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 —
Rabbi Joshua Boettiger is Jewish Chaplain and Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He previously served as the Associate Rosh Yeshiva at CCM, and for the last decade, directed the Mussar program at Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland, Oregon. Joshua also teaches Jewish Meditation, and co-leads silent retreats. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and has an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University.
Rabbah Gila Caine, of Edmonton, AB, fell in love with Mesillat Yesharim four years ago, and dived into a serious introduction to Mussar over a two-year period studying at CCM’s Clergy class. Born and raised in Jerusalem, she is a graduate of the Hebrew University (with a Master’s in Contemporary Judaism) as well as an alumna of HUC-JIR’s Israeli rabbinic program where she was ordained in 2011. Apart from Torah and Am-Yisrael, she is passionate about our stewardship of earth (which she understands as a critical Mussar issue in our society) and has made this the focus of her rabbinic work. Rabbah Caine has served congregations and unaffiliated Jews in Israel and now in Canada, where she currently lives with her family and is rabbah of Temple Beth Ora Synagogue. She plans to offer a Seeds of Mussar course over the month of Elul, as we prepare ourselves for the world’s birthday.
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.
Martha Hare, DMin (Jewish Spirituality), PhD (anthropology), has been a long-time student of Mussar including completion of training as a Madricha (Leader) at the Center for Contemporary Mussar (CCM). She has been a member of the Adat Shalom Reconstructionist community in Bethesda MD for over 25 years, and is also involved with Tifereth Israel, a Conservative congregation in Washington DC. As a Spiritual Director, and a Registered Yoga Teacher, Martha’s current focus is on healing our relationship with divinity through embodiment as a springboard for activism. This focus builds on a career in nursing, research and research administration in areas such as pediatrics, oncology, HIV/AIDS, health disparities and palliative care. A constant throughout the phases of Martha’s career is her concern with building community as well as meditation and spiritual study as an individual and in group settings.
Helene Kates has been with CCM for seven years. She is a certified Madrichah, ordained Maggidah-Omenet (spiritual guide/educator through sacred story) and Shlichat Tzibbur (prayer leader). As half of the Jewish music duo The Baal Shem Tones, she and her husband Michael tour, play concerts and provide Jewish educational programs for all ages. Helene has tutored hundreds of B’nai Mitzvah students and guided their families during their journey. One of her greatest joys is working with individuals and families to explore and strengthen their intrinsic bond to Torah through the transformational power of story and song.
Sandi Kirschner is a life-long learner. She began her Mussar journey after many years of teaching wellness programs to corporate clients. A graduate of the Florence Melton Institute for Jewish Studies she also holds a Masters degree in PsychoEducational Processes and Group Dynamics. Sandi has been studying Mussar for the past decade. Teaching Mussar is a natural progression in her Spiritual journey. Sandi is an active volunteer in her local Jewish Community, and a long time member of Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Her goals include practicing Mussar to become the best version of herself while teaching others to do the same through this beautiful practice.
Mindy Muchnick Oppenheimer lives in Wynnewood with her husband David, and is the proud mother of Natalie, Jenna and Rachel. Mindy completed her undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA at UCLA. After working on Wall Street and in private enterprise, she now consults on marketing commercial real estate. Additionally, coinciding with Mussar studies and an “empty nest,” Mindy began training for interfaith Spiritual Care to tap into her love of Chesed work in all of its forms. She currently works with Main Line Health Systems as a hospital chaplain.
Cathy Schechter learned to practice and teach Mussar through four years of training at
CCM. She honed her skill as a deep listener through her long career as a qualitative
researcher and writer. Her passion for Jewish thought, practice and literature led her to a
14-year chavruta with the late Rabbi Judith Abrams z”l, who led her to Hebrew College,
where she earned her Masters in Jewish Studies with a focus on rabbinic literature. She is
an alumnus of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and has continued her
studies at the Academy of Jewish Religion/NY. Cathy teaches individuals and groups from
her home in Austin, Texas, where she has been a longtime active member of Austin’s
Jewish community and Congregation Agudas Achim
Heidi Schneider is a CCM-certified Madrichah, who was introduced to CCM when
Rabbi Ira Stone conducted a Shabbaton at her congregation in Minnesota. Heidi
and her husband Joel Mintzer are members of Tifereth Israel. In the past year,
Heidi taught Mussar classes to adults and teens with Rabbi Harold Kravitz at Adath
Jeshurun Congregation. Heidi is also the chair of the Masorti Foundation for
Conservative Judaism in Israel and served as president of Adath Jeshurun. She is
a volunteer speaker in Minnesota public and private schools on behalf of the
Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. She keeps
the passuk for the middah of Bitachon on a post-it note on her desk to remind her
that worry is an opportunity to seek out the other and reconnect in serenity
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.