by Beth Robinson

As I’m writing up materials for this year’s Lives Well Lived fundraiser, I’m looking at my collection of Iris Apfel coloring books, Iris Barbie, and whatnot on my desk. Our 2022 Lives Well Lived: Aging in Style! was inspired by a woman who was not only a fashion icon, but to my mind the living embodiment of a life well lived. She passed last week at age 102.

I admired her tremendously and intend, to the best of my ability (I have far less jewelry) to emulate her. But I’m lucky. I go through my days amidst our local icons who have so much to teach about how to make good use of these years.

At last year’s Lives Well Lived: Wrinkles in Time, we celebrated the launch of “Don’t Write Me Off: 39 Stories of Older Adulthood,” written by a group of JSL residents, almost all being published for the first time at ages 59 – 102.

Coming up in April, we’ll be taking our (very fashionable) hats off to Iris at two fashion shows featuring JSL residents walking the catwalk in high style (from our boutiques).

Our annual Bessie Spector Oldest Jewish Americans celebration is coming up. Last year we welcomed over 100 honorees ages 95 and older, including 19 over 100! This event is so incredibly special – and fun! Please let us know if you know someone 95 or older by filling out our online form. And let me know if you’d like to join us as a volunteer.

This year’s Lives Well Lived is in the early planning stages, but I can tell you will be focusing on comedy (because who doesn’t need a good laugh?!).

But to me, the idea of a life well lived will always evoke Iris. We’ll miss you Iris.

Beth Robinson

Director, Friends of Jewish Senior Life

248-592-5062 /

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