Application Form to Become a Mussar Institute Va’ad Facilitator
Manchim — Training for Mussar Group Leaders
The Mussar Institute offers courses, programs and events to promote the learning and practice of Mussar. Over the past several years, the Institute has grown significantly and now has a community of more than 7,000 people. Courses are offered both online and in person. Each of these modalities includes group (va’ad) meetings.
Our experience has shown that these va’adim are more productive if led by a qualified facilitator. To this end, the Manchim program trains and certifies va’ad facilitators who can apply their skills to leading Mussar classes and programs offered by The Mussar Institute.
Who Should Apply
- Qualified individuals with a Jewish background and a sincere desire to engage deeply in their own Mussar work, and to help others move down their own spiritual path.
- Persons interested in facilitating Mussar programs offered by The Mussar Institute.
- Mature and stable individuals who are capable of functioning with flexibility, curiosity and patience in a community predicated on openness, honesty and inquiry.
To apply to the Manchim Program, you must:
1. Have a committed and ongoing personal Mussar practice that includes:
- Regular journaling for at least one year;
- Regular and ongoing Mussar middot and chevruta study, whether within a course or independently;
- Previous experience as a member of a Mussar va’ad for at least one year.
2. Have completed two Mussar courses, including either (a) the Mussar Institute’s “A Season of Mussar” I and II courses, if these are available in the applicant’s community, or (b) “Everyday Holiness,” followed by “Mussar in Action,” “Path of the Soul” or “Chaburah.”
- Candidates in special circumstances who have equivalent experience of Mussar study will be given consideration on a case-by-case basis.
3. Provide a strong letter of reference from a local Jewish leader (other than a family member, director or staff of the Mussar Institute, or anyone playing a role in the Manchim Program). This person must be familiar with your character and commitment to spiritual growth, in order to comment on your experience and suitability to be a Mussar guide and a group facilitator. Ideally, this letter will be from a rabbi, a previous group leader in a Mussar program or a program leader who has direct experience of your leadership skills.
Once you are accepted into the Manchim program, you must agree to abide by the following expectations after graduation:
- To maintain ongoing personal Mussar study and practice, whether by a course or chevruta study
- To facilitate at least one TMI course per year
- To belong to Chevrah, which provides support and continuing education for Mussar va’ad facilitators
- As a Chevrah member, to participate in ongoing education, such as retreats and webinars
- To be evaluated annually by means of observation, supervision, self-assessment through report or other means
- To complete a course before you lead it, although exceptions can be made, with the course coordinator’s approval in advance
- To avoid leading non-TMI Mussar groups for the first three years after graduation, except by special permission, and under conditions that when leading a non-TMI Mussar group, you will strongly encourage members of the group to join TMI as members, which will connect those individuals to the TMI community, and will provide TMI with a donation to support this work.
Upon successful completion of all the requirements of the Intensive and Support Periods, and based on assessments by the program managers at several points in the program, approved graduates will be granted a certificate from The Mussar Institute.
What Will Be Required From You
The 10-week Intensive Period of the course is focused around brief videos to introduce each of the five units, training materials and weekly 90-minute experiential/interactive va’ad sessions via WebEx, a web-based video format. You must participate in each va’ad meeting (or watch the recording if you have to miss a meeting) in order to graduate from the Manchim Program.
The six-month Support Period is focused on providing supervision and peer support while you are leading your pilot group. During this period, experiential va’ad sessions will meet every two weeks in order to strengthen your skills as a facilitator.
In addition, you will be assigned a chevruta with whom you will meet weekly during the Intensive period and bi-weekly during the six-month support period. There will also be opportunities to receive feedback and probe more deeply by way of ongoing posts on the Manchim coursesite and reflection papers. It is also expected that you have your own daily Mussar practice.
When you complete the initial intensive period and your pilot va’ad, your first and second reflection papers will help determine your strengths and show how you will best be able to enhance your facilitation of The Mussar Institute’s programs. Your final paper will be an evaluation of your experiences during the Manchim Program. All three papers must be completed on time to graduate from the program.
Special circumstances may be considered if deferrals are needed.
We also expect that you will continue to facilitate Mussar programs after you graduate. You will continue to receive support, education and supervision by becoming a member of Chevrah: The Mussar Va’ad Facilitators Fellowship, which will be required after you complete the program.
Tuition for this program is $360 per student. Payment must be made prior to the start of the program by PayPal or check. For those who receive notice of acceptance into the program, details will also be provided on how to make a PayPal payment.
The training program is non-residential and involves activities that will require about 4-5 hours per week devoted to study and meeting activities, which include weekly:
- Watching training videos and doing associated quizzes.
- Reading assignments dealing with skills and issues of Mussar group leadership.
- Chevruta study usually based on 5-10 pages of source texts
- Va’ad meeting via web-based technology
- Written reports and other posts on the Manchim coursesite
Watch this space for the next course.
Closing date for applications:
Applications accepted until all spaces are filled.
Where to Send the Completed Application Form
Please complete this form online or email your completed form to:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are now being accepted.
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