Rachel and Alfred Meisels Share Their Secret to Living Longer – And Better


Anyone scrolling through social media or reading online blogs these days will likely come across a handful of captions and references of people proclaiming to be “living their best life.” But for Rachel and Alfred Meisels, a retired teacher and ophthalmologist respectively, they truly live with purpose each day, taking full advantage to explore, learn and help others.

Here are 10 things to know about Rachel and Al:

  1. Rachel was born and bred in Baltimore. Al was born in Vienna, Austria.

  2. They met on a blind date over 55 years ago in Baltimore, MD.

  3. Advice for a long marriage? “A sense of humor certainly helps,” says Rachel. Al agrees that humor can be the key to a successful marriage and jokingly adds “agreeing with your spouse also helps to keep your marriage intact.”

  4. Their love and friendship for each other helped the Meisels thrive as they raised three children together in the Baltimore area. They are Bubbie and Zaidy/Grandma and Grandpa to two grandchildren.

  5. Rachel’s parents were very active in the Baltimore Jewish community growing up. Her father, at one point, was president of the Jewish Museum of Maryland (JMM), and Rachel herself later became the president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in Baltimore.

  6. Al is an active participant in the Myerberg’s Bagel Boys (now referred to as the Bagel Bunch), a group that meets each week to listen to guest speakers, engage in interesting discussions, and, you guessed it, enjoy coffee and bagels. Al shared with the Myerberg his philosophy on the secret to longevity – the mantra is “If you want to live a long life you must do three things: be active physically, mentally and socially.”

  7. Al started painting when he retired. He began taking art classes under the instruction of Judy Schlossberg at the Myerberg Center and typically paints landscapes and “natural beauty”. “That class was the most wonderful thing that happened to my husband when he retired… it is a wonderfully connected and supportive social group,” says Rachel. Stay active socially – check.

  8. Rachel has been a participant in Israel Connect, a virtual mentorship program she learned about from the Myerberg that pairs older adults with high school students in Israel. As a former teacher, this is a win-win for Rachel. “Last year was my first year participating and quickly became the highlight of my week. I got to learn a lot about my young student’s life in Israel and she was eager and motivated to improve her English.” Stay active mentally – check.

  9. At a short break time during art class, Al leads breathing and stretching exercises for the class. Stay active physically – check.

  10. Advice you would give to young family moving to the area? “Find a connection for yourself. Whether it’s through the JCC or a shul or any of the other agencies of The Associated…but get involved so you can feel personally connected to somebody. We have so much to offer here. And it’s wonderful to live in a place that has an association or federation that helps the Jewish community thrive.”

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The Associated is a home for everyone in the Baltimore Jewish community. We offer several email lists to help people find a community, engage with their peers and support Jewish journeys around the world.

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