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Cultivating Joy: Chasidic Perspectives and Practices The Baal Shem Tov, the 18th-century founder of European Chasidism, was a legendary mystic, healer, shaman, and spiritual revolutionary. He popularized Kabbalah, emphasizing the spiritual and healing power of joy as well as the path of the loving, humble heart. This talk examines his understanding of the role of joy in daily life, in divine service, and in healing. Also discussed are his practices for finding joy in the midst of suffering, and sweetness in the face of adversity.


Charles Burack, Ph. D, is associate professor of Psychology at John F. Kennedy University. He specializes in integrative approaches to psychology, spirituality, and literature and in contemplative and creative pedagogies. A former rabbinical student, he was trained as an interfaith spiritual director and lay chaplain and is active in interfaith education, counseling, and the arts. An award-winning scholar and widely published writer-poet, Chuck has published two books (D. H. Lawrence’s Language of Sacred Experience and Songs to My Beloved) and dozens of essays, stories, poems, and meditations. In 2001, he received the New Scholar Award from the D.H. Lawrence Society of North America for his articles on Lawrence’s spiritual artistry. He recently completed Flames of Holy Fire: A Multi-Faith Odyssey and is finishing a book on creativity and spirituality.