Why do so many people with every reason to be happy feel like something is missing from their life? "I am convinced," writes Rabbi [Harold] Kushner, "that it is not the fear of death, of our lives ending,... but more the fear that our lives will not have mattered, that as far as the world is concerned we might as well have never lived."
In our Happy class we have been both discussing and learning about happiness and its role in Judaism while also learning some practical techniques and tricks to get the positive attitude flowing.
We begin most classes with a quick whip of something that made us happy in the past week or that we're looking forward to and end each class by sharing 3 things that we are grateful for.
So far we have explored how many Jewish holidays require a person to be happy and how our tradition tries to both encourage and jump start the happy juices (wine is usually the "mixer" to help us relax in order to enjoy). We've reflected on how much our parents' happiness or friends' happiness affects our happiness and vice versa. We discussed what are things that provide us with more sustainable happiness verses ephemeral happiness and how much a positive attitude is a habit verses a personality trait.
A highlight for many of the students was watching the movie SUPERHEROES, a documentary that explores the world of real-life Superheroes; regular people like you and me who dress up in costumes and do good in the world. The conversation that we had about this film was quite passionate and the students felt that the individuals who were real-life Superheroes were happy when they successfully helped someone.
In addition to our discussions and opening and closing rituals, we have explored other ways to achieve happiness that we find both in our sacred tradition as well as others around us. We do breathing exercises to relax and playful activities to boost our joy.
So far we've had a lot of fun in the class and I'm glad to report that overall ~ everyone is HAPPY!
Contact Midrasha Co-Directors Mark Deutsch and Debra Marx at (510)501-6692