Madrichim

madrich מדריך (madreekh) noun male / madricha מדריכה (madreekhah) noun female /madrichim מדריכים (madreekheem) plural: Guide; teacher; trainer; educator; group leader; va’ad facilitator

All CCM classes are taught by trained, certified madrichim, who have gone through our four-year program, followed by a year of Teacher Training. All madrichim receive continued supervision from our most experienced staff members.

Meet our madrichim —

Nancy Axelrod has been a Mussar student since 2009, and a teacher since 2013, in CCM’s South Jersey va’ad. She embraces Abraham Joshua Heschel’s precept of “praying with your feet,” devoting her life to economic justice, racial reconciliation, sustainable communities and non-violence, as an advocate, community organizer and program developer. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MPA from George Washington University and founded the nonprofit Jewish Camden Partnership. Nancy is grateful to CCM for providing a warm community of spiritual practitioners who support each other in transforming their personal relationships and the world.

Rabbi Joshua Boettiger is the spiritual leader of Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland, OR. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, and is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. Rabbi Boettiger leads three Mussar cohorts in Ashland, and also teaches Jewish meditation on a weekly basis and leads silent retreats. He has taught at Williams College and Southern Vermont College, and has been a scholar in residence at different locations around the country, teaching on topics ranging from the history of Jewish poetry to biblical Hebrew.

Rabbi Rachel Rudis Bovitz is the Executive Director of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. Rabbi Bovitz previously was the Director of Millennial Engagement at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and an adjunct professor of Jewish Studies at American Jewish University. Rabbi Bovitz began her rabbinic career as Associate Rabbi of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, CA, and was the founding director of the Conejo/West Valley Melton School. Learning, teaching and living Mussar has enriched her life beyond measure.

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

Sheila Canal has been a member of Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland, Oregon since 1997. She and her family joined for her son’s Bar Mitzvah and stayed for connecting to ancestral roots, learning about Judaism, spiritual friendships, meaningful services and community. After 5 full years of study and practice, Sheila loves Mussar as the ethical ground for healing the world, tikkun olam. We heal our lives to heal the world with Mussar. Sheila was recently ordained as a Dharma Teacher in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and brings a 30 year commitment to mindfulness and meditation to Mussar practice.

Scott Crespy has enjoyed being on and assisting others on the Mussar journey of ethical and spiritual growth since 2010. Scott appreciates the continuity of spiritual wisdom from ancient to present in the Center for Contemporary Mussar (CCM) approach. He enjoys blending insights from his background in psychology with understandings from Mussar philosophy to help facilitate character development and spiritual fulfillment. He believes that a Mussar program strengthens an individual’s ability to deal with life’s uncertainties, enhance relationships, and bring more joy into life’s every day moments. Scott earned a doctorate in Counseling Psychology in 2001 from Lehigh University.

Carol Daniels’ life work has been devoted to helping people understand and express themselves non- verbally through the use of art, movement, yoga, and meditation.  She is particularly interested in the integration of these modalities into a daily Mussar practice. Carol has been a Mussar practitioner since 2006 and is a graduate of the Center for Contemporary Mussar program.

Adie Goldberg is a mother of 3, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, social worker, teacher, world traveler, volunteer and Jew. A lifelong learner, she completed her PhD in her sixties. The deep dive into Mussar at Temple Emek Shalom has turned out to be the most transformative learning of her adult life. Mussar has offered her a Jewish language to understand all her relationships and a framework that guides her in the simplest of encounters.

Marty Jacobs has been studying Mussar since 2010 with Mindy Shapiro, Beulah Trey, and Rabbi Ira Stone. He has been a Mussar madrich since 2015. A 1958 graduate of Essex County (NJ) Hebrew High School, he has been studying Torah and Biblical Hebrew for over 60 years. Marty is a retired Polymer Chemist who served as a consultant for twelve years, after directing the Research & Development Departments for two major corporations.

Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde is the co-rabbi at Oseh Shalom, a Reconstructionist congregation in Laurel, MD. She was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2009, and during her time there was introduced to the practice of Mussar. Since 2006 she has been engaged in this traditional, powerful practice, as taught through CCM. She has taught Mussar in various settings, and continues to be inspired and humbled by the powerful results.

Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein, a 2004 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, was a student in the Center for Contemporary Mussar program for five years. Her spouse, and then, later, each of her parents, enrolled in Mussar classes through CCM. Malkah Binah is also a devoted student of other spiritual practices, including Hebrew chant and Qi Gong (energy cultivation), which she integrates into her teaching. She is devoted to cultivating gentleness, authenticity, and courage in herself and in the communities she serves. Malkah Binah serves as the rabbi of Congregation Am Haskalah in Allentown, PA; her writing can be found at thrivingpirit.org.

Linda Kriger has studied and practiced Mussar since 2007. She is a graduate of Connecticut College and the Columbia University School of Journalism. She was a reporter for the Providence Journal (RI) and a medical writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Subsequently, she was a producer with a theater company that produced plays by women about women. She has published Gut Feelings: Social and Emotional Struggles with Crohn’s & Colitis, for which she interviewed more than a hundred patients, family members and significant others to discover how people live with the shame and isolation of a disease that can be so difficult to talk about.

Herb Levine has been studying Mussar since 2011 and began teaching on-line classes in 2016. He has been teaching Jewish adults since the 1980’s, primarily through the National Havurah Committee Summer Institutes. His book on Tehillim is Sing Unto God a New Song: A Contemporary Reading of the Psalms (1995) and his book of psalm-like poems is Words for Blessing the World: Poems in Hebrew and English (2017). He is committed to providing resources for a spiritual path to believers and non-believers alike. He is the general editor of the CCM workbook, The Soul Work of Mussar.

Harriet Saturen grew up in Philly as a member of a Conservative congregation. When she was introduced to Jewish Renewal and then to Reconstructionism after moving to Ashland, OR, in 1982, she felt a new aliveness to her faith and has been rejoicing ever since. Mussar guides her to manifest her deepest desire, which is to be a kinder person in this world and to spread more light.

Marty Towbin retired from a fulfilling career in medicine in 2015. Through Mussar study and practice, he has found a way to nurture his growing love for Judaism and a way to live its beautiful precepts more fully. He has found Mussar to be an evolving touchstone, offering many gifts for personal growth and exploration in our challenging world.

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 in Philadelphia, 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 BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her Masters in Social Work from Temple University.

In Memoriam

Miki Young was a founding member of CCM, which was then called The Mussar Leadership 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 to commit. She spoke frequently on ethics, spirituality in the workplace, and social responsibility.