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  • Writer's pictureJohn Hollway

Positive Judaism Summit – VIA Character Strengths Inventory

John Hollway and Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz

Philadelphia, PA, February 22, 2019

Co-led discussion on understanding how the 24 VIA character strengths affect wellbeing and how to identify one’s signature strengths.


Full Schedule:

8:45      Arrival and Registration: 2nd Floor Atrium

             Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania

9:15      Welcome: Main Hall              Special Event

9:30      Introduction: “From Survive to Thrive”              Rabbi Darren Levine, D.Min

9:45      Keynote, “The Jewish Heart of Resilience”              Rabbi Deborah Waxman, PhD, President, Reconstructing Judaism

10:15    Coffee, Tea, and Networking: 2nd Floor Atrium              Greetings, Naomi Adler, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater 


10:45    Electives in Positive Psychology

             PERMA Theory of Wellbeing: Main Hall              Learning to increase Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships,      

             Meaning, and Accomplishment leads to wellbeing and happiness.

             Laura Taylor and Rabbi Elisa Goldberg

             Science of Gratitude: Room 1              Explore the Jewish understanding of gratitude and why expressing       

             gratitude leads to greater wellbeing.              Jen Beatty and Rabbi Ira Stone

             VIA Character Strengths Inventory: Room 2              Understand how the 24 character strengths affect wellbeing and how to     

             identify one’s signature strengths              John Hollway and Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz

             Positive Communication and Relationships: Room 3              Explore the science of authentic communication to better support    

             individuals and their relationships at home and work              Lara Kallandar and Rabbi Jacob Staub

             Benefits of Mindfulness: Room 4              Knowing how and why mindfulness is a driver of wellness can support     

             Jewish leaders in developing programs to support individuals of all ages              Tracey Specter and Rabbi Uri Allen

11:45    Workshop Series #1

             The Flourishing Synagogue of the 21st Century: Main Hall              Learn the theory, practice, and reasons why synagogues can become 

             centers for human flourishing in the 21st Century              Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz and Rabbi Deborah Waxman

             Positive Leadership and Coaching Models: Room 1              Most leaders have a limited view of humility and have yet to realize that   

             leading from humility allows executives and supervisors to connect   

             more positively with their teams and inspire their staffs with true   

             authenticity.              Tali Kurt-Galai

             Positive Rituals: Guiding Learners To Discover Meaning Through   

             Ritual: Room 2              Explore how small shifts in contemporary Jewish education can use  

             ritual help students and families thrive.              Anna Marx and Dr. Bill Robinson

             Positive Youth: The Road To Character: Room 3              Today’s youth report the highest levels of social, academic, and life      

             pressures than any generation before. Learn how to help today’s youth   

             build a road to character that draws on their strengths.              Michelle Shapiro Abraham, Rabbi Avi Orlow, Aaron Selkow

             Integrating Spirituality and Mental Health : Room 4              Through experiential exercises and case studies, we will provide 

             concrete tools for mental health professionals to address spirituality in 

             the healing and recovery of people living with mental health challenges              Rabbi Elisa Goldberg

             The Positive School Faculty: Room 5              Exploring models of school faculty engagement to foster a positive

             mindset for collaboration and trust              Dr. Evie Rotstein

12:45    Lunch Buffet with Learning Options              Open Seating with friends and colleagues in the Main Hall

             Text Study: Mussar, The Discipline of Thriving: Room 2              A thriving life cannot emerge out of chaos. In particular, ethical chaos is   

             antithetical to thriving. Explore a Jewish approach to thriving through   

             Mussar, which focuses attention to the traits of character and  

             relationships with others.              Rabbi Ira Stone

             Making Mentches Game: Room 3              Come play a game! Making Mentches is the newest game to build  

             Jewish character as players learn Jewish values and how to navigate  

             real life scenarios              Michelle Shapiro Abraham and Rabbi Avi Orlow

1:45      Session II Workshops

             Positive Judaism Panel: A Thriving Vision for Jewish Living:  Main  

             Hall              Learn how these Jewish leaders are actively using Positive Psychology     

             to revolutionize their organizations, teachings, and leadership              Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz, Rabbi Elisa Goldberg, Aaron Selkow,         

             moderated by Rabbi Darren Levine

             Positive Storytelling for Families and Young Children: Room 1               Learn the “Strengths Based Storytelling Method” for educators to learn   

             how to tell traditional Jewish stories but from a positive strength  

             paradigm.              Lisa Litman and Chesney Polis

             Practicum: Education that Builds Habits for Enacting Values:  

             Room 2              Enacting Jewish values that build meaningful lives requires more than  

             learning terms and lingo. Learn practical strategies to encourage a      

             lifetime of living by values.              Anna Marx and Dr. Bill Robinson

            Positive Jewish Engagement for Gen Y Millennials and Gen Z    

            Centennials: Room 3             We know that Millennials and Centennials are reshaping the 21st  

            Century. How can the Jewish community best support these generations  

            with a positive model for communal thriving and individual flourishing?

            Rabbi Mike Uram and Jeremy Wilson

            Tools for Trauma Healing: From Survive to Thrive: Room 4             Explore how Jewish traditions, rituals, stories, and practices can support 

            individuals and communities on their path from survive to thrive.             Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg

            Jewish Spiritual Direction For Mental Health Professionals: Room 5             Explore the intersection between classic therapy models and new   

            approaches in spiritual direction for individual and group therapy.             Rabbi Jacob Staub

3:00     Research Presentation: Jewish Life and Wellbeing Study              David Yaden, MAPP and Jeremy Wilson

4:00     Guided Jewish Meditation Practice

            The physical, psychological, and emotional benefits of meditation have  

            been shown to raise wellbeing among individuals and communities. This  

            session will present the scientific benefits of meditation followed by a 30- 

            minute guided practice.

5:00      Cocktail Reception with participants and University Students

5:30      University Community Gathering: "Reflections on Faith and  

             Wellness"              Students and faculty are invited to join Dr. Benoit Dube, Penn’s Chief          

             Wellness Officer and Rabbi Darren Levine in conversation. They will  

             host an interactive group experience to explore the pairing of faith and   

             wellness as a pathway to thriving on campus and in life.              Dr. Benoit Dube and Rabbi Darren Levine

7:00 Farewell

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