Friday, June 29, 2007
Life within the Silver Spring Moishe House is most excellent so far. I haven't fully moved in yet: I came home from 3 months working in New England for Nature's Classroom (www.naturesclassroom.org) over a week into our official beginning, and I leave again next week to work for Life-Tech Ventures, Nature's Classroom's summer camp. It's also in New England, which I hereby love. NC has 14 different locations throughout the New England region, but only the headquarters hosts LTV, an hour's drive west of Boston. I expect to chill with the Kavod House at least a couple times this summer. Can't wait to check out Boston, meet the BosMH-ers, & be part of whatever it is the B-ton houseniks have up their sleeves!
I'm really excited to be a part of the Moishe House family & initiative. I have loved my three weeks of involvement thus far and am super-looking forward to coming back home already--and I haven't even left yet. :) This is amazing -- I am incredibly grateful to be included in this world-wide network, this community, this Jewish energy. I can't wait to meet everyone.
Of course, what I really want to do is now travel to all the different houses, meet everyone in their homes, experience each house in action.
Worldly cultural traveling dreams....
(Sort of fits with my desires to visit synagogues around the world & to create some sort of dance travel cultural exchange/engagement in Israel, and perhaps in other cultural regions as well...)
I hope you enjoy the chapters I write & the submissions you read from everyone else.
You've given me a platform through which I can share myself & my thoughts ... this may be dangerous: I love to write. :)
Looking forward to being your writer for as long as you are willing to be my audience --
Have a wonderful summer in case I do not get the opportunity to write while I am away (the site where I will be working does not have internet access),
Till next time ~
Thursday, June 28, 2007
My summer break is over and I am back at school. 6 weeks just is not a long enough vacation. Summary of my summer break: (1) Got started on a research project on the outcomes of environmentally methamphetamine-exposed kids. (2) Went on a bunch of backpacking and hiking trips. (3) Got stung by a bee on my foot….twice. Had to take steroids, because the allergic reaction was so bad.
The last weekend before going back to school was great. We took a group of people on a hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite. Every person in our group made it up to the top and back down safely. People made some new friends, had a great time, and proved to themselves that they could hike the 4800 feet of elevation gain and the 16 miles round trip. For me, the best part was having my 2 younger sisters and my dad on the trip. It was a good time.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
So I have decided that I will try to bring as many gifts as I can. I have four Moishe House softball shirts and will be carrying 20 copies (maybe 30) of a mix tape (actually CD) of some of my favorite new music. Oh I almost forgot, I need to get some American candy. But here is the thing. "American" candy is everywhere. It is not unique. The whole world has had Snickers, Twix, M&M, etc. I need something unique. I think I will bring some Ghirardelli or Scharffen Berger. I think Hershey owns one of them, but oh well. I am hoping these gifts will be my ticket to safe travels and good times.
Wish me luck!
Monday, June 11, 2007
The turnout was great, gathering over 20 solid and beautiful souls. We spoke about the nature of community, and the Moishe House mission.
I learned something mamash important last night --- Diversity is so key. The residents really differ in terms of interests. I was a bit nervous about this at first, now I see that this will be a HUGE asset.
Keepin' it real.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Next day, salvage supplies from el safeway, no, is a sprinkler on, we feel drops. Rain. NO!!! again. Rain, rain, go away. BBQ + rain = bad idea. So tons of food, no outside space, we expect a mass exodus from MHDCBBQ. NO!!!
Trickles of people at first. Suddenly close to forty. All is salvaged on a rainy Sunday. yes.
Adam in DC
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
here's what I think: moishe house let's us all be grownups, despite serving the needs of a young community.
why do I say that? well first off, we get to play host. that's key. it's like being parents and having roughly 100 children a month come over for playdates at your place. also, instead of forcing creative judaism on others, we get to create a nurturing space in which for others to find their comfortable means of self-expression. but really, what it comes down to for me is the notion of tikkun olam in the Americanized sense of it. What do we all want to be when we grow up? No matter what the specific, individual answers may be for each one of us, the general answer is always to change the world. Now, the particular answers usually vary based on how each of us views meaningful avenues for change in the world and other factors, but the goal is strikingly, uniformly the same. very few corporate raiders say "i just wanna get rich." very few politicians claim they're in it for the power, even if they end up embezzling or doing greasy things thusly.
Point is, by doing what we all to in our respective Moishe Houses, we're ALREADY making the world a better place.
So what do you want to be when you grow up? My answer for today is "a good person and a facilitator of Jewish education". I think yours is already, too!
One remarkable thing happened at our Moishe House this month that's worth mentioning. Two 'grown-ups' met at one of our events and sort of hit it off. If something like this would happen at a college party, it would be nothing to brag about, however, considering that most of our guests are in their late 20s, something like this only happens once in a while. I could not get any details on what happened afterwards, but the word on the street is that there were some heated and passionate moments. Hopefully with time, I'll be able to obtain some juicy gossip regarding that situation.
far: MUSTACHE-SHABBAT! The party celebrated our one
year anniversary at 1250 Fell Street. The menfolk of
MHSF grew mustaches that would have made our
great-great-grandfathers in the shtetl proud, and I
drew mustaches on all the lovely ladies who graced our
abode. And oh, did they grace our abode! We had about
65 people come through over the course of the night,
most notably two guys attending a goodbye party taking
place in a house in the next yard over who heard our
song session around the firepit and ditched their
party for ours. After regaling us with a few
delightful songs themselves, they left, depressed at
having to return to their inferior party... only to
return about an hour later, WITH MUSTACHES!!! They
ended up bringing their whole party over to our place,
and our folks and the new folks all ended up dancing
our staches off til after 3 am... It was epic. Love
the staches. Love the dancing Jews.
-Maia for MHSF
peace in the ME,
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Before I left and Jon arrived - we were both able to celebrate one of my favorite Moishe gatherings in recent memory - Mustache Shabbat! This was yet another great idea for a gathering from our very own Maia Ipp - and boy was it a doozy!! It was awesome to see everyone in costume but the real highlight was when Bill (left) and Chris (not as left) hopped several fences to get to our campfire singalong in the backyard. They had us in stitches before having to bail and return to the "going away" party they were attending for a friend. About 45 minutes later, as the mustache shabbat gave way for an all out dance party, the ambiguously gay duo (I say this after having seen one of them stick a finger in the other's butt and then smell it) returned to the party with genuine mustaches on their faces. They had actually found a disposable razor at the other party they were at and shaved. Incredible!! If that's not inspiration I don't know what is. Can't wait to return in September!!
The next day was the SADDEST event we have had. I bought 10 tickets to a screening of the Devil Came on Horseback, an amazing documentary on the crisis in Darfur. It is playing for only 10 days at the Leammle Theater on Wilshire. We had recruited 12 people to come with us for the 10PM showing on Sunday knowing that, since this is an apathetic LA, 2 would flake. Well, 5 flaked. This I could get over. But when we sat down in the theater we discovered that there were less than 20 people there, including the 7 of us. A friend of mine had gone to see the film last Friday for the 6:15 showing and it was just as empty. How can it be that in a city so densely populated, with so much money to spend on philanthropy, no one cares to see this film? Even worse, in an area of that city that is so heavily concentrated with Jewish people, who are constantly reminded by their history to "never forget" the Holocaust and that genocide can happen again, no one would be bothered. Darfur doesn't effect them, so they will continue living their luxurious lives and driving around in their German cars. I wished we could have bought out the entire theater and filled it ourselves.
Somehow I have finagled a full month off this July. As one of 15 Charlie Award recipients through the Schusterman Foundation, I will be in Jerusalem from July 9th to the 16th and in Israel for the whole month of July. If any of you have suggestions of places I should go or things I should do please email me. firstname.lastname@example.org I fear that my email might overflow, but I guess it is better to know of what to do and not do it than to never know. hmmmm?
When I have not been thinking about summer and Israel... which actually has been a lot of the time, I have been totally consumed by bikes. Do you like bikes? I love bikes. I built my first bike a few weeks ago, and I plan on modifying and fixing up more in the future. I will post some pictures of my bikes soon.
Monday, June 4, 2007
MoHouse Boston has got a team of peeps interested in housing justice here in Boston. So we got ourselves together and went down to Jamaica Plain to meet with Steve Meacham, CLVU's organizing director. We bought some delicious falafel, met at the home of MoHouse regular and super-hottie Michelle Sternthal (third from the right in this picture), and started strategizing about work we can do to help preserve and expand affordable housing in Great Boston. We've even recruited an intern from the Workmen's Circle Teens Acting for Social Change group, and he's going to work for City Life and coordinate our efforts with them this summer.
Mostly, I just think it's cool that we've got this community with a whole mess of folks committed to social justice and really excited to learn new models of organizing. It's awesome that we've got people who are dedicated to growing the power of the working-class and who want to make a real difference in the larger community. And it's great that all these activists want to work together to achieve their political goals through the ever-expanding Moishe/Kavod community.
All of which is just to say, we'll keep rockin' if you will...
Why did we include these in a night celebrating Torah study? Because the rabbis teach that the Torah was revealed to the Israelites in many different ways, each person hearing in the way that spoke personally to him or her. In our community, we know that people connect with Torah, Judaism, and God in different ways too. Some people are moved through music, some through movement, some through reading texts, some want different entry-points at different times. Instead of valuing one approach over another, we worked to have them all available and make everyone feel included, whatever their belief or practice.
The coolest part was, our volunteers did it all by themselves. The four of us weren't even there. I definitely went to my fair share of planning meetings, but really, this event was a testament to the power of leadership development and trust in volunteers. Go team!
Otter pops, drumsticks, frozen root beer popsicles, sundaes with nuts and cherries and goliath piles of whipped cream, chocolate, m & m's, the list goes on and on and on.
What is it that we all love about the summertime? Is it Dave Persyko's mantra of less clothes=more fun, is it the nostalgic memories of summer camp we all fondly recall from not that long ago? Perhaps it is trips to the beach, to the mountains, to lakes, rivers, chillaxin by the pool or turning on some Sublime or Bizarre Ride to the Pharcyde and reminiscing about 1997.
Whatever it is that makes you happy about summertime, get out there and do it. Too much of our time is devoted to computers, meetings, phone calls, bills, doctor appointments, this engagement, that engagement. Enough of this already! It is Summertime and not only is the living easy, it should be easy.
For only a few months each year we find this natural, almost divine excuse to just not really care about much, other than soaking up sunshine with friends, napping away weekend afternoons, and always hopeful that the next road trip will come around sooner than later.
So when you look at your calendar next week and think to yourself, "I really don't want to go to work next Friday" or "There is no way I am going to be able to read all 150 pages by Thursday night", make the decision easy on yourself and simply don't do it. You deserve it! Nothing is going to happen in the Game of Life if you use a "Get out of Jail Card" once or twice or even three times this summer...
Enjoy those slurpees, the baseball games, long and warm nights in the backyard or in the park of your choice. I mean, come on, its summertime, get outside and don't be bummed if you miss a day here or there due to having way way too much fun....we'll be doing it in Berkeley and throughout the Bay Area all summer long.
Danny B in the East Bay of California
(Can you ever go wrong lifting lyrics from DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince? Don't answer that.)
As June begins we choose to focus on the doors that are opening rather than the ones swinging shut. For those of us on a school year calendar this is a great period of transition and adjustment. For our house that means extended periods where our fellow roommates traveling the globe, and a more complex high-wire act of balancing our personal whims with the responsibilities of keeping a cohesive Moishe House summer event schedule.
More than any other time of the year, this is the time where our communication, understanding, and support are required the most. It is hard enough balancing a regular work week schedule, let alone an irregular summer schedule, where not only us but many of our regular program attendees will be "on the lamb" in one way or another. We must, as a house, make our expectations for ourselves and each other reasonable and clear. We must be open and flexible to make things work. I view these things not as inconveniences, but as chances to make ourselves stronger collectively and personally.
Soon we will be shaking off the hangover from our recently minted softball season and regrouping. Our goal is to make sure that we maintain the momentum we have worked so hard to build up to this point. I'm excited to take advantage of all the great opportunities that Summer presents (warm weather=less clothes=more fun), and use the downtime from the 9-5 to re-energize for some kick-ass Moishe House fun!
HAVE A GREAT ONE!
But alas, as summer approaches the flowers in the backyard have started to bloom, the grass is looking greener and life is good. Moishe house East Bay is definitely looking forward to a bright future, but there are still some clouds on the horizon. In a few short weeks we will say good bye to Issac Zones (a friend and a mentor) and move on with Moishe house in a new direction. With all the turmoil up top it is understandable that in the East Bay we have definitely felt a lack of support which is concerning. After watching the network of social change...well change... right underneath the feet of the people in the program I have begun to have my own fears. Is Moishe house the next program to become victim to budget cuts or planned withdrawals...is Moishe House beginning to lose the steam power behind it?
I hope for a bright future and pray that maybe somebody will actually read my blog, maybe even a comment?
Sunday, June 3, 2007
I just spent about the last hour sitting on our balcony and watching this awesome thunderstorm outside. It's so incredible!! I mean, I don't know about anyone else, but here in Cape Town we don't really see too many thunderstorms, and this one was certainly a storm and a half! I absolutely loved it though - the lightning was so bright it almost seemed like daylight when it flashed.
Of course, that hour that I spent watching the storm was actually meant to be spent studying for my exams, which officially start on Tuesday with maths and dance (an interesting combination of courses, I'm sure you'll agree). Although I did already have one exam last week. It was my Italian oral exam, and unfortunately non è andato bene :(
So, yes, I guess I should be studying, but I've found that I can be very easily distracted, so I've learned not to expect too much from myself...
Anyway though, what can I tell you about the past month. I'd have to say that my highlight was definitely our Shavuot event for which we organised a mechanical bull and also cowfull's of dairy products! I honestly cannot remember the last time I ate that much cheese! It's good though, cos I was probably a bit low on calcium anyway :)
So besides shavuot, I haven't really been doing all that much. At least not all that much that involves leaving the house. I'm sorry to say it, but I think I may have become a bit of a couch potato. Or rather a computer potato I suppose. But luckily Strauss forced me to go out with him last week, despite all my moping and sulking and refusing, and this night out helped me remember how much fun going out actually is, and also made me realise how much time I've been spent cooped up in the house and how unhealthy it is. So now I'm totally amped for going out, though I guess I'm gonna have to wait till exams are over. Oh well...
Ooh, and one more cool thing, before I forget. So for our house supper last month we decided to go for an Italian feel, which was definitely a good choice! And at the restaurant we went to, they have these little cards that you can fill out with your name, to say you ate there, and so we did. And the next week our names were published in our local area weekly newspaper as "Seen as Col'Cacchio". There were quite a lot of other names too, but ours were pretty noticeable, slab bang in the middle of the page! So we've stuck up a copy of the paper in our house to show people where we ate the other night :)
And on that happy note I think I'm going to love and leave you. Feel free to wish me luck for my exams - no doubt I'm going to need it!
The next time I blog I will be carefree and relaxed while enjoying a well deserved holiday!
So till then
I thought i'd write thios week to teel you all about the intriguing and sad talk we had at the house the other night.
we invited a bunch of people around to hear three guys, two from Sudan and one from tanzania speak about the situation in Darfur, were there is currently a genocide taking place.
The talk was especially emotional, as one of the speakers had come close to losing his life when he was beaten up by militia in Darfur. The incident left him in a coma for two months.
The speakers explained the political climate that led to the fighting, and gave personal insights into what they had been through. After they had told their stories we engaged in a question and answer session where guests asked whatever was on their mind. The questions ranged from, 'What's it like being a refugee in South africa,' to 'How can the fighting in Darfur' be resolved.
As sad as the experience was, it was also educational and insightful, and i think everyone at the house that night gained alot from it.
Here's to manner more guest speakers and nights of learning at the Moishe House Cape Town.
so, studying for exams...
hmmm judicial precedent. yes, we have law in south africa too!
so interesting news in Israel, where the labour party is going to be electing its leader in a short while
we're rooting for the socially aware ami ayalon...
i think that Jews around the world are too preoccupied with the security situation in israel, and forget that (unlike in the past) the country has massive social issues that it has to deal with:
foreign workers, poor immigrants, a fast increasing socio-economic gap, racial tension etc.
if the government doesnt work on this soon, it could begin to kill the country from the inside...
anyway, just a thought - would love to hear others opinions
getting back to the books now
So, I am hard at work on a subject that has been subverted, like most things, and turned into something so removed from the world and anything interesting that I feel like I am suffering the same fate. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Im talking about economics. If the devil had a name it would be Advanced Macro & Micro -3020F. The sad thing is how it has so much potential for good, but at present it really is a 'dismal science' which is in great need of adjusting its theory to reality instead of serving the powers that be
So how am I otherwise? I am fairing well. Been having a good month in the house. been getting a touch more sleep, eating a bit too many noddles for my stomach to handle but am still maintaining my healthy veterinarian diet.
Am quite looking forward to the holidays beginning, going off to Durban to hep run a camp at a luxury resort which should be amazing. Then I plan on going on roadtrip, from Durban inland through Swaziland to JHB where I have a meeting 9 days later.
Otherwise I'm reading some interesting books which are capable of adding alot of texture and depth to my life so here are some interesting facts from the books that I am concurrently reading:
- John Maynard Keynes was a Homosexual (which means he should have been stoned to death)
- Engels loved Marxs so much that he took the rap for ones of Marxs blunders and told Jenny (Marxs wife) that he impregnated Marxs maid where infact it was Marx!
- Words can create feelings in someone through igniting ones imagination. Starting up and exciting this imagination is a great skill to have when talking to females.
- The JNF is quite a problematic entity...
- Israel and the Arab world never really wanted to go to War in 1967...according to some
So a few words on my lovely house and housemates...
- Kevin doesnt like it when I leave food out in a pot for people to eat, hes obviously not a socialist
- Daanie smokes too much and can't talk English within a 30 minute period from rising in the morning.
- Barnett perms his hair and actually doesnt have naturally curly hair
- Emma is a self-hating Jew who has persecution complex - she tries to be a victim due to the fact that she is female, reform, a converted BA student, and unloved by family,friends and lovers alike.
Other than that I would love some time to come to the USA to meet all the other Moishe House niks even though of late I have been meeting new people in CT which is great!
Im off to gym now to heal my bumb knee...
Saturday, June 2, 2007
The BBQ's from this month have also been a highlight of the weekends. Nate's friend of work surprised us with a pinata out of the blue filled with all sorts of goodies (some of which are a little more PG-13 rated) which she eventually destroyed after Nate and I had a go at it.
I hope all the other moishniks are enjoying the warm weather as well.......remember to have as many outdoor events as possible (especially all the east coast MH's)!!!!
Friday, June 1, 2007
Perhaps it can be like Hannuka, with 8 crazy nights (always have a flashy red light and helmet while riding at night). I love riding to work. Sometimes its my only escape for the day, and almost always my only exercise.
I recently read an article about urban cyclists and how there are many groups that aggressively pursue more bike friendly roads, laws, etc. We should support these hippies and tree huggers, for, as David said bikes are a great way to get around and good for the environment.
There is only one problem. Now that three of us in MHDC have bikes, our first floor is getting jam packed with cycles. Not only have I decided to make David cycle to work (because I will do it too), but I have decided he must trade in his BIcycle for a UNIcycle. That would be quite a sight!
Now, my friends, I must put on my helmet, my too tight bike shorts and go. Have a great weekend!