Bridging the generation gap with technology

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Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School students taught Leisure World residents how to use the latest technology at last April’s Tech Cafe. They are returning to Leisure World this month and will be joined by Berman Hebrew Academy students.Photo by Fred Shapiro
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School students taught Leisure World residents how to use the latest technology at last April’s Tech Cafe. They are returning to Leisure World this month and will be joined by Berman Hebrew Academy students.
Photo by Fred Shapiro

Senior citizens surfing the Internet and updating their social media accounts on iPads and iPhones? Older adults are increasingly becoming proficient in the latest high-tech gadgetry, many with the help of area Jewish day school students passing along their tech knowledge at what are called Intergenerational Tech Cafés.

Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School seniors are returning to Leisure World in Silver Spring on Dec. 20 to teach technology one-on-one with residents. They will be joined by students from Berman Hebrew Academy. The students earn community service credits for participating.


“Usually it’s the seniors who have a lot of wisdom and life experience, but in this case we’re helping them with technology, either with computers or their smart phones,” said Rabbi Mitchel Malkus, head of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.

The event is co-sponsored by the Computer Learning Center and the Jewish Residents of Leisure World.

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At last April’s Tech Café there were more than 40 residents and between 20 to 25 students, according to Fred Shapiro, community liaison to the Jewish Residents of Leisure World and president of the Center for Lifelong Learning, an adult education program at Leisure World.

“Everybody walked out very, very happy,” he said. “They were able to learn how to use the iPhones and the iPads and on the computer they were able to learn how to use different programs.”


Shapiro will make a presentation on current digital photography technology to the students before they sit down for one-on-one sessions with the seniors.

Stacey Relkin-Winkler, a Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School parent and former PTA president, was instrumental in helping to make Tech Café a regular program. The Leisure World Tech Café will be the third this year, and it has become a monthly event, according to Relkin-Winkler.

“[Leisure World] is a great location because the seniors live there, so it makes it very easy to get a nice turnout of seniors,” she said.

Everyone comes out of the sessions feeling great, said Relkin-Winkler. The seniors say they want to take the students home with them and the kids get to be the experts instead of having the adults tell them what to do.

The seniors, she said, “are all so active and so excited to have the teens and the teens really enjoy the experience.”

The Intergenerational Tech Café will take place on Dec. 20 at Leisure World of Maryland in Silver Spring from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents can register at the Education and Recreation office in Clubhouse II. For information, call (240) 433-0391 or email [email protected]

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@JoshMarks78

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