This project will address whether faith communities can create sustainable structures that positively impact members’ lifelong character development. The three-year course of study will examine the impact of engaging 28 Jewish organizations as they develop staff and volunteers’ moral character through the mindfulness practice of tikkun middot: the cultivation of moral character traits such as forgiveness, generosity and humility. The project will be led in each community by clergy, senior staff or a lay leader trained in mindfulness practice, who will engage in a personal practice of character development while implementing a parallel process within the community.

We hypothesize that cultivating community-wide attention to moral traits will help individuals acknowledge and reduce negative behavioral patterns, change challenging situations into opportunities to strengthen their character, respond with greater wisdom and compassion, transforming the individual and the organization. Main activities include creating a curriculum; selecting communities; engaging in facilitated study for these communities’ leaders and working groups; conducting an evaluation; and disseminating results. Concrete outputs include 28 communities engaged in a year-long tikkun middot course of study; a curriculum and resource guide for replication beyond the project period; essay(s) for publication; conference presentations; the final evaluation.

We hope to see study participants reporting increased awareness of situations in which they typically react negatively; increase in responding to such situations by choosing to practice the middot covered by the curriculum; and an increase in their experience of the religious community modeling positive moral character. Enduring benefits will be to offer the larger community a systematic methodology for fostering model character development and cultivating mindfulness practices which support ongoing use of the methodology.

List of 28 Participating Communities

Materials from TMP Conferences in Newark, NJ

Informational Materials about the TMP

Suggested PR Materials for TMP and Logos

Supplementary Materials for Core Middot

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This project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the Institute and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation