About Alan Morinis
Alan Morinis is an anthropologist, filmmaker, writer, and student of spiritual traditions. He is an active interpreter of the teachings and practices of the Mussar tradition and regularly gives lectures and workshops. Born and raised in a culturally Jewish but non-observant home, he studied anthropology at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. His doctoral thesis was published by Oxford University Press as Pilgrimage in the Hindu Tradition.
Alan has written books and produced feature films, television dramas and documentaries and has taught at several universities. Although he took a deep journey into Hindu and Buddhist thought and practice, for the past seven years the nearly-lost Jewish spiritual discipline of Mussar has been his passion, a journey recorded in the book Climbing Jacob’s Ladder (Broadway 2002). His guide to Mussar practice, entitled Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar, was published in May 2007. He lives in Vancouver, BC, with his wife of over 30 years, Bev Spring.
About Rabbi Avi Fertig
Rabbi Avi Fertig is the author of Bridging the Gap
(Feldheim 2007), a comprehensive guide to important Mussar concepts and Mussar lessons from the Talmud as well as the classical works of the modern Mussar movement. The book is based on talks given by Rabbi Reuvain Leuchter, a foremost student of Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe. Rabbi Fertig was born in the United States and for the past 16 years has resided in Israel. He studied at the Ner Yisrael Yeshiva in Baltimore and has also learned and taught at Yeshiva Neve Zion and the Mir Yeshiva of Jerusalem. He is currently a rebbe and teacher at Yeshivat Reishit, in Beit Shemesh, Israel and Associate Dean of the Mussar Institute, where he has been guiding courses and programs since 2010.
About Shirah Bell
Shirah Bell directs The Mussar Institute’s introductory-level educational offering, Everyday Holiness: the course. She is Vice-President of the Institute’s Board of Directors, co-leads Mussar programs with Alan Morinis, and trains individual Mussar students.
Shirah originally entered the workforce with a degree in economics and earned MBA and PhD degrees in finance and organizational behavior from Stanford University. Raised in a Reform Jewish home in Brooklyn, she began serious study of her Jewish heritage and spirituality in 1986 after a life-threatening illness. She is certified in Spiritual Direction, guiding people in that practice of holy listening – attending to the Divine presence in everyday life – and has been studying Mussar for 5 years. Shirah has a breadth of experience in both corporate and religious organizations, and is skilled in designing methodologies to facilitate learning in non-traditional settings.