Congregation Beth El Begins Chai Mitzvah Teen Program
Congregation Beth El Religious School is amongst a group of synagogues across the United States piloting the Chai Mitzvah Teen Mussar Program. The program will start in September.
This hands-on leadership program aims to provide social action opportunities; build self-esteem, Jewish identity and Jewish literacy; connect participants with other Jewish teens and with the community; and provide opportunities for positive personal expression.
The curriculum offers an opportunity to explore the Jewish spiritual practice of character development – Mussar -- by emphasizing a different virtue or middah each month. Each middah is related to the Chai Mitzvah monthly topic so that the group will be part of the Chai Mitzvah global conversation.
Like the original Chai Mitzvah teen program, the Mussar curriculum includes texts, examples of social action and suggestions for deepening spirituality. There are also links to videos, music and apps. In addition, there are practices. Students are encouraged to engage in these practices between classes, to help integrate the learning and cultivate each middah.
The teen Mussar materials were written with Rabbi Pamela Wax, staff rabbi and spiritual care coordinator at Westchester Jewish Community Services, a social service agency in White Plains, New York. She has brought more than 16 years of Mussar practice and learning to many communities throughout the United States and currently teaches four different Mussar groups in Westchester County, New York. During the last Jewish calendar year, she was the co-author of "Pitchei haLevavot," a weekly Mussar Torah commentary through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and she is currently working on several Mussar projects, in addition to the Chai Mitzvah curriculum. She has served as a rabbinic global justice fellow for the American Jewish World Service, marrying her spirituality to her quest for social justice in this global world. She is currently working on a Chai Mitzvah Mussar Program for adults. ■
Spots are limited and registration has begun. To learn more, contact Shereen Ben-Moshe, Congregation Beth El Religious School, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-550-3735.