A Beginning Course in Mussar

In Three Parts
Sessions Beginning Soon!

In this exciting va'ad-based course, you will learn from three revered Mussar teachers: Dr. Alan Morinis, Founder of The Mussar Institute, Rabbi Amy Eilberg, the first ordained woman Rabbi in the Conservative tradition, and Rabbi Avi Fertig, the Director of Mussar at TMI. Each of these teachers will introduce the main concepts and context for one of the three parts.

Your course will be guided by a Mussar facilitator as you work in your va'ad or small group and with your chevruta or partner. You will refine your understanding and develop new skills as you grow in awareness and wisdom, and transform your sense of your own inner nature, your relationships with those closest to you, and your relationship with the Divine Presence.

Pathway to The Inner Life is a course in three parts, each eight weeks long, and intended to be taken sequentially.

Part I: Connecting Self and Soul, introduction by Alan Morinis

Part II: Transforming Relationships, introduction by Rabbi Amy Eilberg

Part III: Engaging the Divine Presence, introduction by Avi Fertig

In all three parts, you will experience Mussar practices, such as text study, cheshbon ha'nefesh or accounting of the soul, visualization, chanting, meditation, and kaballot or exercises. You will study on your own, with a chevruta or study partner and in your va'ad or small group.

How the Course is Delivered

You'll begin each of the three parts with an essay and recorded podcast followed by bi-weekly texts and practices to help you prepare for four weekly va'ad sessions and four chevruta sessions.

Tuition Per Part: $180 for non-Chaverim and $150 for Chaverim. The Chaverim Initiative is a sustaining membership program that is open to all.

Part I: Connecting Self and Soul

In the Jewish perspective, the soul is the primary essence of who we are. However, we do not necessarily experience our inner lives in this way, and instead develop a belief that ourselves, our egos, form our primary identity.

In following the path of Mussar to build our inner lives, we have to come to appreciate the difference between self and soul, and especially to develop an understanding of the ideal relationship we can foster between these two dimensions.

In the first part of this three-part course, we bring these ideas to bear by focusing on four inner traits (middot) that with deeper understanding and balance can give us insight into and brighten the light of our soul. These are:

  • Humility/Anavah
  • Simplicity/Histapkut
  • Strength/Gevurah
  • Alacrity/Zerizut

Alan Morinis provides the introductory essay and podcast.

Sessions / Facilitators: 

  • Helaine Sheias, Mondays, 12:30 - 2 p.m. ET, 4/11-5/30 (Session Full)
  • Stephen Weiss, Tuesdays, 12 - 1:30 p.m. ET,4/26 - 6/14 (Session Full)
  • Howard Brill, Tuesdays, 6 - 7:30 p.m. ET, 4/19 - 6/7
  • Harvey Winokur, Wednesdays, 7 - 8:30 p.m. ET, 4/27 - 6/15 (Session Full)
  • Barbara Grosh, Thursdays, 5:30 - 7 p.m. ET, 4/21 - 6/9
Tuition: $180 is for non-Chaverim and $150 for Chaverim. We invite everyone to become a Chaver or Chavera.

Part II: Transforming Relationships

Our relationships are where "the rubber hits the road. " Too often, our relationships with those closest to us are the most problematic. In this eight-week section, we will explore the middot that are directly linked with relationships and transform, or radically alter our insight into and ability to balance them. We'll study:

  • Patience/Savlanut
  • Anger/Ka’as
  • Lovingkindness/Chesed
  • Forgiveness/Selicha

Tuition: $180 non-Chaverim  $150 Chaverim

Sessions / Facilitators

  • Robert Barris, Wednesdays, 7 - 8:30 p.m. ET, 3/9 - 4/27
  • Damaris Methner, Thursdays, 4 - 5:30 p.m. ET, 3/3 - 4/21


Part III: Engaging the Divine Presence

In this portion of Pathway to The Inner Life, you will deepen your personal relationship to God, the Other, or the Divine Presence and come to understand the context of personal growth in relationship to your spiritual life.

You will explore the middot of:

  • Gratitude/Hakarat Ha’tov
  • Trust/Bitachon
  • Honor/Kavod
  • Faith/Emunah

Tuition: $180 non-Chaverim; $150 Chaverim

Session / Facilitator
  • Helaine Sheias, Thursdays, 12:30 - 2 p.m. ET   4/7 - 5/26
  • Ken Birenbaum, Wednesdays, 12 - 1:30 p.m. ET, 2/23 - 4/13
  • Judith Edelstein, Mondays, 4 - 5:30 p.m. ET 3/14 - 5/2
Part III is open to those who have completed Parts I and II