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Welcome By Len Felson
Message from the Executive DirectorBy Michael Burnham
Through a Mussar LensBy Alan Morinis
Upcoming Events and Announcements


By Len Felson

It was late October, the Sunday following Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah and Shabbat. In short, the end of what felt like a long Jewish holiday season. I was taking down our sukkah, and I got to thinking. If we celebrate our spiritual harvest on Sukkot, celebrating all the work we’ve invested over the year on being better people, what happens after the harvest?

If I were a farmer, the answer would be easy, as the work never lets up. There’s always something that needs to be done on a farm. So, too, there must be work for us to do, and here I’m talking about our Mussar practice. Now is the time to begin building those muscles or habits that we’ve committed to over the month of Elul and between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Now is the time to make real the changes, the teshuvah, that we said would make this year different from last year. That’s what I began thinking about as I disassembled our sukkah.

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By Michael Burnham

  1. Alan Morinis returns to the Kallah, after a year’s absence – need we say more?
  2. Rabbi Yaacov Haber is our scholar-in-residence – we just said a whole lot more.
  3. Micha Berger discusses holiness, self and other.
  4. Shirah Bell teaches us about chesed or lovingkindness.
  5. David Jaffe brings us insight on savlanut or patience.
  6. Rivy Kletenik, Yaacov Haber and David Jaffe offer tales of lamed-vavniks, tzaddikim and others who show us how to help others bear their burden.
  7. Yaacov Haber, Shirah Bell, Alan Morinis and Rivy Kletenik discuss practices for soft-hearted living.
  8. Enjoy a Mussar talent show one night; experience a Mussar tish the next.
  9. Catch up with old friends and make new ones.
  10. Twice daily, relax and find joy with group meditation; morning stretches with a Mussar twist; chanting; guided walks in the forest and walks along Lake Michigan; breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and more.

There’s no time like the present to refresh and nourish your soul. Register today.

To register click here or for more information click here.

Through a Mussar Lens


By Alan Morinis

Wall Street occupied; 700 arrested. London erupts in leaderless and apparently aimless riots. Greece is shut down by a general strike on the cusp of defaulting on its credit. Arab dictators fall faster than leaves in autumn. Israel is paralyzed by mass public outrage over the price of cottage cheese.

What is going on? These could be isolated incidents, but they are not. These populist outbursts and so many other contemporary events and statistics reflect the negative consequences of a world that has become ever more besotted with the material realm, in which collective well-being is measured in gross national product and personal success is equated to the balance in your bank account.

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events and announcements



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The Torah portion each week prominently features one or more middot (or soul traits). If you have suggestions or, better yet, if you have written a drash that relates the Torah portion to a middah, please send it to us at info@mussarinstitute.org. We will build a database and make it available so that members of the community can have access to resources to study Torah in a middah way.


The middah [soul-trait] of gevurah is central to a life of wholeness, but what is strength? And how do we grow stronger?

In Hebrew, a person who possesses gevurah is a gibor, which is the modern Hebrew word for “hero.” In Pirkei Avot (4:1), the question is asked, “Who is a strong person?” The answer to that question, along with other important insights and practices, were the focus of a session that Alan Morinis led May 1 at the Seattle Mussar Kallah. You can listen to the talk here or go to http://db.tt/rUoOMGC.


The Mussar Institute depends on the generosity of supporters. Please consider making a donation to honor someone or to remember a loved one.

  • Jeff Agron in honor of Alan Morinis
  • Steven Albert and Ellen Buchman
  • Irene Berdichevsky
  • Judith Beltz in honor of Alan Morinis
  • David Berson
  • Kenneth Birenbaum in honor of Alan Morinis
  • Ellen and Michael Cronin
  • Barbara Grosh
  • Neil Harris
  • Michele & Richard Jackman in honor of Alan Morinis
  • Elizabeth Jameson
  • Pam Kaizer
  • Suzanne Kessler in memory of Mollie Ruben Goldenberg
  • Bonnie Kobak
  • Jeffrey Kramer
  • Judy Marcus in memory of Florence Beatman
  • Sybil McCullen
  • Nana Meyer
  • Kalinka Moudrova-Rothman
  • Jeremy Parnes in honor of Sidney Parnes
  • Ed Rosenwasser
  • Hilary Silver
  • David Spring
  • Sandy Stern
  • Cliff Ungar
  • Terry Walsh
  • Deborah Wiss
  • Fran Zimmerman

Donations gratefully accepted here.


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