straight • upright • righteous

newsletter of  The Mussar Institute


May 2012



“If you make an effort to help everyone you meet, you will feel close to everyone. A stranger is someone you have not yet helped. Doing acts of kindness for everyone you can will fill your worlds with friends and loved ones.”
-- Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler

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October 26–29, 2012
At the beautiful Illinois Beach Resort, on Lake Michigan, 40 minutes from Chicago and Milwaukee.

The theme of the Kallah this year is “Yirah: awe, reverence and fear as spiritual practice.”


The Mussar Institute depends on the generosity of supporters. Please consider making a donation to honor someone or to remember a loved one.

  • Anonymous in honor of Alan Morinis
  • Anonymous in honor of the Amsterdam Manchim Va'ad
  • Anonymous in memory of William Robert Lewis
  • Anonymous (3)
  • Sam Axelrad
  • Kenneth Birenbaum
  • Jenny Birge in honor of Alan Morinis
  • Theresa Cooper in honor of Jeffrey Kessler and Laura Goldman
  • Debra Copit in memory of Charlie Schwab
  • Susan Ecker in memory of Beverly & Edward Denner
  • Robyn Fruchter
  • Lisa Goodman
  • Josh Gressel in honor of Alan Morinis and Shirah Bell
  • Michele & Richard Jackman in honor of Alan Morinis
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For further information on
The Mussar Institute, visit
Email address:
Phone: 778-300-6174

Micha BergerThrough a Mussar Lens:
A Mussar Ideal

There are many middot that one can apply in relation to others, or reflecting back to themselves. For example, kavod (respect) or ahavah (love) are attitudes I must have toward others, but must also feel toward myself. But while we may simply be expressing the same fundamental attitude, but in different directions, I think there is a fundamental difference between a middah when directed at someone else and one when directed at oneself.
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Jason WinstonWelcome

The theme of this May issue of Yashar is chesed, or lovingkindness, and underlying all the articles is the recognition of the critical role we all play in the lives of our fellows.
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Rabbi Nancy Wechsler-AzenMy Mussar Journey

My journey into Mussar practice began over eight years ago in a hotel elevator. I had arrived in Philadelphia for a family Bar Mitzvah and struck up a conversation with a dear friend, Modya Silver, who had also flown in for the simcha. In the short distance between floors, I told him I was searching for a way to bring together my favorite rabbinic sources and teachers for an adult education course. The content for spiritual ethics was in place, but no frame nor rigor for pedagogy.
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Rachel ReichhardtAround the Mussar World: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Mussar has changed my life over the past four years. I am a Jewish Educator in a masorti community in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and I had previously studied about Rav Salanter and the mitnagdim. During the Shabbat pre-conference at the Conference of American Jewish Educators in 2008, I had the opportunity to meet Alan Morinis.
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Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Rabbi Aryeh Wolbe
Rabbi Aryeh Wolbe

Mussar Kallah X: Announcing Guest Scholars and Theme

Bring your soul to the Mussar Kallah, the premier annual Jewish spiritual retreat. Our 10th anniversary celebration will be held Oct. 26–29 at Illinois Beach Resort, outside Chicago.
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Lead by Greatness: how character can power your success, by David LapinMay Special: Study Group Starting

Lead By Greatness is Rabbi David Lapin’s new book on leadership and management that applies a Mussar perspective and tools in a practical organizational context. Join a study group to discuss the three main sections of the book: your competitive edge, spiritual fundamentals in business and the next era of leadership. 
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helping handThe Practice Corner

The Mussar teachings tell us that the most important aspect of lovingkindness is not what you feel but what you do. The most valuable acts of lovingkindness are when we feel inner resistance but we overcome it and do the benevolent thing anyway. It has long been understood that the heart follows the deed—do good for people and in time your own heart is transformed into a vessel of unalloyed kindness. The other person benefits, and so do you.

So the practice for lovingkindness is the simple instruction to look around you to see whose needs you can help fulfill. Do you know someone who has been ill? Could you phone them? Has someone recently suffered a loss? Could you visit, and maybe bring a gift of something to eat? Has someone been unemployed for long enough to need their spirits lifted? Like that, look and see who needs your help, and reach out to do for them.

Newsletter Home
Through a Mussar Lens – by Micha Berger
Welcome – by Jason Winston
My Mussar Journey – by Rabbi Nancy Wechsler-Azen
Around the Mussar World: Sao Paulo – by Rachel Reichhardt
Kallah 2012
Study Group Starting
The Practice Corner

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