Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May LA Moishe BLOG By: Lee Levin

MOISHE MOISHE read all about it EXTRA Copies of the News coming your way. Moishe LA has had fun this month> Lots of sun means lots of outdoor activities. I mean lots. Nothig with water yet but thats soon to change. For all of you who dont know look out for the article written about the moishe house in a jewish publication of which name i forget at the moment but im sure Levi could tell you. Summer time the hardest months to get large numbers to events due to the heat and vacation time. We plan to take this summer to a whole new level and create some never ending goodtime situation. Moishe house la is where this will take place so if you are curious call nate at 323 656 2470 he has full details.

Later dudes and dudetts.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Let Us Create a New Song for the Day of Shabbat

Last Friday night, as we sat together eating Shabbat dinner, Evan started singing a gospel song, My Grandmother's Hands. A few of us joined in, adding harmony and vocal rhythms, baselines and beatboxing. Then, in a turn nobody quite expected, the song somehow flowed seamlessly into No Diggity. Then Orin jumps in, layering the traditional Hebrew Shabbat song Dror Yikra, into No Diggity. Our singing continued to build, weaving and layering gospel, beatboxing, hip hop freestyling, and Hebrew and Aramaic odes. This is kind of song that our house community makes for Shabbat.

with love and thanks to the Moishe House Community for making these beautiful creative moments possible
~Ari, MHBoston~

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Woops!! (and a challenge)

well, it seems I'm forgetful (I being David), and I sincerely, sincerely apologize for being late. My roommates think I overapologize and am oversincere, but with the Moishefamily, you can never be too sincere. Let's get an appreciation for being sincere, yeah?

I believe this picture is from Ein Gedi in Israel, and I wanted to put a plug in for my favorite device in my current blog posting - the fantastical funmachine known as the bicycle. Now that it's sunny out here in the middle states again, I have been rediscovering my love for bikes, and I did the 45 minute by bicycle commute to work the other day in celebration of the device.

Bikes are one of the most efficient machines for human transportation, with very little energy lost through friction, and they you from place to place without damage to the environment! I think use of bicycles instead of cars or even public transport is a great way to incorporate tikkun olam into our daily lives.

therefore, I challenge you out there in the Moishe community to make me put my money where my mouth is (or, rather, my feet where my mouth is. ouch) - email me at, and if you start commuting to work by bike, I'll start doing it too! What better way to get more bang for your buck than making another person (that being me) be environment-friendly too!

I reserve the right to chicken out, but I probably won't. Also, I'd be happy to give pointers about how to make it a reality if you're not sure where to start.

Any takers?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

appreciation time!

In light of the year (almost) behind us, I feel as if there is some appreciation due my roommate, Andrew, for his wonderful acts throughout the year to defuse tense situations. He had a fun time learning how to get out of them himself, and then applied that knowledge to be the riot police in our apartment. He always manages to avoid getting involved in arguments, and for that, I am jealous. His restraint is commendable. For issues such as putting more harif in the food, he allows no argument - simply spicing the foods to his own taste. Whenever he feels as if it is getting unpleasant in the apartment, he will take all of our worries with him for a cooling-off period on a whirlwind tour of Egypt, Ramallah, Turkey, or any assortment of other countries. He always manages to keep the rest of the apartment's tensions at bay with his exceptional sense of humor, and we thank him greatly for that. Although, sometimes I wish he would get mad, just so we could see what it would be like...

Monday, May 7, 2007

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a moishe in the sun?

I will also take up the appreciations. My first must go to Adam, who has rightfully recognized me as the best man. Adam, you are the best…well, second best.

Chris is the man who can do it all; From teaching Hebrew School, to taking classes in both Capoeira and Arabic, he pulls it off. But if we are talking about appreciations, I will once again second Mr. A.D, Cramer. David Weinberg is a man of many surprises. Not only does he receive the most amount of mail of anyone in the house, but he is constantly reinventing himself. As the tallest and most blogged about member of the house, he pulls things off that I would never believe: like leaving an amazing job for an even more amazing educational advancement, like breaking a self imposed 17-month abstention from the best thing in life—chocolate, like proposing and making happen a trip to the middle east—paid for by you and me. David continues to surprise me and the rest of the Moishe following. He is a good man to have around, and is the glue that holds us together. I hope he doesn’t melt in the hot, humid DC summer heat!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

He Who Binds Us Together

Mr. David Weinberg. It is he, Mr. David Weinberg, who binds us together, and it is he who shall be the subject of this appreciation.

I appreciate you, David.

Moishe House DC, inspired by Sir Isaac Zones, has taken to granting public appreciations. This is how many appreciations have been publicly granted in the last day: 0. This is how many appreciations have been publicly granted in the last week: 3. Leo deserves a public appreciation here on this blog: You're the best, man. Chris deserves a public appreciation as well: Chris, you too are the best, but not quite as best as Leo; Leo remains the best.

David: Your calm and your candor help us all relieve steam when steam relief is necessary.

Leo: Don't leave us

Chris: You keep us on our toes.

Adam in DC

Friday, May 4, 2007

Sacramento starts strong

Elishama and Jen have turned their cozy Sacramento home into a Moishe House, and have already begun building community. During the month of April we put on a passover Seder that was phenominal. Two days prior to the seder we had about fifteen people who had responded to our e-vite, but by the day of, over thirty people had responded, and we knew that more were coming. We printed off just enough copies of our home-made Haggadah, prayed that we had enough table settings, and prepared for the very orderly feast. Just over 40 people showed up at our seder, some of whom had never before attended a seder meal. We explained the traditions with the help of a Children's book, and ate Matzo ball soup and gave out prizes for finding the Afikomen. Much of the conversation that took place around the Seder table was about physical and emotional freedom. We went around the tables and shared what we were thankful for, and it was such an incredible experience listening to people share about how happy they were to have come to the seder and how welcomed they felt in our community. Really it was amazing. We shared some very deep and meaningful moments over Jewish food and traditions and it really felt good to know that we had helped to creat that space.

Voices and Shabbos Queens

Levi, my great thanks to you for giving us such a beautiful subject to blog about this month. Here are just a few appreciations of folk in our community who elevated the past month. I would like to appreciate Evan, who brings his soaring voice and his dancing shoes to all celebrations at our house, who brings infectious joy with him into the room, who knows his way around the keys, and who isn't afraid to translate Yiddish. I would like to appreciate everyone on our Shabbat team, for really elevating the shabbat experience at our house this month into a community organized event. Margie and I provided some support and a lot of cooking, but we otherwise did not make a single announcement or logistical coordination, we did not need to be in charge of set up or clean up, and we did not lead a single aspect of the evening. It all grew out of our holy community. This kind of Shabbat magic would not be possible without our team of Shabbat Kings and Queens, who made it all happen. Kol hakavod!

Lauren's my buddy

She works for the Workmen's Circle down the way. It's like five minutes from us. She does organizing around young Jewish social justice activities. So do we.

This past week, she and I went to a May Day rally together. We talked about our fundraising campaign for the local Muslim community's new Roxbury mosque. We went to a discussion of a group called the Jewish Organizing Initiative where we talked about building power for progressive young Jews both within the larger Boston Jewish community and in Massachusetts politics more generally. And this Sunday we're co-sponsoring a discussion about anti-Semitism on the left and how to address it, with a really thoughtful speaker coming to present.

But what I like about Lauren -- and the real reason for my appreciation -- is that through this organizing and community-building work, we've become great friends. Over the past week I was having tough times with my girl, and Lauren both took care of me and offered to play with Danielle to make her feel better. We're having a game night tonight. And tomorrow we're going to Jamaica Plain's Wake Up the Earth festival with a bunch of other kids, helping to raise some $ for some good liberal causes and (I hope) eating some fried dough.

In conclusion, Lauren rocks.

It's a Family/Moishe Affair

Prologue: After a trip to the playoffs in the Fall 2006 season the Matzah Ballstars split up to accommodate the tremendous interest in starting a second team. Not wanting to hog all the Mo House Mojo the residents of MHSF divided themselves among the two teams. Maia and Isaac would become part of Manischewitz Revenge, and Aaron and I would head the Yamakazees. On April 30th these teams faced off against one another in a game that will be remembered forever!

It was a Battle Royal. In the midst of our fabulous softball team Moishe House SF found itself divided among two amazing softball teams in opposite dugouts. I, myself, was torn between the urge to hug someone on the other team when they got a hit, and my instinct to pump my fist and scream like a madman when we would crush their spirit with a double play. In my own life, an all too common cage match pitting friendship against testosterone.

The evening had it's fare share of intense moments. Isaac being pelted with ground balls, heated exchanges on both sides with the umpires, and some tasteless cheers from a team that will remain nameless...until now (MANISCHEWITZ REVENGE). But throughout it all it was fun (pantsuits), and not softball (19-5), that was the name of the game.

The lighter side of things dominated the evening, as this was also a match up of Business Casual vs. 80's Golfers. There was plaid and slacks aplenty, with a wide variety of colorful, and often offensive, polo shirts and sweater-vests. You may be nervous about that deep fly ball, but aren't you wearing penny loafers at a softball game? And thus lies the beauty of Moishe House. A potentially conflict infused situation, with a potential for awkward moments, is defused by silliness, and our ability to make everything just a bit ridiculous.

Moral of the story: Even if you happen to strike out looking, you can still look quite striking.

Entirely Aliza: DVDs and Diet Coke

This blog entry is about Aliza, our neighbour from down the street. Aliza goes to a health sciences school in the city and being a newcomer to Hoboken , she did not know too many people in this area. Our Moishe House was a great way for her to get to know us and to meet a few other Hoboken Jews. One can say that Moishe House had made an important contribution to Aliza�s social life. More significantly, is the impact Aliza has on the Moishe House. Her upbeat and bubbly personality makes the events at our house flow very smoothly from the social point of view. There is never a dull moment. Whenever she is here for an event, we end up staying up much later than we originally planned. We also end up going through a lot of soda, as she is an avid Diet Coke drinker. If we were planning to watch a movie, the DVD usually remains in the case, as we just spend the evening talking about anything and everything. So Aliza is a true asset to our Moishe House. We are considering nominating as the Honorary Moishe House member, a recognition we decided to reserve only for the most distinguished of guests. All in all Aliza is the gal I wanted to dedicate this blog to. Her dedication to fun is truly remarkable, and the success of our recent events should be attributed to her contributions.
-Eugene GRudnikoff
MH Jersey

Moishe BoBoishe Banana nana FoFoishe

Hey happy bloggers,

So it's been an epic month (which i'm sure you've picked up from all the S. African blogs). I hope this last month of April has been a great month for everyone filled with events, guests, happenings and plenty joy.

Now, Levi's topict about appreciation leaves little room for anything else besides a cheesy blog. Instead of shying away from the cheese, i've decided to embrace it. It is in that spirit that i will run through each house mate of the South African house and blab a bit about what qualities I appreciate.

Daanie: Daanie and me have recently created a band. kindof. Basically we made up a few songs on guitar and on a jemba drum about people in the house. The songs are funny (and pretty much all sound the same). So as a fellow band member i appreciate Daanie's creativity and rythemic flow.

Barnett: Barnett knows how much i appreciate his funny/ peculiar behaviour. However last week i forgot to do the shopping and he had my back- so that's my main appreciation for Barnett. Thanks dude.

Emma: Emma just rules. She is a procrastination junkie and an avid sitcom fan...of anything. The girl will watch luandry dry. So whenever I have an urge to watch something, I can always count on Emma as my partner in TV watching.

Strauss: It has to be said: the man can take any five ingredients and turn them into a gourmet meal. with a passion for chickpeas, tuna and chilli he literly feeds our house.

best house hever

m m m m moishe

shalom chaverim
well, i'm sitting here, as i do, a beautiful autumn morning (that's fall for you americans) in Cape Town, as i think about the wonder that is Moishe House.
5 friends, each with not an impure bone in their bodies, living together in the utmost harmony.
It really has been amazing.
when moving in initially, i was certainly worried that we'd be at each others throats from the start. it's turned out, however, that we have got on amazingly well
this blog is a testament to these great people, and how their caring attitude and accomodating natures have made living with them a pleasure
in good times and bad, moishe house ct members are there for one another - isnt that the point?
in addition, im very worried about the smell in our room (it's all strauss, there's no question - i shower once a day minimum, and only have about a third of the hair and body odour that he has) and i'm also concerned about the situation in israel. sometimes even more than i am about the smell. but anyway, that's moishe house!
i'm off to varsity (that's university), i'll post again soon
love daniel b

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Whats up moishniks.....After years of debate I finally went to Coachella this year and had an incredible time.....
Three things to know about Coachella i found out.
1. It's hotter than hell (even though we don't believe in it) in Indio.
2. You just can't see every band even though you feel like you're letting down an old friend by missing them.
3. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, even though great in every way, should now be called the Lukewarm Banana Peppers.

So April at the Moishe House LA turned out to be the "fun" month as most of our events were a based around some form of entertainment. It started off with a show for The Ventriloquists seeing Jeff, Danny, Moyer, Edi, and Eli as they rocked the Roxy. Then the month led in to comedy shows, movie showings, tons of poker, and Banner Outs (the new beach sport thats sweeping the Nation!!, i'm corny). There's one person who I need to appreciate, however, from our Moishe House LAL community and thats Danny Levin. Danny shows up to most of our events and is always involved with what we are doing. Every poker night we can expect Danny not only to show up on time, but to come early and get parking passes with me for the rest of the crew. Being so dependable, I know that I can count on him to pull through for any event we throw.

On a side note, the LA Moishe House also had a visitor this month from Oregon; a journalist writing an article on the Moishe House. I believe he visited the Seattle house before coming to the LA house on his way to see Morris in Santa Barbara. It was great getting some public attention. Although his trip was short, we decided we had enough time to take him on a walk to Runyon Canyon, a hike with a view of the entire city, as he asked questions about the Moishe House program.

Hope the other houses are having as much fun as we are.....see you next month....~dave

april appreciation

As soon as I saw Levi's suggestion to appreciate someone in this month's blog, I knew exactly who I'd be writing about--our good friend Elisheva. Elisheva does not actually live in our Moishe House, but she has attended more events by far than any other non-resident (and possibly more than some residents also...?) and completely embodies the spirit of Moishe House and the community that we are trying to build. She has an unbelievably diverse group of friends, from all over the geographic, religious and political spectrum, and she loves nothing more than connecting everyone and fostering new friendships. When she heard about Moishe House and what we were doing, she was extremely excited to participate and hasn't looked back since--I'd guess that 75% of the people who have set foot into our house have been connected to Elisheva in some way. Last night we held a birthday dinner for her--as a friend and as an honorary Moishe House resident--and the amazing group of people that we ended up with was a true testament to all of her friends' appreciation of her and our gratitude for her generous spirit and delightful personality.

Te agradezco, Roi -- I appreciate you, Roi

Hey buddy, with your tzitzit hanging low, and your forehead so shiny. You are beautiful on the inside and the outside. Your gums go on forever as you flash a "I'm kinda fed up with your antics, Matt" smile, but I know you really love me as much as I love you. An addict of Seinfeld and the Torah, you keep Zev and I guessing, "Who is Roi's next girlfriend going to be?" But seriously, thanks for keeping me clean, and sane, and for enabling me to laugh at others that aren't just me. Your belly is deliciously jellolike, and you play basketball like a 5'9" Michael Gordan (not Jordan). Ok, no more joking around. Really, Roi, you inspire me with your wisdom and dedication. I don't know how you can be so Jewish and I love it. Thanks for being understanding and welcoming of me, the outsider, and for always being there to listen to my issues. Next game of b-ball is mine! You da man, always and forever.


I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to one of my flat mates. She hails from the Bear Flag Republic, the great state of Cali. Rachel has been such an integral part of the Jerusalem Moishe House. Really, Jacob and I wouldn’t be able to function without her- her cunning wit, delicious carmalitas, budget organizing, glass breaking, harif loving, lacto mongering, mitz gezer serving, sour candy craving, chocolate craving, chai with extra milk craving, love for that guy in her ulpan class who gave her that ugly shirt as a stam present that she didn’t like at all but pretended to even though she never ever wore it and it made him kind of upset, constant Facebook and Couchsurfing updates, impeccable scheduling, perfect karaoke to Alanis Morrisette’s rendition of My Humps, and irresistible smile; we really aren’t capable of handling the emails and other such administrative work that Rachel thrives on. This one goes out to you, Rachie Bear, my motek. Thanks for everything.

Props to Ari and Alyson

As May creeps in, we approach Spring here in Boston with bittersweet anticipation. Our community is booming, we have fabulous new housemates coming in, after a tough selection process and lots of great candidates. But Ari and Alyson are leaving, off to Mali and Israel, respectively, and we are going to miss them dearly.

To explain why we will miss Ari so much, I look to this past Shabbat. We had over 40 people at our home, lively services, our usual complicated kashrut system at dinner, a dvar tikkun - jewish social justice teaching - about the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, awesome food, lots of clean up. And through the whole thing, our house members didn't say a word. I mean, of course we talked to people, but the leaders that Ari helped develop created volunteer roles and divided them up, and several different people took responsibility for set up, clean up, announcements, ritual stuff, food stuff, teaching. When I got upstairs, one of our volunteers was already there greeting everyone at the door. This is really a testament to Ari's organizing of the Shabbat team, putting faith in our volunteers to take our community to new heights through their own creativity and commitment.

On a similar note, I look to a lively debate happening daily in my email account about when we are going to schedule our next Artist's way session. Alyson got our friend Shira, who is the head of a major arts education program, to reframe the Artist's Way creativity program into a three part Jewish arts workshop. Alyson built the group and worked with Shira to develop a program, that included sharing, making art - including my favorite - finger painting! - and reflecting on what our work meant to us and how we could continue to grow as creators. The 3-part series went so well that when it was over, the members of the group didn't want it to end. So now, they are working on their own to make the group keep going without our money. Members of the group are also working together to infuse our all-night Shavuot celebration with an arts track, so that people can alternate between Torah study and workshops in dance, drama, and other creative things. And tonight I get to come home to a poetry workshop with one of my favorite Jewish poets!

We don't know how we will live without the bright eyes, brilliant minds, big smiles, and big hearts of Ari and Alyson, but we will work hard to honor their legacy by continuing to believe in our leaders, and by promoting spiritual and creative programming that we hope will be even half as cool as what they've pulled off.

We love you guys!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

O the days go by...from Strauss's Log....

Shalom Comrades

Howdy to everyone, I wonder if anyone actually reads these things. We should set up a system where u buddy up/pair up with a house mate from another country - this will make sure that you will read at least 1 other persons blog! (And its always nice to meet people!)
Anywayz, things in South Africa are good. The weather is changing, the crime is buzzing, the health Minister is dying (*yay*) and life goes on for The Moishe house of South Africa. The German land lady still hasnt fixed the gate, our internet is back up and our maid still comes in for half a day every week cleaning the shit that we drop into the toilet bowl. The mystery continues- the smell in my room (which I share with Daniel B) continues and we are still not sure where it is coming from...a single item or from a general tipping point having been reached.Hoe hum.
So the theme of this months blog is to do with...someone. A person or individual who you appreciate or you hang around with etc.Hmmm.....well I will devote this to Justin van Zyl, who has been one of the pieces of furniture in the background as a regular house rat. He eats our food, sleeps on our floor and generally blends into the background like a warm painting who sleeps too much.
I write this memorial blog because sadly he has left us, very soon he will be gone. Lost ....for the next 6 months as he goes to Johannesburg to live with significant other as he attempts to inject some vitality into habonim in JHB. I wish him well and I hope that has ha a great time, his nick name Nabazela, says it all... he really is a great guy.

Now a rant before I end off: I saw on some Moishe house blog site some1 advertised something from the Anti-Defemation League of America to do with Rosenfeld's latest rant slandering Jews with a moral consciouse. He attempts to deligitimise their moral voice by alginging them with anti-zionists who do not recognise Israels right to exist and who, due to their unfit metaphors linking Nazi's with Israel, cause the 'new antisemitism'. All Rosenfeld exposes is his own inability to quote acurately from 'anti-zionist' books. For more info on this check out:

Viva debate Viva!


Strauss's Log

An end and a new beginning:

An end and a new beginning:

There is so much going on my life its hard to try to summarize it into
a single blog but I'd say that the key theme is one of transition. The
end of the old and the beginning of something else and Moish House is
just very important aspect during this key time in my life. I have to
say that the things I've learned from opening up my home to so many
strangers and letting them into my life has really impacted who I am
during these very important formative and transitional years of my

At work I've just confirmed my last day of employment as the 27th of
July. On July 12th, I'll be going to London for pleasure and then a
conference in Berlin and will be traveling until the end of July. I'm
also hoping to make it over to Israel\West Bank towards the end of the
month and then Turkey � that's all if the region doesn't see another
war this summer.

I'm also attending law school this coming August and I'm still not
sure where I will be attending. This sort of dominates my mind now but
I'm currently torn between Michigan and Cornell.

Events at Moishe House are getting more and more creative and I'm sad
that June will be my last month with Moishe House. I want to give a
shout out to my super cool roommate Joshua Einstein, the real Einstein
of Moishe House who has come up with some super fun and successful
events most notably the intellectual shindig. I think it's an event
that should be mimicked in as many MH as possible. You can check out
people opinions on our photo website for more details.
- J.R. (Hoboken)

Somone to appreciate

Thanks for the idea on what to blog about Levi, so today I will start with some appreciations for one Daniel Aaron Blum (or Dennis as he is so affectionately known by our landlord).

Since moving in with Danny there has been many ups and downs (strikes and gutters), but there has been one constant...the food scene. Danny is into it, and I mean deep. Since living with Danny I have learned s0 many new things about food. For example, did you know that Trader Joe's sells a ten pound bar of chocolate? Or did you know the Kielbasa is officially a meal all by itself, or that it can be had as dessert? Danny has taught me quite a bit about breakfast. Danny likes to stick to a simple bowl of granola, with yogurt and some fresh blueberries, but on weekends he can get crazy and start to get into eggs, ham, smoothies, challah French toast with homemade strawberries, etc, etc, etc. Danny reinvented the cream cheese bagel with, dried mangoes and was incredible (I am kicking my feet in the air just thinking of it). Speaking of the dried fruit scene, Daniel A. Blum is INTO IT. Just last night he ate 9 prunes in under 2 minutes, a new house record; and he had a BM following that lasted for 37 minutes (a second place record in the house).

But to say that Danny is only into the food scene is to limit him, and we dare not limit a human with such limitless potential. Danny is incredibly emotionally supportive, almost like a parent in some ways. Often consulting with friends before the go to talk to their parents about difficult issue, Danny is an incredible counselor and friend. He is very wise for his tender age of 25 and often blesses us with riddles and poems that give us glimpses into his insight. It is truly a pleasure living with someone of this nature.

In other news East Bay Moishe is alive and kicking despite our teams drastic softball month. Stating in May we will be starting a book club and if anybody is interested in joining and reading along check out our calendar for our monthly book club meeting. Our newest member Ashley Warner moved in yesterday, heck yeah. Lets get ready to Moishe the world.

And to those in Moishe Mobile, have fun, be careful, only eat a little bit of that at first and then wait...

Brady Gill's Big Softball Birthday

They say a pictures is worth a thousand words. Let's examine this one. I'm on the right with a big Jewish-nose profile, a scraggly beard, pearly whites and my "Go Giants" inscribed in Hebrew on the bill of my hat. Despite having just played a softball game (the long-awaited match up of the East Bay House vs The San Fran House) I am wearing a collared shirt; part of the business casual themed costumes our house sported (and yes, I did slide head first into third base with a pair of slacks on and yes I do have painful rasberries on my thighs still).

Brady Gill is on the other end of the hug. He's wearing a hideous 2nd-hand jacket that our house gave him in anticipation of his 24th birthday this coming Friday, May 4th; he loved it more than anyone else I could possibly imagine. Brady has changed my life significantly in the last year and a half - mostly by following me in my footsteps aggresively and pulling me along into new ideas that Brady has which have changed the direction of my life (see Brady Gill's proposal in the appendix of the Moishe House binder).

Over my left shoulder and Brady's right hand is Naomi Cytron - my girlfriend Vivi's best friend from work. Naomi has been a pleasure to hang out with - and is the ideal student; eager to learn the secretive details of softball stardom.

Over Brady's left shoulder and my right hand is Sarah Stoner-Duncan. I went to high school with Sarah but really got to know her in the Spring of 2000 when she left high school a semester early and I delayed going to college and we travelled around Europe together for 2 months. Sarah is the core of our batting order and infield, is a great hugger and is generally a wonderful person to be around.

On the far left, with a camera in his face, is Danny Blum of the East Bay Moishe House. Danny is wearing a classic Giants hat from Barbados - he also got one for me on his family trip - and takes the most amazing pictures. I met Danny briefly in the summer of 2000 - his first year working at Camp Tawonga - and we have become closer and closer since, working parts of each summer at Tawonga together the last 6 years. Danny is an incredible cook, loves Bay Area sports and is generally an all-around good guy.

This is a snapshot of a Moishe event, my month as a member of Moishe San Fran and moreso - a snapshot of my life as a friendly guy surrounded by wonderful Jewish peers.

Life is good!!

Why Moishe House LA needs to move

This month we had quite the aromatic struggle at the Moishe House. A smell had been churning since late March, and it got worse in April. A couple nights I stayed at work until I was ready to go to bed. Our Israeli landlords brought over the plummer. He said it wasn't the pipes. Then they brought the roto-rooter. He said he would have to tear up walls. Our landlords were skeptical. I went to the pipe shop across the street to get incense, and discovered it was the worst head shop ever. Every incense was awful, but we burned them anyway. Finally three weekends ago we dragged the landlords to the house and made them inhale the stench that plagued LA Moishe. We busted through walls and floors in the other apartment and then in ours. We finally discovered a puddle sitting underneath the main bathroom floor. The plummer said the landlords needed to get someone to clean and disinfect. Roto-rooter came. Sucked up our slime. Plummers came back and fixed the pipes.

We spent about a week with a big hole in the floor, covered by a couple planks. Lee fell through the floor once, the bumbling slob that he is. Meanwhile our Israeli neighbors, cousins of the landlord, moved out. Our landlords put a 'for sale' sign outside, so we're thinking it's a good idea to move on as well. Got the Westside Rentals account.

Let us know if you hear of anything, k?

-Nate Blogg

Current mood: exasperated.
Listening to: Futurama on the TV even though no one is watching it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Moishe House Adventure

Finally the winter is making its exit here in Boston and in only a few weeks I will make mine. That's right, I am leaving the house for at least the next 6 months as I will be studying in Israel as part of my rabbinical school training. In June I will be the beautiful Santa Barbara, interning at Congregation B'nai B'rith (and I hope to see the Forest Folks in my spare time)! I am grateful to have been a part of the Moishe House experience and hope to continue to be involved. It's one thing to study the Jewish community as a future rabbi, it's another thing to be part of the community, to create a home for people to explore their own Judaism and hang out with other Jews. I take a number of learnings from the experience - going on retreat with people you work/live with is key; keeping one's passions at the heart of one's responsibilities is fueling; check-ins are a great way to keep fires from flaming up; and that leaders with a sense of humor, gentleness, and creative zest are inspiring to be around and motivating to work with. Special thanks to my house: Ari, Margie and Ben, and to Isaac, Dave, Levi and Phil!

Thanks especially to Morris - your commitment to the Jewish community and the way in which you empower its young people is an example that I take with me into the rabbinate. Thank you for this Moishe House Adventure.


The Beginning of the End

It is sad to think this is my last month living in a Moishe House, but friends have been supportive and tell me I need to face the facts and just enjoy it while I have it. I will be moving out in June to get a place with my sweetie. I visited MHSF yesterday and am sad Aaron and Maia weren't home, but it was great to see Isaac and meet the mysterious 4th roommate, Dave. He is tall, but despite his height is actually quite nice. I became a Warriors fan just listening to him speak of the wondrous playoff run they are having so far. I helped Dave and Isaac shop at Goodwill for their MH softball showdown game where the business casual SF house was playing the east bay dressed as "80s golf." Too bad my flight prohibited me from seeing the game...

In other news, look out for me to be quoted in an article in the Jewish Transcrpt ( tomorrow, as I was interviews by a reporter while attending the national meeting and conference for Jewish Voice for Peace, a Jewish activist group I have been involved with this year. The reporter was intrigued with me for wearing tzitzit while at a conference opposing the Israeli occupation (we can debate this subject later, but in the meantime, check out the article).

Meanwhile, today is May Day and I am about to head to the Seattle Center to participate in a rally for immigrant rights.

I appreciate my roommates, Norah and Jonathan for treating me like family here in Seattle. As I leave their house at the end of the month, it will be sad, but not the end. Peace and love, D

I love (hating) taxes

I felt (financially) poor in 2006, being mostly
un(der)employed and trying to get my (work) life
together after running screaming (pretty literally)
from my last job (which shall remain nameless, as it
was a Jewish communal service job) -- but it just
ain't officially so til you've filed your taxes, and
the federal government goes ahead and gives you the
offical WASSUP of having earned less than $100 above
the poverty line.

So, as I reflected on how (relative to most of my
earning buddies here in high-price SF) little I made
last year, I realized how much I enjoyed this last
(long) stint of semi-employedness. Now, I'm no
stranger to not having health insurance, or anything
even remotely like job stability, and Craigslist
employment ads (twelve times a day, baby!) -- but
something happened when I went from being
lost-in-the-woods-naked kind of scared about my state
of affairs, to thoroughly appreciating (down to the
minute) this owning of my days. This last year of
rolling with the tides of having to tell my parents
(yet again) why I'm walking out on a job I held for 3
months has been downright liberating.

I've learned (in no particular order) : to slam an
office door on an abusive boss; to quit nicely; to
demand the big bucks for freelance bullshit work from
assholes; to work for free for people I respect.
Mostly, that I should really try to do what I love, as
my grandmother always said.
After all, it might just be crazy enough to work...

And, for the record, I did just land a sweet gig at
City Lights Books that I'm going to try to hold on to
for a while... My bosses and colleagues are
respectful, funny, fabulous and/or walking legends of
history (Lawrence Ferlinghetti) and I get to be around
books all day...

I guess I'll just have to plan better for my taxes to
not get screwed by that last $86 of income. Here's to
earning even less in 2007!
--Maia from SF

On Social Justice and David

I am quite thankful that is starting to warm up. I've recently found myself to be quite busy and I'm enjoying that. This weekend we did what I would consider to be our first real social justice activity. We got about 10 MHDCers to join us at the Global Days for Darfur Rally. It was great. In other news, Levi asked us to blog about someone we appreciate. I will choose David, my housemate. This month I decided to start writing a blog about him and it has turned out to be very popular. In all seriousness, David is an extremely thoughtful person and I think the traffic the site is receiving is a testament to his warmth. He always brings a smile to your face. It is a pleasure to live with him and learn from him.


Catch the fever!

Back in SF

Last time I blogged I was running off to Guatemala. Well, I am back now and feeling recharged. Semana Santa (Easter Week) in San Pedro was gorgeous. Streets were carpeted in colored sawdust, flowers, pine needles, fruits, and vegetables, and all of it lasted only a few hours. The ephemeral beauty of creating public artwork and then trampling it right as it is completed is amazing. It is inspiring and refreshing. I think about this a lot today as it is May Day and in a few moments I will go off to join a rally for Immigrant and Labor Rights.

In the US we have parades and rallies and community events, but I cannot think of a time when we actually all feel connected as a community as I saw in Guatemala. There everybody from the smallest child to the oldest grandmother help adorn the streets and celebrate Easter. Even the clean up is a community responsibility. I realize that in SF our community is thousands of times larger, but even in large cities like Antigua I have heard that everyone is out in the streets celebrating together and creating beautiful carpets before the many processions. Today I will look to see if the feeling of community prevails in SF.
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public holidays are your friends...

so, another month come and gone - i can't believe how quickly the time is flying! i mean, already it's almost halfway through the year... scary... and only about 4weeks till exams start... even scarier :(

anyway though, the last couple of days have been pretty good. we've had a super long weekend here in south africa, because we believe in creating as many public holidays as possible, preferably all in a row. so we've been living it up from friday through to tuesday (ok, so technically monday wasn't actually a public holiday, but the majority of people seemed to view it as one), and now we're looking at a three day week. nice! well, actually not so nice, because i meant to use this mini vac to catch up on a whole lot of work, which of course didn't get done! oh well...

so, quite a bit has happened in the last month, from what i can remember. we've had all the yoms: yom hashoa, yom ha'atzmaut, yom hazikaron, and i don't know why, but for some reason, the memorial days affected me more than usual. i found the ceremonies we attended really sad and moving! yom ha'atzmaut was fun fun fun as usual though. we have it at our local amusement park every year, and all the jews in cape town congregate to celebrate Israel's birthday. it also reminded me how much fun roller coasters are!! wow, what a thril! :)

ooh, and highlight of the month is definitely the fact that i cleaned my room!!! it's so tidy and pretty and orderly now! and i even got new bedcovers with chinese symbols - looking good! the only problem is the new cleanliness seems to be attracting the other guys, and i often come home to find them lying on my bed and watching tv series on my computer. i've already got almost all of them addicted, mwahahahaha...

and speaking of my beloved computer, the guys decided it would be fun to vandalise it last night, and i came home to find my nice innocent background replaced by gay porn!! Something which they found hilarious, but for some reason i didn't quite get the humour... although it is the general feeling of the house that i'm now also a guy, so maybe it's just their way of showing affection, hmmm.

not that i mind being a guy. i've found that it's actually quite fun, although i'm starting to feel like friends of mine outside of the house might be getting just a little bit worried, so i decided to go shopping for some, um, "feminine" attire. so now, i'm all ready for winter, decked out in jeans, boots, long jerseys and a really cute hat!! and what's really great is that the guys actually noticed, so maybe it's not so much me becoming a guy as them all becoming girls... hehehe

well, either way, it's non stop fun in the house, whether we're stressed from varsity, overtired from going out too much, bored from procrastinating and avoiding work, or, the more likely option - all three. and of course there's our monday night dinners which are always great! last night was stir fry made by kev and barnett - so good!!

ok, i'm not so sure i'm making sense anymore, so i think i'm gonna end off now and go back to my studying, got a feeling i might have a test tomorrow :(

here's to many more public holidays in the (near) future!

em (with the cute hat) :)