Friday, August 31, 2007

We are the Righteous Stalyons!!

Who guessed it? Yup, Moishe House SF had some quality "us time" this week with some pizza, beer, and "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" -- I was the only one who stayed awake for the entire movie, but I'll go out on a limb to say that we all enjoyed it a lot. I was actually surprised to be reminded that the movie tries for a plot (remember? They have to do their history project or else they'll fail high school and Keanu Reeves will get sent to military academy, where apparently some sexually explicit strangeness will go down, as we learn thanks to Keanu's dad, who has no problem throwing around strange innuendo involving the general wanting to "get to know" Keanu) (and yes, I can't remember which one is named Bill and which one is named Ted, but we all know one of them is Keanu and the other is that guy who never made another movie except "Bill and Ted's Most Bodacious Trip" or whatever the second one's called)

So, it reminded me that when we were teenagers we all had dreams to rock in some way. And then something comes along and smushes or kicks down or tears out or pees on that big dream. And then you're 25, or 35, and working some job that you don't like because it is supposed to be "affording" you a lifestyle you like. Or something. Well, I'm lucky because of Moishe House and because I love my job, surrounded by other people who I think still hold on to those dreams a bit (working in a bookstore like City Lights allows a lot of dreaming) but I also recognize that my dreams too are a bit on the soggy side right about now.

Thoughts on keeping the dream alive?

Maia, from San Francisco

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Zvi here, from the Silver Spring,MD House. Many crazy things happened this month, but one of my favorite was showing a Nigerian Igbo Catholic Priest the Moishe House slides from the Nigeria house and grab him and say, "My Jewish Brother!!"

Our house is just about in full gear. By next month we will have all 5 members living in the house and I feel that this will take us to new heights. It is a really quiet morning and though I am on "vacation" I cannot get my body to sleep past 7:30am.

Some highlights from August ... I got to do a little teaching about the month of Elul. I really love doing this flow, learning about each month, I feel that I am reconnecting with the Jewish calendar, and feel more ready for the challenge of the "HIGH HOLY DAYS!" (PLEASE READ IN A LOUD ECHO TYPE VOICE). The day out in Silver Spring was awesome, too bad the weather was a blower! Looking forward to this shabbat too.

Many blessings!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Moishe House Sacramento, Jennifer, 8/15/07

Healthcare talk:

MH Sacramento has been doing some activism activities in addition to the typical social activities. Yesterday, we had our first Healthcare Policy & Reform Talk. It is the first of a series of talks. This is my personal project, and I am very excited and optimistic that the series of talks will have a great effect on the people who attend them. The lectures are held at my med school (for the space), so medical students and Moishe participants are invited - and are attending. Over 100 people attended - I feel like some came for the pizza, and some came for the talk. Either way, there were a lot of people there, and the talk was very informative and has sparked lots of discussion. This week was an intro talk, and next week, Sara Rogers of Sen. Kuehl's office will come and speak about SB840. It feels good to be offering our MHS participants some different activities in addition to the standard social ones. Activism & education events are like social events with a twist.

Monday, August 6, 2007

July and moving on

What a crazy month. After returning to the US earlier this month things have been WILD. What a great time of year. Vacations at every chance, warm weather everyday, and beautiful women running around trying to get a tan and whatever else they can. Yet here I am, stuck in the basement of a church working away. Summer was meant for running around in flip flops, poopenaut, camping, fishing, truth or dare, lying in the grass, and most importantly going to the beach (or a lake if you got a boat). How has it become that just years ago all I had to do was go to school, get grades, and manage not to kill myself...The responsibility of laugh comes on and it comes fast. Summer is not about car payments, accounts receivable, insurance, blogging, David Beckham or Posh spice, screw them both.

Oh as I grow older and I stare out my window I wish I could get younger, or shed some of the responsibilities I have taken. How joyous it would be to strip down to my skivvies and take off on a full sprint. I would like to think I could be at least halway naked by the time I made the front door with a trail of clothes behind me, and that's all they would find. I would disappear forever, like a ghost or a cheeseburger with Bacon and Guac. I mean at work they expect you there EVERYDAY! What a joke! I think it is time to step away from the "jobie-job" world and really start making some changes. Maybe buy a puppy and a gun and take off to the hills. Who knows, it is still early for a Monday and I have much more day dreaming to do.

PS. I had the MB so bad today that I think I might have lost part of my lower intestine, I didn't think it was possible but then I looked down and there it was, looking right back.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Earwax, Carrots and the 6-Foot Nurse

There's this cover band called the 6-Foot Nurse. They play mainly Led Zeppelin tunes but they also toss in some Pink Floyd and The Beatles. They play a lot at Molly Malones; in fact we had an event there in honor of the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. A lot of our loyal Moishniks enjoy seeing this band but I don't. It's excessively loud. Keep in mind this is coming from someone whose second home is the rock club. But cover bands aren't supposed to drown out your internal monologue. Unless they are extremely great and offer a captivating gimmick, they should serve merely as background music. When a large group of friends comes to an Irish bar to see a cover band, they probably want to socialize too. This got me thinking of how to best protect your ears and also enjoy your evening with your friends.

Now I've seen a lot of people try different techniques to plug their ears when trying to enjoy deafeningly loud music. We know that fingers don't work because they're usually a little fat, your arms get tired and you look really silly. Tissues don't really do the trick, unless you stuff a ton down your canals, and that might not be safe. You'd also look funny then too. Of all the household items, I think baby carrots serve as the best plugs. They're typically a little on the wet side, so you would have to do something to hold them in. I would suggest avoiding peanut butter, although it has been done. The best glue for the best plugs would be your earwax. Use that to the best of your advantage. Everyone has it, and only a thin layer matters. The seal made with the two is quite tight, pretty comfortable and will successfully filter the music. If you are not interested in the attention attracted by being in a public place with carrots sticking out of your ears, then you can easily bite off the excess ends.

So if you ever find yourself in a loud rock club where you aren't even able to hear people talk, and you have some baby carrots in your pockets, you now know how to best alleviate the pain in your drums.

This blog was inspired by manatees (if you haven't seen the South Park 2-part episode "Cartoon Wars" then you should probably check that out.)

In this case Dave Eagle is the manatee. He gave me the title.

No playing guitar hero!!

Friday, August 3, 2007

The month of July

This month was a bit of a team effort. All of us were out of town at different points. The month started off great with the normal course. Poker nights dinners movies all that jazz. Dave and I went back east while nate held down the fort. After that nate left town while dave and i held the fort down. It all evened out in the end and the month went by without a hitch. All those new moishenicks hope you come back a see us again.

The month of August has many fun events and i hope you stay tuned for new info to come.

Lee Levin

Surgeon General Warning : Guitar Hero can be habit forming

Really, there should a Surgeon General warning on the box warning of a lifetime addiction to this game. We've been playing it non-stop in our house and I'm not sure if I see any signs of slowing. On another note, poker is jamming in our house. Vinnie has finally returned to take all of our money with his buddy Michael who are on a new show called Mad Men on AMC. The show is pretty interesting as it follows the lives of advertising execs on Madison Ave. during the early 60's. So everyone should support them and watch the show!!!!!

Well it looks like we are holding onto our location for this Moishe House a little longer. Our landlord seems not to be selling the house as their buyers backed out. However, I see this a longer opportunity to find an even better house at a great price. One thing that is missing is a large backyard to hold people in; a luxury when living in the city.

Lee and I also visited Northfield, MA this month working on a video for an American Idol summer camp called appropriately, Idol Camp. Let me tell you, although Massachusetts is gorgeous every other time of year, the sumemr is hot, humid and full of bugs that will eat you alive. This is coming from a native Californian mind you. Besides the heat and bugs the trip went well and it was great to hang out with some of the past Idol contestants who visited the camp.

Hope ya'll had a great month,

Philosophical Brewing

Though the quantity of beer that is consumed by the average individual in our age bracket is great, most of us know very little about how this delicious beverage comes to be. Sure it tastes great, and is responsible for more romantic encounters than we'd like to admit, but what is behind the thick foam and heavenly aroma. We here at MHSF wanted to find out. So, on a recent Sunday, we invited a locally renowned beer brewer and gifted pontificator, Griz, to our inaugural beer making and BBQ event.

Griz shared with us so much. Once you get over the majesty of his appearance (a 400 pound man with a long flowing white beard, to go with the cascading white main of hair from his head), you can hear one of his many great pearls of wisdom. Reaching far beyond the boundaries of beer brewing, Griz shared with us his thoughts on the typical San Francisco lifestyle (too rushed, too exclusive), and family dynamics (seek ways to connect to your parents, but don't try to hard to please them), and wove it all into a beautiful philosophy for a thoughtful life.

Fact: No beer making took place while Griz was at our house (He insisted upon only being at our house for the discussion portion. Everything else took place after he had left).

Fact: No notes were taken on the beer making process while he gave sometimes detailed, sometimes vague instructions (We were told directly, "it is not about precision".

Fact: When we were left to our own devices we were sometimes unsure, sometimes all out lost, but never stressed out about how to progress from one step to the next ("Don't be too anal!").

Bringing personalities like Griz into our community is something I enjoy more than anything else. Exposing people to a perspective they may not otherwise share is meaningful and enjoyable. Some of us may have never taken the initiative to become engaged in a discussion so deep and varied with an aging, hippie, beer maker. Given that chance through some non-traditional programming, I think we are all better off for it.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

In the city...

Crowded Streets. Angry drivers. AM Conservative radio stations. McDonald's and KFC. Asphalt, and cars slamming their brakes so a boy can ride his bike across the street. Cigarette butts. Empty 40 oz bottles on the corner of MLK and 40th St. Ambulance sirens, wailing way too loudly in your rear view mirror. Panhandling, like its your job, because someone calls that a job. Shopping carts overloaded with aluminum cans and glass bottles. Chevron, Shell, BP, Arco, Quik stops. Broken car windows. Garbage trucks and taxis. City Buses. Muni. BART. Commuting to work. 9-5. Monday through Friday. Overtime. Meetings. Conferences. Business Trips. Hospitals. Do people really like living in cities? Going to see live music, eating at restaurants and going bowling at night are all fun things to do...but so is making a big fire, roasting some marshmallows and falling asleep smelling of camp fire.

I spent last weekend in Yosemite with some of my friends from the past, and was reminded of all the reasons why I don't like going to work everyday, why I don't like living in city, even though Berkeley is as low key as they come. I remembered how easy it used to be to ride my bike everywhere when I was a kid, but now it is just as easy to drive my car, fill up my gas tank, pay the bridge toll, pay my parking tickets, pay my car insurance. I was reminded of how beautiful and refreshing it is to go to sleep under the stars and wake up to the first rays of 6 am sunlight. How good does it feel to jump in an icey cold river at 7 am rather than stand under a piercing hot shower head at 7:30, followed by sitting in front of a computer for the next 5 or 6 hours, maybe find some time to eat a small sandwich, and definitely make time for 2 or 3 meetings here and there throughout the week. yuck!

Life is far from bad for me right now, in fact it is going great. However, spending time in the woods with my friends is such a simple and satifying lifestyle, it often leaves me wondering what it would be like to pack my bags and be a little more free a lot more often...

Danny B in the EAST Bay

Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads

What a month in suburban Maryland...

We got skeery at "Friday the 13th Shabbat", with plush bats, graveyard pies, guests from super-frightening Baltimore, fake snakes, and one hell of a scary story reading by me: "One Foot Underwater" from Joey Comeau's It's Too Late Too Say I'm Sorry.

We got our share on and some hot publicity when Dan "Mobius" of Jewschool was among the beautiful souls and cunning linguists who came out for the Rosh Chodesh Poetry Open Mic and Klezmer Jam. Check out his write-up here. Many thanks go out to Anna, our aMAZing friend who organized and MC'ed -- and who made aliyah literally two days ago and is learning medicine and how to save the world in Be'er Sheva *as we speak!*

We got totally popular with the temporary addition to the house of Subletter Elad, who is charming and quite possibly the most popular Moishenik in Silver Spring! He's helped whole-heartedly with all our events and I just wanted to make sure he got the public acclaim he deserves. He's subletting from Rachael while she's off farming New England....again.

We got emo and tragic for Tisha-B'av, and learned that (just like in high school) it still doesn't make people like you. Nobody wanted to see a movie about two orphans trying to desperately survive in post-nuclear Hiroshima, Japan! Am I just a weirdo? Was I the only one pulling for Harry Potter to get killed all through the last book? There were some great community members who came to eat the pre-fast meal with us, however, and I learned that some people have a custom of eating a hard-boild egg dipped in ashes before the fast. Mmm... charcoal.

Mmm..... spicy chocolate.... Aztec truffles were just one of the delicacies whipped up by honorary MHSS-Moishenik Julie! "the exclamation point is part of my name" Z. as food for the Shabbat of Luv Dinner, timed to fall out a few days before Jewish Valentine's Day on the 15th of Av. I was up in Boston at the time of this event but based on the leftovers I'd say it was awesome.

August is here and I'm stoked. I'll be away for a week at the National Havurah Committee's Summer Institute but by the end of the month our long-sundered house will be united as planned since the beginning. And then who knows what we'll do! (I vote for trips to the beach).

Much love,
Silver Spring Alan (that's me there... except for the hair)

back to "studying"

Hello all

So it's back to varsity time after an extremely fun, and much needed holiday! It's strange though, because no matter how long the vacation is, it always seems way too short when you realise that it ends in less than a week. But up until that last depressing week my holiday was absolutely amazing!

I went to a national arts festival which is held every year in the beautiful, but rather isolated city of Grahamstown, and saw some really incredible shows and performances! Seeing that sort of thing always inspires me to become an actress or follow some path involving the arts. I also went to Durban for a week, a city in South Africa that I'd never been to before, and it was also really fun, especially since Durban has great weather throughout the year. So even though it was the middle of winter, and I had just arrived from what felt like negative degree temperatures, the beach and sea was amazingly warm and perfect for swimming! It was also nice to take a bit of a break from the guys, although I found that our time apart really made me realise just how much I missed them and their little quirks, and it was so great to see them all again when we returned from our respective holidays.

And so now it's four days into the new varsity term, and I'm still trying to decide on my last course to take. It might sound a bit strange, but I'm looking for a course that's early in the morning, say about 9am, because otherwise I start at 10am every day, and for some reason I have this mentality that if i start that late I'm wasting my day. Even though the chances are I probably wouldn't go to most of my 9am lectures, just knowing that I have a lecture at 9am makes me feel a bit better :)

So what else can I tell you? The house is looking pretty good, with a few minor changes taking place, such as kev and barnett switching rooms, and also apparently an increasing number of people using my bathroom. It really is great to be back though, and I can't wait till Friday night, when we're having a fun, chilled event here, so I'll hopefully get to see a lot of friends and other people that I haven't seen for a while. Also, it should be a nice break after our first week back at varsity, though with my schedule being as easy as it is, I can't see myself being too stressed just yet.

But having said that, I probably should start doing some work. I actually just bought two of my textbooks, one of which I needed for the first semester six months ago... aren't you proud? :)

Ok, well my stomach's starting to grumble, so I think it's time to raid the kitchen for something to eat. I hope all other Moishe Houseniks are having a great start to the second half of the year, and I'll keep you updated on how it's going here in sunny(ish) South Africa :)


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

July Update

Hello all,

It's hard to believe that it is August already, it doesn't seem like there was enough time. Still, the month had a lot of great events and it certainly kept all of us busy. This month had the first installment of my "Tangentially Jewish" Movie Night, which was, to tell the truth, something less than a resounding success. With only one non-Moishe House resident showing up, it didn't really have the feel I was going for. To be fair, it was a hard sell for a first movie: a depressing Japanese anime film that few people have ever heard of (Grave of the Fireflies, by the way). Still and all I really enjoyed the movie and I hope that with more mainstream picks coming in the future, and with more heads up time and advertising before the event, our next movie night will be more of a success. Other than that all of our other events this month went off very well and with large turnouts, so on the whole I have nothing to complain about and look forward to next month. Until next time.


Hello Moishe Peeps

Hey hey hey

So it's been a crazy July for us here in the Cape Town Moishe House.
Many of us split up for parts of our July break, with the Dragon (Daniel Barnett) heading to Grahamstown, a small student village with a massive festival of arts and culture once a year and Kev heading to Israel.

Strauss, Emma and I met up with the Dragon for a while in Durban, then were back in Cape Town for a bit, and then headed inland to Johannesburg, the business capital of our beautiful African paradise.

It's also been a hectic time for Cape Town, with massive floods leaving 10 000 impoverished people homeless. However, apart from all the madness, the Moishe House life moves on. It's been great being home and getting back into the swing of working hard and solidly.

Moishe House Cape Town has truly become an institution in this community, and we have a massive Friday Night after dinner gathering planned.

Till then, you and I can both wait to hear how awesome it inevtabely was.

The Captain

Half way through

Hey Comrades,

Ilan here from Cape Town.
Cape Town has experienced intense flooding recently, our house survived ( as we are rich and are located on a high lying region) , but some 10 000 shacks (tiny tin squares) got destroyed leaving many homeless. So besides for the global warming the 2nd 6 months will be heating up for other reasons too. CT may be cold and I may only be doing 2 courses at Uni for the next 6 months (yay!) but our house is buzzing like a 24 hr quicky mart (Simpson fever does exist in CT too...).
After my travels to Durban (to run a Jew camp) and then to Swaziland ( to make fun of poor black people..that was a joke, dont stress I am not racist), Swaziland is beautiful and a very illuminating insight into our culture, Our House is happily back together and , like any other semi-functional body, had a much needed break from each other. Changes are happening too:
* Emma has declared her undying love for a girl in her class
* Daniel B is swopping rooms with Kev Sack
* Daanie has become fat ( not "ph" fat i.e. "phat")
* Kevin hair growth has increased.

We have some unbelievable things coming up. The 2 that spring to my mind immediately are
1. The upcoming massive Chill at our House this Fri with nargilah, coffee etc
2. The upcoming Limmud next weekend.
- Limmud is a branded concept imported from Britain. it is a massive pluralistic Jewish learning environment where people from all different walks come together to learn, socialise , debate and engage. The Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Dr Rabbi (Orthodoxy is the way) Warren Goldstein, has condemned the event on the basis that it accords equal status to Reform and Orthodox peoples. This is a tragedy, and does not bode well for the future of the Jewish Community in South Africa which is increasingly becoming more and more polarised between the close-minded "Orthodoxy" and the more liberal and engaging entangled alternatives.

Otherwise I wish all Moishe Housniks a fulfilling 2nd 6 months and a challenging one.

Salaam Aleikum,

Moishe House Cape Town

back at moishe... another month, another group of jews

hello young fellow moishes

wow, its great to be back. we've all been on our seperate ways, and finally, we're back at the best place of all - our cape town moishe house.

me and a bunch of (jewish) mates went up to Durban, this rather large city on the other side of south africa. it's about 3000 kms away (sorry, dont know miles!)

we ran a camp for a bunch of jewish kids there, but before, we travelled through the country, stopping at all these different places. its amazing, cause jews used to dominate these small towns - they acted as peddlers and shopsellers and the like. in most of the towns, there are memorials to them, and sometimes, even synagoges - even though there are very few, if any, jews left in these places.

now we're back at home, and back at university. hopefully we'll have as many events as last 6 months, something i frankly cant wait for.




I was going to blog something about my time in Israel but it appears that quite a few of you have already done that (well not about my time but your time). I think it is a testament to what an amazing community Moishe House is that so many of us have so very recently spent time in Israel. MHDC is doing well and we're looking forward to August. We're getting really amped for the high holidays which is actually quite nice as I haven't been excited about them in some years. I look forward to the next couple of months.


C. Silva