madrich מדריך (madreekh) noun male / madrichah מדריכה (madreekhah) noun female /madrichim מדריכים (madreekheem) plural: Guide; teacher; trainer; educator; group leader; va’ad facilitator

All CCM 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.

Meet our madrichim —

Nancy Axelrod has been a Mussar student since 2009, and a teacher since 2013, in CCM’s South Jersey va’ad. She embraces Abraham Joshua Heschel’s precept of “praying with your feet,” devoting her life to economic justice, racial reconciliation, sustainable communities and non-violence, as an advocate, community organizer and program developer. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MPA from George Washington University and founded the nonprofit Jewish Camden Partnership. Nancy is grateful to CCM for providing a warm community of spiritual practitioners who support each other in transforming their personal relationships and the world.
Rabbi Rachel Rudis Bovitz is the Executive Director of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. Rabbi Bovitz previously was the Director of Millennial Engagement at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and an adjunct professor of Jewish Studies at American Jewish University. Rabbi Bovitz began her rabbinic career as Associate Rabbi of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, CA, and was the founding director of the Conejo/West Valley Melton School. Learning, teaching and living Mussar has enriched her life beyond measure.

Rabbi Joshua Boettiger is the spiritual leader of Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland, OR, and Associate Rosh Yeshiva of CCM. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, and is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. Rabbi Boettiger directs the Mussar program in Ashland, and also teaches Jewish meditation on a weekly basis and leads silent retreats.

Rabbi Richard Camras has been senior rabbi at Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills, CA, since 1999 and previously served as Associate Rabbi of Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Baltimore, MD, for seven years. He founded the Conejo/West Valley branch of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School in 2007 and serves as President of the Pacific Southwest Regional Rabbinical Assembly. Rabbi Camras served for three years as the Chair of the West Valley Rabbinic Task Force at the Valley Alliance Federation and also oversees the West Valley/Conejo Valley Introduction to Judaism class sponsored by the American Jewish University.
Sheila Canal has been a member of Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland, Oregon since 1997. She and her family joined for her son’s Bar Mitzvah and stayed for connecting to ancestral roots, learning about Judaism, spiritual friendships, meaningful services and community. After 5 full years of study and practice, Sheila loves Mussar as the ethical ground for healing the world, tikkun olam. We heal our lives to heal the world with Mussar. Sheila was recently ordained as a Dharma Teacher in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and brings a 30 year commitment to mindfulness and meditation to Mussar practice.
Scott Crespy has enjoyed being on and assisting others on the Mussar journey of ethical and spiritual growth since 2010. Scott appreciates the continuity of spiritual wisdom from ancient to present in the Center for Contemporary Mussar (CCM) approach. He enjoys blending insights from his background in psychology with understandings from Mussar philosophy to help facilitate character development and spiritual fulfillment. He believes that a Mussar program strengthens an individual’s ability to deal with life’s uncertainties, enhance relationships, and bring more joy into life’s every day moments. Scott earned a doctorate in Counseling Psychology in 2001 from Lehigh University.

Carol Daniels has studied and practiced Mussar since 2006. She began teaching Mussar in 2011. Her life work has been devoted in helping people understand and express themselves through the use of art, movement, yoga, meditation and breathwork. Carol is particularly interested in the integration of these modalities into a daily Mussar practice. She has extended her Mussar learning into the development of Wise Aging programs with Sara Freeman at Kol Tzedek and Rabbi Shelly Bar Nathan at Or Zarua synagogues in the Philadelphian area. Carol was a founding member of the Center for Contemporary Mussar and served as its first secretary. She is now a member at large on its board. 

Elana Eisner has been with CCM for almost a decade. She is a certified Madrichah, psychotherapist and Jungian Psychoanalyst in private practice; she also teaches Analytic Candidates at the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles. Elana is married with five grown children and six wonderful grandchildren.

Adie Goldberg is a mother of 3, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, social worker, teacher, world traveler, volunteer and Jew. A lifelong learner, she completed her PhD in her sixties. The deep dive into Mussar at Temple Emek Shalom has turned out to be the most transformative learning of her adult life. Mussar has offered her a Jewish language to understand all her relationships and a framework that guides her in the simplest of encounters.
Hazzan Naomi Hirsch graduated from CCM’s 4 year curriculum and subsequently completed CCM’s Madrich training program. Studying and practicing Mussar positively impacts her life everyday. Known as a passionate, energetic teacher, Hazzan Hirsch also serves the Jewish community of Greater Philadelphia as a chaplain, choral conductor, lifecycle officiant and performer. She makes her home in Germantown.
Marty Jacobs has been studying Mussar since 2010 with Mindy Shapiro, Beulah Trey, and Rabbi Ira Stone. He has been a Mussar madrich since 2015. A 1958 graduate of Essex County (NJ) Hebrew High School, he has been studying Torah and Biblical Hebrew for over 60 years. Marty is a retired Polymer Chemist who served as a consultant for twelve years, after directing the Research & Development Departments for two major corporations.
Karen Kripke has been with CCM since 2014 and became a certified madrichah in 2018. A lawyer and grant writer with conflict resolution training, Karen has taught on both the high school and college levels. For over 30 years, Karen has been teaching in Philadelphia-area religious schools, most recently at Har Zion Temple. She and her husband Ned are blessed with two sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren.
Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde is the co-rabbi at Oseh Shalom, a Reconstructionist congregation in Laurel, MD. She was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2009, and during her time there was introduced to the practice of Mussar. Since 2006 she has been engaged in this traditional, powerful practice, as taught through CCM. She has taught Mussar in various settings, and continues to be inspired and humbled by the powerful results.
Harriet Saturen grew up in Philly as a member of a Conservative congregation. When she was introduced to Jewish Renewal and then to Reconstructionism after moving to Ashland, OR, in 1982, she felt a new aliveness to her faith and has been rejoicing ever since. Mussar guides her to manifest her deepest desire, which is to be a kinder person in this world and to spread more light.

Marty Towbin retired from a fulfilling career in medicine in 2015. Through Mussar study and practice, he has found a way to nurture his growing love for Judaism and to live and share its beautiful precepts more fully. He has found Mussar to be an evolving touchstone, offering many gifts for personal and collective growth as we continue to learn to care for each other in our challenging world. In 2021, he was ordained as a Maggid from the lineage of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (z’il) and has merged his Mussar learning into original adaptations of Jewish folk tales and Torah commentary.

Sonia Voynow is a psychotherapist in private practice, and the founder of Surviving and Thriving, an organization that draws on Mussar teachings to help parents and grandparents of children with autism. Raised in a Conservative Jewish family, and a member of Germantown Jewish Centre in Philadelphia, Sonia has found that Mussar has not only enlivened her religious and spiritual practice, it has also provided valuable guidance in many other aspects of her life. She has studied Mussar since 2005 with Rabbi Ira Stone. Sonia has her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her Masters in Social Work from Temple University.

In Memoriam

Linda Kriger studied and practiced Mussar since 2007 and was the founding Chair of CCM. She is a graduate of Connecticut College and the Columbia University School of Journalism. She was a reporter for the Providence Journal (RI) and a medical writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Subsequently, she was a producer with a theater company that produced plays by women about women. She published Gut Feelings: Social and Emotional Struggles with Crohn’s & Colitis, for which she interviewed more than a hundred patients, family members and significant others to discover how people live with the shame and isolation of a disease that can be so difficult to talk about.

Miki Young was a founding member of CCM, which was then called The Mussar Leadership program. She brought a unique background of business acumen and spirituality, having both a Masters in Marketing Communication (Temple University, 1973) and a Masters in Jewish Studies (Gratz College, 2003). As a Mussar student, Miki was committed to both her own practice and to encouraging others to commit. She spoke frequently on ethics, spirituality in the workplace, and social responsibility.