Mussar for Activists Winter Course with Leora Abelson

6 Webster St. Brookline, MA 02446






Course Description

In collaboration with the Inside Out Wisdom and Action (IOWA) Project, Boston Workers Circle is excited to host a mussar class this winter that seeks to explore the integration of Jewish spirituality into our justice work.


Through personal and small group reflection, text study and practice, we will examine the topics of motivation, choice, gratitude and rest. Together, we will integrate personal practice with our work for communal and social change. This six session course aims to support participants and their activism in becoming more sustainable, powerful, and transformative. No prior knowledge required.


Mussar is an ancient Jewish practice of spiritual and ethical reflection, development, and meditation. It is an ethical system that shaped the lives of foremothers such as Gl├╝ckel of Hameln (author of one of the earliest Yiddish memoirs we know of, from the 1600s), draws on teachings from Rabbi Saadiah Gaon and Rabbi Bahya Ibn Pakudah from modern day Iraq and Spain, and became an educational movement in 19th century Lithuania.

Rabbi Israel Salanter of Lithuania once said:

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. But I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my country. When I found I couldn’t change my country, I began to focus on my town. However, I discovered that I couldn’t change the town, and so as I grew older, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, but I’ve come to recognize that if long ago I had started with myself, then I could have made an impact on my family. And, my family and I could have made an impact on our town. And that, in turn, could have changed the country and we could all indeed have changed the world.



Course Dates (all sessions are Thursdays, 7-9pm):

Session 1: 1/9

Session 2: 1/16

Session 3: 1/23

Session 4: 1/30

Session 5: 2/6

Session 6: 2/13

Course Location: 6 Webster St., Brookline (@ Boston Workers Circle) with the possibility of meeting in a members' home

Registration Cost: $90 - $180 (includes all 6 sessions). Cost should never be a barrier to accessing our programs so please pay what you can. If you can afford to pay the higher end of the scale, that covers the cost for those who cannot. Please email with questions about tickets.




Instructor Bio: Leora Abelson

Leora Abelson grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has made home in Jamaica Plain since 2011. Leora is a proud member of Boston Workers Circle in addition to serving as the rabbi of Congregation Agudas Achim, a Reconstructionist synagogue in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Leora trained to be a rabbi at Hebrew College Rabbinical School and trained as a healthcare chaplain at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Hebrew SeniorLife. Leora is a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council and helps lead the JVP National Havurah Network. Leora is passionate about queer embodied theology; offering spiritual care to all kinds of people, especially those who have been traditionally marginalized from religious communities; and making Jewish tradition and practice accessible to people and movements working towards a more just world.