Schmooze & Schmear is a monthly discussion group for retired gentlemen. Facilitated by JFS volunteers Sam Bub and Leon Zoller, this interest-based program draws an average of 20 participants from across the Lehigh Valley who meet monthly at Temple Beth El to socialize with their peers, enjoy a bagel with a schmear, and participate in a discussion topic.
Bub and Zoller approached JFS in 2019 with the idea of creating an opportunity for men to come together as a way to connect, reminisce, and learn from their peers. It started with eight participants. Zoller, a retired businessman, began as the social chair who recruited new members and facilitated introductions at each meeting. Bub, a retired physician, acted as the program chair by researching articles, YouTube videos and presenting on current events and inventions. The only rule? No women and no politics.
Schmooze & Schmear continued meeting virtually throughout the pandemic. Back in person, Zoller and Bub are expanding the size of the group, and empowering other members to take on the presenting role.
The January 2023 meeting featured Dr. Bill Tuffiash, speaking on the history of the bialy and his family’s connection to Bialystok, Poland. Bill’s great grandmother, Chaya Nasovitch, lived in Bialystok and his grandmother, Sarah, was born there. Sponsored by the Braunstein family of White Plains, NY, Sarah emigrated to the United States in 1913 at the age of thirteen. The inventor of the bialy, Moshe Nasovitch, was a relative of Bill’s great grandmother. Bialys were brought to the United States by Polish Jewish immigrants from Bialystok in the late 1800s and became a staple of Jewish bakeries in New York City. Participants enjoyed a lively chat about their shared love of bialys, and their memories associated with this iconic food.
The gentlemen have developed a camaraderie, and look forward to getting together each month. They are an intellectually interesting group of individuals who have a lot to offer. Bill explains “I look forward to Schmooze & Schmear. I’m getting to know community members whose names I have heard for years, but never had the opportunity to meet.”
To learn more about joining this group, contact Carol Wilson, Clinical Coordinator of Older Adult Services, at email@example.com.