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Mussar Leadership

Contemporary Jewish Practice for Responsible Living

 

 

Who We Are

Rabbi Ira F. Stone

Rabbi StoneIra Stone received his education at Queens College, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was ordained a Rabbi in 1979.

He has served congregations in Seattle, Washington, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he has been the spiritual leader at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel since 1988.

Rabbi Stone has been visiting lecturer in Jewish Philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and currently teaches at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. He has taught and lectured widely on Talmud and the world of Emmanuel Levinas.

He is the author of Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud (JPS, 1998), Seeking the Path of Life: Theological Meditations on the Nature of God, Life, Love and Death (Jewish Lights, 1993) and Sketches for a Book of Psalms (Xlibris, 2000) as well as numerous articles in various journals of Jewish thought.

Rabbi Stone's first book on mussar is A Responsible Life: The Spiritual Path to Mussar (Aviv Press 2006). His commentary on Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto's Mesillat Yesharim will be published by The Jewish Publication Society in September 2010.

Email: rabbistone@bzbi.org

Madrichim

madrich מדריך (madreekh) noun male / madricha מדריכה (madreekhah) noun female / madrichim מדריכים (madreekheem) plural:  Guide; trainer; educator; group leader; va'ad facilitator; tour guide; camp counselor.

Rabbi Jonathan Bernhard

Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe Bernhard received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 1996. Prior to that, he studied at Haverford College, PA, from 1984-1988, where he received his BA in Religious Studies. Upon ordination in 1996, he came to Adat Ari El (Valley Village, CA) as the assistant rabbi where he has served ever since and he is now only the third senior rabbi in the congregation's 70 year history. For him, Judaism is about Tikkun: Tikkun ha'Nefesh/developing our soul and Tikkun ha'Olam/repairing the world and his goal is to create a community that allows us to explore and grow spiritually as individuals and families while living in a community that remains committed to making this world a better place.
Rabbi Jonathan Bernhard

Nancy Axelrod

Nancy Axelrod embraces Abraham Joshua Heschel’s precept of “praying with your feet” and has devoted herself to the causes of economic justice, racial reconciliation, sustainable communities and non-violence. Both professionally and as a volunteer, she has been an advocate, community organizer and program developer. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Public Administration from George Washington University. A Mussar student since 2009, Nancy brings a social justice perspective to her teaching, but also enjoys helping others to see how Mussar can transform their personal relationships.
Nancy Axelrood

Rabbi Rachel Bovitz

Rabbi Rachel Rudis Bovitz is an adult educator in Los Angeles, known for her dynamic and innovative programs. In addition to her new role teaching Judaism and Gender at AJU, she runs a series of independent learning programs including Mussar (ethical spiritual practice) study groups. Rabbi Bovitz began her rabbinic career as Associate Rabbi of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, and was the founding director of the Conejo/West Valley Florence Melton Adult Mini-School.
Rabbi Rachel Bovitz

Rabbi Richard Camras

Rabbi Richard Camras has been senior rabbi at Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills, California since 1999 and previously served as Associate Rabbi of Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Baltimore, Maryland 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.
Rabbi Richard Camras

Jim Culbertson

Jim Culbertson is a Jew-by-choice having converted to Judaism 40 years ago. Born and raised in California, he spent two years in the Peace Corps educating teachers in Nigeria after graduating from San Francisco State University and earning a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Humanities. He earned an M.Ed. from Temple University in 1972. He has a lifetime of experience as an educator in public schools, higher education, and non-profit organizations. He is a founding member of Mussar Leadership Programs.
Email: info@mussarleadership.org
Jim Culbertson

Mindy Shapiro

Mindy Shapiro is a Jewish communal professional with over 25 years of experience. She was the founding director of Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing!, a program of Moving Traditions. She has also worked for other Jewish organizations including Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, International Hillel and the Gershman Y. Mindy has been studying  Mussar with Rabbi Stone since 2003. Mussar provides her with a framework for leading a more mindful life, something she would like to help others to do. She is also a papercut artist. Mindy has a B.A in Women Studies from University of MD. and an M.A. in Women Studies from George Washington University.
Mindy Shapiro

Eugene Fleischman Sotirescu

Eugene grew up in Romania and Israel. He has degrees from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Yale. He lives in Philadelphia where he works as a software engineer and is a member of congregation Mishkan Shalom. Eugene has been studying mussar with Rabbi Stone since 2006.
Eugene Fleischman Sotirescu

Beulah Trey

Born into a South African Jewish family, raised in an orthodox Jewish community, married into a fourth generation reform family, follower of a conservative Rabbi and a member of a Reconstructionist synagogue, finding Mussar has given Beulah a practice that incorporates the diverse paths inside and outside Judaism that have nurtured her soul. Aware of the power of Mussar to transform lives, she pioneers the applications of these practices to leadership, team and organizational transformation.
Beulah Trey

Daria Jacobs-Velde

Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde and her husband, Rabbi Josh Jacobs-Velde, provide the spiritual leadership for Ohev Tzedek in Boardman, OH. Rabbi Daria was born in Minnesota, grew up in Boston and traveled the world before completing her Ed.M. at Harvard University Graduate School of Education (2000) and becoming ordained from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (2009)
Daria Jacobs-Velde

Sonia Voynow

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, 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 B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her Masters in Social Work from Temple University.
Sonia Voynow


In Memoriaum

Miki Young

Miki Young was a founding member of the Mussar Leaadership 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 in engaging. She spoke frequently on ethics, spirituality in the workplace, and social responsibility.



Miki Young