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.


Alan new photo

Alan Morinis, Founder

Alan is widely considered the leader of the resurgence of contemporary Mussar. Born and reared in a culturally Jewish but non-observant home, he studied anthropology at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He teaches, writes curriculum, and speaks frequently. He is author of Climbing Jacob’s Ladder, Everyday Holiness, With Heart in Mind, and more.

Avi Fertig

Avi Fertig, Director of Mussar

Avi has guided TMI courses since 2010. He is the author of Bridging the Gap, a comprehensive guide to important Mussar concepts and lessons from the Talmud. Born in the United States, for the past 25 years he has resided in Israel and currently lives in Beit Shemesh with his wife and six children.

Rivka Felsher

Rivka Felsher, Director of Administration and Programs

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.

Eric Gurvis

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.

Debra Pinger

Debra Pinger, Director of Communications

Debra brings many years of public relations experience to her work. She has been an agency Senior Counselor, the 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. She lives on the St. Lawrence Seaway in New York.


Joanna Stark, Program Assistant

Joanna helps coordinate courses and communication.With degrees in Public Communication and Sociology, she has an extensive background in marketing, business administration, client relations and sales. She is an active member of her local Jewish Community Center and enjoys traveling around the world with her husband and two children.