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By Gary Shaffer, Co-President
We begin the New Year on an extremely happy note for The Mussar Institute with the hiring of our first Executive Director, Michael Burnham. We are enormously lucky to have a person of Michael’s talents and commitment to help lead TMI forward. The search for an executive director took place over several months and we received more than 85 resumes from a pool of extremely talented people. After many interviews and internal conversations, we decided on Michael, whose experience in the private and non-profit sectors, and as a Mussar student, made him an ideal person for the position.
I have come to recognize a divine dimension to Costco. If you have ever shopped at that big box store (or Whole Foods, too, as someone pointed out to me) you’ll know that those stores provide free samples in every aisle, and that’s exactly how HaShem set up the world as well. Free samples of all the divine qualities are made available to us. You don’t have to do an iota of spiritual practice nor have any sense of relationship to God to experience awe at seeing a glorious sunset, or hearing superb music, or experiencing the birth of new life. Those free samples are handed out in aisle 12. So, too, with kindness, compassion and many other divine qualities—they are all available and known to all of us as free samples that come along with the experience of being human.
Chicago Synagogue Becomes The Place to Study Mussar
Temple Chai has become one of the most dynamic synagogues in Chicago for adults to study Mussar.
Leading up to Rosh Hashanah this past year, leaders of the congregation, using a Mussar discussion guide published in Reform Judaism Magazine in the Fall 2008 issue, conducted an entire S'lichot program as an introduction to Mussar. In addition, all of the rabbis’ sermons were on a middah or Mussar theme, and laminated bookmarks with some soul traits and questions were put on each seat.
MUSSAR PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN
If you have been developing or delivering Mussar-based or middot-based programs for children, please get in touch with Alan at email@example.com. For a long time we have been receiving requests to create or make available material specifically for children, which we have not done. What we believe, however, is that others have filled that gap by creating their own programs. We would love to gather some of the outlines and materials you may have been using with children with an eye either to synthesizing the best into a program or creating a "materials exchange" where we can share what has been working in our different communities. Please be in touch if you have been working in the area of Mussar and children. We want to hear from you.
MUSSAR KALLAH IV
A website called Spirituality & Practice recently recognized The Mussar Institute’s founder and director, Alan Morinis, as a leading spiritual teacher. Included in the mention is a brief biography of Alan.
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