Sunday, September 30, 2007
My first post! This month has been crazy. As my housemates have probably already posted, we opened our doors as an official Moishe House just a few short weeks ago, and only a few weeks after moving in this enormous (to me at least, my room has a closet this year!) apartment. Four flights of stairs and carrying all 5 roommate's old futon later, the place is really coming together, and already we have our regulars, who probably know what's in the fridge better than I do.
Our events have been going well, starting out with a pretty rocking apples and honey party. If the success of a party is measured by how much mopping is necessary the next day, I'll say we did pretty well. Building a community obviously means more than just inviting a few friends over, but we are beginning to build our listserv and firm up some of our house routines (finding good tikkun olam opportunities in our new neighborhood, contacting like minded Jewish organizations and coordinating events, figuring out who's turn it is to empty the dishwasher, etc).
We had a "community meeting" last week, where we shared our house's vision of this space with the people who came and recorded their ideas of what they would like our role to be. We generated an enormous list of ideas for future events, only a handful of which we can even fit in out October schedule, which is a wonderful problem to have. We are trying to have a minimum of two tikkun olam events a month, which I am very excited about, but might take a minute to get off the ground. The Jewish soup kitchen that we like has a waiting list for volunteers! Another good problem to have.
On a personal note, I've been working like a dog all month, which just made all the rest of the work (moving in, getting situated, etc) all the more fun. I've been working for a startup website for the past 8 months, and just last tuesday we went live. Very exciting. Then we realized that doesn't mean the work is done, just that now people are watching. Sort of a huge relief though, and a great start of the year.
See you in October,
Once I went to college, things changed. I broke up with a long-term boyfriend from high school...and that's when the backlash erupted. My friends and family were upset...they had liked that guy blah blah blah. When I told them a few months later that I was with someone new, they flipped. You might think he was a convicted felon or mercenary, but no...He was a non-jew.
My friends from camp, who I had entangled so much of my Jewish identity around, began to estrange themselves from me. I wasn't in a-e-phi and I didn't attend Hillel...I had become an outsider. That year I went to high holidays at my schul outside Philadelphia and felt completely removed. Everything I had loved from my spiritual summers, was far far away from the hub-bub of people chatting away in services and admiring each other's newly-purchased-holiday attire. I began to think I just didn't fit in anymore--maybe I had changed--maybe I wasn't Jewish.
For the next few years, I lived a New York lifestyle without thinking much about my Judaism. I would put up a fight, but still be dragged to schul with my family on the holidays. Even after the guy and I broke up, my camp friends and I still didn't speak. My family, on the other hand, was ecstatic about my new "change of heart." And even through all of that, I felt a closeness to something greater. I wasn't sure what or why or how, but I did.
This year I went to schul for the holidays at a place down the street from our house, a place called Kesher Israel. Rather than a pulpit Rabbi spitting gospel in front of thousands, a congregant delivered the sermon. He spoke of connection--a fitting topic in a place called "Kesher." "Kesher Israel," he explained, "is a place where there is community and that community shares a belief." "Without a community of believers," he continued, "a belief is meaningless."
And here I am-- living in Moishe House Philly. For the first time my spirituality is connected with the life I lead. It is this hand-made community that gives my belief meaning.
Friday, September 28, 2007
So our first Moishe House event of this month, and ever, was a day during our first week when we tried to paint the apartment but realized the two of us could definitely use some help. Upon complaining to a half-dozen friends, they came over to help! We were so grateful we used some Moishe funds to order up some Japanese food, and the event was born. Very successfully, too: people actually enjoyed painting once it became more of a group project without a tight schedule. This resulted in some new connections and some fun photos. Plus, now, when these folks come to Moishe House events, they'll be in a space in which they've physically invested. Can whoever's reading this see the pics here?
Also, I love apple juice. I drink a gallon or more weekly. Thought everyone should know.
Shalom, everyone! Shana Tova & Sukkot Sameach.
I was away all summer working at Life-Tech Ventures, the summer camp that my place of spring employment (Nature's Classroom - www.naturesclassroom.org) runs. Nature's Classroom & Life-Tech Ventures are two of the best things that have ever happened to me. I could rave for hours about how amazing they are -- indeed, I have -- but I will not do that here. I will say this, though: Nature's Classroom was a perfect living / employment situation for me: a solid variety of good people, community living, outdoor education, freedom to create lessons & freedom to teach, hands-on interactive learning, influencing the entire character of the students that came to us -- yet it is this opportunity to be a part of our Moishe House that is keeping me here instead of back in New England.
I am just about fully moved into our house, and I am already working on events two months down the road. I am so excited for what we have and to be a part of it. I'm looking forward to helping us grow, and to learning, celebrating, observing, and expressing myself Jewishly through our Moishe House.
Well, it’s a busy Moishe life. We celebrated our one year anniversary with our second annual breakfast. I wasn’t able to be at the first annual breakfast, but I can tell you this year’s break fast was at least TWO years better. We ran out of lox in the first 20 minutes. We had babka and rugelach hand delivered from
Growing up, it was always my family’s responsibility to hold the break fast. I remember my mother used to organize everything while I was at shul with my father for as long as possible. Being in services always made it easier to keep my mind off food. Although it was sometimes hard to tell if I heard prayer or the communal grumbling of hungry tummies. It was so nice to be able to continue the tradition of holding break fast. Thanks, Moishe, for that opportunity.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
We opened our home to our close friends with our first Moishe House event, our Apples and Honey "house warming" party, two weeks ago. All Saturday before our party was spent cleaning, shopping and cooking. With all the preparations for hosting this event, it finally began to sink in that we were officially roommates and this was our house. For me especially I can say that after a year of traveling and being on-the-go and always unsettled, it felt good to finally feel as though I had come home.
It turned out to be a great evening spent with old and new friends. We started off with a small dinner party with close friends and soon the evening took off as guests began arriving throughout the night. It was an exciting and festive feeling to share this space with others and spread the news of our plans for the year. With some good tunes, a spread of cheeses, apples, and other tasty treats, as well as some good conversation, it turned out to be quite a successful first event for our house. I feel that this will be an exciting year for us as friends as well as a Moishe House.
Our holiday events were particular hits. 200+ people came to our Apples and Hunnies Party at local club/bar/restaurant Patou. Break fast with the blood fam and the new extended Moishe fam was great as well. Tonight we'll be celebrating my favorite holiday the Moishe way, and I can hardly wait. Not only do we have our own Sukkah build from scratch (and a bunch of Moishnik sweat and a little bit of my blood and tears- is co' Bec, I'm almost totally recovered), but we have amazing speakers coming to talk to us about local food and sustainability on this harvest holiday, and a delectable menu of tasty locally grown treats prepared by the Moishettes and our sous chefs in the 'hood.
We're having so much fun, it's hard to believe we've been living in Moishe House for almost 3 months already, the time is just flying so fast (and it also means it's kind-of sad I haven't managed to hang up all my pictures yet).
Friday, September 21, 2007
Hello everyone. L’shana Tova. Wow is this year flying by fast. I have been teaching for a little over a month, and am just now starting to settle in. I have also begun working on my Master’s thesis and my BTSA training. I have been working very hard this last month, but the work is really paying off. My class is beginning to run itself, and I am able to concentrate on the students who really need support. As far as the rest of my life goes it feels so nice to be a part of the Jewish community around high-holy-days time. While Jen was in
How's it going all? I just got back from
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
We've found a new house!! I only just found out, so I'm not sure of many of the details, but the main thing is we won't be living on the street at the end of the month, so yay!! Not that we really would have been living on the street, but you know what I mean.
So what other news do I have? The new house thing kind of trumps anything else I would have said. Let's see, I'm going to my family for first night Rosh Hashana tomorrow night, so that should be fun. Haven't seen most of them for a while. And the weather here seems to improving, though it's not doing it in a very consistent manner. Over the weekend, we went from very hot and people sun-tanning on the beach, to cold and raining, to cold and grey and foggy, and then back to hot and sunny. I think it was raining again today though, so it's hard to remember what season we're meant to be in. But I have faith, and I'm sure that pretty soon it's gonna start gradually getting hotter and hotter, until it's just about unbearable to be anywhere besides in a swimming pool. Ah, summer in Cape Town.
Oh, and I can't forget that we're going to be visited by Brady this week. He arrives on Thursday, and we're all pretty excited, cos he's going to be the first Moishe House representative that we meet face to face. So that's definitely something to look forward to!
Ok, well I think I had better get back to doing nothing. We only have a week vacation and I plan to use it to it's full potential by sleeping, lazing around, and doing as little as possible! Strangely though, it doesn't sound all that different from what I do during term time... I should probably look into that.
On second thought, maybe I'll try find something constructive to do. But before I go I just want to wish all my fellow Moishe Houseniks and their families a very happy New Year and well over the fast!
Shana Tova to all :)
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Till next month!
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Luckily I had a dozen nice folks from the MHSF joining me for this evening of comedy. Bringing out a group of young jews to see my young jewish comedian friend felt like it counterbalanced, at least a little bit, my nervousness for my friend on stage.
Before the show Nato came over to our group to greet us. I could see in his facial expression that he was overjoyed to have the support of our community when he went on stage. Having the opportunity to organize my friends in a manner that could benefit one of our own in fulfilling his professional dream, to be a successful performer, was my gratifying moment of the month.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Moishe House Silver Spring Maryland events, not one but TWO weddings up on Long Island, a week spent at NHC's Summer Institute, saying goodbye to a friend off to carillon-players-school in Belgium, and I don't even remember what else...
But I'm still here, and I *think* I'm ready for the New Year. Margo (Moishketeer #4 in Silverysprung) moved in two weeks ago, and Rachael (a founder of MHSS who's been farming in New England this summer) is on her way back.
And then... the MAGIC happens?
We're gonna get out of our house and out into the wider world for some fun beyond movies, Shabbat, and (our very successful) open mic nights. We're even talking about a field trip to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. We've got a new repeating event in the mix - challah baking with Margo - and we'll be having a BBQ while building a sukkah for the Sukkot holiday OLD-SCHOOL: using nothing but nails, tarps, 2x4's, and leafy roofing materials cut from our very overgrown backyard.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
So although I did very little to coordinate efforts in August, our housing justice team got rolling and canvassed foreclosed properties throughout Boston to find tenants and inform them of their rights vis-a-vis the multinational banking corporations that are trying to evict them (nice, right?), and our Jewish-Muslim group held an awesome interfaith service event that is leading towards an inter-community breakfast during the upcoming High Holidays/Ramadam season.
And what's best is that was a slow month. This weekend we're kicking off our community board and fundraising so that folks who get involved with it can spin off their own projects and build even more energy that our community can tap into and build off of and use to grow. It's about democratic decision-making, having broader buy-in into a shared mission of social justice, and giving people the opportunities they want to shape the community we share.
I'm proud of how far our house has come over the last year and am excited to see what happens this fall...!
I'll report back on our progress next month, but in the meantime, shana tovah to all.
We're so excited for another month with Moishe. September is going to be nuts with all the holidays, but I'm certain it will be fantastic. I particularly excited to be spending my fav holiday (Sukkot) with the girls and the Moishe crew. We'll be building a Sukkot, something I've always wanted to do, and looking at how our actions can support the greater community with guest lectures speaking about the local food movement.
Other upcoming events linking us with the larger community this Autumn are: Our clothing swap this evening, where all unclaimed swap items will be donated to a local shelter; Mitzvah Mania, where we'll be joining other Jewish young professional groups to help paint a mural in South Philly; walking with Kristin's Krusade, a walk in memory my friend Sam's best friend who right after graduating from a local Philadelphia university was brutally murdered by her boyfriend. The walk raises money to help prevent violence against women.
While this month has been amazing building our community, we're ready to start engaging the existing community more and more, and lending a hand in making Philadelphia a better place to live.
So finally, after months of playing and giving in my ten to twenty dollars, I won some cash at our poker games. I'm not really sure if the months of playing up to this point were covered in my winnings but it's been fun playing every week with the crew. I must say I've become a better player up to this point and I've picked up a lot of skillz (oh yes, skills with a z type of skills) but just getting together with friends as well new faces is really a great way to stay social and talk about your week with people.
Hope everyone had a good month and I'm looking foward to the new year. Have a fantastic Apples N' Honey party to those who are throwing them!!!
I just read Margie Klein's blog from MHBO and I was really impressed. From the time that I met her and the other Boston House members I was always impressed by the fact that they really seemed to know what community means to them. She talks about getting house members and community members together to take care of another community member whilst they are mourning and sitting shiva. This is community with a "C".
While I was in Israel during July. I had the great opportunity to visit a few kibbutzim and there I also felt a sense of community with "C". Day in and day out people lived with each other, knew about each others lives, and helped build their community together.
In the coming months at Moishe House SF I want to really think about community again. To try and set a definition for myself and my house mates. I would love it to come from us, but I would also be interested to know if the rest of the Moishe Houses have their own definitions or for that matter if the Forest Foundation has one.
Ranting in SF
Sunday, September 2, 2007
another month at moishe!
well, what a month it has been.
many people over, many late nights, lots of pizza and lots of jews
i must say, at last i have finally felt at home here, and can call this place 'my home'
so it's sad that we will probably be moving to a new place at the end of this month....
but that's another issue for the next blog (assuming we move)
as it stands, we've been working hard on university and other obligations, we've been enjoying each other's company and we've yet to threaten death upon any of the other housemates.
so essentially, all has been peachful and calm in this abode of moishe.
on a personal note, i had to spend two hours today at the 'yom tov' market looking after 3 year old kids. i might commit suicide in my sleep after that.
sleep... hmmmm zzz
But what is most notable for me is actually a really terrible thing that happened, which is that, Sarah, a member of our community tragically lost her father last weekend. Sarah - a school teacher and just generally sweet and caring person who just graduated from college - called me late on last Saturday night to tell me that her father had passed away earlier that day, and she just needed to talk to someone. She said that our house was her community, and she hoped she could come to us for support.
I am proud that our community functions to support one another in general - through Shabbat and holidays, birthdays and new jobs, even romantic break ups. But we've never had the challenge of needing to be there for someone when they need it most, when they are dealing with real loss and grief. I was immediately moved that Sarah turned to us, but after that, I got kind of overwhelmed. I kept asking myself - is our community strong enough to really be there for someone whose life seems so unfairly turned upside down, who is dealing with this much pain?
As I've learned to do over the past two years, I decided to share my questions with housemembers and key leaders, asking folks what we could do. The response was incredible. We decided to organize 2-3 people a day to call Sarah while she is out of town for the funeral and shiva, to coordinate people to cook for/visit Sarah each day for the two weeks after she gets back, to organize places for her to spend the various days/meals of the high holidays, and to host a memorial service for her father when she is ready. When we posted these ideas to our larger email list, literally dozens of people responded and offered to help, and everything we thought of got covered. In addition to Sarah's friends, who are helping to organize everything and are real mensches, all sorts of people who don't even really know Sarah have also stepped up to the plate, cooking, calling, opening their homes.
Though I never would wish for this situation, this tragedy is teaching all of us the power of community. As I keep being moved by the outpouring of kindness, people repeatedly say to me that they have wanted to in a community where people are there for each other through ups and downs, where they are needed, where in the face of pain there is something they can do. As for Sarah, she said to me on Thursday, "It is weird. Life is just still going. I can't believe my dad is gone, but this whole thing is also making me realize how much love I have in Boston, and how many good people I have to come home to."
Though none of our efforts can fix Sarah's loss, I felt like, if building this community can get such a sweet person though such a hard time, dayeinu, it would have all been worth it.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Yes, the vicious rumors that you have all heard about and been wondering with baited breath when this event would occur is happening on September the 30th, we are moving.
Like sand rushing through the hour glass of time - we, Moishe house CT, are going through the (last) days of our lives. (in this house)
On a brighter note Brady Gil, is visiting us over the Rosh Hashana. We gonna throw a killer party and entertain him till he wants to become a beetroot.
Love, Peace and Bush (I mean war)
New York treated me well in my undergrad years. Although I was ready
for a change, I didn't expect that that change would be back in my old
digs. Last year I lived in a Hemmingway-esque home in Manayunk, a town
outside the City. Sure, it was romantic at times; sitting in my office
looking out at the steeple of a near-by church, saying "Hi" to each
and every neighbor, the local gang of kids crowded on the corner
asking me for homework help...but I needed a change.
I've lived in MHP for a little over a month now, and it's been dope.
First, we live three blocks from a dog park. It's always awesome to
observe the wacky-dog-park parents and Jack has a good ol' time
getting his run on. Secondly, our house is in an unbelievable
location; right near the Italian Market, Washington Square Park, and
the HOTGO (aka: PATCO = high speed line into Camden where school is).
We're surrounded by the best BYOs, bars, and coffee shops. Lastly,
word on the street is that we are now considered to be the coolest
Jews in Philly. After being interviewed by the Jewish Exponent and
then the Inquirer, our listserve is bursting from all the publicity.
On top of all of that, our house is thriving internally too. Although
still not sure how frequently we have to go to the grocery store, what
day of the week our weekly meeting will be, and who keeps leaving the
lights on... the Moishe Mamas are the bomb. We share clothes, throw
amazing shabbatot, hang out, and especially, we support each other.
Everything is "fabo"--the new adjective we've all been hooked on.
So, to Philly-- thanks for being a fantastic place to sink our roots.
To the girls-- for being 2 sisters an only child dreams about. And to
the Forest Foundation and Lynn Shusterman-- for making it all happen!
August is also my birthday month. I just turned 25 and am so excited about the year ahead! I had a great party (thank you Moishe!) with lots of wonderful friends wishing me a happy day. It's amazing to realize that in just one year of being back from Israel (oh how I miss you!) I really do have a community here that I cherish and people who I know cherish me.
For me, August is always a month of new beginnings. I think it's that feeling of gearing up to go back to school, even if we're not in school anymore. Something about the end of summer (sad!) and the start of the "school year" is so fresh and invigorating. Elul also usually falls in August, which is the month leading up to Rosh Hashannah and is supposed to be a time of stock-taking (thank you to my Australian professor for forever changing the order of the phrase for me!) and reflection on your past year. It's a chance to look at where you've been and see where you want to go.
I'm psyched to discover what this year holds, and am looking forward to sharing my journey with all of you! Shana Tovah!