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By Gary Shaffer, Co-President
Welcome to the latest edition of Yashar, our monthly e-newsletter that we hope offers you direction, inspiration and insights to help you along your Mussar path.
This edition comes out as we throw ourselves fully into Spring. The season triggers thoughts about events and the moments in between events. Spring seems to be a sudden event, with a burst of buds on the trees and birds suddenly re-appearing. However, the reality is that each moment through winter leads up to this “sudden” spring into Spring. Likewise with Passover, we celebrate one moment in time of our ancestors, yet clearly hundreds of years led up to our enslavement and there have been three thousand years since of continuous history.
How We Can Support Your Mussar Practice
Before accepting the executive director’s position, I thought I knew The Mussar Institute. I really did. I had had first-hand experience, having taken Everyday Holiness, and, at the time, was enrolled in Path of the Soul and the Manchim program. I had experienced the community at the last Kallah. In addition, I had done my best to learn about key individuals, both in person and through internet searches. I thought I had a decent sense of what to expect.
For over a year now, I have been sitting with an issue that has stirred anger in my heart. It has taken me that long to find a place to stand internally where that anger could be present but kept at a distance from my consciousness, so it does not overwhelm my seichel [intellect] as I seek a response. In truth, I’m not yet where I want to be to respond to the issue that has provoked me, and at the end of this column, you’ll see a request for your help. The issue is (as I am) still very much a work in progress, and so all I can do at this point is share the explorations I have been doing on the middah of anger, as I don’t have a clear path to responding directly to the offending situation itself.
THIRD ANNUAL SEATTLE MUSSAR KALLAH
The third annual Seattle Mussar Kallah will be held Sunday, May 1, from noon to 5:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom. The kallah will inquire into Jewish tools that support creating meaning in the contemporary world. The kallah will explore the middot (soul traits) of zehirut (self-examination/vigilance) and gevurah (strength/alignment with the Divine) and address the gulf between spiritual practice and engagement in the world.
Because Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) begins that Sunday evening, the kallah will also discuss how Mussar’s history and practice has responded to such moral madness. Those lecturing include Rabbi Ira Stone, Alan Morinis, Rivy Kletenik, Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum and Shirah Bell.
You can register or learn more here.
MUSSAR KALLAH IX
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