Mussar Workshops and Community Engagement Sessions
Mussar Practice Workshops
"Cultivating an Expansive Heart: Using Visualization to Transcend Ego Boundaries and Foster Compassion"
Led by ALAN MORINIS
It is hard to be compassionate, and hardest of all to be compassionate to yourself. What can you do to develop compassion for the human being who is you? The Mussar teachers have long held that the most potent force that fosters a person’s positive transformation is experiences, including those we foster in our inner world.
In this workshop, we will explore and internalize imagined visual images to foster self-compassion.
By visualizing specific images, we can start to break down the obstacles to self-compassion, to move toward embracing ourselves as caringly and as we would want other people to embrace us.
"Practical Action for Compassion: a Kabbalot Workshop"
Led by DAVID JAFFE
This workshop will explore the four key features of the Mussar spiritual technology of Kabbalot (small actions). We will design our own kabbalot (plural for Kabbalah) for compassionate action, getting feedback from others in the service of developing concrete actions we can bring into daily life.
This workshop will help you put into practice lessons from the rest of the Kallah.
Bring a journal. Sources will be provided.
Mussar Written Reflection Workshops
"Writing from My Heart"
Led by JASON WINSTON and SEN TALLEY
A meditative writing and sharing experience to open our hearts to a deeper relationship with compassion.
Led by ALDEN SOLOVY
Join Poet Liturgist Alden Solovy in an exploration of rachamim through writing. Alden will lead us in a series of writing exercises to illuminate the soul of compassion in each of us, followed by small group sharing. Bring writing materials and your open heart.
Mussar Text Study Workshops
"Rachamim / Rachmunos in a Challenging Time: A Bird’s-Eye View of Compassion Through a Mussar Lens"
Led by ERIC GURVIS
For many of us, recent months have been a challenging time. We have and are being tested in respect to many of our middot. Rachamim/Compassion is no exception.
This session will offer us an opportunity to take a look at the middah of Rachamim through the lens of traditional and contemporary teachings from our rich tradition as well as some ways we can create kabbalot/practices to strengthen our middah of rachamim - first for ourselves, as well as for those with whom we share life in this complex world.
"Growing in our Middot as our Life’s Purpose"
Led by RABBI DOVID NUSSBAUM
Join R’ Dovid Nussbaum, one of the most respected Mussar teachers in Jerusalem, as he explores how and why growing in one’s Middot is the most sacred purpose of life itself. Come to understand and appreciate how acting with greater compassion to ourselves and to others is what we are being called upon to do now more than ever.
Mussar Movement and Meditation
Compassion as an Engaging of Soulful Song & Dialogue
Led by KATE SHANE and HELAINE SHEIAS
Explore the middah of rachamim through a collection of somatic practices: visualization, breath awareness and meditative movement. Experience the spiritual essence of compassionate engagement between self and others.
Mussar Chanting Workshops
"Penetrating the Inner World"
Led by CHAIM SAFREN
Exploring the psychological and spiritual underpinnings of chanting, along with practical techniques to implement them.
"Compassionately Creating Your Own Mussar Chant"
Led by JUDITH GOLDEN
In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to develop your own Mussar chant. We will lead you through a process: selecting a phrase, finding its rhythm, making it your own, and listening for more wisdom. No previous experience nor expertise is needed. If you already have a phrase you’d like to explore, please bring it. If not, we’ll supply some suggestions. Even if you think you can’t, compassionately encourage yourself to just give it a “chants.”
Mussar Creative Expression Workshop
"A Creative Reset for Self-Compassion"
Led by NANCY WEISS & HEATHER WESTENDARP
We will invite you to enter a clearing, designed to replenish and reset your soul. Isn't that what we all need? Plan to experience, process and birth your self-compassion to life. Bring your favorite creative tools.
Workshop Materials: We are ALL born with a creative voice. We encourage you to bring any supplies that you are particularly drawn to. For example, art supplies, colored paper, collage images, scissors, glue, plain paper and a pen for writing. Anything that calls to you!
It is not about what TYPE of art is created; it is about using the portal of creativity to bring yourself into a relationship with self-compassion and compassion.
"Strengthening our Compassion Muscles"
Led by HEATHER WESTENDARP and MIRIAM GOODMAN
What does it take for us to make space for compassion in this often-contracted world? What are the things we might offer to bring more light? We will explore our inner toolbox together.
Community Engagement Sessions
Ethical Wills - A Soulful Covenant: And You Shall Tell Your Children / וְהִגַּדְתָּ֣ לְבִנְךָ֔
Led by KEN BIRENBAUM, GAL ETTNER-LEVKOVITZ, DAMARIS METHNER, and MARK EDELSTEIN
Writing an ethical will is an ancient Jewish tradition with which you bestow your morals, life experiences, ethics, and non-material legacy to your loved ones.
It is a compassionate gift for both the writer and the receiver. What a meaningful way to do so with the wisdom of Mussar guiding us. Join Gali, Damaris, Mark, and Ken, for an introduction to the writing of an ethical will with the wisdom of Mussar, and find a unique way to share your Cheshbon Hanefesh with those we care about the most.
Led by ERIC GURVIS and PAM SHERMAN
Since October 7th, The Mussar Institute has been holding a “Listening Circle” for our Chaverim to allow for safe space to share our reactions, our experiences and to learn from and with one another during this challenging time of war. This year’s Kallah is taking place almost four months after the events of that dark day, and many are still struggling with all that has transpired.
This session will be an opportunity for listening to one another – guided by Rachamim (our Kallah theme), Sh’miat Ozen (attentive listening), Kavod (honor), Anavah (humility) and other middot. The session will be led by Pam Emuna Sherman, a member of our community who is trained in facilitating complex conversations, and who has been leading our Listening Circle since October; along with Rabbi Eric Gurvis, Director of Chaverim and Engagement.
This is not a political or news discussion, but rather an opportunity to share what is in our kishkes and hear what is in the kishkes of our fellow Chaverim.
"Approaching Conflict with Compassion in our Va'adim"
Led by HARVEY WINOKUR and RONNIE DUBROWIN
When we are sad, or scared, or anxious, we sometimes need a bit of guidance to see our situation in another light. Facilitators may experience a va'ad participant in this situation or may find themselves feeling conflicted. Join us to delve into the opportunities that present themselves in such situations and share how you have handled them.
Sharing your Mussar Journey
Led by SUSAN GOLDBERG SCHWARTZ
How did you come to the Mussar community? What was your first Mussar experience? What Mussar middah, practice, teaching or teacher has inspired you? When did you realize that Mussar had transformed you and how you interacted in the world? Let’s spend an hour sharing our stories of our Mussar journey and the impact Mussar has had on us as individuals and as part of a community.