What we are offering:
Please join us for an in-depth encounter with the teachings and practices of Mussar. Our Nefesh HaRav program is specifically designed for Rabbis and Clergy Leaders to nurture and develop your personal spiritual practice with the tools and wisdom of Mussar. Newcomers will be introduced to Mussar, while those with prior experience will have the opportunity to deepen your practice. Participants will develop a personal, spiritual action plan based on their unique soul curriculum. Rabbis and Clergy Leaders of all denominations are welcome.
This program starts with a three day Retreat from January 7-10, 2018, and continues with a year of long-distance learning starting January 2018.
Who should apply?
- Rabbis and Clergy Leaders who wish to nurture and develop their personal, spiritual practice with the tools and wisdom of Mussar.
- Rabbis and Clergy Leaders who wish to develop a personal, spiritual action plan based on their unique soul curriculum.
- Rabbis and Clergy Leaders who are newcomers to the study and practice of Mussar, as well as those with previous Mussar experience.
What will the program consist of?
- Begin with a three-day retreat, Sunday afternoon through Wednesday, from January 7 – 10, 2018, at Brandeis-Bardin Retreat Center near Los Angeles. Featuring Introduction to Mussar Practice, Beit Midrash study, Mentoring Sessions, Va’ad Sessions, Chaburah and time for self-care.
- Eleven units of distance learning, beginning in January 2018, for one year.
- Two breaks, one after unit 4 (for Yom Kippur and Succot) and the second for Pesach (around unit 9 or 10).
- The distance learning structure will consist of:
- One unit per month
- Alternating va’ad and chevruta weeks in the month (2 each per unit, total 22 of each)
- Texts will include a broad and unique cross-section of Mussar literature, both classic and modern.
- Possibility of additional webinars.
Cost of the program:
Cost for the entire program is $1799 for a single room at the Retreat and $1649 for a shared Room at the Retreat. The tuition does not include transportation to the Retreat, which is the responsibility of the Rabbi or Clergy Leader.
What will be my commitment to the program?
This is designed to be very intensive program that will require a weekly commitment of about an hour. You will be expected to meet with your va’ad group for an hour twice a month, and to meet with your Chevruta partner in the weeks in which there is no va’ad.
What are the details on the retreat?
- Beit Midrash for Mussar Practice: Participants will identify key middot on their soul curriculum and develop Mussar practices to grow in these middot with the guidance of retreat faculty and in chevruta with fellow participants.
- Mentor sessions: Each participant will have two Mussar mentoring sessions with our experienced faculty to help understand their personal soul curriculum and to refine their spiritual action plan.
- Workshop sessions: Separate tracks for beginners and experienced practitioners will teach Mussar theory and specific Mussar practices that each participant can adopt for his/her specific middot.
- Self-Care: The retreat will be a place to nurture the mind, heart and body. There will be ample time for movement and silence, as well as directed sessions with tips for spiritual self-care.
- Va’ad work: Each participant will be placed in a small group that will function as a place for processing the day’s learnings and experiences. These groups will allow for greater intimacy than is possible in the full group. Participants can also use the va’ad as a sounding board to work through issues in their practice.
Alan Morinis is the founder and Dean of The Mussar Institute and an active interpreter of the teachings and practices of the Mussar tradition, about which he regularly gives lectures and workshops. Born and reared in a culturally Jewish but non-observant home, he studied anthropology at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. For the past 16 years, the nearly-lost Jewish spiritual discipline of Mussar has been his passion, a journey recorded in the book Climbing Jacob’s Ladder (Broadway 2002). His guide to Mussar practice, entitled Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar, was published in May 2007. His latest book on Mussar, With Heart in Mind, was published in August 2014.
Avi Fertig is the Associate Dean of The Mussar Institute and author of Bridging the Gap: Clarifying the Eternal Foundations of Mussar and Emunah for Today and Stairway to the Sky. Avi received his smichafrom Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, Chief Justice of the Rabbinic High Court of Jerusalem. He resides in Israel where he also teaches at a traditional Yeshiva.
What your colleagues say about Mussar study through The Mussar Institute:
“The program had a profound impact on me. I had already studied Mussar, but this program invited me to deeper knowledge and introduced me to works of Mussar that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Both of our va’ad leaders were superb, our va’ad was an extraordinarily kind, loving, and honest group of people, all deeply devoted to the practice. In this year my understanding of Mussar has deepened, and I believe that I am a kinder and somewhat more righteous person than I was before. Thank you to the Mussar Institute for making these wonderful resources and experiences available to us.” Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Palo Alto, CA.
“Mussar has become the foundation of my personal spiritual track. The lens of weekly middah intention provides a frame for both rabbinical work and personal interactions. This practice is grounding and strengthens the soul. I am not entirely sure how I managed my life prior to Mussar.” Rabbi Nancy Wechsler, Sacramento, CA.
“Mussar study has been an incredible tool for reaching out to members of the Jewish community. It engages people from the Orthodox to the unaffiliated, because it teaches universal messages while drawing from uniquely Jewish sources. The participants experience spiritual growth along with self- improvement; and one of its greatest attractions is that they get tangible results with real changes in the way they think and act.” Rabbi Chaim Safren, Calgary Kollel, Calgary, Canada