I've already written in this blog about how two religious traditions can help us deal with the incivility of our times. The Sufi practice of adab is an antidote to the lack of courtesy in our society, and the Confucian virtue of Jen or human-heartedness is based on a respect for the dignity of human life which leads to social harmony.

Another civility resource is from the Jewish tradition: the practice of mussar. It was developed in Lithuania in the second half of the nineteenth century by Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin Salanter. The word means "correction" or "instruction" and also serves as the simple modern Hebrew word for ethics. Mussar presents many practical and everyday ways to turn around the course of incivility in our personal and public interactions with others

Mussar is a sturdy and substantive spiritual curriculum that emphasizes daily practices of soul traits such as humility, patience, gratitude, compassion, and honor that are the signs of a decent human being. In Every Day, Holy Day, Alan Morinis, the founder and director of the Mussar Institute, offers teachings and steps to take in order to activate these and many other traits. He believes that polishing the best in us and correcting our character flaws are paths to true fulfillment as human beings.

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