Every year, many people travel to Jerusalem in search of their religious roots, or perhaps to have a better connection with Israel as a country. Typically, the average age of these tourists is not 91 years old. Yet this is not a typical trip to Jerusalem and these travelers are not your typical tourists.
The movie “Next Year Jerusalem” takes us on a soul-searching journey with eight nursing home residents from the Jewish Home for the Elderly located in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Baby boomer travelers make up a large percentage of active and luxury travelers looking to see as much of the world before they depart to greener pastures.
The senior citizen traveler is an age group I am familiar with. As a baby boomer myself, I traveled with my elderly mother to Bilbao, Spain in 2007 to visit the Gugghenheim Museum. This particular museum was on my mom’s bucket list and she wanted to see it and explore its treasures inside and out before she kicked the bucket, shall we say.
While I love that President and CEO Andrew Banoff of the Jewish Home for the Elderly is willing to oversee and ultimately accompany the senior citizens on their trip to Jerusalem, I can’t imagine the logistics involved in transporting eight senior travelers and their care givers, via airplane, bus and wheelchair, from Fairfield, Connecticut to Israel. From floating in the Dead Sea to to visiting the Massada in Israel this movie gives us a chance to experience travel from a senior tourist’s perspective. What a trip!
Travel and memory
With the promise of one last travel adventure, these eight senior citizens of the Jewish Home for the Elderly want to pack in as many experiences and travel memories as possible. Says one of the travelers, “better take it all in. Who knows when we’re coming back again.”
“I’m going to journal everyday,” remarks one of the senior travelers. “Because I don’t want to forget!”
“I am very lonely,” says Regine Arouette, 87. “I love the idea of the trip.”
“Every photograph means something” says Bill Wein, 97. “It’s something you remember for the rest of your life.”
Next Year Jerusalem
After the 10 day pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the tourists return to Connecticut and their daily lives in a senior citizen facility. The 72 minute documentary, Next Year Jerusalem, directed and produced by David Gaynes, is not really a travel movie as much as it is a metaphor for the journey, triumphs and struggles of life in our twilight years.
Have you traveled with a senior citizen? Do you have tips for traveling with seniors? Share your experiences below.
Where to See: Next Year Jerusalem
Movie review by Nancy D. Brown. First Run Features supplied me with the Next Year Jerusalem DVD for review purposes, as well as photos. All opinions are my own.
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