Exciting Class on Jewish Positive Psychology to be Presented in Northbrook

Posted Tuesday, Oct 21st, 2014
Chicago Tribune

 The Jewish Learning Institute's (JLI) Newest Class Looks at Positive Psychology through the 3,000-year-old lens of Jewish thought.

Northbrook, IL - When Israeli-born psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar began teaching a class called Positive Psychology at Harvard in 2006, a record 855 undergraduate students signed up for his class. Droves of students at the academically-intense university came to learn, as the course description puts it, about "psychological aspects of a fulfilling and flourishing life."

Speaking to the Harvard Crimson, Prof. Ben-Shahar attributed the class' high numbers to one simple factor: "…People want to be happy. Whether it is at Harvard or any other place, people want to be happier. [...] There are over 200 campuses just in the United States alone where positive psychology is being taught, and on most campuses it is one of the, if not the, largest class." 
Over the last fifty-odd years modern psychology has focused predominantly on mental illness, yet in recent years the emphasis has begun to pivot away from what makes life miserable, towards the positive: What makes life worth living? What makes happy people happy? And while this may be a relatively new topic for psychologists, it's one that was addressed by Jewish wisdom and mysticism centuries ago.

Rabbi Zalman Abraham of JLI's headquarters in New York says that being happy can depend on one's perspective, explaining, "How Happiness Thinks is based on the premise that to be happy, you can either change the world, or you can change your thinking."Beginning November 4th, the Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) will present a six week course How Happiness Thinks: Jewish Perspectives on Positive Psychology.
Rabbi Meir Moscowitz of Chabad of Northbrook will conduct the six course sessions at 2095 Landwehr Rd in Northbrook. Class avaible Tuesday mornings (10:00 am - 11:30 am) or evenings (7:30 pm - 9:00pm) starting November 4.

While drawing on 3,000 years of Jewish wisdom on happiness, the course, which was prepared in partnership between JLI and the Washington School of Psychiatry, builds on the latest observations and discoveries in the field of positive psychology. How Happiness Thinks offers participants the chance to earn up to 15 continuing education credits from the American Psychological Association (APA), American Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).

"How Happiness Thinks brings together modern research in positive psychology and ancient Jewish wisdom," explains Prof. Ben-Shahar, a renowned expert in the field who has authored five books and today teaches at IDC Herzliya, "This marriage between theology and science can bring about significan positive change in individuals and communities."

The course explores to what degree surroundings and circumstances effect ones overall happiness, potential challenges to living a joyous life, and whether G-d cares if people are happy or not. 
"The course focuses on ways to overcome the challenges that get in the way of our happiness, including stress, grief and self-concept," says instructor Rabbi Meir Moscowitz of Northbrook, "But we're also going to discuss techniques to boost our happiness such as humility, gratitude and meaningful living."

Like all previous JLI programs, How Happiness Thinks is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge.

Interested students may call 847-564-8770 or visit www.ChabadNorthbrook.com/JLI for registration and other course-related information. 

Source: Chicago Tribune

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