The Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah promotes and supports “Living Torah” — Judaism as a powerful, evolving wellspring of wisdom and sensibilities that enriches people’s lives and helps to create a better world. We are also continuing the Lippman Kanfer family’s commitment to strengthening the ecosystem for innovation and the pursuit of justice in the Jewish community.
The Mussar Institute has received a grant from The John Templeton Foundation for its project Scaling Up a Compelling Mussar-Based Teen Curriculum.
Executive Summary: The Mussar Institute proposes to provide Jewish teens with a solid foundation of meaning and values that will prepare them to lead fulfilling adult lives through the study and practice of Mussar. The Project’s Two Big Questions: 1) Can we create a scalable, compelling Mussar-based teen curriculum for 12-16-year-olds? 2) What will be the measurable cognitive and behavioral impacts of this curriculum on teens and curricular facilitators? We will recruit 12 Hebrew High Schools, 12 Jewish summer camps, and 12 Jewish youth groups to participate in a 3-year program. Participants will receive Mussar and curriculum facilitation training. Isaacs Consulting will design appropriate evaluation tools to measure the impact on the teens and the facilitators. By training facilitators to deliver a very carefully planned curriculum with support and ancillary activities, teens will gain knowledge of middot, engage in Mussar practices, develop those skills and thereby become more resilient in the face of stressors and will act intentionally with these eight middot: Humility, Honor, Envy, Responsibility, Trust, Gratitude, Patience and Lovingkindness Our concluding report will include the revised “final” curriculum, an explanation of the curricular changes, an analysis of the impact on teens and facilitators, and recommendations for next steps in scalability and assuring impact. This project will add significant knowledge to the field of character education. Can Mussar be adapted to meet the needs of teens? What kind of Mussar background and facilitator training needs to be provided for successful implementation of this curriculum? And what levels of impact can and will be documented?