Connected Wisdom of NYC collaborated with Olga Gilburd, the author of the book Happiness The Jewish Way at her book presentation given in English at the Kings Bay Y, one of the largest JCCs in the Brooklyn-Queens area.

The Sunday, June 28th book presentation was attended by 60-65 people from all different walks of life, many of whom were native Russian speakers. Following the formal presentation, a team of Connected Wisdom trainers conducted unique Connected Wisdom workshop circles for those wishing to experience a great new way to discuss and implement what they had just learned about happiness the Jewish way.

Olga Gilburd’s book, Happiness The Jewish Way, is a recipient of the Blue Fellowship grant of COJECO, an agency of UJA Federation of NY. Several times during the book presentation, both Olga Gilburd and a representative from UJA encouraged the audience to stay and participate in the Connected Wisdom Circles following the hour long book presentation for “a very interesting and unique format of discussion that will give everyone an unforgettable experience.”

Approximately 24 people stayed to experience the Connected Wisdom Circle introduced by hosts Sasha Zusin and Eva Goldstein. After a brief introduction to the Connected Wisdom Circle format, guests took their places, eight to a table, along with a Connected Wisdom moderator and trainer.

Two Russian speaking Circles and one English speaking quickly absorbed the crucial Connected Wisdom Rules of the Workshop and were provided with cards to help keep them in mind. The discussion questions on sources of happiness, obstacles to happiness, the unique nature of Jewish happiness, and how to achieve happiness practically within their community began to circulate around the tables. The special magic of the Connected Wisdom then revealed in the center of every Circle.

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Circle participants were eager to share their experiences of exploring Happiness The Jewish Way using the new method brought to them by the Connected Wisdom team:

I absolutely loved the format of discussion that you have offered. I never experienced anything like that before. We had an opportunity to discuss very deeply topics that we never discuss even among close friends, have real conversations, where we actually hear other people, find out so many interesting sides to them, their experiences and opinions.”

We had the opportunity to listen to thoughts and ideas of people from different generations, different backgrounds, different places. It is a very interesting format of discussion that was presented here. I never experienced nothing of that sort before, even when we participated in group team building and similar activities. I loved everything. Thank you.”

I liked the format. I liked that everyone was speaking by turn, in a circle. It was important for me, since I like to argue and to always insert my comment, but this format had a very positive effect on me that I had to wait for my turn, to sit and listen to everything said by others. It was very interesting and I am happy that I have participated.”

I loved the energy that was felt. Thank you very much!”

It was nice to be able not to focus on the negative, but on the positive. When you wanted like to debunk somebody, you were just focusing on the positive that he was saying. And it was nice to be able to agree and not disagree with anybody, just to accept what someone is saying as their truth and be ok with that. And I enjoyed that positivity and that was just positive just all the time.

It was not just what is happiness, but how we can go out and do happy for people and I enjoyed how it ended that people were giving suggestions on that.”

Alexander Zusin summed up the experience of participants in the Connected Wisdom discussion Circles at theHappiness The Jewish Way event well when he said, “The thing that struck me was that the participants all said one thing, that – Namely THIS method, THESE rules, THIS discourse made them feel something special in the circle–something such as love, caring, and connection they had never felt or experienced before.”