Golden Age

June 20, 2024

Name: Mrs. Shulamis Tress

Year moved to Lakewood: 2018

From: Monsey

Current location: Carasaljo, near South Lake Drive

Job: retired


An ingathering

“It’s an ingathering from all over,” is how Mrs. Shulamis Tress describes the burgeoning community of seniors streaming into Lakewood. A six-year full-time resident, this retired mother and bubby brims with joy and positivity as she discusses her move, adjustment, and the golden years of life.

A momentous move

Moving, especially from a different state, is not always easy, but with a focus on the goal, it can be a rewarding experience.

We were living in Monsey when we bought our house in Lakewood in 2012. We moved part-time in 2013—just for Shabbos and Yom Tov—and finally came here full-time in 2018. I worked in a Section A government program for housing vouchers. An organization in Monsey ran the operation, facilitated by the Vizhnitz community. Working in Monsey, I noticed how the Vizhnitz area had multiple generations living near each other, and I loved that.

Coming from Monsey to Lakewood was a smooth adjustment. Monsey is more rural, and the idea of getting into the car to get around was already part of my life. The lifestyle here is similar, and that helped.

What made the move so enjoyable was being surrounded by family and extended family. As we get older, one commodity we have more of is time. What better way to spend it than with my children and grandchildren?

Of course, there are all the minutiae associated with moving—insurance, construction, doctors—but these are normal, and don’t have to be terribly stressful. It’s up to us to prioritize and concentrate on what’s really important. I look at my life now, so close to family, and I always say: what an amazing gift.

Loving Lakewood

When people ask how I feel about my new home, I tell them I love Lakewood. It’s an amazing community. I see the bnei Torah with their foundations of learning and Torah values. When they move on to earn a parnassah, they are tremendous ba’alei tzedakah and baa’alei chessed who are always looking for opportunities to give. They really, really care.

The only “fly in the ointment,” as the saying goes, is the traffic situation. But I feel the price I pay is worth it. I’m simply in awe of the chessed and tzedakah that goes on here.

I also love that the yeshivah is the central focus of the town. My husband learned in one of the batei midrash, and when he came home, he told me that it was incredible. The kol Torah was unbelievable—and there are so many batei midrashos here, with the same scene being played out every day.

Special schools

I have grandchildren in the Lakewood school system, and I have what to say about it. There’s been tremendous growth in Lakewood, and it hasn’t been normal growth, like in a regular city. The influx of people has been so great, and so fast, that there are real growing pains.

The school system is caught in the middle of all this. Not having enough spots for all of Lakewood’s children is a huge problem, because the center of our lives is chinuch. But in my years here, I’ve watched as Lakewood has begun to overcome the problem. I’ve noticed more schools opening, which relieves the pressure on existing schools.

And the education my grandchildren receive?

I see the children and young ladies at simchos, and they’re so beautiful and tzniusdig. I think the schools are doing a great job.

Of course, there are problems—there are always problems—and I’m not trying to oversimplify anything. But when I see the girls at a graduation, they’re refined, they daven, do chessed, and try to be aware of what’s important. We owe so much to their mechanchim. It’s gratifying to see these special young men and women, and they should only get better and better!

A wonderful stage

The “golden years” are not called golden for nothing. This is a great time to enjoy the riches of a lifetime. So how do we stay vibrant and young?

Well, this is a wonderful stage in life. I highly recommend it!

Mainly, this time of life is all about two things. First, there is the physical side, which includes ailments or things that Hashem sends us, which we can’t control.

The second aspect to aging is all about attitude. It’s so important to stay engaged, involved, to socialize with people, and to get out. I enjoy shiurim and attend as many as I can.

I was involved in the conception of Connections, an organization for women 55 and over. Chany Stefansky and my son created this beautiful gathering point for people at my stage in life. There are speakers and social opportunities, and we’re working on enlarging our existing building. We hope to offer services to the 55+ community—classes, exercise areas, and so much more.

Aging is all about staying viable, and I try to enjoy it.

With Connections, Lakewood is well on its way to adding luster to the “golden” era of life.

Nothing better

I don’t feel like I’ve spoken enough about how incredible it is to live near family. I know I mentioned it, but I really can’t stress it enough.

Some people might feel like hosting and having kids all the time is stressful, but I set up my home to be a place where my kids and grandchildren feel comfortable to come at any time. My kids love to pop in—some of them even visit on the way to work. Shabbos, Yom Tov, Erev Shabbos—instead of a phone call, I receive real, live visits.

Feeling loved and being surrounded by the people you love is the most essential thing in life. And my relationships with my grandchildren are not superficial, but deep and genuine. What a brachah! There’s nothing better.

The last move

It’s been a journey—from Williamsburg to Crown Heights, from Boro Park to Monsey, and finally Lakewood.

I hope this is the last stop—for now.

Soon, very soon, I hope to move again…to Eretz Yisrael!

Im yirtzeh Hashem, the last move should be very soon for everyone…



My message to young moms

Shiurim are one of my passions, and I once heard a shiur by Rabbi Joey Haber. He was talking about enjoying the now. I always tell this to my children who are so busy raising their own children. It’s a hectic time of life—I know because I’ve done it. But we have to stop looking at next week, next month, next year, and just live in the moment, enjoying the brachos of health, children, parnassah—whatever we have. Of course it can be challenging, but those types of challenges are good.

One of my friends once told me, “Anything you won’t think about in five years is not worth getting nervous about now.” We get so caught up in things, like perfectly matching clothes for every simchah, and we spend so much money, but in the end, who cares? I like to focus my “worry” in more important places.

Look at your balance sheet, and focus on the assets.