Who We Are

We are a community of learners and seekers who strive to reach our full potential as individuals and in our communities.

We draw on and share the teachings of Mussar, a practical and inspiring Jewish spiritual tradition, to foster a life of greater meaning and enhanced relationships.

We open the pathway of Mussar to Jews of all denominations and affiliations, and to others who wish to explore these Jewish spiritual practices.

About - Vision 300 X 300


Authentic Va'ad  Experiences, to study and practice Mussar with a committed group of students across a variety of courses and groups.

Independent Learning: your pace; your time

Training for Mussar Facilitators in the unique style of Mussar instruction.

Local Courses for Facilitators to use in congregations, at Jewish Community Centers, Federations, and more.

A Thriving Community of like-minded people who joyfully enhance and transform their experience of daily life through Mussar.

Opportunities for Rabbis to connect and deepen their personal study.

The Elul Program of intense study for Chaverim.

The Omer Program to count the Omer as a community - a free, daily email to all those on our mailing list.


In the Summer of 2020, we surveyed our community about the ways Mussar study and practice impact their lives. We heard from 345 respondents. Here are the results.

We strive to support meaningful, lasting, spiritual life change for our members and our broader Mussar community worldwide which has grown to more than 7,000.

Serving our community is the center of our vision and we have grown our membership to nearly 400.

Numbers tell only part of the story. The quality of our courses and programs is paramount.

  • The Chaverim Community Grows to nearly 400

  • Mailing List Signups Exceed 7,000

  • Mussar Students In All Programs Compared to Annual Goal



  • 1999

    Alan Morinis begins intensive study in the Jewish spiritual tradition of Mussar with Rabbi Yechiel Yitzchok Perr and Rebbetzin Shoshana Perr.

  • 2002

    Alan Morinis' first book on Mussar, Climbing Jacob's Ladder, is published. Alan authors three more books, Everyday Holiness (2007), Every Day, Holy Day (2010), and With Heart in Mind (2014).

  • 2004

    In response to requests for education and training in Mussar, Alan Morinis gathers the first board to establish The Mussar Institute. In ensuing years, TMI becomes the world’s leading provider of contemporary Mussar resources and instruction.

  • 2019

    The Mussar Institute begins the Chaverim Initiative, its sustaining membership program, to respond to the need for connection and more intermediate and advanced-level instruction in the growing global Mussar community. The Chaverim Initiative is open to all.


Join us for our annual conference, the Kallah, or for a journey to study Mussar in Israel. We also meet online to study and practice the more than 1,000-year-old Jewish spiritual tradition of Mussar.



The Mussar Institute is a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.


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Alan Morinis


Alan is widely considered to be a leader in the resurgence of contemporary Mussar. Born into a culturally Jewish, non-observant home, he studied anthropology at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He teaches, writes curriculum, and speaks frequently. His books include Climbing Jacob’s Ladder, Everyday Holiness, and With Heart in Mind. LEARN MORE

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Avi Fertig

Director of Mussar

Avi Fertig studied at the Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael, in Baltimore, before moving to Israel in 1997. While studying at the Mir Yeshivah of Jerusalem, he forged a close relationship with Rabbi Reuvain Leuchter, a foremost student of Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, a recognized master of Mussar. Since that time, he has been studying, writing, and teaching Mussar to thousands of students. He is the author of two books on Torah and Mussar. He lives in Beit Shemesh with his wife and six children.

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Eric Gurvis

Director of Chaverim and Outreach

Eric is a graduate of SUNY-Albany and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Eric has served congregations in New York City; Jackson, MS; Teaneck, NJ; Newton, MA; and is currently the rabbi of Sha'arei Shalom in Ashland, MA. Eric facilitates Mussar groups throughout the Greater Boston area and in Western Massachusetts. He and his wife, Laura Kizner Gurvis are blessed with four children and two young grandsons.

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Rivka Felsher

Director of Operations

Rivka brings to TMI nearly two decades in private and public higher education administration and instruction, private congregational school leadership and instruction, educational consulting, and freelance editing and writing. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and is an avid potter. She resides in Southeast Florida with her husband and two children.

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Debra Pinger

Director of Communications

Debra brings many years of public relations experience to her work. She has been an agency Senior Counselor at Dan Pinger Public Relations, Director of Communications and Development for the Nashville Film Festival, and the Executive Director of the VIA Institute on Character, an organization that studies the science of character strengths. Debra converted to Judaism in 2012 at The Temple Congregation Ohabai Shalom in Nashville. Her daughter and three granddaughters have since converted as well. She lives near her wonderful children and three granddaughters on the St. Lawrence Seaway in New York.

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Leslie-Anne Copes-Finke

Director of Teen Program

In addition to her position as the Director of Teen Program, Leslie-Anne also serves on the Board of Directors. She brings experience in the areas of leadership, team effectiveness, and fundraising. Leslie has served as a consultant for Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ Leadership Development Institute, is a Vice-Chair of the URJ Communities Leadership Team (NE), and has held senior positions at several not-for-profit organizations, including Boston Baroque, WNET-NY, UCS, and Common Ground Stage and Film Company. She is the proud mother of three, ages (17, 20, and 23), and is a past president pf her synagogue community.


Jen Gubitz

Facilitator Training Consultant

Rabbi Jen Gubitz discovered Mussar in 2014 and has been a devoted practitioner and facilitator in Synagogue communities ever since. With over 15 years of experience in Jewish professional life, Jen is a graduate of Indiana University and was ordained in 2012 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (NY) where she was a Tisch Rabbinical Fellow. She is the founder of Modern JewISH Couples. Her writing appears in the Boston Globe, Lilith Magazine, and OnBeing.  She lives in Boston with her husband, Matan, and their rescue dog, Joey.

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Dianne Benmayor

Customer Service and Technical Assistant

Dianne brings a wealth of experience in customer service and management gained in the luxury giftware industry. She is a certified yoga instructor with more than 500 hours of teaching experience. She teaches and has taught yoga, including Mussar Yoga, at a variety of locations including the Mayerson JCC, Wise Temple, and other congregations. She discovered Mussar after being enlightened by one of her students about Edith Brotman’s book, Mussar Yoga, and through the book she found TMI. She lives with her husband in Cincinnati, OH. They have two grown children and a beloved granddaughter.

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Alex Keller
Communications and Digital Associate

Alex Keller writes and manages a variety of communications projects and digital assets for TMI. Following a year at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, he graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Journalism and English.  Recently, he managed a staff of 30 at Cincinnati's premier destination and event venue, Taft's Ale House after traveling the Southern U.S. as a member of a successful sales team. Alex is grateful to the Mussar Institute for providing the courses and Kallah. On the recommendation of R. Ja'acov Haber, he continues to list three good things each day in his journal.

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Sarah Canfield-Dafilou

Teen Program Associate

Sarah graduated from the School of Education and the school of Jewish Nonprofit Management at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She comes to TMI from Kehillah Jewish High School where she loved working with student leaders and organizing and leading the annual class trips as their Director of Experiential Education. She is excited to bring her organizational systems skills and passion for empowering students to TMI. She currently lives in France with her husband and two cats.