Friday, 20 August 2010

L'Chaim : To Life

ResponseAbility’s project over the next year is called ‘L’Chaim : To Life’. Abigail Morris, ResponseAbility's Director, will be speaking about this project in Profit vs Prophet, the first in our seminar series entitled Renegotiating 'value'. To get a preview of the project click here.

In introducing the project, ResponseAbility write:

"What it means to live a good life lies at the heart of this project. The theme of life pulsates through Judaism; it is, most would say, its fundamental tenet. We may be unclear about life after death but we are very clear about life. We hope for a long life, and a good life – a life that embraces the here and now. Judaism is fundamentally about giving us pointers as to how to achieve this.

ResponseAbility is exploring this theme in a way that is both thought provoking and groundbreaking. The simple questions ‘what does it mean to lead a good life?’ and ‘how does one live a good life?’ underpin Judaism. These questions are now being asked across various disciplines. Cutting edge philosphers, pyschologists, economists and even epidemiologists are already addressing this issue.

Lying at the heart of these ideas are the ethics of the Jewish tradition. For example, Shabbat, the idea of a day not being a producer or a consumer. A day not working has been accepted in the Western world but shoppins is seen as a leisurely pursuit. Tzedakah, the idea of sharing wealth and giving to charity, and Tefilah, reflection on positive aspects of life. Mitzvah, being a volunteer and performing good deeds, and Kashrut, being aware of what we eat ...

ResponseAbility’s interest in this project grew out of the realisation that cutting edge scientists, such as positive psychologists, were producing work that was a secular version of much of Jewish teaching. ResponseAbility became aware that growing secularization meant this teaching was being lost and that this loss might be contributing to the rise in mental illness. It sees this as an opportunity to reclaim and popularise these ideas and help to help people lead better lives, better for themselves as individuals and better for society as a whole."
ResponseAbility will be working with both private sector and third sector organizations to examine what steps an employer would take to safeguard the wellbeing of its workforce. They will examine the creation of a Chartermark of Wellbeing for workplaces which would form part of the company’s annual report. The incentive for business, they argue, is the proven data about this reducing absenteeism, incapacity benefit (the biggest percentage of which is due to stress at work) and higher productivity. There is also research which shows much higher satisfaction of clients and customers of workplaces that really promote the wellbeing of their employees.

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