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Why Queer Mussar? 

"I think that there is something specifically holy about getting to study and experience exclusively queer Jewish space in community spaces. There is something beautiful that happens when queer folks come together to dig into and dig out our own space in history. It is finding ourselves in old things that are sacred and significant. Queer Jewish spaces allow for queer Jews to exist holistically in their compete selves in a way that traditional Jewish spaces don't always allow. Queer spaces are not always religion friendly and religious spaces are not always queer friendly. Queer Mussar invites us to participate with our whole selves in a supportive, authentic, and inherently queer environment."

Isaac Jennings, Former Program Coordinator for J-Pride (JFCS Minneapolis)

"Since Mussar is so personal, having a space where my identity as a queer and trans Jew was respected and understood was crucial for me to truly connect with the other members. I have also had a hard time in non-queer Mussar va'ads feeling connected to others - since my queerness informs my interpretation and implementation of all of these middot, having a place where queerness is understood adds more connection and removes a layer of explanation I have to give."    

Lisa Hurtubise (she/her)
has been practicing musar for six years. She is a retired Occupational Therapist and has facilitated co-counseling classes. Lisa came out and participated in the gay rights movement starting in the mid 70’s in Columbus, Ohio. She was a member of Fan The Flames Feminist Book Collective and was involved in many activities with the Woman’s Action Collective. She grew up in Minneapolis, lived in Ohio for over 30 years, and has been back in Minneapolis for 25 years. Lisa has been an active co-creator and facilitator of Queer Mussar since its inception in 2022.


Jason Gary Klein (he/they)
has been a rabbi for 20 years, was the director of lifelong learning at Temple Israel Minneapolis, and now serves as senior rabbi with Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in NY. Jason was part of the Queer Mussar planning team, was instrumental in developing the pilot program’s curriculum and served as co-facilitator for the first year. Jason has served in a variety of Jewish, queer and queer-Jewish leadership and teaching roles, and is a former president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.

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Isaac Ezra Jennings (he/they)
has been in the nonprofit field for 6 years and was the J-Pride program coordinator at JFCS Minneapolis and now resides in Olympia, WA with his family. He was responsible for encouraging and developing Queer Mussar and other queer-focused Jewish programming across the Twin Cities.

The Group

Our two Queer Mussar groups (va’adot in Hebrew) will begin in November 2024 and will be comprised of 10-12 participants each and 1 trained facilitator, who meet regularly to learn together. The days in between the group sessions are intended for personal home practice, including journaling and meeting with a chevruta (study/practice partner). While we intend this experience to guide participants in increasing personal awareness and growth, a va'ad is not a support group or a therapy group. It is an active learning community. We will uphold intentional group guidelines in order to provide a safe, kind, compassionate space for each person to learn, grow and express themself.

The Facilitators and Creative Team

Interested in joining for Fall 2024?

Please register for our July 16, 2024 Discover Queer Mussar info session to learn more about our Queer Mussar small groups learning communities. (va'adot in Hebrew) 


Emma Stout (she/her)

is thrilled to be engaging in her first Mussar va’ad as a facilitator. She grew up in Roseville, Minnesota and has been living in Minneapolis for the last ten years. She is passionate about inclusion and making sure that everyone feels they have a seat at the table. Emma is a web developer, a Jew by choice, and a beginning mandolin player. She is active in the vibrant community singing and social dance communities in the Twin Cities, and she leads a monthly Jewish song circle called Ilu Finu. Emma lives in South Minneapolis with her two lovable and goofy cats.

Julie Dean (she/her)
is the founder of Twin Cities Mussar and co-creator of Queer Mussar. She is passionate about how this gem from the Jewish tradition helps transform lives and communities. Julie has 30 years of experience as a professional group facilitator and holds an MA in Educational Leadership. Julie develops and leads a year long advanced Mussar Facilitator Training and Mentorship program, called Cultivating a Wise Heart and has served as a teacher with The Mussar Institute for the past four years.  She grounds her Jewish spiritual practice in Jewish wisdom, mindfulness, nature, music and connecting with others. 

Influential Co-Creators

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