Mussar is an engaging, Jewish spiritual pathway of personal development rooted in our ability to grow and transform ourselves for the better. A Mussar va'ad (group) explores personal attributes/values, called middot in Hebrew, that each of us has in different measure. By increasing our awareness, development and practice of these soul traits, people learn how to respond to the world in ways that help bring about positive changes in personal outlook, interpersonal relationships, and connection with oneself, others, and Judaism. Every Twin Cities Mussar va'ad begins with the premise that each participant should show up with their full self; and we also know there are opportunities for intentional spaces. Due to the great success of our pilot program in 2022-2023, we are bringing a second exciting year of Queer Mussar to the Twin Cities starting this Autumn!
Our second Queer Mussar group (va’ad in Hebrew) will begin in mid-October and will be comprised of 10-12 participants and 2 facilitators, who will meet regularly to learn together. The days in between the group sessions are intended for personal home practice, including journaling and meeting with a chevruta (study/practice partner). While we hope this experience will lead participants to an increasing sense of personal awareness and growth, a va'ad is not a support group or a therapy group, it is an active learning community. We will uphold intentional group guidelines in order to provide a safe, kind, compassionate space for each person to learn, grow and express themself.
The journey of Mussar focuses on each of us becoming whole. We welcome all parts of ourselves and embark on this path with compassion for ourselves and others as holy souls living human lives.
Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, in his classic Mussar text Alei Shur teaches that "The starting point and the end of our spiritual journey is JOY!" The va’ad is led from a place of joy, where our humanness and holiness are respected and celebrated.
Alan Morinis, founder of the Musar Institute, describes the personal challenges we face as our as our “Soul Curriculum.” Each of us has our own pathways for learning and growth. As we study the middot, you will choose how to apply musar and become a co-creator in developing your practice.
Life as Our Teacher - Engaging curiosity and asking ourselves "what can I learn from this?" Hitlamdut is a stance through which we approach life - an openness to learning and change. Pirkei Avot, Ben Zoma quote: Who is wise? One who learns from everyone.
Isaac Jennings, Former Program Coordinator for J-Pride (JFCS Minneapolis)
"I think that there is something specifically holy about getting to study and experience exclusively queer Jewish space in community spaces. There is something beautiful that happens when queer folks come together to dig into and dig out our own space in history. It is finding ourselves in old things that are sacred and significant.
Queer Jewish spaces allow for queer Jews to exist holistically in their compete selves in a way that traditional Jewish spaces don't always allow. Queer spaces are not always religion friendly and religious spaces are not always queer friendly. Queer Mussar invites us to participate with our whole selves in a supportive, authentic, and inherently queer environment."
$300 actual cost, scholarships available.
Please inquire with Lisa Hurtubise, Mussar facilitator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please register here if you are interested in joining the va’ad. Lisa will be in touch with you to answer any questions you might have.Register Now
has been practicing musar for six years. She is a retired Occupational Therapist and has facilitated co-counseling classes. Lisa came out and participated in the gay rights movement starting in the mid 70’s in Columbus, Ohio. She was a member of Fan The Flames Feminist Book Collective and was involved in many activities with the Woman’s Action Collective. She grew up in Minneapolis, lived in Ohio for over 30 years, and has been back in Minneapolis for 25 years.
Ivan Gil is a local creative professional with over 15 years of experience in Design, Entrepreneurship and Multicultural Marketing. In 2022 he was part of the pilot Queer Mussar va’ad, which led him into becoming a facilitator of the 2023 cohort. Ivan has been a longtime advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. He is originally from New York City, but raised in Mexico. Alumni of both FIDM/ The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angeles, CA and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities - College of Design. Since 2020 Ivan has worked in the non-profit sector in the Twin Cities.
has 30 years of experience as a professional group facilitator and holds an MA in Educational Leadership. For the past nine years, Julie has helped foster a strong Mussar community in the Twin Cities and is the Founder of Twin Cities Mussar. She leads a year long Mussar Facilitator Training and Mentorship program, and is a teacher with The Mussar Institute. She has lived in Minneapolis for the past 11 years.
has been a rabbi for 20 years and was the director of lifelong learning at Temple Israel Minneapolis before moving to a new position in RI in 2023. Jason was part of the Queer Mussar planning team, was instrumental in developing the pilot program’s curriculum and served as co-facilitor for the first year. Jason has served in a variety of Jewish, queer and queer-Jewish leadership and teaching roles, and is a former president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.
has been in the nonprofit field for 6 years and was the J-Pride program coordinator at JFCS Minneapolis. He was responsible for encouraging and developing Queer Mussar and other queer-focused Jewish programming across the Twin Cities.