CCM Practice Lab, by Dr. Beulah Trey

In English my title here at CCM is Director of Curriculum and Practice, in Hebrew it is Masgiach Ruchani. Here is what I knew about the role before I started writing this piece. I knew that the position was established alongside the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Stone’s role, in Lithuanian yeshivot that brought in Mussar. I knew that the role was meant to lead the aspects of the yeshiva that were outside the realm of text study, the traditional curriculum of most yeshivot. The position was meant to provide mentoring for students to bring the Middot into their lives. That is what I knew.

To write this column, I looked up the term, in where else–Wikipedia. The Mashgiach Ruchani entry concludes with these words: “meaning a person who provides (spiritual) influence.”

Reading it took my breath away. That is surely not how I have seen myself or this position – and yet that is, at least according to Wikipedia what my job entails. While I know that it is not mine alone to provide spiritual influence, I do take it as my role to provide a structure where we can influence each others’ spiritual practice. As a result, beginning near the Chagim, the high holidays, we will host a monthly open forum about CCM’s approach to the practice of Mussar.

In the coming months I will develop the structure and content of these practice labs. At this point, I am thinking that each month we will focus on a different aspect of the practice, perhaps a middah and that we will close with taking on a monthly focus, some way that we will deepen our Mussar practice. I invite you to be in touch with me about your suggestions about what you’d like the practice labs to contain.

Please join me in this maiden journey of developing CCM’s Practice Labs, Sessions are free and open to CCMers. And please if you have any ideas about how you’d like us to focus the sessions, let me know. I’m thinking that tentatively we will begin in September and I’m currently planning that we will meet the second Monday of the month.