I am pleased to welcome you to Positive Judaism – a new vision for those that are serious about improving their individual lives, their families, and their communities through Jewish living.
As a rabbi, I’ve witnessed in the lives of many a deep commitment to Jewish identity but the struggle at times to find a real connection Jewish prayer, holiday observance, Torah study and God. We all know that life is complex and challenging and we need a new language for Judaism that clearly articulates a way to enhance our lives in everything we do and everything we are.
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 answers to these questions.
While ancient Jewish texts teach that God chose the Jewish People, in the 21st century it is the People that will or will not choose to be Jewish. It’s not enough to glorify Judaism and the benefits of living a Jewish life. Historical memory, Israel, the threat of anti-semitism, and guilt are not strong enough motivators for Jewish engagement. We need something new and serious.
Positive Judaism draws up traditional Jewish thought and practice and the theory and teachings of Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology deals with optimal living, well-being, and happiness – so does Positive Judaism. Positive Judaism brings attention to the virtues that enhance life and that are at the core of living a meaningful life:
- Wisdom: Open-minded, curious, creative, love of learning
- Courage: Bravery, persistence, integrity, resilience
- Humanity: Love, kindness, social intelligence
- Justice: Citizenship, fairness, leadership
- Temperance: Forgiveness, mercy, humanity, self control
- Transcendence: Appreciation of beauty, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality
All these virtues have corresponding Jewish values, biblical teachings, and Jewish practices. When experienced by an individual or community, the impact will be increased positive emotion, increased communal engagement, improved relationships, and accelerated human advancement. People and communities will be more confident, optimistic, open to diversity, able to learn lessons from hardship, experience work as a calling, act and think with purpose, contribute and help, appreciate family and friends, and act generously.
Positive Judaism is just at the beginning but I look forward to many conversations with you about how to transform Jewish living in the 21st Century for the positive: positive for you and positive for the world. Please be in touch with me directly.
With hope and gratitude and to your well-being,
Rabbi Darren Levine, D. Min