The Jewish Learning Institute’s Newest Class Looks at Positive Psychology through the 3,000-year-old lens of Jewish thought.
Westminster,Colorado – 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:
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.
Beginning Tuesday November 4, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) will presentHow Happiness Thinks: Jewish Perspectives on Positive Psychology, the institute’s new six-session fall 2014 course.
Rabbi Benjy Brackman of Chabad of NW Metro Denver will conduct the six course sessions at 7:00 pm on Tuesday evenings at Chabad of NW Metro Denver at 4505 W 112th Ave Westminster. Each session is 90 minutes and is presented with a power point presentation and a student’s text book.
Rabbi Brackman 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.”
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), California Board of Behavioral Sciences (CBBS), Social Work Board of the State of Maryland, and the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
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.
Responding to those that said his class was too easy for an institution as academically rigorous as Harvard, Prof. Ben-Shahar told the Boston Globe that it might seem that way, but only because of the deep effect the subject had on the participant’s lives. “Most things we find interesting, we also find easy.”
Like all previous JLI programs, How Happiness Thinks is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship.
Interested students may call 720-984-5805 or visit www.COJewish.com/JLI for registration and other course-related information.
Source: Boulder Jewish News