MUSSAR STUDY GROUP
Predating Freud, the Mussar Movement of Eastern Europe played a little-known yet important role in the development of modern Psychology. Meaning “instruction” and “discipline/conduct”, Mussar is the application of Jewish ethical teachings about key personality traits (such as humility, patience, generosity, equanimity) to the ongoing, healthy evolution of self, making Mussar a profound meeting point of Psychology and spirituality. Like Jung and Freud, Rabbi Israel Salanter (founder of the modern Mussar movement) was deeply interested in our subconscious/conscious motivations and their role in intellectual, emotional, ethical and spiritual functioning. Mussar also bears interesting points of overlap with the Positive Psychology movement currently emerging in America under the guidance of Dr. Martin Seligman, former APA president.
Traditionally taught in a small group setting, the goal of Mussar study and practice is reflection leading to self-understanding, and from there to refined behavior in relationship to self, family, friends, community and the world at large. It also helps bring clarity to issues of faith and trust in a Greater power.
In recent years, people of all backgrounds have been exploring Mussar’s universal possibilities for insight and personal growth.
The group is designed to acquaint students with the basics of Mussar practice, and to provide a safe, supportive, and dynamic environment for engaging in with this richly nuanced personal work. Students of all backgrounds and faith paths are welcome. This is also a great setting for therapists and other helping professionals to explore the role of spirituality in both personal life and professional practice. This six-month course meets twice monthly, 2 hours each session, for a total of 24 hours of instruction. Maximum group size is 6 students, to allow for personal attention.
SPIRITUALITY FOR THERAPISTS
Provides a peer-based forum for therapists to explore the importance and uses of spirituality both in their personal lives and in their practice. Taught from an interfaith perspective, the learning material is designed to establish a common vocabulary for the spiritual aspects of the human experience, while also equipping therapists with a specific understanding and vocabulary for the varied religious and spiritual practices of clients. The interface between Psychology and Spirituality is also explored at length.
Our main text is The Ten Challenges, by Dr. Leonard Felder. A practicing psychotherapist, Dr. Felder based his book on decades of practical application of the psycho-spiritual meanings contained in the Ten Commandments with clients of all faiths. He gives relevant case histories, and recounts his own spiritual journey as he explored the universality of the Ten Commandments. He also demonstrates how these concepts are psychologically sound, and make excellent guideposts for healing and personal growth.
Along with academic study, discussion, and experiential work both during and outside of class, time is also given in this course for individual and group processing as well as peer support.
This group is limited to 4 participants. We meet twice monthly, 2 hours each session, for a total of 24 hours of instruction, with option to be ongoing.
EXPLORING SHABBAT — A FRIDAY NIGHT BEIT MIDRASH MINYAN
Have you ever been at services and wished you could slow it down and ask questions about what the congregation was doing, and why, or how to participate fully? Do you want to understand the Shabbat prayers on a deeper level? Learn the melodies? Create or add to your own meaningful Shabbat practice?
—Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
Discover the rich world of meaning behind it all and make it your own, while studying with a supportive group of friends!
Beit Midrash means “house of study”; Minyan is a “gathering” — this is a style of observing Shabbat based on the Jewish maxim, “Study is form of prayer, and prayer is a form of study”.
Our Beit Midrash Minyan meets one Friday evening a month. We take our time exploring all the rituals, customs, meanings and philosophies of the Jewish Sabbath. Along the way, we reflect on, and discover (or rediscover) their relevance in our lives. We also learn the melodies, occasionally meditate, and practice the Sabbath rituals in a hands-on way, so that performing them becomes personal, meaningful and intentional. The Minyan is designed in 3-month modules, each with a special Shabbat-related theme. Open to people of all backgrounds.