Dr. Alan Morinis, Founder of The Mussar Institute, is widely considered to be the leading figure in the contemporary revival of the Mussar movement, a 1,100-year-old authentic Jewish personal and communal spiritual tradition that was nearly lost following the Holocaust. A filmmaker, Rhodes Scholar, and anthropologist whose focus had been Hindu religious pilgrimages, he began to explore Mussar following a personal crisis in 1997.
Alan sought private instruction under Rabbi Yechiel Perr, (pictured) an accomplished master who stood in an unbroken line of transmission of the Mussar tradition. Following years of study, he reinterpreted the ancient Mussar learnings and practices for modern audiences in Climbing Jacob’s Ladder and Everyday Holiness. To address the growing public interest in Mussar, he founded The Mussar Institute in 2004. He went on to author two more books, Every Day, Holy Day, and With Heart in Mind.
“What put me in the position of having something to offer in the first place,” said Dr. Morinis, “was that I delved into a vein of Jewish thought and practice that other people had neglected. And, once I did that, I was able to be a transmitter of information other people didn’t have access to. I am not finished with that.”
Alan is continuing his work by uncovering and interpreting teachings of three Mussar masters that were written in Hebrew and never before translated into English. “These books were written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and are not that old. They were written by people who understood quite well the world we live in.” He is translating the first with writing partner and Director of Mussar at The Mussar Institute, Rabbi Avi Fertig.
Morinis views Mussar as a vitally important option for all people, but particularly Jews who are interested in pursuing a spiritual path. “When I grew up in the Jewish world, I was not aware that there was a Jewish doorway open to me that led to a spiritual path. It’s still true for many Jewish people today. I would be thrilled if more people know that Mussar is available to them as a Jewish path of spiritual growth and development. I don’t necessarily care if they walk that path, but I do care that they know they can explore spirituality in a Jewish context.”
The Mussar Institute, (TMI) founded by Dr. Alan Morinis, in 2004, is the world’s leading provider of contemporary Mussar resources and instruction. The Mussar Institute provides courses for individuals, facilitator training, curricula for congregations and organizations, special events, speakers, and retreats. Mussar is a Jewish tradition of learning and practices focusing on character and ethical development that leads to self-awareness, wisdom, and transformation. It is practiced by people worldwide, regardless of affiliation.