Alan Morinis lead a four-day journey to a soulful Jewish life

by | Mar 6, 2017 | Other News

Six local synagogues and temples opened their doors last month to embrace Alan Morinis, founder and dean of the Mussar Institute. Morinis lead discussions about the practice of Mussar, a Jewish spiritual path that emphasizes self-awareness and action as key to personal transformation. The goal of this practice is to align its practitioners on a Jewish journey of “everyday holiness.”

More than 400 people—from all levels of observance— participated in the four days of learning offered by Morinis, this year’s Milton “Mickey” Kramer Scholarin- Residence. The discussions from his introduction at B’nai Israel Congregation, The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar to the last lecture, How to Get to Heaven: Practice! Practice! Practice! at Kehillat Bet Hamidrash/Kempsville Conservative Synagogue (KBH), were meant to build progressive understanding of this spiritual practice.

Jewish News asked one person from each of the events for their impressions:

Rabbi Gavriel Rudin of B’nai Israel
“Tidewater Together was an amazing experience. The way the entire community came together for Torah learning was truly inspirational. As a teacher of Mussar, I was already familiar with many of the concepts that Alan discussed. However, Alan’s clear presentations and insightfulness brought my understanding to a whole new level. In addition, the Mussar Institute that he created to take the lessons of Mussar and apply them to our everyday lives is an unparalleled resource.”

Alene Jo Kaufman of Kehillat Bet Hamidrash/Kempsville Conservative Synagogue (KBH)
“Alan Morinis was an inspiring speaker who provided “food for thought” and encouraged us to engage our spirits and our souls before opening our mouths. From the opening session to the closing brunch, he encouraged us to behave in ways to unmask that which blocks our holiness. When Tidewater Together was over, I felt that our community had shared a journey that would impact on all of our lives, no matter where we were affiliated.”

Joseph Karp of Temple Israel
“As part of my Jewish heritage, after coming to the Shul regularly, the topic of Mussar arose. My rabbi, Michael Panitz, suggested I participate in as many of the events as I could. What I found fascinating was the three events I attended had unique flavors unto their own. I began to see how useful and timely each of the three were to my inner practice. I enjoyed listening to Morinis’ viewpoints on how we can better ourselves; and while reading Climbing Jacob’s Ladder, the story of Alan’s journey, I began to see just how timely it was to participate.”

Matthew Weinstein of Ohef Sholom Temple
“The presentation by Alan Morinis at Ohef Sholom Temple was valuable for our congregation and not just for Mussar practitioners. His review of the origins and intent of Mussar gave all of us some valuable things to think about.”

Mark Lipton of Temple Emanuel/Beth El
“I am very grateful to Rabbi Arnowitz for introducing me to Alan Morinis and his book Everyday Holiness and spiritual guide to Mussar. Alan made six excellent talks about Mussar and how it can impact your life. As Alan said “Judaism did not survive because of responsive reading.” His talk at Temple Emanuel was a walk through how our inner lives need improvements and guidance on how to interface with our crazy world—Mussar is our guide. I enjoyed his talks and look forward to further study of Mussar with the various opportunities in our community.”