The Mussar Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of our new Executive Director, Steven Kraus, effective July 1. We are excited to have Steve, who was selected from a group of over 40 applicants, join Dean Alan Morinis, Associate Dean Avi Fertig, and Director of Administration Jeff Agron as they take TMI to new levels.
Ask someone what’s more important, their bank account or their soul, and all but the most foolish would answer that their soul is far more precious to them than any material possession. It’s interesting to observe, then, how few people live by those priorities. Checkbooks get balanced, taxes are filed, performance is reviewed, the bottom line gets tallied, but who does anything remotely like that for their soul?
אמת – שלא להוציא מן הפה דבר שאין הלב מעיד על אמיתותו.
Truth – Never speak a word unless your heart can testify to its truth.
Do the words we speak to others clearly reflect the feelings in our heart? It is vital that when we talk with our friends or family members we open up ourselves and show them who we really are. Our heart serves as a witness to what we say and who we are. The gemara in Yoma 69b states that Hashem’s “seal” is אמת , truth. By committing to speak the truth in all matters, we are connecting to Hashem in a very powerful way.
I have been thinking about my own spiritual curriculum of late. When I first began working for The Mussar Institute, the middah that kept coming up for me was patience. Why did so many people have so much difficulty using technology? It’s easy, no? So I started working on patience. .
St. Louis Mini Mussar Practice Workshop
“Honoring Self, Honoring Others” is the theme of a Mini Mussar Practice Workshop to be held Sunday, July 12, 9:30 a.m.–
The workshop will include text study led by Rabbi Avi Fertig, Associate Dean of The Mussar Institute, focused on the teaching of The Alter of Slabodka, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, one of the primary students of Rav Yisrael Salanter. Participants will also experience va’adim (small group discussions) and go home with ideas for developing a Mussar practice for the middah of Kavod/Honor.
To register contact Cyndee Levy, email@example.com, or call 314-514-0038.
CAJE Miami (the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education) announced that Efrat Zarren-Zohar, a member of TMI’s Kallah faculty, has been appointed Associate Director. Efrat will continue her leadership of the Adult Learning and Growth area, in addition to assuming new roles in the areas of development and in supervision of the Miami Jewish Film Festival. Mazel tov to her.
Study partners needed
Wanted: chevruta (study partners) for new Everyday Holiness students. If you have taken Everyday Holiness and would like to be a chevruta for a new student, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. It is a great way to give back and work on your own Mussar practice.
Keep a journal. Write in it every evening. Record what you felt, thought, said and did that might reflect a “setting” of any of your inner traits [middot]. Were you or were you not generous when you had the opportunity to be? Did you or did you not express thanks when someone did something for you? Did you speak up or remain silent when you had something to offer into the discussion? Whatever you see to be true for you, record in your journal. As the dots take their place on the page, you will be able to connect them, and the map of your inner traits will appear before you, an essential step on the path of personal transformation.
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