Visiting Scholars
and Sunday Scholars

To see past Visiting or Sunday Scholars, please visit our Past Courses page found here. 

Visiting Scholars

JCRC ILF Social 2023 (1)

A weekend of Mussar Exploration with Dr. Alan Morinis
April 28-30, 2023

It has become normal for people to treat each other with disrespect, as our world moves ever-farther from how Jewish tradition teaches us people should treat one another. Through the Jewish lens, no matter how much you disagree with someone, or dislike their ideas or actions, the fact is that they are due respect by virtue of being human beings, embodiment of the divine image. You do not have to accept their ideas, but even if you disagree and oppose, you are expected to do that without debasing the other person (and yourself in the process).

Join us in this exploration of Jewish ideas about how the respect or disrespect we show others impacts our relationships, our families, our communities, and our own souls.

About Dr. Alan Morinis

Dr. Alan Morinis, Founder of The Mussar Institute, is a leading figure in the contemporary revival of the Mussar movement, a 1,100-year-old authentic Jewish personal and communal spiritual tradition that was nearly lost following the Holocaust. A filmmaker, Rhodes Scholar, and anthropologist whose focus had been Hindu religious pilgrimages, he reached a personal turning point in his life in 1997 that led to his exploration of Mussar.

Alan sought out Rabbi Yechiel Perr, an accomplished master who stood in an unbroken line of transmission of the Mussar tradition. Following years of study he reinterpreted the ancient Mussar learnings and practices for modern audiences in Climbing Jacob’s Ladder and Everyday Holiness. To address the growing public interest in Mussar, he founded The Mussar Institute in 2004. He went on to author two more books, Every Day, Holy Day, and With Heart in Mind.

Alan continues to explore and interpret original Mussar sources in Hebrew and is making these valuable teachings available to the contemporary world.

Join us for services will Dr. Morinis will briefly speak during worship.

Join us for services will Dr.  Morinis will parashat HaShavua with Musar Lens – Kedoshim / Acharei Mot

Join us after services for a lunch and learn where Dr. Alan Morinis will discuss text from the Alter of Slabodka on Tzelem Elohim

Join us as we end Shabbat with Havdalah and asocial interactive (at someone’s private home) discussing community building and a  brief conversation.  

Join us Sunday morning of r a discussion on the topic: Where do we go from here?

Sunday Scholars Series

Sundays 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

The Sunday Scholar Series focuses on a yearly theme from a variety of angles. Sunday sessions draw a diverse crowd. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable to ensure learners of all levels feel welcome and included. Some participants are parents of religious school students inspired to learn with their children, while others are exploring Judaism for themselves. Some participants attend all the sessions, while others come for the specific topics of their interest. Everyone is welcome, and everyone becomes part of the unique classroom community that Temple has fostered. You will leave with new ideas to think about and happy that you took this time for yourself.


Rabbi Samuel Stahl

"Ethical Guidance for a Fractured Jewish World: A Study of Pirke Avot." Sundays, February 12, February 26 and March 5 at 10:00 a.m.
Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) is a section of the Mishnah, featuring ethical and moral maxims for leading an exemplary Jewish life. We shall study several selections from it, such as the famous dictum, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And, if I am for myself alone, then what am I? And, if not now, when?”


Rachel Stern

Temple Beth-El promotes life-long learning and therefore offers learning opportunities at every stage of life. in addition to exceptional youth educational opportunities, Temple Beth-El also offers a robust adult education program. One example of adult learning is our Sunday morning series which in recent years has been taught by Rachel Stern. Rachel holds master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Jewish Non-Profit Management and has been in Jewish education for over 20 years. Rachel currently serves as the Chief Learning and Engagement Officer for Shalom Austin.

Are we still a Commanded People? As Reform Jews, we view many aspects of Halacha (Jewish Law) as sacred suggestion rather than sacred obligation. Nevertheless, there are mitzvot that we find to be sacrosanct. Which commandments feel obligatory and which feel offensive or at least irrelevant to our 21st Century eyes? 

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