On Monday, September 30, 2013, the Mandel Leadership Institute hosted a book launch for Yair Caspi’s recently published Nisayon (Challenged). Caspi is the founder of the Psychology in Judaism Institute and author of the bestselling Inquiring of God.
Dr. Daniel Marom, the head of pedagogical and tutorial development at the Mandel Leadership Institute, said in his remarks: “Through this book, Yair allows us to move on from individual longings to the communal-societal level by means of education, starting from the group of people who deal with the ‘I’ and proceeding towards the community and society that can work to heal the ‘we.’ In this way, inspired by his approach, we can fill the void in the Israeli-Jewish law that seeks God while discarding its idols.”
In his lecture, “The Psychology of the Jews’ Books,” Dr. Caspi spoke of the source of the vision and the genesis of human creative artistry. According to Caspi, it was when human beings began to see the world as having been created that they gained the ability to join in the process of creation.
There were four respondents: Rani Bleier, playwright, television creator, and drama teacher, spoke of his journey between the secular world and “inquiring of God” in the wake of his discovery of the works of Maimonides. Bleier read a section from Caspi’s earlier book and told how Caspi’s writing influences his own work for television. Journalist Yoav Sorek spoke about the challenge of building a new Judaism and read a passage from Caspi’s earlier book. Rina Koresh, an artist who studies with Caspi spoke about the link between academia and the spiritual world of Kabbalah and Hassidism, which she expresses in her art, and noted how studying with Yair had given her “permission” to employ a form of therapy she devised. Rahel Ettun, a spiritual counselor and therapist who employs the family approach and treats persons facing illness and loss, remarked that the approach suggested by Caspi’s books “invites every person, everywhere, to undertake meaningful spiritual work.”