Boston — March 22, 2016 — This spring semester, the Virtual High School’s Online Judaic Studies Consortium (OJSC) is offering a new course: Mussar: Practical Ethics for Living a Meaningful Life. Developed by Rabbi David Jaffe, founder of the Kirva Institute, the course focuses on Mussar, the Jewish wisdom tradition that teaches individuals how to make the choices most aligned with their best selves.
Rooted in text, the course will explore the following questions:
·What does it mean, from a Mussar perspective, to live an ethical and meaningful life?
·How might the study and practice of Mussar lead to personal growth and behavioral change?
·Why do the choices we make everyday matter?
“Students will be asked to think, reflect and will apply what they are learning to their own lives,” said Jaffe. “Our goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of every student who takes this course.”
The course begins by introducing Mussar history and theory and explaining how it compares to other theories of human psychology and development. Students then learn about free will and choice as a major factor in all aspects of their lives. Next, they explore the variety of ways that character traits such as patience, trust and respect influence the people and the world around them, from popular culture, to politics to sports. The course concludes with a unit that demonstrates how aligning behavior with core values is a way of living a holy, spiritual life.
Jaffe is the former spiritual advisor at Gann Academy in Waltham, Mass. where he created and continues to supervise an acclaimed, school-wide Mussar program. Jaffe was the lead educator and curriculum writer for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Tikkun Middot Project, which brought Mussar to 28 synagogues, community centers and schools across North America. He teaches and leads retreats for rabbis with The Mussar Institute in Vancouver, British Columbia. His upcoming book, “Changing the World From the Inside Out” integrates Mussar teachings with social change activism.
“It’s very gratifying to collaborate through the OJSC to bring this unique online course to day school curriculum offerings,” said Carol Ribeiro, President and CEO of VHS.
For information on Mussar: Practical Ethics for Living a Meaningful Life and the rest of the OJSC catalog, visit: http://thevirtualhighschool.org/2016-2017-course-catalog. For more information, visit OnlineJudaicStudiesConsortium.org.
The OJSC is grateful to the AVI CHAI Foundation for sponsoring this project for Jewish day schools. AVI CHAI is a private foundation established in 1984 committed to the perpetuation of the Jewish people, Judaism, and the centrality of the State of Israel to the Jewish people.
About The Virtual High School Inc.
The Virtual High School (VHS Inc.) is an online learning pioneer. Since 1996, the nonprofit organization has set the standard for quality online education. VHS provides courses taught in global online classrooms for secondary school students and online professional development for educators. The organization also meets the unique educational needs of schools through custom course development and individualized course offerings. VHS design and delivery standards are the model used by the National Education Association in their recommended standards for online learning. The organization has won numerous awards, including the Stockholm Challenge Award for Global Excellence in Information Technology, and is a three-time winner of the United States Distance Learning Association’s (USDLA) award for Excellence in Programming and Excellence in Best Practices. For more information, visit www.TheVirtualHighSchool.org or call (978) 897-1900.
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