Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Moishe House Seattle, Azura 10/31

So, procratination. It's almost tomorrow.

This first month has been great. It turns out that we all lov to cook so the fridge is overflowing.

I've been busy last couple days because of school, work and trying to get a second job.

My cats like the extra space. but they want to go up-stairs (they can't because Masha is allergic) They have already eaten one of Tamar's plastic flowers. Oops.

Craft circle is fun to organize.

My mom even came to the house, she said she couldn't turn down a free meal.



o, Hai Moishe hauses of the world

October is okay, November is better. I'll tell you why. First of all, as fun as Halloween may be, there are two things wrong with it. One is that you don't get time off, and by the time you get home from work you've already missed all the kids with their costumes, which leads to two, which is when you then go out and there are a lot of awesome, fun costumes. Costumes people put a lot of work into, a lot thought into, or at least they are funny, like Seymore from Little Shop of Horrors or a dirty laundry basket or Marie Antoinette, or whatever, those were just some I saw. Then there are the store bought costumes that are as uncreative as possible, like the french nurse, school girl, beerbox suit man, or dick in a box guy. I mean, come on.
Also, the weather can't decide whether to be warm or cold. I bike to work in a shirt and freeze on the way home or the other way around. At least in November you know what you're going to getting, and thanksgiving is dope. Keep your eyes out for the enormous turkey pot pie I am going to make after Thanksgiving.
Also, fall is beautiful and the cold is invigorating, and makes hot apple cider and whiskey so much more enjoyable.
This past month I did two things i've been wanting to for a long time. The first was I went to a police auction (not an event, just a few people). Nothing much to report about it, but it is pretty interesting. First of all to see all the crap people buy, like a vacuum packed bag of random woman's clothing, or three pairs of the same shoes all different sizes, but everything is also real cheap, and auctions are fun. We also went to second Fridays in Pilson (this was a house event), which is when all the galleries in the mostly Mexican neighborhood on the south side open their doors for people to come eat cheese and wine and meet the artist. It is totally unpretentious and refreshing. Probably my favorite event of the month. Afterwards we had some amazing Mexican food, hearing what sounded like an entire marching band the entire time we ate (around 11:00pm). When we left the restaurant we went to look for the music, and I'm pretty sure it was coming out of an apartment. It really sounded like a full brass band, and you could hear it for blocks, but the entire thing was inside of an apartment. Crazy.

And now a question for the readers who live in other houses: How much focus do your houses put on Tikkun Olam and what does that entail?

Moishe House Seattle, Tamar 10/31

This last Sunday I dug a compost pit. And compiled the cone, and cut chicken wire, and dropped the whole shebang in. It was hard and long, but also, from the start I got into a zone with it: manual labour with an outcome that I knew would make my life much easier (and much more guilt free). It was calming and made me very proud when I was done.

I have recently started a job that takes 48 hours of my week. I really like it, and I think I have more energy when I work. Purposeful time leads to more purposeful time. I am still in an adjustment period. How to schedule my hours after work, how to actually go to bed early, how to use downtime at work to think about life after work, how to plan ahead. If it all works out it will be a great lesson for me.

Living in the moishe house has been wonderful, so far all housemates getting along, helping each other, being nice, thoughtful, and fun. We're still getting the hang of it, and I know I have so much to learn. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can make.
Happy Halloween!

This afternoon, clad in my black and orange, I attended our Shabbat team meeting, and as usual, I come away inspired. Thanks to our beloved former housemate Ari Johnson, the Shabbat team is filled with real leaders, and each person has fashioned a specific role for him or herself. One person helps coordinate food and cleanup, another recruits people to do the various Friday night rituals like kiddush and Motzei, another recruits service leaders, and still another recruits people to talk about cool social justice efforts in our community.

In order to support one another and improve the overall Shabbat experience, at our meeting each person got the chance to talk through how to improve the role (s)he was working on, and then the group brainstormed the best next steps. For example, we decided to make signs on all of our kitchen cabinets so people know where to put away our various dishes during our rolling communal cleanup. We also decided to encourage people leading services to include English readings and/or words of wisdom beyond just reading the translation of a given prayer, to make our prayer experience more meaningful to people. We also decided that we want to build our team and our pool of service leaders by having one on one conversations with potential leaders and new guests, where we actively learn about people's skills and interests, and where appropriate, ask people to step up and volunteer for a specific task or to join our team.

It is just exciting to have so many dynamic people thinking together about how to grow our community. By valuing our specific roles and supporting one another, we are able to honor each person's skills and talents, make sure the work gets done, and create a product that reflects the values and interests of our larger group.

And the best part is, my job is just to cheer everyone else on. Go team!

Moishe House SAC, Elishama Goldfarb, 10/31/07

Oy, What a month. Well halloween in the best time of year to be a kid, and the costumes are ready made for any young transformer, witch, or deva? Yeah, one of my students (7years old) dressed up as a diva, and kept dancing across the room saying "I'm all over the stage" in a melodramatic voice. Frickin hilarious. In other news I dressed up as a bunny rabbit. It was a lot of fun. Oh, and the pumpkins that I carved last week got a mold attack and splooged juices all over our coffee table. Ewwww. Much love to the moishe community.


MHSeattle, Masha Shtern, 10-31-07

The move into Moishe House went pretty smoothly, and as soon as I left my parents' house, I felt so much better! I've been basking in this shiny feeling all month, although by now the novelty is slowly starting to wear off. Still, I really like it here! It's amazing how easily we all get along, whereas with my parents every day was a struggle and a fight.
There were some difficult moments earlier in the month, where some of my crazy secular Russian-Jewish family and friends didn't understand why I wanted to do more Jewish things and deal with keeping a kosher kitchen. All they could see was that it would be a pain to keep kosher, to host guests all the time and have no privacy. It was very sad for me that they couldn't see my happiness through this, and understand that I really like doing this stuff. However, as the weeks went by and some of these people came over, they saw how great the place is and that I haven't really joined a sect (contrary to popular belief :).
Our first community dinner on Wednesday was really magical. We had people of several generations come over, they all came together beautifully in the house with our food. We were many people, but enough to sit at one table, and it made for a very cozy and intimate evening. And this keeps happening over and over, it's great! The only trouble is that we are always late in our preparations,and the beginning is always a little frantic. As is the case right now, as I have some pots in the kitchen, and we're waiting for guests for our Wednesday night community dinners and and answering the door to trick-or-treaters(they never came to my parents' house! but this is a real neighborhood:) So apologize to the readers for the harried quality of the post, and my big claim to you is that next month will be better. :)


I love pumpkins. Karen L. Moishe HOUse Chicago

It is true. I love pumpkins. I love their smooth, orange spheres. I love how they grow all summer in patches and greet us abundantly in the height of autumn. I love to pick through the piles of pumpkins at the local farmer's market. I love to heave them up three flights of stairs and fill my home with them. I love to create a faux pumpkin patch in our livingroom. I love how I can gut them, cook them, and fashion them into delicious pies and toasted seeds. I love to cut their flesh open and create magnificent works of art which promptly get set aflame. I love the pumpkin faced shadows that flicker on the porch, and I love to share my love of pumpkins. So I am glad that this month we here at the chicago moishe house were able to foster this love I have for this beautiful squash. It is the time of pumpkins. It is the season of love.

Caren M. Moishe House Chicago, 10/31/07

Our first FULL month as a Moishe House has been great. It’s been really fun to try out various types of programs with our growing community. We are still figuring out how to operate together and how to best organize around our interests in a positive way that is both building community and making a difference in the community. One of my favorite things we did as a house this month was spending the evening at the JUF Uptown Café. We helped set up, clean up, serve dinner and chat with the café goers. The Uptown Café offers a free kosher dinner four nights a week; the doors are open to all who want/need a meal. The café manager is a social worker who knows all the people who come through the doors, besides her the café is totally dependant on volunteers. There are case managers and social workers available before, during and after the meal as a resource and support. It was a neat introduction to the larger organized Jewish Community in Chicago; it was fun to talk about what we are doing as a Moishe House and set up regular times to volunteer at the café. It is slower in coming than the other programs but we are trying to focus our energy towards creating change and tikun olam. It’s been a good month and I am looking forward to our upcoming events. Anyone passing through Chicago is welcome to join us!

Aliyah from Moishe House Minsk

Hi there! Shalom! And Priviet!
This is my first posting on the Moishe House Blog since my roommate Natasha and I just started Moishe House Minsk this month. Organizing and hosting our first two events has been amazing fun!
Our first event was a “Chanukat Bayit,” or “House Dedication” in Hebrew. It was our kickoff event. About seventeen people showed up and we did havdalah together, put our new mezuzah on the door (which has since fallen off because we had to use clear tape to hold it on! The wall we need to hammer it into is concrete so nails didn’t work... Any suggestions?) ate cake and cookies, and watched our Moishe House Minsk PowerPoint presentation. Then there was some schmoozing. Then I believe there was a brief mini dance party in Natasha’s room. Second wind I guess…
And our second event, Americansky Halloween, was going to just be candy and a scary movie, but it turned into something much, much better when I found out that in Russian, “pumpkin” is “tikvah,” which in Hebrew means “hope,” and is the title of the national anthem of the State of Israel! I decided to infuse some Jewish content at the last minute and made a presentation on "Hatikvah" before our scary movie. Then I played two versions of "Hatikvah" for our guests: one typical Israeli choral one, and another one sung by a group of Jews in Uganda, the Abayudaya Jews. Maybe some of you have heard of them? Anyway, I don’t think any of our guests will ever eat anything pumpkin again without thinking of “Hatikvah!”
Oh, and then we watched “The Reaping,” dubbed into Russian, which was an experience unto itself.
Lastly, I guess I wanted to express how cool it has been to take part in the Moishe House project and join all of you around the world!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Margo in Silver Spring

Hey everyone! Although I moved into the MHSS August 19th, I finally have access to the blog! These few months have been really great and I can't wait for what we have planned for the future (especially our Halloween themed Shabbat dinner this weekend).
I think my favorite 'event' was our trip to the Maryland Ren-faire. Noam and I were the only ones who left from the house (unfortunately). Everyone else who said they were coming "punked out" as my friend Julie put it. The weather was absolutely amazing. The comedy shows were highly amusing (especially the team Puke & Snot- I kid you not). While waiting for a performance of French-Canadians, we had a lovely encounter with a drag barmaid. Once a navy seal god knows how many years ago, the man allowed his friend to dress him any way she wanted, and voila! out came a very flamboyant barmaid. He was quite the character, fanning himself and flirting with the French-Canadian performers.
Since I've moved in I've tried having a challah baking event. The first time we made the dough right then, not exactly the most efficient way of doing things- people went home without challah. This time though, dough was pre-made and all people had to do was come and braid and bake. Only one person showed up this time which was sad, but I'll pray for more next time.
Hopefully that was short, but sweet. 'Til next time!

Moishe House Vienna: Touch Down (watch yourself, Mozart!)

Hey yall. This be Yaakov from Tucson/Santa Barbara/London/Jerusalem/Vienna writing to you from none other than The University of Vienna, where I shall be basing all of my crypto-devious operations out of.

The Moishe House Vienna is up and running and will surely be a swell experience for everyone (hee hee!)

If you cannot comprehend my description of Moishe Vienna, please return this note to sender.

Moishe House Vienna: A ChillAustriatic Production The Moishe House Vienna takes Central European Jewish living to a new and heightened level, as Yaakov the Californian and French Eytan of France burst into Hapsburg territory, seeking to formulate the proper formulation for the permeation of illumination into minds, which is analogous to the fermentation of grapes into wine. We have established a uniquely Jewish space dedicated to experiential investigations into knowledge^creativity^festivity, and seek avid journeymen/women to contribute and participate in our glorious celebrations of life. Fusing our diverse backgrounds derived from time spent dwelling in the fabled land of FrenchiCali, we hope to integrate our robust passion for Torah observant Judaism into this chaos laden whirlpool-reality of international SMSing, internal combustion alloy chariots, and intermingling Wifi armies of traffic-jam-packed informational quantum, electronically precipitating their way across our once fertile field of vision. The Moishe House Vienna will feature a host of educational workshops, spiritual explorations, and thematic events to make your stay in Vienna simply stellar, (dude!). Please take us up on our cordial invitation to drop by for one of our eclectic filme nachts, our capricious Arts and Crafternoons, Kabbalistic meditations on the state of I and i, kosher organic grubbing at our gourmet Shabbos smorgasbords, and of course general chillosophizin during our heady intellectual mind trip sessions. May the Shalom of eternity soon grace our blessed presence. Amen!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rachael & Silver Spring

My first Moishe House Shabbat!

This was the first Shabbat I've been in the house that everyone has been around. Although I'm glad they're having wonderful times away, I am happy to have them around once in a while. :)

Pre-Shabbat meal prep was fun, though I napped during a lull (oops) & woke up to pre-dining shmoozing. It was nice to have Shabbat at 'my' house -- I've never done that before -- but what is extra-weird is that it didn't feel like a first time / like anything out of the ordinary. I guess when it fits, it fits; when something's natural, it just works, blends so indistinguishably into the rest of life that the only way to notice it is to make yourself think about it.

The food was amazing, the people wonderful, Shabbat relaxing. It's cool to live with people for whom being observant is familiar. I don't know if I will ever live as observantly, though: I can't seem to come to peace within myself regarding certain practices that my heart doesn't understand. I can grasp that every person is at a different place in his or her life and does what he/she can, that there is really no pressure to 'be more' (or 'other', or 'different') than what I am. It is being OK with this that is difficult for me.
Part of my struggle, too, is trying to integrate the dichotomous elements of my faith / culture / heritage / religion, justifying (or just accepting) what to me is exactly opposite of Judaism. Being without a Jewish community of my own for so, so very long has only contributed to my feeling lost, without sources of learning or belonging or guidance....

And then there's Zvi & the Moishe House of Silver Spring. I have never lived with people whose eating habits so resemble my own. (Definitely has something to do with living with Kosher Jews -- but it is interesting how we all tend to be more or less vegetarian, too.) Zvi has a penchant for eating (/ finding, knowing of) bizarre-r & organic-er stuff than me! That's a new one. I live with someone who thinks as green & group-community & let's-all-clean-our-house as me (again, Zvi), and someone who will start doing goofy stretchy things while having a conversation and not realize it until it is pointed out by someone as being perhaps not normal -- which I've been noted as doing, too (again, Zvi). I have never been a big TV-watcher, though I love Law & Order and will default to that program whenever I turn the TV on -- and so do Noam and Margo (though their TV-default range is much broader than mine, giving equal preference to L&O spin-offs & other crime-related shows, and even extending so far as to branch out of the crime / mystery TV genre altogether -- I have much to learn from them). Alan's e-mails are as lengthy as mine (if not more so!), and he is as collaborative & communicative, energetic & excited about Moishe House goings-on as I like to be. Everyone is intelligent, funny, & fun to talk with.
The basic gist of it all?: We're a good match.

It seems, too, that I can't escape University of Maryland. Though I had some [several] experiences less than appealing and never felt fully a part of the main Jewish community there, it seems all that time at Aish (I miss them!!!!) and, later, Chabad, as well as those times I managed to infiltrate Hillel, familiarized me with the MD-Hillel Jewish Crew enough that I keep recognizing & knowing the people that walk through our door (which is actually pretty cool -- now if only I could get other past MD Jews here!). My less pleasant UMD experiences have inspired a partial (because I am not excellent at letting go) walking-away-forever, similar to the way many folks treat high school once their allotted time is up; to repeatedly encounter characters and recall long-dormant scenes from a story I sometimes think I want desperately to forget is quite interesting.

And now, for our Feature Presentation
Actually being able to live in the house -- & have access to internet -- has helped enable me to add a bit of myself to what's going on. I've teamed up with the Gesher City D.C. crafting cluster leader to bring our groups together for some fun artsy socializing. Our first event is in November: making beaded Hope Buddies (what we called them at camp this summer: easy-to-make and very cute beaded animals that were donated to kids with cancer and their siblings -- a pocket reassurance during chemo, hospital visits, etc.). Our second event is Jennifer's (cluster leader) brainstorm: a football-watching crafting party! The idea is to hopefully appeal to folks of all kinds, from people who aren't normally inclined to be artsy but love their football, to people whose football experiences may be limited to the days of folding notebook paper into table-top triangles. Perhaps there will even be some entertainment cross-breeding? (Is it possible to be artsy while simultaneously watching TV [football]? What will be the effect of cheers & jeers on the arts process? Will strict no-arts football fans dare to break into the realm of non-vocal artistic expression? Stay tuned for the answers to these and other riveting developments from the Moishe House Silver Spring arts department.....)
Changing the world through cultural expansion & addressing life's more complex philosophical ponderings -- that's the Silver Spring Moishe House for you.

I really want to have a very basic beginner knit / crochet event during which we learn the simplest techniques possible and then use our new-found (or honed) skills to knit / crochet squares that are donated to organizations that sew donated squares into blankets for those who need.
Other potential events: tie-dye (when the weather will be guaranteed warm), friendship & hemp bracelets, paint your own pottery, chalk art....
Art without waste, art with a purpose, useful art, art as service to the community / community betterment.

I like reaching out to the community & am trying to get ourselves more known, established, connected. I've been in touch with someone who works with Shalom D.C. -- an organization that focuses on helping Jewish young adults get acclimated to the D.C. Jewish community -- who has asked us to host a Shabbat dinner for Taglit Birthright alumni during their Taglit Shabbat-Hoppin' events. She invited us to be a kick-off site, but general house consensus was to implement said Shabbat in December so as not to burn ourselves out on three Shabbat dinners in a row (plus creating & leading a Shabbat service on top of that).
Mesorah D.C. also wants to work with us, and we're having a post-Shabbat Havdallah-&-more party @ one of the synagogues nearby (this is Zvi's brainstorm). Looking forward to Mormon interfaith night, too!

For the sake of brevity (for cryin' out loud!),
~Novel Concluded~

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Importance of health insurence and exercise

I had some thoughts about these two subjects and wanted to share so no one makes the same mistake I made this fall. I currently work part time, and so I was on my parents health insurance which ended in July. After not being sick in months, I wasn't quick to get myself a health insurance plan. My dad (the wise man that he is) bugged me about it for months and even sent me the link to the kaiser website. Whether it was the cool weather coming in or the the very slight cough I had developed, I got my act together and signed up for a plan in the last week of September. As the cough worsened, and my boss threatened to send me home because my coughing was distracting him, I was excited to receive an email from kaiser saying I was accepted into their health insurance plan. Unfortunately, my excitment was drowned by the last sentence of the email which stated the plan began November 1st. It was September 30.

Three weeks later and a cramping pain in my right side from the exhaustion of my rib muscles, I was getting worried. My sister, Leah, who is in nursing school, her boyfriend Guy, who is a med student, and my friend Ricky, who is a future med student all reassured me that I was really fine, and that anyone's muscles would be sore after coughing for almost 4 weeks.

Now, I am an avid runner. As my friend Kaylie says, I am her coach motivator in getting her in shape. And I continued to run through this cough because I am somewhat addicted to the post exercise high. But alas, the pain in my side got too sore and I had to stop running which made me feel crappy.

So, today, October 27th, I went on my first run in two weeks. It felt awesome, and the cough and sore muscles are almost better. So, the moral of the story is, not having health insurance caused me to stop running, which caused me to be less happy. I will never do it again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Moishe House CHI, Ilana SS 10/24/07


Wow this month has floooown. We have done so much so far and still have two events this weekend! It has really been interesting to see how our second month has panned out. Having no idea how Moishe House Chicago was going to pan out, it is starting to really feel like there is a real potential of making some real progress here. I have really loved all the people who have shown up to our first events and appreciate their participation! It has been a challenging month as things start to get into gear, but it also has been very rewarding and I already feel that my experience with Moishe House will teach me a lot about what it means to be a rockin' host, and show me how to find things that are going on in the city and actually go out and do them! This Friday we'll do a pot luck shabbat and then on Sunday we're watching the Bears game and having fun with pumpkins! Who could ask for anything more! Well, I guess that's it for now....until next time!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tear the Roof off the Sukkah

Life in Moishe House Boston is rock'n!!! We transformed our porch in a sukkah, complete with paper chains, hanging phallic gourds, a ceiling of twinkly lights and corn stalks, and shimmery purple walls. In the process of looking for schach (that what the stuff on the roof it called, really, I kid you not) I discovered an awesome local farm, right in our neighborhood. It was a wonderful reminder of my last summer, when I was working on a Jewish Organic Farm spending everyday with my toes in the dirt, growing some of the most delicious veggi's I've ever had. So, this discovery prompted me to purchase loads of yummy fresh local produce for our sukkot meals. We usually have loads of people over for shabbat, so it was really nice to have smaller gatherings all seated around the table in the sukkah. Our house guests, Noam, made gazpacho, and we feasted on eggplants, tomatoes and corn. Now that the crops have been harvested, and we are battening down for New England winter (it rained more here this week than it had all summer), I glad I got to enjoy the last days of warmth and earthly bounty in our own Moishe House Sukkah. - Joe

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Maia is glad she doesn't have a car in San Francisco

I'm listening to this Dylan album "World Gone Wrong" and thinking about our later years. About not being as cool as you undoubtedly were when you could party and be rock n roll without worrying or caring or really doing anything. You just were cool. Maybe you peaked in high school, or the summer you roadtripped in your El Camino, or maybe sophomore year of college when you were in a scene of poets and musicians and visual artists living in a barn and making a whole lot of shenanigans and love and beauty, above all. Or maybe you're doing it right now (though I have to say that seems doubtful - I mean, living in a Jewish co-op just isn't screaming "punk" to anyone) -- but I wonder what happens as we all start to feel the pull of uncool gravity. How we reckon with this force, earth-bound, to get more sleep and eat better and make something our elders call "good decisions" and be something people keep calling "responsible."

I know it ain't original. I'm just wondering about it is all. We are all hurtling towards this inevitable adulthood and I find myself deep in thought, watching the passing landscape, and then with a start realizing I'm driving.

--- Maia, San Francisco

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

MH Sacramento and the Heartbeat run

Elishama and I have been working hard putting together the HEARTBEAT RUN. It is this Sunday, October 14! This event supports the student-run free medical clinics at UC Davis School of Medicine. UCD SOM has 7 free clinics, and they provide free healthcare services to the residents in Sacramento who cannot pay for healthcare. The Heartbeat Run consists of a 5K & 10K run/walk, kids run, and health fair. We have a Moishe House Team that will be competing in the 5K Team Challenge. I'll let you all know if they place. MHS people have also been helping out with the planning and advertising of the event. We are also going to have a MHS something at the fair (haven't decided yet on what that will be). The Heartbeat Run has been a great way to get our MHS participants involved in a great community cause. If any of you are near Sacramento and want to participate [or if you want to donate to support the free medical clinics], check out the website at

Besides the Heartbeat Run, I am doing my usual things. Our Moishe House has recently learned that Jews love the Davis Farmers Market. We have had 2 fun evenings in the park, listening to music and eating dinner from the market. We will keep having those events until we get rained out by the weather.


Noam Reisner 10/9/07 Silver Spring Check-in

Hi all,

This past month has been absolutely crazy and I am still catching up from all the stuff that's been piling up. With the holidays coming on the weekdays school work, work work, and the Moishe House business have been piling up faster than I could manage. Thankfully after today I am pretty much officially back on track. So, where to start? The holidays were wonderful, whether at home with my family or at home in the Moishe House I had a good time throughout. The Sukkah-building/barbecue event was a huge success, free barbecue seems to bring people out of the woodwork. The movie night for September turned out quieter than expected, with only the housemates enjoying the film, but it was a nice evening all the same. Now that the weekends aren't rife with holidays we can start doing Shabbat dinners once again, which I am excited for, also, our first planned Moishe House field-trip to the Maryland Rennaissance Festival is coming up, which should be a lot of fun, so there is a lot of good stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks, not the least of which is a return to normalcy and a regular, non-holiday-rushed routine. See you next month.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Apples and Heezy!

Oh what a night! Combine some of the best music you've ever heard, all of your closest friends, great conversation, and an amazing vibe. Now imagine all of these elements converging at your house! For me this is more than a miraculous daydream, but the reality of Moishe House SF's 2007 Apples and Honey shindig.

For the second straight year my good friend, Brandeis (day school) alum, and internationally known DJ, Teeko, rocked the house for more than 5 hours. Teeko (known as Shimon to me), besides being a fabulous musician, has been one of my closest friends for over 20 years. In addition to being the musical accompaniment to multiple parties, Shimon has also been involved in softball and a number of other activities. But as music is his first passion, there is something incredibly special to me about seeing him in his element contributing to the growth and happiness of the Moishe community. Aside from my own personal gratification, the dance floor (dining room) was packed, the dance moves electric, and the neighbors, thankfully, accommodating.

The high I've been on in the week and half since it all transpired has been just as fantastic as the event itself. For the second consecutive year our house was left messy, but, surprisingly, nothing broken, destroyed or covered in the evidence of alcohol poisoning (the most delicate wording I could come up with). Everyone I came into contact with was so overwhelmingly appreciative to us for hosting such a joyous and welcoming event. To see the smiles is one thing, but for people to go out of their way to thank the hosts gave me a great warm feeling. A feeling I will carry with me right into next years Apples and Honey party. Can't wait!

-Dave Persyko, MHSF

From House to House

What can I say? We thought we had it good before. When Brady brought his American sense of style down to cape Town to check out the Bayit, it was awesome, but man, our new house really rocks.

The place is about 7,3 times as cool as the previous Moishe House. With a swimming pool and just an awesome vibe.

Here;s to many many more good times in a house that keeps rocking Cape Town.
p.s. Brady I dig your American styles. Come back and check out the new place sometime.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The new and improved Moishe House Cape Town

So we actually did it. It took almost an entire day of non-stop packing, unpacking, carrying, cleaning, and interior designing, but the new Moishe House Cape Town is now up and running!!

And what a house! We are now fully equipped with everything we need and more, including our very own swimming pool, which is definitely gonna come in handy with summer being just around the corner! There have also been a couple of changes with room allocations and that sort of thing, but I think that a change is definitely a good thing every once in a while, so I'm sure it's all for the best. And I'm very happy with my new room, so as far as I'm concerned, it's all good :)

Besides our amazing new house though (which is so clean, by the way. Soooo clean!!) , there isn't really all that much to tell. The big Jew holidays were ok; the fast was actually surprisingly easy this year, and there's currently a bit of a lull with varsity and stuff. It's actually just there as a decoy though, since exams are beginning in less than a month!! Scary stuff...

But for those of us who choose to live in the moment, a month is as far away as Channukah, so I don't think I'll start stressing about that just yet. Tomorrow isn't too far off though, so I'm thinking I should probably get back to my assignment which is due in about 12hours.

So with that in mind, I guess it's time to say goodbye. I'll keep you all updated though on how it's going settling in to our fabulous new house, and I promise photo's will be up very soon. So keep your eyes peeled! :)

Much love
The new and improved Emma (from the new and improved MHCT)

Kevin Sack, Cape Town OCT

Yo yo yo MoisheHousniks,

This has been such a crazy two weeks for us south african...wait nay, a crazy three weeks! It started with Brady coming down and visiting us, which was awesome. It was really a great way to start the new Jewish year playing some backgammon...(even if we all got colonialised and liberated)... and meeting a fellow Forest foundation muskateer. We invite all others, from any country to come stay at our open Moishe house. It was very cool that the South American Moishe House gave us T-shirts through Brady- thanks guys :)

Over the last 2 weeks, we've moved houses! Moishe House South Africa has officailly packed up and relocated. our new Home, though temporary, is incredible. We've set it up really nicely and everyone is slowly but surely making there way to being settled.

Something that has been very cool is we all sat down and had a long talk about what we did well in the old house and things we'd like to improve on in the new house. We thought it was a great oppertunity to reassess the way we live together, be constructive and also re-invent the way we run events.

The last thing is that we're very annoyed that Morris's art gallery doesn't pitch to South Africa. We appreciate the photo's though :)

peace out

New bayit new times! - Moishe House Cape Town

SHalom Comrades, we have moved and with this new House a new era in Moishe house History is being unveiled in Cape Town. We are expansive, creative, and inovative! We are eating in a sukkah, we are jammin on Friday nights. We have chaned the rooms around a bit which is great for me as i am no longer sharing a room!
Our house is amazin!!!!!!!!!!
Kitchen is large, we have a swimming pool. The only harsh thin is that we have no telephone or internet currently and I am now at a friends house with my laptop battery about to run out!

otherwise Im reading a very interesting book by Shlomo ben Ami and have been meetin some very interesting foreign American jews who have been coming and chilling at our bayit which is amazing!

Shvua Tov ya'all,

Ilan Strauss - Cape Town

Friday, October 5, 2007

Moishe House and Sports

I started strong in Moishe House fantasy football as the only 3-0 team. Since then I lost and it's looking bad. But my team still rocks.
What's more important is that the Cleveland Browns are 2-1 in the division and not in last place.
What's even better - BASEBALL PLAYOFFS!
Always the underdog, the Indians kicked the Yankees behinds in a 12-3 debacle. Hopefully we keep it up. It reminds me of David vs. Goliath. The Yanks (Goliath) led the league in batting average, runs, home runs and RBIs. The Indians just chip away and defy the odds. Good to see sports reflecting back to the good ol' fashioned Tanach.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Lee Levin Sept. Blog- a - reno

Hey Fellow moishnickians and nickettes. This month has made me think. I just realized how so many of our monthly programs have been adopted into our communities regular activities. Poker, football, jewish holiday celebration, have all become tradition here in west hollywood. People seem to just flock when the time calls to the respective place and seats to enjoy the activities. I for one am proud of the community we have started and look forward to the next chapter of the LA moishe house experience .

Lee Levin

l'shana tova to all

I'd like to start off by saying l'shana tova to everybody in the Moishe House and hope all of the Apples N' Honey Parties went as planned. Ourselves, we had a great party thanks to the Apple's N' Honey program so a big shoutout to Brady and everybody else involved for making it happen.

Ususally a new year brings in thoughts of large parties involving plenty of champagne, silly hats, and countdowns. And of course, who wouldn't have a blast at a party like this. However, the thought of new years resolutions and reflections on the previous year seem to to get muddled through an evening of drinking and partying. For this reason I recently found myself saving my resolutions specifically for Rosh Hashannah. It is at this time of year when summer is ending and we must return to a more focused lifestyle.......focused on what we want to accomplish this next year and what we need to atone for during the previous year. I know I probably should have been a good Jewish boy and set all my resolutions around Rosh Hashannah all along but December 31 has always shadowed it's purpose. However, I think its fortunate that as Jews we have the opportunity to celebrate two New for going completely crazy and one for focusing on our ourselves.

holy challah

wow, moishe, moishe, moishe. what a gem we stumbled upon. "you just get together young jews in your hood and we'll help you with rent and expenses" -- unreal! this type of innovative giving is unmistakbly jewish. the whole experience is entirely affirming of my concept of judaism. amid all the prayers, history, rituals and holidays it really just boils down to community. above all other aspects of judaism, it truly could not function without community.

so here we are with a brand-new moishe house in providence. this little city is home to many sub-communities and lots of young jews -- but scant opportunities to really mix the two. this first month has been great - setting up shop, getting to know the neighbors and putting out the vibe.

and we're already getting a spectrum of request for events: everything from a regular torah-study with a local rabbi to a halloween dance party. look out providence, moishe's in town :)


Holding it down over the holidays

Let me be clear: I am the least religious of my housemates. I am not in rabbinical school (Margie and Sarah), nor have I served a year as a Hillel JCSC fellow (Joe Gindi). So at the house, I tend to play a behind-the-scenes role during religious celebrations, just so I don't piss anyone off by eating a bacon cheeseburger by mistake.

But over Yom Kippur, Joe was down in New York and Margie was serving as an emergency rabbi in Leominster, MA (pronounced LEMON-ster, for all you out-of-towners). And Sarah wasn't attending the same temple as the bulk of our house's responsibility fell to me to make our home an open and welcoming place for folks in and around Yom Kippur.

Pre-YK potluck? I pulled it off without a sweat. Ten folks, some of whom had never been to our house, came together for a relaxed dinner that got us all ready for some serious atoning. Then, in the midst of fasting, I came home to slice the bagels, lay out the lox, and prepare a serious break-fast for more than 35 friends. I might have smelled a bit like fish during n'eelah, but when everyone came over there were definitely no frowny faces.

Now I'll grant you, there was pretty much no ritual associated with either of the two meals, but I'd like to think I didn't screw up Yom Kippur for any serious Jews, and our community was able to celebrate together in comfort and style. And for a religious neophyte like me, that felt like a real accomplishment!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Zvi Bellin Silver Spring -- Happy October

I love October! The holiday time is winding down and there is a peaceful silence. Also it is my birthday month and I remember when I was little we would celebrate my birthday by going to my aunts on Halloween and trick-or-treating in her NYC 30 something floor building. We would have silly costums jsut to get cany like a tennis player, or a guy with slick back wet hair. So what does a Jewish community house give out on Halloween? Perhaps candy, or perhaps candy with a Rebbe Nachman story, or a little short fortune cookie phrase like, "Celebrate religious diversity!" There is still time to think, should be great.

Send me a birthday card, 639 mississippi ave, silver spring, md 20910
or just an email blessing,,
or email me and i will send you an email blessing.

Most high month to Moishe'leh's round the globe and beyond!

SILVER SPRING ALAN is holidoomed

September in Silver Spring was Spectacular. We bent the Holidays TO OUR WILLZ!!

We watched one of my favorite movies, 25th Hour, in honor of Rosh Hashana.

We had a great turn-out for a break-fast after Yom Kippur, and an even bigger turn-out for the barbecue + sukkah build the next day -- despite the complete lack of RSVP's (It just goes to show, always be prepared)

After rushing home from synagogue we ate bagels and lox (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm lox) and cream cheezes with egg salad and tuna. And whitefish. Also, lots of juices. You might have thought everyone would be stuffing their faces too violently to be social, but it was actually one of best nights I've had in MHSS: superchill, like we do it best, and with a good mix of newbies and old friends.

The sukkah went up without a hitch. Possibly because we had a Texan girl and a rocket scientist to help with construction. We built it from complete scratch, using nothing but tarps, 2x4's, nails, and weeds from the backyard. Have a look at the pictures on the Moishe House photo site. And there were plenty of charred meats and grilled veggies to keep the folks happy. Our sukkah has been open this week to anyone who wants to use it - in fact, on Sunday evening a family of complete strangers stopped by because they'd heard we'd made it available!

I always wanted to be a construction worker.... Y M C A!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Back in the House!

After subletting this summer it's my first month back in the house. We did quite a lot this month including most of the logistics for getting a 3rd season of softball going and my 3rd annual Apples N Honey party - we've found a winning formula!

On a personal note I am about to celebrate a 3 year anniversary with my partner and have just begun a career as a professional musician. I've gotten into rock climbing a little and am building my thigh muscles up surely but slowly by choosing to commute by bike rather than by car 5 times out of 6.

And... I'm still Jewish : )

Happy New Year to all of you - have a great 5768!

- Isaac


This month, we held our first community board meeting. We brought together 18 of our strongest leaders to think about the big picture - where we are going, how we can grow sustainably, etc. It went so well that by the end of it I almost started weeping. Really. Here's why.

Thanks to Ben's amazing meeting facilitation skills, the meeting felt more like camp than like a meeting. We made art projects about our skills and interests, held breakout group brainstorming sessions about key questions, and just appreciated each other and people's ideas a lot.

At the end, Ben had folks go around and say what they were taking away from the meeting, or one thing they learned or appreciated. First our friend Evan said that he was just really excited to be part of such a special community at a point of so much growth. Then Mike said that he would be happier to donate $36 to Moishe House Boston to become a member (one of the ideas in the brainstorm) than any other expense he could think of. Then Jordan said that she realized during the meeting that never in her life had she been part of something that so wholly fit who she was. And it went on like that - one person after another talking about how excited and honored they were to be working to build and enhance our community.

Ben called on me last, by which point I was completely faklempt (translation: emotionally overwhelmed, at the point of tears). I just kept thinking about how two years ago I moved to Boston and into the house with few friends or partners in my work of building community. And now I am blessed with so many beautiful friends, a rich community, amazing housemates, and 18 of my favorite people as partners in crime to build this community. So it was tough to speak and hold back tears at the same time, but I managed to explain that I was just feeling moved and incredibly grateful that we have such special people working with us and enriching our lives. It kind of turned into a teary Moishe-love-fest after that.

Anyway, now that my emotions are under control, my sense of gratitude remains, and I continue to be excited by the possibility of involving more people in our leadership, growing our community, and working together to make a difference on critical social justice issues.

A New Year, a new city, a new house and old friends...

The Forrest Foundation and the Moishe House have let a dream become a reality. I am so happy to be able to share this experience with you. I look forward to a fresh start in a new city, with exciting challenges, and untold opportunities. After moving from place to place these last few years, I feel blessed to be able to settle in a new home, creating a community with people whom I love and respect. Elana, Karen, Ilana and Joe are more than friends- they are my extended family. Each of our individual styles and tastes enrich our home with stories of travels, and experiences that bring us together. An old family dining room table, pots, pans, table cloths, and chairs were donated from parents and grandparents, even great grandparents… each piece reveals an old story that we are just now learning. We learn more about ourselves and each other every day. We have big dreams as to what we want to do together with the support of the Forrest Foundation and the extended Moishe House community. We are proud to represent the Midwest, bridging the coasts. There appear to be endless opportunities and future partnerships and I am excited for this year together. I wish you all a sweet, peaceful and fulfilling new year. Chag Sameach.

Caren, MH Chicago

And another first...

So, like so many other's on this blog, this is also my first post. When I stop to think about what the past month has been like, the flood of the move, my new job, our new house, becoming a moishe house, our first events, and the craziness of the holidays just comes pouring through my mind....basically, a lot happened this month. The best thing though that I felt come out of this month was the massive list that was the product of our second event. The party was fun, and the Frisbee was invigorating, but the second event, where everyone helped us to create a massive list of things we want to do in our community was the thing that got me the most excited. This list holds such promise for the wonderful things that we are going to do, and the best thing is that as a moishe house - we won't just talk about the stuff we want to do - we get to have the privilege of having the support to make it all happen. I love action. Talking is good and necessary, but action is what I crave. It started off a bit crazy - and I can't wait for it to get more insane.
- Karen MH Chicago