Most Jews have no problem with science; the challenge is often getting them excited about Judaism. So how can we use science as a way to engage our communities? What are the biggest, most interesting and most pressing questions in the scientific community that also influence Jewish thought and Jewish living? And how can we bring both science and Judaism together to enhance our lives and our communities?

In these series of FREE webinars in November, we will explore the topic of human flourishing from Jewish and scientific perspectives, focused on psychology, technology and genetics.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion and Sinai and Synapses will explore these questions through a series of webinars hosted by Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and funded by the John Templeton Foundation.


On the morning of the webinars, you will receive a link to join.

Dr. Ryan M. Niemiec is a leading figure in the education, research, and practice of character strengths that are found in all human beings. He is education director of the VIA Institute on Character, a global, non-profit organization in Cincinnati that advances the latest science and practical applications of character strengths. He’s an award-winning psychologist and adjunct professor at Xavier University, and annual instructor at the University of Pennsylvania.


Judith Donath will introduce the basic principles of signaling theory and show how it can be adapted to understand human communication. She will look at several examples, including signaling-based interpretations of religious ritual and her area of research: understanding how new technologies affect the equilibrium between honesty and deception.



Genetics, Identity, and Our Changing Selves
November 16, 2017, 1 pm Eastern

Marnie Gelbart, Ph.D. is leading initiatives for advancing national awareness about the benefits as well as ethical, legal, and social implications of knowing one’s genome. She is the scientific advisor for The Personal Genetics Education Project’s curriculum and leads professional development trainings and classroom workshops for teachers and students.

Please fill out the registration below, and on the morning of the webinar, you will receive a link to join.

Other Resources

Character Strengths, Judaism and the Science of Human Flourishing

Education Director, VIA Institute on Character

What if we could use the principle of psychology not just to treat problems and shortcomings, but to reach our greatest potential? What are the best qualities of individuals and communities, transcending history, place and culture? And how do we stay conscious of, and use, these virtues in a chaotic, confusing world?


Are We Still Special If We Are Not Alone?
Professor Sara Seager, Astrophysicist and Planetary Scientist at MIT

As we discover more exoplanets, and learn just how expansive our universe is, how do we situate ourselves in the cosmos? Are we insignificant, or are we special?

The Science of G’milut Chasadim
Professor David DeSteno, Professor of Psychology, Northeastern University

What blocks us from being compassionate, and what engenders more compassion in others? How do we respond to people who are different from us, or who might hold different beliefs?

Is Neuroscience Undercutting Moral Responsibility?

Professor Nathaniel Daw, Professor of Psychology, Princeton Neuroscience Institute

As we discover more and more about the brain, will  neuroscientific “explanations” about moral behavior become “excuses”? How “free”are we, and how would we even know?

Cognitive Science and My Emerging Rabbinate

Deena Gottlieb, Rabbinical Student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Why are humans religious? As an aspiring rabbi, this is a central question of my life.

In addition to webinars, here are other content resources for Jewish professionals to use science in their work.

Science: The Wide Angle
American Association for the Advancement of Science Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion

Bring world-class science into your classroom with a compelling short film series from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

How Science Can Help Jewish Professionals
Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman

Most Jews are probably more likely to read the New York Times science section or watch “Cosmos” than to engage in Talmud study.