Research indicates the Jewish community could benefit from additional resources aimed at supporting the psychospiritual needs of community members. While clergy and mental health professionals often collaborate to address these needs, there is no model that utilizes psychologists in a non-clinical setting for the purpose of integrating common positive psychology and spiritual concepts. The literature reveals many commonalities between positive psychology strengths and Jewish holiday themes. The purpose of this study was to develop a resource manual for psychologists and rabbis. The primary aims of the manual were to (a) utilize positive psychology to enhance psychospiritual development within the Jewish community; (b) explicitly connect positive psychology and Judaism through common themes; (c) provide opportunities for active personal integration of these common psychological and spiritual concepts; and (d) apply positive psychology through experiential small groups in synagogue settings. The specific objectives of the study included (a) an extensive review of the literature to identify the intersection between positive psychology and Judaism; (b) the collection of informal data from rabbis, Jewish professionals, clinical psychologists, and positive psychologists, to assess the need for additional resources; (c) the development of the resource manual; and (d) a critique of the manual by an expert psychologist and rabbi to evaluate the accuracy and relevance toward its intended population. Major issues in the evaluation results led to recommendations that the author formalize ground rules, direct greater attention to screening and recruitment procedures, and expand the experiential aspects of the groups. Further development of the manual may focus on utilizing additional research in positive psychology in conjunction with consultations with positive psychology experts to increase and deepen the experiential elements of the groups.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Fasts and feasts -- Judaism

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Harrell, Shelly P.;