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In This Issue
By Jeff Agron, Co-President
Every month brings changes and new developments to The Mussar Institute, but this past month has been particularly exciting and gratifying for me. In February, we launched a new program, Middah-A-Month. Most of you have received an invitation to join this new “community” and I hope that you take advantage of the many jewels that this program offers. I want to congratulate and publicly say yasher koach to Nina Yarus, one of our board members, who developed this program. Nina has been working for the better part of a year to make sure that this new offering is well presented, well researched and offers something new to those who want to delve deeper into Mussar thought and practice. I also want to thank all of those who have helped Nina in bringing Middah-A-Month to fruition: Modya Silver, Nathaniel Richman, Chaya Schneider, Margo Martin, Wil Sol, Seemah Berson, Camins Bretts, Lara Fisher, Marc Belcourt and Alan Morinis. Thank you all.
Today as I write, I am aware that it is the 25th of Shevat, the 127th yahrzeit of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, whose leadership, insight and innovation gave us the Mussar movement that is a treasure to the generations that have followed him, including our own. I want to honor Rabbi Salanter (1810-1883) in this column, but only indirectly. I am in England today, and as I davenned at the East Marble Arch shul this morning, a more recent Mussar teacher, Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (1892-1953) came strongly to mind. Rabbi Dessler was a thoroughgoing product of the Lithuanian Mussar yeshiva of Kelm, the leading dissemination point for the Mussar movement. But when, in 1928, he accompanied his father to England for medical treatment, he took the unexpected decision to remain behind in the same London where I am today.
I would like to dialogue by e-mail with others interested in Mussar. I am a middle-aged single woman (if that matters to you). I have background in psychology, philosophy (moral, social, legal, and political), and logic/argumentation/persuasion.
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Middah A Month launched last month to an enthusiastic response, with