Positive Judaism Summit. New York City

If you are interested in the growing movement of Positive Psychology and Judaism, this Summit is for you.

Professionals, Clergy, Educators, Authors, Social Workers, Academics, Seminarians, Thought Leaders, Journalists,
and folks of every denomination and background are invited.



Summit Schedule

March 7, 2018, UJA Federation of New York

9:00  Arrive and Check-in

9:15  Welcome

9:30  Positive Judaism: A New Vision for Jewish Life in the 21st Century, Rabbi Darren Levine

10:00 Foundations in Human Flourishing: Positive Psychology, Emiliya Zhivotovskaya

10:30 The Latest Research on Religion and Happiness, Rabbi Geoff Mitelman

10:50 Break

11:00 Panel Discussion: Applications of Happiness and Well-being Theory in Jewish Life Today
David Bryfman, “Thriving as the New Purpose of Jewish Education”
Jeffrey Kress,  “Social and Emotional Learning in Jewish Settings”
Rabbi Michael Mellen, “Resonant Leadership and Change”
Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu, “Positive Psychology in Synagogues and Ritual Spaces”
Cantor Adina Frydman, Moderator

12:15 Pre-lunch study with Rabbi Evan Moffic, “The Happiness Prayer”

12:30 Buffet Lunch and Table Talk Conversations
David Bryfman, “Can Jewish Education Really Make You Happy?”
Cantor Adina Frydman, “Potential Impacts of Positive Judaism on a Communal Level”
Jeffrey Kress,  “Social and Emotional Learning in Jewish Education”
Rabbi Michael Mellen, “Developing Your Positive Leadership Voice”
Rabbi Evan Moffic, “Intentional Prayer Boosts Physical Wellbeing and Health”
Rabbi Geoff Mitelman, “Living Jewishly at the Intersection of Science and Religion”
Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu, “Integrating Positive Psychology into your Synagogue or Organization”
Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, “Why Some People Flourish While Others Languish”

1:15  The Road Ahead: Achieving Positive Judaism, Rabbi Darren Levine

1:30  Farewell

About The Speakers and Panelists


David Bryfman, PhD. Chief Innovation Officer, Jewish Education Project

David is the leading voice for Thriving in Jewish educational settings. David completed his Ph.D. Education and Jewish Studies at NYU focusing on Jewish adolescent identity  development and experiential Jewish Education. He is also a graduate of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program. Prior to moving to New York, David worked in formal and informal Jewish educational institutions in Australia, Israel, and North America. David was the primary author of the 2016 research report titled Generation Now: Understanding and Engaging Jewish Teens Today.


Cantor Adina Frydman, Executive Director, Synergy: UJA Federation of New York

Adina is the Executive Director of SYNERGY at the UJA-Federation of NY and Synagogues Together. For 100 years, UJA-Federation has been a central force for communal planning and philanthropy in the New York Jewish community. Through UJA-Federation, close to 50,000 donors pool their resources to help people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and strengthen Jewish communities around the world.


Dr. Jeffrey Kress, PhD, Professor of Jewish Education at The Davidson School, Jewish Theological Seminary

Jeffrey is a faculty member in the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education. His work focuses on social, emotional, and spiritual elements of Jewish education. He has also written on the topic of Experiential Jewish Education. Dr. Kress is a certified facilitator of the Center for Creative Leadership’s Benchmarks 360 and has conducted many such assessments for educational leaders in programs such as the Day School Leadership Training Institute.


Rabbi Darren Levine, D. Min, Founding Rabbi, Tamid: The Downtown Synagogue

Darren is the Founding Rabbi of Tamid: The Downtown Synagogue in Lower Manhattan. He holds Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Psychology from the Post-Graduate Center in New York and HUC-JIR. Darren was ordained a rabbi in 2003 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and is a graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2016, he launched Positive-Judaism.org to host the growing community of those interested in the intersection of religion and positive psychology. In the summer of 2017, Darren was a member of the Imagination Institute Gathering in Ulhuru, Australia.


Rabbi Michael Mellen, President of Iron and Sage, INC.

Michael is an expert in Executive Leadership and Coaching and is a sought after speaker, trainer, facilitator and consultant. Ordained as a rabbi in 1998, he has served as Director of NFTY – the North American youth movement of Reform Judaism’s 900 congregations, as a congregational rabbi and educator at Temple B’nai Shalom in Fairfax Station, Virginia, and as a consultant, educator and advisor with a company he founded, Jewish Youth Works. Michael works with the Jewish Education Project in New York.


Rabbi Evan Moffic, Author and Senior Rabbi and Congregation Solel, Highland Park, IL

Evan is lead rabbi of Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Illinois, a synagogue of 500 families. He is the youngest rabbi of a major congregation in the United States. A graduate with high honors from Stanford University, he has a passion for helping Christians learn about Judaism and the Old Testament in a way that makes their faith stronger and deeper. He has appeared numerous times as a religious commentator on Fox News, blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and Beliefnet, has his own popular blog www.rabbi.me, and speaks at churches and interfaith conferences around the country.


Rabbi Geoffrey Mitelman, Executive Director, Sinai and Synapses.

Geoffrey is the Founding Director of Sinai and Synapses, an organization that bridges the scientific and religious worlds.  His work has been supported by the John Templeton FoundationEmanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, and the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, and his writings about the intersection of religion and science have appeared on the homepages of several sites, including The Huffington PostNautilusScience and Religion TodayJewish Telegraphic Agency, and My Jewish Learning.


Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu, Director, Rabbis Without Boarders, CLAL

Rebecca is the Director of Rabbis Without Borders at CLAL – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. She directs two rabbinic fellowship programs and coaches individual rabbis in attaining their career goals. She was the founding director of the MetroWest Jewish Healing and Healing Center and the Center for Jewish Life at JCC MetroWest in West Orange, NJ. In addition, she is a trained hospital chaplain and speaks and writes on issues of health, healing, spirituality, and Jewish women. She holds a masters degree and ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.


Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, MAPP, PCC, ERYT. CEO & Founder, The Flourishing Center

Emiliya is the CEO and founder of The Flourishing Center that is dedicated to increasing the flourishing of individuals, organizations and communities world wide. She is the creator of the Certification in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) program offered in 11 cities across the U.S., Canada and online worldwide which has trained over 700 practitioners to date. She is the creator the Bounce Back BetterTM (B3) Program, Positive Psychology Coaching Certification, Flourishing Skills Group® (FSG®) Program, creator of the iMMi Program and the 5i Change Agent Model.




$36 per person includes a luncheon buffet and beverages throughout the entire Summit. We are grateful to UJA Federation of New York and Synergy for hosting the Summit. Please email LiLach Bonani if you have any questions at connect@tamidnyc.org.



Thank you to our Summit Presenters


MARCH 6, 2019