A joyous perspective on the full moon
Neal Lipsitz and Alan Rosen
Citation: Lipsitz, N., & Rosen, A. (2022). A Joyous Perspective on the Full Moon. European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 6, 16, 1-7. https://www.nationalwellbeingservice.org/volumes/volume-6-2022/volume-6-article-16/
Processing dates: Submitted 10 February 2022; Resubmitted 28 September 2022; Accepted 4 October 2022; Published 24 December 2022
The full moon has been associated with negative events and behavior since antiquity. Many scientific studies of these negative phenomena have set out to prove these traditional beliefs to be true while other studies have attempted to prove them false. Such scientific endeavors continue to this day. The purpose of this article is not to support one side of this debate or the other. Rather, we turn the debate on its head by indicating a context in which the full moon is routinely associated with joy and celebration. These positive associations can also exist on a global scale, since all of the moon’s phases can be viewed in common the world over. By flipping the traditional perspective of the full moon on its head, we mirror the teachings of Positive Psychology as an approach to life that emphasizes flourishing and subjective well-being. The global nature of our claim can be seen as an asset for Positive Psychology as opposed to the criticisms that it is too individualistic in scope. Finally, it is Jewish tradition, culture, and customs as guided by the Jewish lunar calendar, that inspires us to think of the moon as a positive rather than a negative influence on human behavior, experience, and well-being.
Key Words: Positive Psychology, Lunar Effect, Celebration (or Joyful Celebration), Jewish Calendar, Full Moon
Neal Lipsitz is Associate Dean for Student Wellbeing and Director of Student Accessibility Services at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.A. He is on the senior leadership team in the Division of Student Development, oversees Counseling, Health, Wellness, and Accessibility Services, and coordinates services for students with disabilities. Dr. Lipsitz is a licensed psychologist in the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He presents at local and national conferences on many aspects of service provision to students with disabilities. A Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Holy Cross, he currently teaches a year-long seminar on Positive Psychology; is co-author of published articles on counseling, mental health, psychology, disability services, and Holocaust testimony; and is co-editor of: Beyond the
Americans with Disabilities Act: Inclusive policy and practice for students with disabilities in higher education (2014).
Dr. Avraham (Alan) Rosen is the author or editor of fourteen books, including five related to the life and work of Elie Wiesel. He is most recently the author of The Holocaust’s Jewish Calendars: Keeping Time Sacred, Making Time Holy (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2019), awarded the 2020 Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research; and the editor of Filled with Fire and Light: Unpublished Essays of Elie Wiesel (Schocken, 2021). He currently serves as the Project Scholar of the Elie Wiesel Living Archive/92NY. He has taught at universities, colleges, seminaries and yeshivahs in Israel and the United States, and has lectured regularly on Holocaust Literature, Testimony, and Jewish Religious Response at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies and other Holocaust study centers. Born and raised in Los Angeles, educated in Boston under the direction of Elie Wiesel, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife, children, and grandchildren.