Mussar: Cultivating Character Through 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

How often do you feel out of sync with your own values, prompting you to think, “I wish I hadn’t done that” or “I wish I hadn’t said that”?

A powerful Jewish practice known as Mussar can help us align our actions and words with our “best selves." We learn to become less reactive and habit-driven, and to act more wisely, as a partner, friend, parent, colleague, and community member.

Mussar is for anyone who wants to more consistently be the person you mean to be, in the small and large actions of daily life, both for your own growth and for the improvement of the world. 

In twice-monthly groups we explore personal qualities, such as patience, compassion, and generosity, through text study, discussion, writing, and sharing reflections. We then use practical tools to address those that need balancing in our lives.​​

Want to learn more? Below are two brief, interesting 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, both led by Rabbi Bridget Wynne, one on Tuesday evenings and one on Wednesday evenings. We meet 7:00-9:00pm. Both currently meet virtually due to COVID.

The fee for the series is $240. You may pay the entire fee when you register or make a deposit of $50 and pay the remainder of the fee in installments.

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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

Our Mussar groups are currently full. We will reopen them in spring 2023. If you have questions or would like to be notified when there are openings, please contact Rabbi Bridget Wynne.