Rabbi Darren Levine explains how the psychology of happiness intersects with religious practice.
Science and religion have a complicated history. Scientists cannot quantify God—God is pretty difficult to bring into the laboratory, quips Rabbi Darren Levine—but what they can study and measure is the effect of faith on people's well-being and life satisfaction. When religious wisdom is taught and enacted well, it focuses on ideals like deepening relationships with family and friends, personal responsibility, and making a positive impact in the world. Levine is a proponent of positive Judaism, which merges key characteristics of positive psychology with practices of reformed Judaism. The field of psychology is often mired in humanity's flaws, but positive psychology is a movement that aims to study people's strengths rather than their weaknesses. The same shift can be true for religion, and nurtured by the power of community. Rabbi Levine sums it up in five letters: PERMA, which stand for positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Together, those five pillars can foster greater happiness and health.
Darren Levine is the founding rabbi of Tamid and first set the vision for the synagogue in 2011. He cares deeply about building community, moral education, and creative Jewish expression. He holds Rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and has a Doctorate in Pastoral Psychology from the Post Graduate Center for Mental Health.
Levine's His academic and pastoral interests rest at the intersection of psychology and religion and moral education. He has served the Jewish Community Project in Lower Manhattan and Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. He’s done international relief work in Israel and Africa, served a High Holiday pulpit in South Africa, worked for over 10 years as Jewish Camps for the Reform Movement and served as a Chaplain in the US Army.