Rabbi Avi Fertig is Director of Mussar at TMI and the Director of the Kallah. He has been guiding courses and programs at The Mussar Institute since 2010. He is the author of Bridging the Gap (Feldheim 2007), a comprehensive guide to important Mussar concepts and lessons from the Talmud and the classical works of the modern Mussar movement, as well as numerous other publications on topics of Mussar. Rabbi Fertig studied at the Ner Israel Yeshiva in Baltimore and has also learned and taught at Yeshivat Neve Zion, Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim, and the Mir Yeshiva of Jerusalem. Born in the United States, he has resided in Israel since 1997 and currently lives in Beit Shemesh. Avi and his wife, Estie, are the proud parents of six children.
Judith Golden took her first Mussar Institute class and joined her first va-ad in 2005, and is very grateful for this journey with these wonderful teachers and fellow travelers. For The Mussar Institute, she served for many years on the Kallah Planning Team, responsible for planning the Egalitarian Worship Services. Her very favorite thing is working with Rabbi Avi Fertig to create our inclusive Kabbalat Shabbat service which we were able to share at our in person Kallot as well as our 2020 Israel Experience.
Currently, she is active in a va-ad that was started back in 2005, is one of the Chaverim Schmooze Group Conveners, creates original chants for our programs for the Omer and Elul, and collaborates with Rick Dinitz and Kate Shane to develop the Chant Workshops for our On-Line Kallot for the past three years.
In the rest of her life, she is a Cantorial Soloist, sings in two choirs, co-chairs the women's group at her synagogue, and is happily retired from her “day job” working as a Business Systems Manager at Abbott Laboratories.
Dr. Morinis, Founder of The Mussar Institute, is a leading figure in the contemporary revival of the Mussar movement. A filmmaker, Rhodes Scholar, and anthropologist whose focus had been Hindu religious pilgrimages, he reached a personal turning point in his life in 1997 that led to his exploration of Mussar. Alan sought out Rabbi Yechiel Perr, an accomplished master who stood in an unbroken line of transmission of the Mussar tradition. Following years of study, he brought his personal lens to 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.
Renowned educator, Aryeh Ben David, personally addresses the contemporary crisis of disconnection from prayer through his latest book: Prayers of the Lost & Found. Aryeh's organization, Ayeka: Center for Soulful Education, developed a unique educational approach and partners with Day Schools throughout NA to enable faculties and students to deepen their personal connection to Jewish life.
In addition to her position as Director of Teen Program at TMI, 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.
Julie Dean blends 25 years of professional experience as a group facilitator of interpersonal dynamics with a passion for Jewish renewal and experiential learning. A resident of Minneapolis, she leads one of the nation’s largest citywide initiatives for Mussar, helping hundreds of people connect with their middot. As a Jewish educator, Julie leads ongoing Mussar study groups, writes curricula, facilitates workshops and retreats, and provides facilitator training. Her other involvements include writing and leading Shabbat meditations, singing in an acapella Jewish women’s choir, leading a monthly Jewish women’s spirituality group, and participating with multiple congregations in musical tefillah as a hand drummer and vocalist.
Rabbi Edelstein is a post-denominational teacher, spiritual leader, counselor, and writer who has worked in synagogues, long-term care facilities, and Jewish organizations. She said, "The practice of highlighting different middot enabled me to see my own areas of strength in addition to characteristics that required constant vigilance. This focus created an opportunity for me to be conscious of traits that needed only fine-tuning and those that demanded much more.
On May 12, 1985, at the age of thirty, Amy Eilberg became the first woman ordained in Conservative Judaism. In 1986 she became the first woman appointed to serve on the Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. Following her passion to care for the ill, she served as a chaplain at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and as hospice chaplain for the Jewish Hospice Program in Philadelphia. She helped found the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Healing Center which, at the height of the AIDS crisis, offered spiritual care to Jews people living with illness, death, and loss.
Miriam has been a Spiritual Director since 2011 and works both in private practice with Rabbis and lay people and at Hebrew Union College with rabbinical students, and has facilitated countless workshops and study groups on the topic of personal growth.
She is a trained Mussar facilitator, having graduated from The Mussar Institute’s Manchim program in 2009. Miriam’s greatest passions lie in her own spiritual growth and using her gifts to awaken in others a sense of purposefulness, as she believes that knowing oneself deeply is the greatest catalyst for being a force of good in the world.
One of Miriam’s most profound gifts is her ability to express her soul through the art she creates. She uses her love of painting as one of her primary spiritual practices, as painting helps her access a sense of inner awareness. It is the cultivation of this inner awareness that she believes ultimately inspires others to their own sense of wholeness.
Helaine is the Assistant Programming Director at TMI. She made Aliyah to Israel in her teens, served in the IDF, and settled in Israel for more than two decades. She is the co-author of the TMI Tapestry Courses and a graduate of the Yesod and Manchim Facilitator Training programs. She has facilitated many TMI courses. .She holds a doctoral degree in Human Sciences and a Masters's in Child Developmental, with a focus on Special Education. She is a graduate of the Socially Engaged Spirituality program at Saybrook Graduate School.
Eric is Director of Chaverim and Outreach at The Mussar Institute. He 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 Ashland, MA.
He is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem ; and a contributor to The Mussar Torah Commentary. 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, three grandsons, and a granddaughter.
Alden Solovy, a modern piyut artist, is a traveling poet, preacher, and teacher who seamlessly blends Torah and verse to engage and inspire. His unique voice, shaped by personal tragedy, resonates globally in Jewish spiritual spaces. As a liturgist, lyricist, and educator, Alden challenges the boundaries between poetry, song, meditation, personal growth, storytelling, and prayer. With four acclaimed volumes, including "These Words," Alden's work has received recognition and awards. Based in Jerusalem since 2012, he serves as Liturgist in Residence at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and is the founder of ManKind Project Israel.
Rabbi Jaffe is a writer, teacher, and spiritual seeker who has spent his adult life pursuing Jewish wisdom and working for reconciliation and social justice. His first book, Changing the World from the Inside Out (Trumpeter, 2016), explores how to walk a holy path that integrates deep spiritual wisdom with the daily work of peacemaking and social change. David’s social consciousness was forged by the busing era and legal desegregation of the late 60s and early 70s in New York as well as the growing openness about the Holocaust in the Jewish community.
Sen is a grief counselor, peer counselor, Reiki master, and spiritual seeker. She has been studying Mussar for four years and Kabbalah for 20 years. Sen finds that Mussar, interwoven with Kabbalah and the various forms of meditation she has learned, enlightens her spiritual path as well as helps her support others on their transformative journeys.
Rabbi Dovid Nussbaum is currently mashgiach ruchani (spiritual advisor) at Yeshivas Torah Ore Israeli division in Jerusalem, a position he has held for the past twenty-five years. Born in the United States, and a native English speaker, Rav Nussbaum came to study in 1978 at the renowned Mussar Yeshiva at Beer Yaakov, Israel, under the guidance of Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe zt’l, the leading Mussar personality of our generation. He has lived in Israel ever since. Rav Nussbaum remained a close student of Rav Wolbe until his passing in 2005.
Nancy is a depth psychotherapist, spiritual director, and Mussar facilitator dedicated to helping others discover unique pathways to their soul’s expression. She serves on the Mussar Institute Facilitator Council and as Coordinator of Manchim, the Advanced Facilitator Training Program she co-wrote Alan Morinis. A collage artist, poet, and SoulCollage® facilitator, Nancy guides people in bringing an expressive voice to the Mussar traits and spiritual principles. Her collage art appears in Midrashic Mirrors, which illustrates the richness of creating art to reflect the essence of each Torah portion.
My name is Heather Westendarp and I was born in Houston, Texas in 1956. Apparently I was the first little girl in the Astrodome as I accompanied my father as he bid the job for our family business, Texas Window Cleaning. I was inspired to be an entrepreneur from that very young age as I and my 3 siblings worked at the family business. My parents were both very active at Congregation Beth Yeshurun and set a beautiful example as part of our Jewish community here. I got married to my husband, Bob, in 1981. We have two children, Lance (38) and Jaime (30), as well as 2 cats, Rumi and Pinot, a puppy named Lucky and two grand dawgs, Chad and Cooper. My hobbies are ceramics, birdwatching, dog walking and of course, Jewish studies and studying art.
Kate Shane is a harp teacher and therapist who has worked primarily with hospice patients, as they transition. She is a graduate of the Mussar Institute’s Manchim Advanced Facilitator training program. Currently she is facilitating a chanting group for her synagogue, Temple Israel of Deland in Deland, Florida.
Kate grew up in a Reform Jewish home. In her younger years she studied different religions of the world. She was drawn to the practice of chanting which many religions include. Eventually, Kate returned to Judaism and searched for chanting within Judaism. She found the Mussar Institute a little over six years ago. Kate immediately embraced the Path of Mussar as the practice of chanting within Mussar is what she was searching for all these years. Her Mussar studies have changed her life. Bitachon is the Middah that gets her through the day. Kate is grateful for the teachers and friends she has met on the Mussar path. Living in Debary, Florida near her older son, his wife and two precious grandchildren keeps her busy. Her younger son lives outside of Hartford, Connecticut.
Jason was born and raised in Los Angeles and has lived in Riverside, CA since 1998. He is a long-term student of Mussar who facilitates many va'adim both at his temple and for The Mussar Institute. Jason has served as the editor of the Yashar, TMI's monthly newsletter since 2012. He has served on the Board of Directors of his congregation for more than 15 years.
- Jeff Amer
- Ken Birenbaum
- Lisa Bock
- Ronnie Dubrowin
- Mark Edelstein
- Barbara Fermon
- Miriam Goodman
- Barbara Grosh
- Stephen Haas
- John Hample
- Calyah Chanah Isaacs
- Lesley Levin
- Bonnie Pastor
- Thomas Scheck
- Chana Seligman
- Gary Shaffer
- Nancy Weiss
- Heather Westendarp
- Harvey Winokur
- Jason Winston