Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Sunday night: labor seder planning...Oscar-ific
Monday night: house trip to event hosted by the Alliance for Healthy Tomorrow about how basically everything in the world is toxic...maybe not so sweet
Tuesday night: sit on a panel at Temple Isaiah, plan interfaith work with the Islamic Society of Boston...exhausting
Wednesday night: what, nothing to do? oh, man that's nice
Thursday night: Jewish Labor Committee fundraiser...solid
Friday night: watch Scrubs with the lady-friend...relaxing
Saturday night: Purim...dance-off
That's my week, kids. Kinda Jewed up to the max. As my brother might say, "Ridonc-u-lous." True, Josh. True.
The house has great energy, we're doing tons of good work, and we're definitely showing up all around the Jewish community. But the continuing question of balance -- like, how do we live sane lives when we all work way too hard anyway and then do this stuff on top? -- is still percolating around constantly.
On the plus side, I always fall asleep as soon as I get into bed.
Also, I'm posting right after all the South Africa kids. When do we take a group trip to visit them???
Peace and love, hermanos y hermanas. Hasta later.
It's been a long road, from finding a house to mivng in, to deciding how we would allocate the rooms, the five of us have finally settled in. So for my first blog i'll just let everyone in on a little bit og info on the five house dwellers.
So first we have Strauss, he's a weird fella who takes his shirt of and runsn out of roomsn when he gets excited. He's also an exceptioanlly intelligent 'oke' (Cape Townian for dude). Then there's Dan Varnett, who I like to call 'the Dragon of Deception.' The Dragon is an organisational guru, and one of the most humourous guys I know. He's also a pretty talented DJ. Our female contingent is mad eup of Emma, The simple red haired gem has a oddly special relationship with her computer, yto the point that she sings to it when she arrives home from University. Finally there's Kev, who studies physics and maths, which is just weird. He's also really funny and a bit whacky.
And then ofcourse there's me. I study polictics and economics and I'm a bit of a dreamer, always with the old head in the clouds. I have a great passion for playing, coaching and watching the great game of rugby, which is a massive part of South African culture.
So here we are, five young Jews at the Southern tip of africa looking forward to alot of fun and inspiring times in the house. \We've already had a series of events which I'm sure we will update you on very soon.
With the stress and hard work of moving in behind us, the year is really settilign down. Strauss has put his shirt on and we're all geared up to make the SA Moishe house as good as it gets.
Cheers (South african for see yu later)
the little african lad just uploaded a blank page for the world to see - oh well.
so, you must be shocked silly to realize that their are Jews in Africa (we like to differenciate countries and thus, we're from SOUTH Africa) - in fact a good 50 000 of them (they like to say its 70 000, so they can get minority rights, but its not)/
We're living in the beautiful city of Cape Town, on the south-western tip of the continent. Quite an amazing place, i might add. An intellectual bunch, we all study at the excellent Uni of Cape Town, which happens to be five mins drive (yes, we have cars and roads - tarred roads!) from our wonderful new MOISHE HOUSE.
I'm studying Law and politics, an interesting combo that i enjoy most of the time. Daanie, Strauss and Em also do similar courses, and Kevin does science - loser.
So will regularly update with all the latest events - we've had a good ten or more events so far in our first 2.5 weeks! Despite being quite far from the free world that is the US, we seem to be doing ok at attracting cool people like you all do - now arnt we just special.
OK so it's getting late and i'm just writing rubbish - come back soon for more.
Ahoy Isaac and Levi you yankee bastards:)
Finally, just so you know - we all love each other, and plan to live together forever - go Moishe house!
( Editors note: Strauss's Log will contain 2 elements to it. Standard, yet interesting Moishe House thoughts and feelings and general thoughts on the world, Ct, Jew's, Middle East, America etc. Its not too often that one has the chance to engage in dialogue with Jews from around the world)
With the above in mind Cape Town, for those of you who might be confused does not have elephants roaming the streets nor "indigenous people" walking around in loin cloth. Instead it has 5 o clock traffic and street children begging for money. Other highlights include AIDS denialists, great all you can eat sushi, about 15-20,000 Jews and now *Drum roll* Moishe House!
Our House has seen a floury of events, too many for the photo programme and our calendar to keep up with. Our creamy Mushroom Wednesday night "invite a guest nights" are a big hit with the recipe now being refined to a delicate art.
Our next batch of 'victims' will be the 2,000 plus American exchange students studying at UCT and other out of towners, who happen to be Jewish and are are dying for either A. a social life with people who are from a different nationality or town to them or B. a Jewish community to which they can go to for social and intellectual occurances.
I'm a massive fan of communal living and living again with others in this setting is reminding me why. You learn about yourself in such a unique way when it is through others. Dealing with issues, developing a sense of group identity - all things that will come to the fore the more time the House spends together are what can make a shit day seem a lot brighter or a mundane day seem a lot more fun.
A small question that I would like to hear other Moishe Houseniks thoughts on (in the vein of connectng with other Moishe houses) is if they think Moishe house has had any effect on the wider , i.e. non-Jewish community, and if it in fact should?
Finally, I call this blog Strauss's log because I find the toilet a time for great contemplation and relaxation. Hence at the end of every e-mail I will give you Strauss's thoughts from the Log.
Strauss's thoughts from the log this week are: ' I hope that living in a Moishe house doesnt turn me off canned chick-peas."
And of course the first thing i decided to do when connected to the amazing world wide web was write my very first Moishe House blog.
Hmm, where to begin? Let's see, we moved in here just under two weeks ago, and already it feels like I've been living here for ages! It was a bit stressful at first I guess, just cos I had to keep going back to my parents to pick up things that I'd forgotten, but I think that now I've got basically everything I need: bed, cupboard, clothes, toothbrush, computer (that was an important one - i really can't survive without my computer! In fact the guys were actually teasing me the other day, cos they heard me singing to my computer when i got home. It's just very special to me...)
Anyway, things have been going great so far. We've had some really fun events, and people have been coming round to chill and hang out most nights. And after a rough day at varsity it's really nice to have friends to come home to who'll listen (or at least pretend to listen) to me complain about my annoying lecturers, or the fact that I couldn't find parking and ended up having to walk all the way from lower to upper campus (it's pretty far, especially when you're already running like 20 minutes late!)
And living with four guys really isn't as bad as I thought it would be. They've been surprisingly hygenic so far, and they're all really easy going. And Strauss' cooking is definitely one of the highlights; tonight was mushroom pasta which was delicious! And it looked like there were some leftovers, so I might even be sorted for lunch tomorrow, yay!
Ok, well it's getting quite late, so I should probably go and get back to my studies, got some french homework for tomorrow which is due pretty early, so I can't afford to oversleep :(
Till my next update on Moishe House, Southern Hemisphere,
keep it real bru
For those of you that haven't heard the news, Moishe House has launched a house in Cape Town, South Africa. The dwellers/inhabitants/housemates/moishehouseians are:
The names in brackets are what we call each other, and will most likely sign off as.
So it's been a crazy couple of months to get this started... but it finally hapened. So what is it that finally happened?
We found a house that we're renting. That itself was many hours of searching the newspapers, cruising the streets and bribing real estate agents. Then we had to convince this harsh german landlord lady (froulin Unter) that these 4 nice Jewish lads and one fine Jewish lass are
a) good for a monthly rent
b) respectable, decent people...(not too easy)
Then came the drama of sorting out the rooms: after a week of discussion, we finally had a decision meeting where we decided through consensus (and straw polling) on our rooms. Then we had a week of fast-paced moving- organising trucks, couches, table tennis tables, beds and kitchen utensils...what a mission.
And with that glorious climax in the tale of "MH South Africa" I will have to leave, and Strauss will pick up from where i left.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Last weekend we had a house concert and raised almost $800 for the Sudan Relief Effort spearheaded by American Jewish World Service. With some extra bucks from The Forest Foundation we brought in an awesome singer song-writer and sang the night away for justice. I wanted to share this because I think our houses have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to not just throw great parties and have fun, but also the potential to raise awareness about important issues and really create warriors for JUSTICE. Darfur is a genocide happening in our lives and we each can do more to affect change. I encourage you all to check out: http://www.ajws.org/index.cfm?section_id=2&sub_section_id=2&page_id=296 and make a donation, throw a house benefit, print out an info sheet and put it on your fridge, etc. Just cause Darfur is not on the front page, doesn't mean that 450,000 people have not been killed since 2003!
Purim is about turning suffering into joy and Pesach is about liberation and freeing the captives. I encourage us each to ACT for Darfur... from our HOMES and beyond.
PS. A charge offered by one of my heroes, Rabbi Harold Schulweis.
Sudan and Our Response
Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, August 26, 2005
us? Are we so numerous that we can take on the suffering of others not our kinsmen?
With ancient eyes we see Darfur with a shock of recognition. We experience a collective deja vu even as we speak. More than two million frightened souls fleeing homes in Darfur/400,000 helpless people murdered/the terror of the Janjaweed, which in Arabic is derived from “jan”—which means “evil”, and “jawed”—which means “horsemen,” soldiers on horses with swords, whips and truncheons, beating down a people and trampling them.
Are these reports really genocide or just propaganda?
“Rouse Yourself—why do You sleep?
Awaken—why do You hide Your face and ignore our affliction?”
Friday, February 23, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
This may sound weird as the topic for my second blog posting, but it
reallyseems like the year is winding down. Well, I should preface that by
sayingthat in Israel, the most productive part of the year is between the end of
the holidays in the fall and the beginning of Passover. Before and after,
everyone just uses the holidays as an excuse to do nothing. And, given that
Passover is in a bit over a month, the year is almost over. The real reason
that it feels that way is that (in all reality) we are 2/3 of the way into the year,
starting to take it easy and travel to different places instead of staying tight to
the routine. During the first half of the year, more of my friends were in ,
now having moved on to other places in the country - which also makes it more
difficult to find people for MH events. I even find myself totally settled and
comfortable at work, which I started halfway through the year. For a good three
months in the fall, my roommates and I had a schedule which we stuck to, getting up
every morning, coming back, etc. Now, every week, there is something new, which
makes it much more exciting, and for some reason emphasizes how quickly
the year is going by. Well, anyhow, all of our activities are going well, despite the fact
that it is getting harder and harder to find people to come to them. All three
of us are going away for different periods over the next three weeks, and I
have been assigned to do a MH event all on my own. It's a first, and it may just
fall through. (Just kidding... They would murder me.) We'll see.
Friday, February 16, 2007
These two are the only alcoholic beverages that the Igbos produced, and since the Igbos produced or identified them, they have been companions to the Igbos. On virtually all Igbo occasions, sad or happy, be sure to find ngwo and nkwu enu; in earthen jars; beside the discussants waiting to be quaffed.
According to an European missionary who lived and studied the Igbos in the early 20 th century: 'the ngwo plantations furnish huge qualities of wine. In appearance, and in taste, it resembles the old-fashioned stone bottle ginger beer; it is pleasant to drink and very refreshing. The strictest teetotaler may drink freely of this without experiencing undue excitement….. nkwu enu…. is never wasted, however by the old men. One is bound to admit that there is, on the whole, very little drunkenness from palm wine drinking'.
I have taken time to study the original and traditional Igbo life and setting. If a child is born, palm wine is present during its circumcision party, at its dedication and redemption; during betrothal and marriage it is available. It is present during divorce. And in funerals great qualities must be present. My conclusion is that it is the companion of the Igbos.
As discussions are going on, drinking will also be going on. If the occasion is a joyful one 'a na ama njakiri' (cracking of jokes and making of jest) will also be going on. Discussions are best done with palm wine flowing
I have always suspected that ancient Israelites had the above-described feature in their lifestyle. In 2005, when Daniel Lis "Igbo" a Swiss-Israeli anthropologist visited, and I took him on a four of Igbo land I wanted to find out how he would react to the Igbos and palm wine. At Nri we had an occasion in the house of Mazi Nnacheta Obudulu. Mineral, water, beer and nkwu enu were all available. You know what happened? Everybody including Dan gravitated to the palm wine, and he equally participated in the ima njakiri with me as his special target.
Before he left for Switzerland , he interviewed me for 2hours. At every turn he would break the monotony with Igbo jokes about palm wine. And after he left, during a meeting of Igbos in Switzerland, which he attended, Dan told me that all was well except that palm wine was not available, so the tete a tete was not lively enough.
In 2006 the Forest Foundation established a Moishe House in Abuja Nigeria . I was/am privileged to live in it. When I studied the aims and objectives of the institution, I discovered that it is very much like the authentic, original and traditional Igbo family setting. Related people and friends gathering regularly to discuss, eat, and spice up the discussions with palm wine. Recently I was having a tete a tete with Levi, my brother of the forest foundation. If all things had been equal, palm wine would be available, but the Atlantic Ocean was a real barrier. But mere mention of the whitish stuff animated our talk, and you know what my brother said. He said 'I wish you could ship some of that delicious palm wine to me'. And do you know what I did. I jumped into my Mercedes, and drove around Abuja searching for the stuff. In the evening I found one gallon, and proceeded to the house of Oliver Zurishaddai Asogwa, the vice president of beth knesseth siyahh Israel . On sighting the nkwu enu Oliver jumped out, with his one year old Moshe, in his arms, and hollered at his wife to get us tumblers. I told him that the stuff was for our brother Levi. Oliver didn't listen. He poured a glass for himself. At that stage, I joined him, and even little Moshe joined, and we downed poor Levi's palm wine.
'See that's what happened to the supply for Levi'.
Well Oliver promised that anytime Levi comes this way that he'll teach him how to tap the wine, so that he will be compensated doubly for his loss.
The photo is of Remy, Oliver and little Moshe enjoying nkwu enu!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
We had Phil and Levi up here two weeks ago and showed them the sights. It was fun to see them and have a bit of a small retreat Camp Zacca style. We decided to stay on as a Moishe House for the forseeable future and I am glad to maintain the brand.
This week I am starting to teach a class on Intro to Judaism that Moishe House is co-sponsoring and I am excited to see where that goes.
Meanwhile, Jonathan and I are training for a half-marathon in May...He will be in shape for it for sure, me on the other hand...well, cross your fingers for me :)
Thursday, February 8, 2007
What a month it has been for our brand-new Moishe House in Hoboken, NJ! Despite a slow start at the beginning of January, we managed to have a number of successful events. This is a good time to commend the Jewish community of New Jersey on their dedication to partying and free food and beer. The first two events took place in a house with no heat, scant electricity and no hot water. In spite of these adverse conditions (which are sufficient to elicit aversion and contempt in an average American partygoer), the Jewish community attended with an unrivaled spirit. Sitting in winter jackets around a space heater and sipping hot tea makes up for a unique bonding experience. So those were the beginnings, and I'm most delighted. We had a tremendous success in rather non-partying-conducive conditions; if the Jews of NJ can do that, then, really the sky is the limit (or actually traffic by the Holland Tunnel may be the limit). As we get the most essential of utilities (hot water has yet to come out of the faucet), the House will start transforming into a Jewish center that we envision it to become.
We have had a lot of drama with our landlord, especially with issues surrounding heat which is an essential this time of year. However, things are more or less in order and where going to continue having events, including this one Shabbat. Lots of work needs to be done. Eugene and I went to Carnegie Hall last night which included a little bit of House Bonding. I got the tickets through my job and I took a friend Eugene took his friend Abby. I also had a larger crowd of people that came as well which all promise to be future attendees at Hoboken Moishe House.
We are having a house meeting tonight to work more on our strategy, out reach and vision.I'll be sure to let everyone know what we decide. If anyone has any tips, please let us know.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Monday, February 5, 2007
This month has been filled with a bunch of poker nights (as usual ;) ) ,however, we have been expanding to 3 table tournamant games due to the popularity of this event with friends and regulars. You know how it goes; they tell 2 friends, and they tell 2 friends, and so on and so on and so on.........Anyways, needless to say a success. This month well also escaped out with a group for a comedy night at the Improv featuring Drew Carey, Jeffery Ross (Jewish comic, hell yeah), and others. Who doesn't love a night at a comedy club? We've done this event before but I think we'll keep bringing it back since everyone had such a great time. My birthday/shabbat was great and of course ended with me drinking way to much alcohol but what would you expect for a birthday, right? (oh yeah, we were accompanied by 6 girls I had never met before; props to Nate for that one)
So now it's February and Lee and I are about to embark on a 6 week cross country trip as well film a skateboard video......anybody jealous? It should be a lot of work but still a lot of fun. We'll keep the Moishe House informed of our activities.
So 'til next time.....stay Jewish everyone.........
We had some great Sunday slipper events with lots of good friends and football. In addition to this I have added reading my LSAT prep book (yuck) for a couple hours every Sunday. I have also begun my own personal training in the form of Yoga. This is not really my style, but I thought, when in Rome. I have been feeling better about my days, and I have recently been able to see the small of my back because I am so flexible.
Living in Moishe house this month has been great because the community is really starting to grow. This month we had more new guests show up who want to become regulars. Having this large community has truly been a blessing.
Things that have been succesful have been the no TV while the sun is up and the not pit unless it's Shabbat. The TV thing had immediate results in my life. I started reading more and making better use of my time. One thing that I noticed was how much I hate to eat without something else to do. I still don't know what to do about this new piece of information. Without TV to watch while eating I get hella bored and feel like I'm wasting time. I've tried reading but it's kinda hard to multi task like that. Really stopping and enjoying your food is hard to do and I'm still struggling to do it. Hmm? The pot thing has been great. Keeps me sharp. I'm trying to figure out what else I need to do for shabbat to make it special. I don't know quite yet so if anyone has any suggestions let me know
As for Brady's learning plan things haven't really gone to plan. It's hard to delegate time and frankly i haven't done it. I have been trying to take more action on being happy. I've been taking weekend trips to Santa Cruz to kick it and chill and last weekend I went to MN to see my friend in a play. Purim is crazy to plan and starting to scare me. I think everything will go well but tomorrow is super work day. I have to get a lot done. i think I can do it!
Love and lovers.
This is due by the fifth and it is the fifth so I think it counts.
An epic feel-gooder in three acts:
The smell of baking challa wafts through the District as Moishe prepares for Shabbat dinner.
Neophyte: What's Jewish mean?
Moishe (thumbing Solomon-like beard): Hmmmmmmm.
Three months later. Neophyte brims with curiosity. Again Shabbat. Neophyte lights candles proudly.
Neophyte: ...l'hadlik ner shel shabbat.
Moishe: What's ner?
Neophyte (playing with braids): Idiot.
Neophyte no longer neophyte. Now full-fledged Jewess, overbearing motherly eye and all. Spends the holidays in Israel. Runs back to Moishe to share.
Moishe: How was Israel?
Jewess: An ablution in the mellifluous tributaries of my soul, the carpet on which I might abscond the gaucherie of the everyday.
Moishe: What's carpet?
Jewess: Huh? (awkward beat) I feel Jewish now, is pretty much the point of this whole thing, and it feels good, and you helped me--and continue to help me--to feel that way. So thank you.
Moishe: You wanna dance?
Moishe and Jewess twirl to Dixie jazz. Curtain.
Adam in DC
I've only been up to Tahoe once so far this ski season. I do plan on making many more trips, however, tonight deep in the heart of San Francisco, Moishe Houses SF and East Bay are teaming up to get down in the San Francisco Public Softball League, Division DD. Last fall there was one Moishe House team, with a few ringers on it. However, thanks to the team's previous succes, not to metnion a flood of secular and non-secular media attention, there are now two Moishe House softball teams, with twice the number of ringers, sunflower seeds, and babaganush. Yep, lots of Moishe going on in parks and on baseball diamonds this spring in the Bay Area. With such local neighborhood heros as OG Gilbert, MHSF legend and founder Yithak Zones, DIII college basketball recruit Dave Pyrseko, and of course the flavor of the month, Brady Gill Gill.
This pring is going to full of community as we all get together Monday nights celebrate the beauty of city league softball. We got lots of seats in bleachers, come and check one of our games. Hum Baby!
Danny in the East Bay
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Ok, now to make more sense.
Let me pose a dilemma, a puzzling conundrum, if you will. This is more a hypothetical situation than one that MHDC currently faces, but I'm curious to hear y'all's response to this paradigmatic example to get a better sense of how you think.
Let's say you've got a real problem guest.
Never brings food or drink to potluck shabbat. always conveniently "forgets" and doesn't RSVP.
Very creepily hits on the other guests.
Smells kind of funny.
Jewish but has a bad attitude about judaica in events.
Occasionally shows up somewhat plastered.
Offensive and politically incorrect.
Calls people grating pet names.
Is a member of the house.
His name is Leo.
Ok, so I'm kidding about the extreme nature of this hypothetical example, but my main question remains - what do you do when you have a guest who isn't contributing to the warm, supportive nature of the Moishe House environment? I don't think we've had guests who really approach this point, only a few awkward fish at worst, but I was curious where and when you see it appropriate to say something to a guest and what you consider defines a "problem guest". What would you say?
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Thursday, February 1, 2007
As you can see here I a) lost all my money and dignity at another poker night [sweatshirt reads: I LUV TO HUDDLE] and b) that it seems like no matter where I try to run a serious meeting I'm met with cock jokes [notice the Morris B. Squire original looming large in the background; soon to make us all millionaires].
If I had to pick one thing I'm most excited about pertaining to Moishe SF it's the upcoming softball season. We had such a big demand for spots on the team this coming spring that we're splitting into 2 teams with 3 people on each who stepped up to coach. We're having a draft next Monday! So it's no Beit Midrash but it's certainly spiritual. Moishe House Jersey is on board in beautiful Hoboken and I'm getting my first taste of a real winter in quite a long time. How do you East Coasters do it? No softball in January?! Seriously?! Much love from the city by the bay - stay healthy! - Isaac
This month we had a recored number of people come through our house. Poker has now doubled in it's average size and we are on the look out for our next great community project. Could it be more toys for tots? cleaning up a bumb? Helping Isaac become the Pres? who knows. What I do know is that I can't wait for the next blog from.
We journey into the next stage of 2007 lets hope it's as fun and energetic as the last stage.
(pause for LOLs).
Levi and Phil came to MoHoWeHo this week to grab some content, give us our long-awaited welcome mat, and to get humped by Hannah. Phil was a little shy, but Levi went at it.
We started off 2007 with some pretty cool stuff.
An exclusive comedy night at the Hollywood Improv featuring a lineup of Jews and a fellow Clevelander. Performers included Jeff Ross, Jeremy Hotz, Jordy Fox, Dana Gould and Drew Carey if you didn't guess that one. We were rolling with laughter all night!
Two successful and relaxing Shabbat dinners. We continue to have new people come through to our Shabbat dinners. The majority are young people who don't normally participate in Jewish rituals and haven't since their Bar/Bat-Mitzvahs. These people all rave about how awesome it is for them to have this at the end of the week, and about how they want to do it more often. It's been cool to incorporate those little pieces of Jewish culture into the lives of secular Jews like us.
We also had a couple of events with just the three of us that were both learning experiences--a road trip to Mammoth and an evening of setting up HIGH DEFINITION TV! That's right, MoHoWeHo made it to the 21st century. 2007 is gonna be a great year.
This would be an exciting event to find at our house on most evenings, but all the more special because a Mo House poker game would be taking place in that very room only minutes later. There would be a different host for this event, participants arriving to play cards as Ballstars exited, and a whole new electricity in the air as the second event of the evening was about to take flight. As Thai food containers were shuttled to the garbage, corn chips and salsa were poured into bowls. As softball paperwork was organized and cleared, poker chips were being counted and distributed across the table. The poker faces were in place, and the cards dealt. Just your not-so-average night at Moishe House San Francisco.
Let the games begin!
Sol taught about the first mitzvah that the Jewish people receive after being liberated from slavery in Egypt: the mitzvah of a new month. The question is, how can a new month be a mitzvah? As Sol so beautifully taught us, once we received freedom, time itself became the first imperative. As free people, our time is ours. So what are we going to do with it?
Sol shared how he his devoting his time: he talked to us about his holy work with Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, which campaigns for Universities to make new medicines and medical innovations available to communities in the developing world. Check out the Philadelphia Concensus Statement here: http://consensus.essentialmedicine.org/ . It provides good summary of what UAEM has been up to, an opportunity to sign the statement in solidarity, and information on how to get involved.