Gerotrancscendence Through Jewish Eyes

Chaya Greenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Swedish sociologist Tornstam perceives old age as the peak of human maturation whose favorable culmination is gerotranscendence. The latter is characterized by breaking out of one's finite existence and uniting with a greater world with respect to past, present, and future. Tornstam relates to gerotranscendent roots in Eastern cultures; this study will examine how gerotranscendence finds expression in Jewish sources. Varied Jewish texts speak to how the wisdom that accrues from life experience enables one to rise above physical decline and enrich relationships via self, fellow man, and cosmos. Three major biblical exemplars of gerotranscendors are depicted: Abraham, focusing on limitless giving to fellow man; Isaac, overcoming psychological barriers of past paternal disappointments; and Jacob uniting with his children and grandchildren through the blessing that becomes a legacy for perpetuating the future of the nation. Practical applications of the study for more meaningful aging are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-292
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Gerotranscendence
  • Jewish roots
  • Meaningful aging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (all)
  • Religious studies


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