Cultivating Qualities of Heart and Mind – Tikkun Middot

Tikkun-Middot-logoEach of us has a unique soul and unique gifts to offer the world. The many Middot, or soul-traits, such as patience, anger, trust, and humility, are the lenses through which our soul expresses itself.

Last year, Beth El participated in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Tikkun Middot Project. The project, supported by a grant from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and the Templeton Foundation, was a ground-breaking national initiative to integrate mindfulness practice with the Jewish practice of Middot learning: cultivating inner qualities of heart and mind. In 2015-2016 we are deepening our learning and exploring new ways to connect this learning to the life of our community.

Please Join Us!

The two Soul-Trait/Middot Practice groups are open to all throughout the year. Please drop in anytime, on alternate Wednesday mornings at 11:00 am with Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler, and on alternate Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm with Lisa Goodman. Contact the group leader for dates, or check the Beth El calendar. Group leader contact information is at the bottom of this page.

A Mindfulness Perspective:

As we cultivate Middot/soul traits, here is a series of mindfulness/meditation practices for you to listen to. These are short teachings, reflections, by Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg and can be listened to while you give yourself a lovely little break from your routines. Sit quietly in a comfortable position, and breathe…

What Are We Learning About

In 2015-2016, our project is focusing on eight qualities (or soul-traits) and two fundamental practices to the Beth El community over the course of this year. Together we will be learning and growing in these qualities and practices.

Open to Learning (Hitlamdut)—September 2015
Choice Points(Nekudat HaBechira)—October 2015
Humility (Anavah)—November 2015
Equanimity (Menuchat HaNefesh)—December 2015
Compassion (Rachamim)—January 2016
Silence (Sh’tikah)—February 2016
Honor (Kavod)—March 2016
Order (Seder)—April 2016
Trust in God (Bitachon)— May 2016
Gratitude (Hakarat HaTov)— June 2016

Our hope is to make this practice of soul-trait study and mindfulness accessible to all our members, to encourage us to reach for our better selves both personally and communally.

More Doorways

  • Keytags—members of the community received a set of 10 keytags at Rosh HaShanah. There is one keytag for each soul-trait, from the list above. Put the “keytag of the month” on your key ring, or use the keytags in any combination that works for you. Please tell us about your experience with the keytags! Click here to add your voice to our project. If you are a new member of Beth El and did not receive your set of keytags in the fall, please let Lorel know. We have your set waiting for you.
  • Join  Everyday Holiness book group, meeting monthly, where we will study the writings of Dr. Alan Morinis, and other teachers, on the monthly soul-traits.
  • Create a banner on a soul-trait, to display in the sanctuary. No experience with the practice is needed.  Contact Cantor Zar-Kessler for more information on which months/soul-traits are open.
  • Create an “artifact” to display in the hallway outside the sanctuary, on one of the soul-traits. Again, no experience or prior knowledge is needed.  Contact Lisa Goodman.
  • Volunteer to help on the project: brainstorm new ideas, help us expand our keytag project, and more.  Contact either Cantor Zar-Kessler or Lisa Goodman.

This will be an exciting year of growth and learning for our whole community, and we look forward to “cultivating qualities of heart and mind” with you!

To contact one of our project co-leaders:

Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler
Lisa Goodman

Upcoming Events
What I discovered here was unlike anything we had ever experienced in the large Conservative congregations I had attended. I felt immediately drawn to this place.
— Les H