The Mussar Institute

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A Season of Mussar

A Learning and Practice Module for Congregations, JCCs, and Groups

Created and led by Dr. Alan Morinis

A Season of Mussar is a 13-lesson program that guides congregations and other institutions and groups in a supervised course of Mussar learning and practice.

As with all Mussar study, the aim of this program is to help individuals find balance and strength in key inner traits that are essential for leading a fulfilling life, in worldly as well as spiritual matters.

A Season of Mussar groups have met in Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Eugene, Vancouver, Ann Arbor, Sao Paolo, Brazil and elsewhere. They have met in Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and non-denominational contexts. We are pleased to share with you that participants have consistently reported a high level of satisfaction with the program.

The reading materials were a wonderful introduction to each subject. The greatest value, though, came from discussions and further reading around the subject and the diverse views of the other members of the group.

COURSE GOALS

  • To equip individuals with the tools of Jewish spiritual practice – the centuries-old Mussar practices that purify and elevate the traits of the soul
  • To create a local spiritual group in which participants can share and explore together
  • To strengthen the place of spirituality in the local Jewish community.

No other class I have ever taken (and I've taken classes all the way through my Ph.D!) has made me think about myself and my actions in such depth. Thank you for encouraging us to do just that in such a safe and supportive environment.

THE PROGRAM

A Season of Mussar group can begin at any time. Every week over a 13-week period, each participant receives an email of teachings and practices focused on a single middah (soul-trait). This email contains an original composition that pulls together and interprets, in accessible language, traditional Mussar teachings on the trait in focus. Questions, exercises and suggestions are provided to prompt inquiry and insight.

Every lesson also includes an optional reading (in Hebrew and English) from a traditional Mussar text. This optional reading can also be studied with a partner [chevruta], one of the learning modalities that is structured into the course. These excerpts from traditional texts will be especially useful to students who have a solid background in Jewish studies and/or prior knowledge of Hebrew. Except for this optional reading, all course materials are in English, and where Hebrew is used, it is transliterated and translated.

Every two weeks, a face-to-face meeting takes place to address questions and practices focused on the middah of that week, and to discuss personal progress, insights and issues. Experience has shown that these meetings create powerful spiritual community, reinforcing commitment and deepening participants’ learning. Meetings are facilitated by a local facilitator, who could be volunteer, an adult education coordinator, or a synagogue rabbi who has been trained or approved by The Mussar Institute to lead Mussar groups.

Materials are provided to guide the group discussion and process, as well as to instruct the group leader.

In the period between group meetings, students are assigned materials to study with a chevruta, a learning partner to whom they are matched within the program.

Each middah is studied for two weeks, so that 6 middot are studied in the full program (with the final week reserved for a conclusion).

The middot covered in A Season of Mussar are:

Week 1

Humility

Anavah

Week 3

Anger

Ka'as

Week 5

Gratitude

Hakarat Ha'tov

Week 7

Trust

Bitahon

Week 9

Honor

Kavod

Week 11

Alacrity

Zerizut

Week 13

Closing group session

A SEASON OF MUSSAR II

At the end of the 13-week A Season of Mussar program, participants can continue their Mussar learning and practice through the next level of program, A Season of Mussar II. This program also runs for 13 weeks and focuses on a different set of 6 middot. At this higher level, more advanced Mussar practices are added to the program.

Other programs offered by The Mussar Institute are also available.

REGISTRATION & FEES FOR A SEASON OF MUSSAR

START DATE: Ongoing intake. Exact dates decided by the group.
DURATION: 13 weeks
FEE: Determined by the host organization in consultation with The Mussar Institute. Contact that organization or your Mussar group leader for details and to get a registration code.

PAYMENT AND REGISTRATION:

Please check with your facilitator before paying and registering for this LOCAL course. Your facilitator will tell you which option is being used by your group:

  1. Register and pay directly to the institution sponsoring your Local group.
  2. Register and pay by PayPal/Credit Card at this site, by clicking the Register Now button below.

If your A Season of Mussar group will be led by someone training in The Mussar Institute's program, please be aware that Manchim trainees have access to coaching from individuals designated by the Mussar Institute. Receiving coaching is a necessary part of the work of being a group leader. All discussions between Manchim trainees and coaches is held in strictest confidence.

REFUND POLICY

For withdrawal prior to the first group meeting: 100% refund. For withdrawal after the first group meeting: no refund. Anyone who withdraws and re-enrolls at a future time will be required to pay the full fee at the time of re-enrollment.

For more information and to get your group started, email info@mussarinstitute.org.

Register Now

Click here for a Sample of A Season of Mussar

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