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In This Issue
This month, as we enter spring, I am reflecting on the growth and flowering of The Mussar Institute 2.0 (as I called it in an article last year) from the seeds that were planted at our annual meeting of the Board last June, and the ground that was laid several years ago at our first meeting in San Francisco. Our annual Mussar Kallah, in New York last November, was our most successful gathering ever. We not only presented a wonderful weekend of learning, but we also did so with financial wisdom; consequently, and largely as a result of the generosity of those who responded to our Kallah fundraising appeal, we have been able to start a small endowment fund for future Kallot.
We also restructured our board, making each board member responsible for specific operations of the Institute. This structure has been successful in bringing about new programs, improving existing programs and streamlining the operations of the Institute, putting us in better shape to weather the economic crisis.
Our next board meeting will be in Seattle in May, in conjunction with a local Kallah organized by Shirah Bell. At that meeting, we will say thank you to Carol Robinson for her successful tenure as co-president and board member, and we will welcome a new co-president and vice-president. We also expect to elect new board members at that time.
The following is an update on a few of the exciting, recent developments, thanks to our board members and other wonderful volunteers:
By Alan Morinis
One of my favorite Talmudic stories tells of Rabbi Akiva arriving one evening in a town with a donkey, a rooster and a lamp. Why Rabbi Akiva is traveling with such unusual baggage, we are not told. We do learn, though, that when he goes to the inn to seek lodging, he is told that the inn is full. There is nowhere for him to sleep, and so he wanders back beyond the city limits to bed down in a field for the night.
Already we can see that life is not going in his favor, but it only gets worse. That night, a lion eats his donkey, a cat snatches his rooster, and the wind blows out the lamp. Truly, it seems that his luck has gone from bad to worse.
By Shirah Bell, Director of Everyday Holiness Program
You may be tired of hearing about Bernie Madoff, the stock market decline, and the terrible suffering that has resulted. Many of us are staring at our brokerage or bank statements wondering, “How did this happen to me?” That is a very interesting question, but I would like to turn it from the passive to the active voice and ask, “How did I participate in this happening?” What middah or middot might the current situation reveal to be off balance in me?
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ALAN'S MARCH SPEAKING SCHEDULE
A new session of Manchim: training for Mussar group leaders begins.
Nine Lessons on Eight Chapters
A video-conference course over 9 weeks with Rabbi Yaakov Feldman, who recently issued a new translation of Rambam's Eight Chapters.
Boston (men only) – Contact Sue Millelbeck at email@example.com.
Lexington, MA – Contact Lisa Goodman at LTCGoodman@gmail.com.
New York – Contact Mara Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Queens, NY – Contact Eileen Korby at email@example.com.