since its founding in 2014 has been filling that need for young adults for nearly a decade, it is now expanding its demographic reach.

Barbara Waxman, an expert in the study of aging, says she’s a “huge proponent” of OneTable expanding to older adults, and she can see herself taking advantage of the resource. “What OneTable is offering is the chance for people to get beyond superficial small talk,” she said.

But Waxman, 60, thinks the organization should focus on “stage, not age.”

“It could be empty nesters. It could be people on a growth journey. It could be people who are going back to school, or who’ve gotten divorced. It could end up getting people of similar ages, but my point is, age alone is not really the qualifier that is going to define how I connect with someone.”

“People are not attracted to being labeled by their age,” she added.

“In general, people in midlife and better have more resources than younger people,” Waxman said. “But when you’re trying to target a population that wants more connection, I think that there are a good number of those people who are on a limited budget.”

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