Mussar: A Path of Character Development and Ethical and Spiritual Growth

"I knew Mussar would give me an opportunity to draw closer to my Jewish heritage. I did not anticipate the profound help it would offer me during this difficult moment in history." -- Laurie, Mussar group member

Mussar is a practice from Jewish tradition that helps us to look at our lives as opportunities for spiritual and ethical development.

 

We explore personal qualities, such as patience, compassion, and generosity, and address those that need balancing in our lives, so we can become more whole, both for our own growth and for the improvement of our world.

The goal is to live a more conscious and conscientious life, in short, to become more of a "mensch" (Yiddish for a person of integrity and honor).​

We do this in twice-monthly groups in which we learn about and practice Mussar through text study, discussion, writing, sharing reflections, and more.

Want to learn more? Below are two brief, interesting, and enjoyable videos that offer introductions to Mussar, and here is an article on the history of Mussar.

  • Tiffany Shlain's breezy and humorous story of her discovery of Mussar.

  • Alan Morinis, teacher of Mussar, and participants in his program talk about how Mussar has changed and deepened their lives.

People of all backgrounds are welcome. No experience is necessary, and you don't have to be Jewish to explore and draw on Jewish wisdom. Please feel free to invite any friends who may be interested.

We offer two Mussar groups, one on Tuesday evenings and one on Wednesday evenings. Both currently meet virtually for reasons of healthy and safety.

The fall/winter groups are full. We have a waiting list for the next series, which begins in February. If you might be interested in participating, please contact Rabbi Bridget Wynne to learn more.

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I knew Mussar would give me an opportunity to draw closer to my Jewish heritage. I did not anticipate the profound help it would offer me during this difficult moment in history.

Studying the principles of an ethical Jewish life has been enormously healing. I have moved from a sense of helplessness and dread about the course of the world to identification of the personal strengths and talents I can use to make a difference.

I see that how I conduct myself in daily life matters. I participate more freely in community work, knowing that I need only do my part.

I have begun to appreciate that life is not failing us when it is not easy – that what matters is how I rise to the challenges I am presented. Mussar has redefined my understanding of faith and opened my mind to more spacious concepts of God.

-- Laurie, member of Jewish Gateways Mussar group

 

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