For Mussar Workshops
Rabbi David Jaffe was a visiting scholar in our congregation, as we began a year-long synagogue-wide study of Mussar, a Jewish path to character refinement. The members of our synagogue loved learning with Rabbi Jaffe, as did we. His presentations were not only well-received because of his expertise, but also because of the thoughtfulness, passion, menschlichkeit and generosity of spirit that came through in the way he presented the material. Some members of our synagogue were so taken with him, that within 24 hours of meeting him, they asked him for advice on a major life decision! We highly recommend Rabbi Jaffe as a visiting scholar, and know that any community lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn from him will be very fortunate indeed.
– Rabbis Elana Kanter and Michael Wasserman, The New Shul, Scottsdale, AZ
Eager to learn about Mussar, our congregation reached out to Rabbi David Jaffe as our scholar in residence. Rabbi Jaffe offered us much more than we thought was possible for just a weekend of learning. This was true because, in many ways, Rabbi Jaffe embodies the spiritual traits that are at the core of the practice of Mussar. He speaks from a place of humility and respect and responds by not only tapping into his vast knowledge base but also, by sharing his personal experience. Of course, his warmth and humor added greatly to our learning. He inspired us to take Mussar to the rest of the congregation and to think about Mussar’s transformative impact for us, individually, and for the social justice work we do as a community. It was a truly energizing and enlightening experience which I whole-heartedly recommend to others.
– Rabbi Sonia Saltzman, Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline, MA
Rabbi Jaffe provided our community with a substantial message, delivered by a fitting messenger. One segment of our community has a strong commitment to social justice, while another segment has a strong commitment to spiritual practice. Rabbi Jaffe’s message appealed to, and energized, both. I highly recommend Rabbi Jaffe as a exemplary spokesperson for “changing the world from the inside out.”
– Rabbi Moshe Thomas Heyn, Temple Israel of Greater Miami
For Teshuva Workshops
Attending the Teshuva Workshop profoundly changed my experience of the High Holidays this year. Instead of squeezing all my reflection into 10 days, at the end having some vague sense of my path for the coming year, I had time, support and also tools to reflect on my year and am going forward into 5772 with a written spiritual action plan. I know what I intend to do, and, most importantly, why I intend to do it! Thank you so much!
-Paula F., Therapist
Rabbi Jaffe’s Teshuva workshop is wonderful. It’s filled with exercises for both reflection and planning and is a great way to wrap up the past year and plan for the coming year. One highlight for me is writing my own vidui – which I then use during Yom Kippur services. Honestly, I do more in those two short evenings of the workshop than I do over the whole year. Whether or not you do anything else for your spiritual growth this year, do this workshop!
-Deb S., Technical Writer
I am the director of a special needs school in Lexington, MA and am starting my 38th year at the school. My daughter told me about the work she had done with Rabbi Jaffe when she was in the JOIN for Justice organizing fellowship and coupled with my curiosity about Mussar I went with her to last year’s workshops. In that seemingly short time I was able to focus on a recurring difficulty between my-self and my bride of 40 years. I had in those years gone at it in any number of ways and never made a dent in it that lasted at best a few weeks and at worst a few minutes. Something about the focus and approach of 1) Rabbi Jaffe and his openness about the role this has played in his life, and 2) the tools of Mussar itself gave me the first real leg up I have gotten in all these attempts and times. It enabled me to take the work of teshuva that followed during the holy days and create it into a vehicle that enabled a hitherto unchanging situation and set of reactions to change. In closing I can say if it is Hashem’s will I will be back again to see what is next. A sheynem dank to Rabbi Jaffe and the work he is doing.
-Alan S., Head of School
For Changing the World From the Inside Out Talks
Over a busy Shabbat, Rabbi Jaffe taught area rabbis, b’nai mitzvah parents, congregational leaders, local mussar teachers, gave a d’var Torah and more. In each setting, he took time to learn background about the group so as to tailor learning particularly suited to their interest.
Of all the middot, when I think of Rabbi Jaffe, I think of shleimut. He taught my community about being a person of integrity, a person whose insides match their outsides. Jaffe himself exemplifies this message through his love of Torah and his love of people. We were equally compelled by both.
-Rabbi Alexander Davis, Beth El Synagogue
During the course of a single evening David Jaffe started our community on the path to lead a more intentional life. His words inspired us to consider how each one of us could step up, in our own way, to have a greater impact on the world in which we live.
His presentation was sharp and insightful, filled with personal stories and Jewish text, guiding us to find the “choice points” in our own lives to create everyday mitzvot.
It was a conversation which we hope will resonate in our community for a very long time.
-Stacy Kamisar, Program Director, Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County
Rabbi Jaffe was one of our more extraordinary scholars-in-residence. He brought equal measures of intellectual and spiritual stimulation. His combination of sensitivity and wisdom allowed members of our community to not only learn in substantive ways, but to explore their inner-lives. He left us uplifted and eager to learn more about our communal and personal spiritual, ethical fabric. He is indeed a gifted teacher and real mensch!
-Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz, Senior Rabbi, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Short Hills, NJ