A New Vision for Jewish Life in the 21st Century
Positive Judaism is a new vision for those that are serious about improving their individual lives, their families, and their communities through Jewish living. As a parent, rabbi, and educator, I’ve witnessed in many lives and my own the deep commitment to Jewish identity but the struggle at times to find a real to the traditional ways into prayer, holiday observance, Torah study and to God. Life is complex and challenging and Positive Judaism is a new language for Judaism that articulates a way to enhance our lives in everything we do and everything we are.
Positive Judaism answers the question, “why be Jewish?” For people who are seeking to enhance their personal well-being, for leaders who are seeking to have a relevant and positive impact on the lives of their members, and for congregations seeking have a positive impact on their larger community, Positive Judaism has language that will help you find a compelling answer to the question: “why be Jewish?” read more . . .
Positive Judaism Study Guides
Each two-page study guide is designed to for a one-hour group session for people of all backgrounds. I often begin with a five minute guided meditation on the topic of each session and each lesson is a stand alone session. Click the title link below to download the lesson. Enjoy!
Guide #1: Inspired Living: Wisdom and Love
Strengths: Wisdom: Open-minded, curious, creative, love of learning
Guide #2: When Living Hurts: Facing Life with Courage
Strengths: Courage: Bravery, perseverance, honesty, resilience
Guide #3: Love and Kindness: Personal Transformation and Change
Strengths: Humanity: Love, kindness, social intelligence
Guide #4: Justice, Justice, You Shall Pursue: The Journey to Freedom
Strengths: Justice: Teamwork, fairness, leadership
Guide #5: To Forgive is to Love: Letting Go of Limitations
Strengths: Temperance: Forgiveness, humility, prudence, self regulation
Guide #6: Open to Hope: The Spirituality of Gratitude
Strengths: Transcendence: Appreciation of beauty, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality
“Positive Judaism > Happiness,” published 4/7/17, ejewishphilanthropy.com
In the past year, among leading Jewish educators, there has been considerable attention given to the issue of Happiness in developing Jewish Identity among young people. In this article, Darren argues that a happiness is important, but incomplete. What about when living hurts? Educators would fail if they only equipped people with “happy” because they would not have the tools to face real life challenges. In addition to happiness, educators and clergy should also teach the range of strengths and values offered within Positive Judaism, such as gratitude, optimism, hope, courage, resilience, and forgiveness.
“Positive Judaism: A First Look for Clergy and Jewish Professionals”
CCAR Journal, pp 103-121, Summer 2017
Positive Judaism lives at the intersection of Positive Psychology and Judaism. This article is the first effort to articulate the connection between Jewish practice, thought, and philosophy; and, the science of human achievement and character strengths. Drawing on Torah, Talmud, Mussar, prayer, ritual, and ancient and modern commentary, the author shows that the core tenets of Positive Psychology and Jewish living are not only perfect compliments, but will lead enrich the lives of the people we serve and strengthen our communities.
Positive Passover Seder Guide
Passover is about stories and rituals and lends itself naturally to the core teachings of Positive Judaism. With a positive mindset, I encourage you to approach your seder with a higher purpose this year focused on two leading questions. First, how can my seder raise the level of positivity in the lives of those who sit at my table? And second, how can my seder inspire those at my table to go out and make the world a more positive place for others?
Positive Judaism: Classification of Strengths and Virtues
The categories that lead people to achieve optimal living and the values that make life more fulfilling are comprised of 24 character strengths that fall under six broad virtue categories: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. Positive Judaism has adopted the VIA Classification of Strengths framework (VIA Classification of Strengths) as the basis for the core traits and values of Positive Judaism by pairing each strength with their corresponding Jewish values, biblical teachings, and Jewish practice.
Click here for the two-page Positive Judaism Classification of Strengths