A Beginning Course in Mussar

In Three Parts

In this exciting, new 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 our selves, 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.

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:

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

Tuition: $180 for non-Chaverim and $150 for Chaverim. We invite everyone to become a Chaver or Chavera.

Facilitators, Dates, Times: This part will open for the Winter Term, 2020. Check back to make your selection and register.

Registration is open to those who have completed Part 1. You will receive the registration link in an email.


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Ken Birenbaum

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Helaine Sheias

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Part III: Engaging the Divine Presence

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

You will explore the middot of

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

Tuition: $180 for non-Chaverim and $150 for Chaverim. We invite everyone to become a Chaver or Chavera.

Facilitators, Dates, Times: This part will open for the Spring Term, 2021. Check back to make your selection and register.


 - Grow -

through the process of examining your own soul



 - JOIN - 

a growing, international group of Mussar students.

 - Become - 

the person you have always imagined you are, with a clear sense of purpose and greater abilities to navigate life.


instruction from the Founder of TMI, Alan Morinis, the Director of Mussar, Avi Fertig, and Rabbi Amy Eilberg.

 - EARN - 

entrance to intermediate and advanced Mussar courses in the future.