CCM’s Unique Classes

The Center for Contemporary Mussar offers introductory and continuing classes that focus on foundational Mussar texts, theology and practice.

Classes are small, so that everyone has access to their fellow va’ad (group) members and their madrich/a (leader).

We feature distance learning, using a free videoconferencing platform.

Classes are taught by trained, certified madrichim, who have gone through our four-year program, followed by a year of Teacher Training. All madrichim receive continued supervision from our most experienced staff members.

Each class is divided into a shi’ur, lesson, and va’ad, group work. We use a variety of modalities, including meditation, breath work and artistic expression.

Students commit for a semester at a time; a complete curriculum is offered over a period of four years.

For information about specific classes, see Current Classes.

 

During a cholera epidemic, Rabbi Salanter, founder of the Mussar movement, forbade his congregants from fasting on Yom Kippur that year, so that they not become susceptible to the dreaded disease. After the Morning Prayer, Rabbi Salanter himself ascended the pulpit with a cup of wine and a piece of cake in his hands, said the blessings, and ate and drank where all could see him.

Seeds of Mussar

Mussar is a centuries-old toolbox for working on one’s character, focusing on particular character traits and Jewish values. This class will introduce a method that focuses on refining our attributes so that they enable us to serve others with greater and greater joy. We work on our character attributes, not simply to take care of ourselves and enjoy more fulfilling lives, but to practice bearing responsibility for others. The Torah introduced the idea of loving our neighbor as ourselves thousands of years ago; this Mussar program provides each student with a personal operating manual toward meeting this overarching goal of Judaism.

No Prerequisite

Foundations of Mussar/Kibbush

Kibbush, which literally means “capture,” is the Mussar practice of self-restraint. This is a foundational step in Mussar practice and evokes the question: What is it that keeps us asleep, even as we desire to be awake to the needs of the other?

In this foundational class of Kibbush, we will study middot (character traits) such as seder/order and savlanut/patience, as a way to understand and recognize when our energy is in a state of Ra, or self-absorption. We will study Mesillat Yesharim (The Path of the Upright) by Rabbi Moses Hayyim Luzzatto as we explore the elements of daily practice which help us transform our energy so we can more fully serve the other.

Prerequisite: Seeds of Mussar (or prior mussar training–contact instructor)

Required texts: Mesillat Yesharim ($48) and CCM Workbook ($18)

Details coming soon about level I, II, and III

Transformation through Mussar/Tikkun

The practice of Tikkun, or transformation, focuses us inward so that we can better align ourselves with holiness and ground our actions in loving-kindness and compassion.

Within kabbalistic literature, this work is sometimes called Tikkun haNefesh, the repair of the soul, and sometimes, Tikkun haMiddot, the transformation of our character traits. The central text that we study for learning this practice of spiritual transformation is Chapter One of Tomer D’vorah by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero. He introduces thirteen middot of Tikkun, which we study in detail in the book, In Search of the Holy Life: Rediscovering the Kabbalistic Roots of Mussar by Rabbi Ira Stone and Dr. Beulah Trey.

Prerequisite: Foundations of Mussar/Kibbush

Required texts: In Search of the Holy Life, by Rabbi Ira Stone and Dr. Beulah Trey ($13.99)

Details coming soon about level I, II, and III