Friday, November 30, 2007

hello from Joe in Chicago

november was a big month here is chicago. we had a lot of events, and a lot of different kind of events, including, of course, a visit from the wonderful summer shapiro (but this event is not on the calendar, as it was double twice top secret, and summer has all the pictures on her camera). we also had our first snow here in chicity, but that's not what i'm going to write about. instead this post is dedicated to everyone's favorite miracle diet... kashrut.

No, but seriously, this is an issue that came up during a meeting in our house this month and became a much larger issue than i think any of us anticipated. and it's tricky. none of us in the house are extremely kosher; some vegetarian, some don't eat pork or seafood, some totally unrestrained, but we also recognize that our house is also the center for the community we are building, and that, at minimum, during events we have to be respectful of our guests. At the same time, it is our house, we shouldn't be ashamed of the decisions we make or pretend to live a different life than we do. so the issue sort of comes down to the classic secular/pluralist debate. do we cater to the most observant person who enters our house (which, realistically we can't do--not with our dishes and pots at least), or is that one or two people forcing all the rest to change prepare and eat food in way we don't normally do, know how to do, or want to do. Obviously the answer is somewhere in between: make guest feel welcome without making our own lives so difficult we don't feel like hosting anymore. but then there is the question of where to draw the line. is serving a vegetarian option enough, or should we also make sure not to cook a dairy/veggie dish in the same oven as a meat dish, or just not serve the two together? and what about kosher meat? eventually we decided that for now we will just have vegetarian shabbats and leave the in between events as case-by-case. this is easy enough, and we don't even eat too much meat, but what if someone brings a meat dish to a potluck? i have no idea, maybe meat eaters just have to hide in my room and eat the whole thing under my bed.
This issue is interesting because it is relevant for the Jewish community at large. at one point it is likely that all jews were kosher, and had similar if not identical interpretations of what these meant. so then you could go to each other's houses, it was easy. no problem. now some people, some jews, they don't do that kashrut no more, and almost no two do it quite the same. so this is interesting because the decision is bigger than any family's own home, it is about how they are then going to be able to interact with their community. the opposite motivation acts on the K observant jew who has to decide whether or not to relax his/her rules in order to be a guest somewhere. i grew up not kosher in a town without a whole lot of jews, and much less kosher ones, so for me this is interesting. I'm sure this is old news to many...

also, did you know that wrought used to be the correct past particle for work (and "worked" didn't exist) and now it is only remembered because of wrought iron? i heard that scientist burying radioactivity with 50,000 year half-lives struggle with what to write on the container, becuase 50,000 years from now "danger" or "don't touch" etc probably won't mean everything because of the natural evolution of language. so they put a picture of spikes on it. if you had a box of spikes in your basement, would you open it? i probably would, but i guess if i had a box with some weird letters or symbols on it, i would probably open it sooner. just a thought.
good night and shabbat shalom.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

11-29-07 MoishePVD Jesse Stout

My favorite event this month was, Brady came to visit! I made a new friend :-) When Mr. Gill showed up in my doorway, I was mid-workday, cell glued to ear as usual. I hope my refusal to fully detach the phone from my head until 5 o'clock made Brady feel unimposing and welcome as opposed to jilted and ignored. I'm leaning the former because he was sufficiently comfortable to take a satisfying-looking nap on our ginormous couch. Then I put work away and sat down to greet my guest properly (mario kart 64). I learned that he had just come from a 70-person event in Boston. Damn, you guys have gotta cool it, you're making the rest of us look bad. By the time 100% of our guests had gathered for our event later in the evening, we had 7, not 70 (not including Brady... does that make 70??) After a scrumptious dinner, we settled down in a circle around the coffee table and warmed up with a couple of travel stories before the main event: tell us about the MoishMaster himself, Morris B. Squire. Brady had quite a few interesting stories about the life and times of the infamous Morris B., including several with good overlap in the travel category. Like that one time they left the cameraman behind while they went to a brothel (his word not mine). Or the time Brady tried to throw Morris a party in Mexico City but succeeded only in bribing some dominoes players in a park to be his friends.

Getting real with the Boston Jewish Federation

In Boston, the Federation is known as the CJP (Combined Jewish Philanthropies). Earlier this month, the CJP's Young Adult Task Force asked Margie and me to present at their young leadership conference. We did, it was cool, the folks dug us. Good to know that the mainstream Jewish community -- at least at the young adult level -- recognizes some of the rocking out we're doing at the Moishe/Kavod House.

But later in the month, we took on a bigger challenge: trying to convince Barry Shrage, head of the CJP and a major mover-and-shaker in not only Boston's Jewish community but the Federation movement nationally, to support our interfaith work with Boston's Muslim community. Not to go into the gritty details, suffice it to say that our interfaith work is in direct opposition to The David Project, a conservative Jewish group with a lot more power in town than us. The bottom line is that they think our friends in the Muslim American Society are preaching hate and preparing to kill us, while we think they're pretty nice folks worth having over for Shabbat.

So anyway, Joe and Margie and me, along with a bunch of other community members, met with Barry the other day. He was very nice, but definitely noncommittal about our request to get on board with our efforts publicly. Nonetheless, it says something about what we've built here at the house that he was willing to meet with us at all, and we definitely felt that the meeting was a success in that we are at the very least helping to build a political pole diametrically opposite from what The David Project is pushing. And Barry said he'd come to one of our interfaith events...although he definitely said that cautiously. Going forward we shall see what happens, I suppose, but regardless we're gonna keep pushing for dialogue and relationship-building rather than demonizing and fear!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

MH Silver Spring

Man, as usual, another month has flown by so fast I can hardly catch my breath. I think my favorite event this month was our collaboration with Gesher crafts to make beaded pals for hospitalized children. I'm a bead freak and after a stressful day at school, it was just really nice to come home to a quiet circle of beading. Very therapeutic I have to say. Beyond that, it will be interesting in the next few weeks juggling events and my last few weeks of school (gah graduation!) and all the work that entails. Best of luck to those in a similar situation as myself! That's all for now, be well.

Moishinspiration from Rae at MHP

I constantly find myself getting inspired with ideas for new Moishe events, and Thanksgiving was no exception. We had a small quite Thanksgiving this year, which left us with way more left overs than ever (for some reason we cooked for the usual 20-ish guests even though there were only going to be around 10 of us this year), and the opportunity to actually sit down and all talk to each other. Every year for the past five or so years a Cambodian family, friends of my mom, spend Thanksgiving with us. Since they're first visit I discovered the mother and daughter make rocking spring rolls, but at our bigger Thanksgiving meals, I hadn't really gotten to learn much more about them. I vaguely realized that the mother and father had both come to America as refugees, but I hadn't really taken the time to think about what that implied about the type of things they had experienced. This year though, after dinner as I wandered into the living room after finishing the dishes, I heard my mother's friend talk about what he had gone through under the Khymer Rouge. He talked about occasions in which there is no explanation for his not being killed. He told us about how devastating it was to hear that the Americans were not going to help the Cambodians, and to be turned away at the Thai border and sent back to the killing fields. I had read a book about life under the Khymer Rouge by a doctor who had escaped Cambodia and later starred in the movie "In the Killing Fields," so I was not unfamiliar with what had gone on, but it was so different to be in the presence of someone who had been through it. And that made me think, what if my mother's friend came to speak at MHP? We've all heard so much about the Holocaust, but many of us are unfamiliar with other genocides. How can we say "never again" when it has happened again, just not to us. So from Thanksgiving, came the seed of what I would like to be a series of "No More" lectures.

On a less somber note, a shout out: Thanks for visiting us Brady! We had a blast. Can't wait to see you and the rest of team Moishe USA in Jan!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Natasha of Moishe House Minsk

Привет, Друзья!
Вот и подошел к концу ноябрь – 2-ой месяц существования Moishe House в Минске.
Хотелось бы поделиться с Вами своими впечатлениями о проделанной «работе» с одной стороны и «прекрасным временем препровождения» с другой.
Самым, на мой взгляд, суперским событием в Доме Мойше был Rosh Chodesh Kislev (начало месяца Кислев). Собравшиеся за накрытым столом 8 прекрасных девушек очень замечательно провели время за женскими разговорчиками на разные темы. Нами были затронуты такие вопросы как: какой я вижу настоящую еврейскую женщину? Что бы я хотела изменить в себе, чтобы быть лучше. Все это происходило в очень уютной атмосфере при свечах.
Могу сказать, что было ЗДОРОВО не только от своего имени, но и от имени всех девушек, которые в будущем будут собираться на каждый Rosh Chodesh.
Кстати, следующее наше женское собрание в сауне ☺ Мы все ждем этого с большим нетерпением.
И в завершение, хочу, чтобы все порадовались за нас. Следующее мероприятие Дома Мойше – катание на коньках в Ледовом Дворце (Ice Skating at Ice Palace). Уже сейчас я знаю, что это будет очень весело и смешно, потому что практически все из нашей компании не умеют кататься на коньках ☺. Но, тем не менее, я думаю, у нас все получится!
Целую всех! ☺

Friday, November 23, 2007

Aliyah of Moishe House Minsk

Brr...It's Cold in Here! It must be Rosh Chodesh Kislev in the Atmosphere!

Well, friends, winter has definitely arrived here in Minsk. The cold hard truth (pun intended) really hit me when my wet bathing suit, inside my gym bag, froze (!!!) on the 10 minute walk home from the local pool.
Seriously. It's cold.

Our Street!

But what better way to combat the plummeting temperature than to celebrate the beginning of a new Jewish month so filled with warmth and light! On the evening of Sunday, November 11th, Moishe House Minsk celebrated its first women's Rosh Chodesh gathering*, in honor of Rosh Chodesh Kislev.

Eight of us sat together in our living room, ate dinner, discussed what it means to each of us to be a Jewish woman, learned about Rosh Chodesh and its meaning as a woman's holiday, and shared our hopes for personal character improvement in the coming month. Light being a key theme for the month of Kislev, we each lit small candles as we shared our thoughts. Though I feared that my friends might find this aspect of our activity just a tad kitschy, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it created an atmosphere of warmth and sharing.

It was so interesting to hear how my lovely lady friends here in Minsk interpret the role of the Jewish woman. One idea that seemed to resonate with nearly all women present was that it's difficult to think about a Jewish woman as a single person; her role seems to always depend upon others: her children, her partner, her parents, etc... We discussed the challenges of being a single, modern, Jewish woman and how complicated this identity truly is. I couldn't help but marvel at how paradigmatic our discussion was.

It was an informative and enjoyable evening of learning and sharing.
Warmth abound, for a short while I even forgot how cold it was outside!

HERE to read about starting your very own Rosh Chodesh group!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

ChillaJewropa/ Where is the world is Yaakov

Its been intense guys.

I have been in London, Vienna, and Jerusalem all in the past 10 days. I just got back to Vienna last night, My parents are coming to Vienna on Saturday, will stay a week, then I am off to France for a weekend, then back to Vienna, then to New York, then back to Vienna, then to London, then home to Tucson... all in the next month.

What is going down>? you may ask>?

I am organizing a crazy international Heebish throwdown festival/conference Shabbaton. The event has wings, and I am now being flown across the world by wealthy donors to structure and develop funding for the project. INTENSITY!!!

For all Ya'll digital grazing pleasures, here is the mission statement of ChillaJewropa.

DAJUS TORAH is excited to announce the first annual ChillaJewropa2008: Gathering the Tribes of Israel. This unique occasion promises to be the most extraordinary Jewish event of the year, as we literally intend to ‘gather’ thousands of young Jews from more than a dozen countries with the express purpose of facilitating dynamic interaction between fellow Jews. We intend on accomplishing this mission through crafting a creative, comfortable, and wholly conducive space for European Jews to celebrate, congregate, and holistically culminate their diverse Jewish backgrounds into a blissful and enlightening global Jewish experience. The event will manifest itself in three distinct forms: an interactive conference, a Shabbaton, and a music/arts/cultural festival. Festivities will include world-renowned Jewish reggae musician Matisyahu (among others), distinguished Jewish artists, world-class speakers, as well as a host of other entertaining and informative activities. It is our hope that through providing an insightful, empowering, and all out awesome Jewish experience, ChillaJewropa will serve as a catalyst in elevating the Jewish consciousness of our attendees. Additionally, we will seek to harmonize our actions with the global consensus on planetary responsibility though employing sustainable practices wherever possible, utilizing renewable energy, purchasing reusable/biodegradable dishware, and implementing ‘Zero-Waste’ principles in our production model. Far more than a one-time event, the ChillaJewropa experience is primarily a symbolic representation of a larger social transformation we wish to bring to world Jewry. ChillaJewropa will take place in an undetermined rural retreat/lodge setting within continental Europe in late June 2008.

Email me ( for more info, Ill send you the festival outline, and hopefully I can glean all your suggestions, questions, ideas, criticism, desert dwelling tortoises, and the rest.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ilana Schuman-Sto; MHCHI; Noviembre


Hai. Hello thanx for coming. This month has been crazy!!!!!! Summer came to visit that was dope. Caren went to Israel, and I went to Pennsylvania! I am so happy to have had such a great Thanksgiving. This year, I didn't really feel that this dinner was in any way deep or meaningful the way I think it is supposed to be, but I did really appreciate the time to hang out with people I don't see often and take some time outside of the midwest. All the events we've had so far in November have been really great. We had a really nice Shabbat where the group of people who came over brought delicious food and even helped to clean! We've been able to see art, eat, listen to music and attended an entirely interesting religious service in the city. Coming up we still have a chill night of poker and a volunteer experience to look forward to. I think we've really started to get the hang of planning our months out and coming up with new and interesting ideas and for that I am so happy. I can't wait to meet everyone from the other houses so that we can all talk about all the things that have worked and program ideas that are really fun and cool! yeew!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Silverbeans in the Holiest Land

There is a restaurant called Felefal Base on Rechov (Street) Yahanan Ben Zakai, in the Catamon neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

Never, ever, ever, eat there, unless you desire to enter another world - a world where you do not have the control you may be accustomed to over your bodily fucntions.

This world also comes with cut-price delirium, hot and cold flushes and a temperature of 110 degrees.

On the up-side, whilst languishing in my hospital bed and being told all kinds of rubbish by my various tormentors (who were cunningly disguised as medical professionals), I conversed with various heavenly entities who channeled their divine light into my weakened body.

The upshot of these inter-dimensional communications was that I awakened from my feverous wrestlings on Saturday morning with a gentle certainty that I should set a date for my transition to the Holy Land.

So, I did - and it's not for at least 18 months, but it feels great to have a framework for all my other decisions...

In the mean time, I arrived back home on Tuesday night to the warmest Moishe-welcome in London history, and was have since enjoyed a a couple of lovely gatherings in the homestead.

And tonight, we're gonna go party as a house-crew for the 1st time.

Rock, rock on.

What's cookin' good lookin?

Im not gonna lie, I helped with the blog below, so Im kinda short for words right now. But, here’s a helpful recipe for your next moishe house dinner. Easy to make and feeds plenty. Ingredients should be found at an open air market with fresh veggies and recently deceased chickens.
Red Curry Classic

First you go to the chicken guy in between meat street and the Shuk Ha Carmel. Tell him you want enough chicken for as many people as you anticipate coming to dinner. Also tell him you want the fat trimmed off and it chopped into cubes. This should be of no extra charge.

Say Todah and take your bag of chicken over to the veggies guy. Your gonna want 1 big eggplant, 2 red bell peppers, two yellow onions, one spicy pepper, some small white-cap mushrooms, and some lemmon-grass if he has it. Wait for the clerk to stop arguing with the guy in front of you, and proceed to pay. This shouldn’t cost you more than 7 shekels.

Now you head over to the dairy guy who also sells hummus. Hummus has nothing to do with this meal, but is always delcious and reliable, and always seems to make its way in somewhere.

Directly to the left of the dairy guy there should be a cart selling the most important ingredients of the meal: Ask for one can of red curry paste, and 2 cans of potent coconut milk….on second thought make that extra potent coconut milk.

Finally head to the baker and ask for some lafa, (a big flat and floppy Indian style bread)

Head home, throw everything in a pot. And you got yourself some some good ol’ Red Curry Classic. Bete avon!
-Tamir Moishe house Tel Aviv.

Shalom le kulam

Welcome to the moishe house tel aviv blog. For those of you who missed the foundation flash, you might not know about our little operation out here. Our Moishe house serves primarily to house/feed/hang out with lone soldiers, or people serving in the Israeli Army with no family in Israel. We converted our bomb shelter into a comfortable space that sleeps up to 3, we keep food in the fridge and fresh sheets and towels around for these guys when they get out of the army on weekends. Basically, we cater more to the M-16 holding crowd, and are looking in to purchasing a nice gun rack for the bomb shelter/lone soldier room. But its not all guns and bombs out here in the holy land. Our house is more about hummus and hookah and giving these guys some time unwind and hang out in one of the most crackin’ cities in the world: Tel Aviv.
While the usual event here consists of Shabbat dinners and casual slumber parties, we are planning a Lone Soldier thanksgiving, consisting of a football game in the park(ing lot), or the “Turkey Bowl” as we are starting to call it here, and hopefully some Pilgrim, costumes and a turkey outfit. Because most soldiers wont be able to get here until Friday, we are going to fuse Shabbat dinner with Thanksgiving and have the first ever “Shabbiving”
On another note if the lone soldier who “borrowed” my running shoes and didn’t return them is reading this blog, please feel free to drop the shoes off any time.

PS check out our videos, we got a good one about a British lone soldier shaving his head before returning to England.
-signing out, Dave from Moishe House Tel Aviv

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Zvi Bellin Silver Spring WhooHoo!

Hey Moishnik Fans!

This is getting really excited with houses sprouting up across this globe. Our house is coming together. We are getting into a groove of keeping things organized and in order. The events are flowing and we are learning what works and what does not work. Always room to grow and growing we are.

Personally... I am moving through this Yoga training, and loving every twits and bend. School is still kicking my butt, and my internship counseling is getting more busy. Silver Spring is getting chilly and darker! Oh I am ready for the Light of Hannukah!

Peace you all!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hope Buddies & Mormons [MHSS]

London: Just read a couple of your blogs & the newspaper article about you guys -- fantastic! Welcome to the Moishe House crowd!

Just had my first true phanfare / Mintranet experience -- how thrilling! I am now one of the Mintranet elite, I suppose.

November has been good to us so far, though I continue to wonder how we can grow & have yet to produce a viable solution.

. . .

Making Hope Buddies was fun, and was possibly the most intellectual camp craft experience ever: Discussions about literature, strategy games, & other subculturous hobbies introduced me to worlds of creative cerebral pursuits I had never known to exist.

Word of the day: ___-punk
(Clearly, I don't remember it all that well. I had never heard of this apparently well-known term used to denote all things neo-Victorian / Victorian in the Computer Age. I hadn't known there *were* things of this kind that necessitated a term to bind & unite them into one category. It seeems the intricate antique typewriter case mod is included in this department. You never know what you are going to learn.....)

Our Interfaith event with Mormons was excellent, I think! We got to explain a lot about who & what we are. I love situations in which I can help shed light on what Judaism is and what it means to be Jewish / a Jew -- if only from one perspective [my own], however limited. (I always make a point to let people know that there is WAY more content out there & that they should look for other reputable sources of information besides / in addition to myself.) I also learned about a few aspects of Mormonism that I just had no clue about previously. Building bridges & creating common places of understanding, searching for similarities & appreciating & learning from differences is so important to the happy survival of individuals & nations & this world, I think. I look forward to another meeting in which we can explore more in-depth and possibly tackle some of the more touchy subjects pertaining to our faiths.

Our most persistent challenge is establishing & maintaining a solid, strong, committed community -- that is, people who not only say they're going to attend an event (though we could use more of those as well), but actually show up. Zvi & I have brainstormed a bit on this one. We're all at a loss. Any ideas???

Looking forward to the rest of the November events, & to what we have in store for December. Especially looking fwd to those of our events in conjunction w/ other groups -- most especially our next Interfaith nights.

Happy Moishe-ing!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Three Lefts Don't Make a Right

For the past few weeks I have been meeting with other members of the Boston Moishe House Community at the Workman's Circle for a class on the history of the Jewish Left. It has been truly inspirational to learn about organized Jewish movements for social change in Europe and the Middle East, while spending quality time with Jewish activists and organizers in the Boston area. Taking this class has remined me of the incredible power of our history, and forces me to ask, where are we going now?

I hear lots of people talk about tikkun olam, but then I look at what the Jewish community is doing and I wonder, are we really making a difference? So, I put it out to you moishenicks, how can we build a movement for social change?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Noam Reisner MHSS 11.06

October was a very eventful month, as I write this it's actually hard to remember when exactly everything happened, it's all such a blur. Movie night was fun, as usual, and it also followed the oscillating trend, with 7 people showing up. That means next time the turnout won't be so high, but there is always the possibility of breaking the pattern. We tried our first Moishe House outing to the Maryland Rennaissance festival, and unfortunately  the  turnout didn't quite happen the way we expected, but Margo and I went anyway and had a good time. It was about as perfect a day as you could hope for in  October . Our Shabbat dinners were a big success, as per usual, and Shabloween was a bunch of fun. I'm looking forward to November, Thanksgiving is always a day to look forward to. The Moishe House is running smoothly with all of our regularly scheduled programs humming along and our one-time events keeping things exciting. Between school, work, and Moishe House, life is keeping me busy, but busy can be good. That's all for this month.

               --Noam Reisner

S to the outh African Moushe house Blog (Captain's log #326)

Hey guys,

So this last month has been a real kicker. We've been busy like crazy donw here in our little slice of Moishe house pie.

We've now officially moved in and gotten into a healthy swing of things- Yes, the shopping schedules are up, the house dinners are being cooked and the vibrant centre of CT (our house) is thriving. is back on track.

I'd like to Focus My blog on one event we ran recently that really stuck out for me as being something soooo positive Moishe house is doing. One of our friends has been organising weekly visits into the townships (squatter camps) and underpriveledged areas. The housemates have been main supporters of these visits and we've pretty much been essential to it's development.

So back to the event right? right. We invited 30 something of the kids to come to our house for a ceremonial end of year party! we had a Braai (BBQ) and the kids loved it. We swam, ate nice food and spoke a little about the past year and what we've achieved.

That's it from me hombres.

Moishe House South Africa - Summer time and the Living aint easy

The sweat drips from my brow as I whipe this e-mail, I feel like a slave being wipped to do the daily grime that I neither care for nor enjoy - yes I am talking about exams. For those of you whod not know we have exams here in November as our academic year is from Feb-Nov. I have 1 exam left before I graduate then Im off to Israel for a Jew conference - will be very cool.
Other than that our new house is amazing, swimming poool, you name it! keeping it clean is the talk of the house but we will do day. People have been coming over to relax and recline - my favourite new house guest being this guy who places stand up double bass at university and he played here the yesterday, was so soothing and soft (while I was studying Maths), was amazing.
Decmeber we have some very cool stuff planned. A reform (*gasp*) Zionist movement is coming to run some activities with us in December at the House and should be really cool, as for some December time our house will be empty due to camping obligations (ahhhhhh)

Otherwise....what can I say.Mbeki has recently confirmed that he still is an AIDS denialists and only went hush hush because of cabinet and political pressure.

wish everyone well from the other moishe houses.




Wednesday was my first Halloween in West Hollywood. It was nuts. The LA Moishe House is in prime location for a Halloween party. The parade marches right by our house, through WeHo, and ends at a stage that hosted costume contests and a special performance by Mini Kiss! The sights seen walking around were incredible. People went all out in their costumes. Our party saw at least 80 people through the door. It got to the point where we couldn't even count. I put together a Roger Rabbit costume. I had found a pair of red overalls at a thrift store and it was perfect. They seemed like they'd fit. Who tries on anything other than sunglasses at a thrift store? About 15 minutes before party time I slipped them on only to find that they were too small. Lee helped me stretch it on. We got the zipper to close. But I felt like a girl at a wedding. I had no room to breathe and was incredibly and uncomfortably squeezed in all the wrong places. Better yet, what would the chances be of finding another pair of red overalls at a thrift store? I had to make do. So I took some scissors and cut a slit in the crotch and one along each side. I ended up looking like a disheveled, past-his-prime Roger Rabbit who hasn't had a hit movie in 19 years. Nevertheless, it was a great night.

One dude showed up as Iceman from Top Gun, only to find that 3 dudes he didn't know were Mavrick, Goose and Hollywood.
Bruce and Cory as Kermit and Miss Piggy.
John Poulos was the most believable Charlie Chaplin I've ever seen.
Dave Eagle as the Grim Reaper character from Guitar Hero II. He even made the scythe guitar.
Baby Cael as Babe Ruth.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Silver Spring Maryland & Shabblooween

I've done a lot of travelling in the past month. For various reasons I've been away from MHSS for a number of weekends up in New York and Baltimore. So unfortunately I was out of town the Sunday that we went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, which you can hear about from other SS Moisheketeers.

I'm gonna talk about Shabblooween. How outrageous! Shabbat dinner with costumes, the friday night after Halloween! I'm sorry you all couldn't be there, because we don't have photographs during Holy-Sabbath-time, but there was Heidi the alpine girl, a fancy woman from India, an Israeli EMT, a man with a shrunken head, and more, all sharing food and song in our Moishetastic living room. We got to know some of the good kids from the local AVODAH (Jewish service corps) group, and we even successfully pulled off the first meaty Shabbat dinner at MHSS (with pot roast and delicious brisket) -- while still stuffing the vegetarians with non-murderlicious delicacies like Tomato-pesto Pastry rolls!

And the best part? I was dressed as Tom Cruise from that famous scene in "Risky Business", sliding across the floor in front of a dinner crowd of 20 (including 10 newbies) -- pantsless.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Moishe house la, Lee Levin. Nov. 4th

What up peeps. Last month was off the hizzy. We ended Oct with a huge gala and started Nov. off with that same power. It's Jew time over here at the LA Moishe house as we plan to add an increasing number of Jewish events. So get your Kepot out and your vocal chords ready. This moth is going to be awesome.

MHLA, Dave Eagle, 11/04/07


So a few nights ago we had a bash here at the L.A. Moishe House that just blew up......Halloween!!! I know its the not the most Jewish of holidays but we had to throw a party considering West Hollywood is the craziest place to enjoy Halloween in Southern California. We were expecting having some friends over and of course friends of friends, but we didn't realize what kind of chain that can form. Some of the best costumes of the night were a group of guys who just happened to all dress like Top Gun characters, a Myspace profile, and Kermit/MissPiggy. Our pictures are up on Phanfare so please have a gander.

On another note, myself and some of our regulars are noticing how little conversational Hebrew we can speak. So in an attempt to change this we are planning on hosting some Hebrew classes in our house with a group. We are planning a 2-3 times a month sort of class. I know the D.C. house had classes in their house before so I hope we can pull of the same success that they had. BTW it's great to see so many new houses popping up all over....including the London House. If I am in town I am definitely crashing with you guys!!!!!!

Have a great month to all!!!

A typical day in london moishe house

Everyone rises 'early in the morning for a full english breakfast of eggs and (soya based) bacon prepared by the maid whose salary is paid out of the monthly budget. A series of english gentlemen of the mosaic persuasion arrive in a horse and carriage for shacharit and toast, our most popular event. They are briefly interrupted by the arrival of a small boy who has come to sweep the chimbley. 'Hebrew masters!' says he, 'can I earn an extra bob or two by turning on the lights for you on the shabbath'? Or perhaps you coud pay me with your delicious shabbath bread!' He is employed as part of the goy team on the spot. There is an unfortunate clash mid morning between the Mission society and Jews for Christians who used to be Jews, but they sort it out amicably. Chief Rabbi Adler arrives in the afternoon for tea and spotted dick, and discusses events in the commonwealth, in which the moishe house residents have certain trade interests. The evening sees a meeting by the ladies who promote 'votes for women'. A rabbi is present behind a mehitzah to make sure decency is practiced, and to begin the evening with he singing of 'eshes chayil'. Just as we are retiring to our chambers a leperous street urchin knocks at the door, calling 'alms for the poor, alms for the poor!' You've come to the right place, say we, this is a house of the Hebrews! Tzdekah is practiced here!' He goes away dirty but happy. It has been another great day.


I think I am now officially a blogger (sounds rude that)

Gideon - checking into the Moishe House blog for the first time.

Well, here I am sitting in the small, quaint dining room of Moishe London, wondering quite how this all came about and how we have actually made this all a reality.

The truth is we got here through five people with a desire to create an alternative Jewish space then developing a collective vision and showing the comimttment to see it through. It was hard work but it was such a fundamental expression of what we are that it didnt feel like it. Obviously, it could not have been done without the vision and support of Moishe and his team.

Already a month into our project, it feels like we are really up and running. There is a real buzz amongst youngish Anglo-Jewry about what we are doing, we have already organised a range of events and had about 300 people through our door. We have a housekeeping rota and the spaces in the house are full of life. Lets hope this is the start of something really great, it certainly feels like it is.

Anyway until next time, when I hope to report on some great upcoming events in Moishe House London. Gideon over and out!

Autumnal Ponderings

Click on the picture to read the blog
(unless you are an ant with marvellous eyesight)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Preaching the gospel at PLP...

This past weekend I was in Santa Monica with the Professional Leaders Project, a pretty cool leadership development project for young Jews who are active in the community either as professional or lay leaders.

Met a ton of cool folks there, but part of what made the time so fulfilling was the number of people who came up to me to ask about Moishe House. Folks from all around the country -- hell, all around the world -- have heard about this project and what we're doing, and they want in on the action. Let me just highlight two conversations that felt really exciting...

1) I spoke at length with a girl from Sydney, Australia, who had heard about the growth of the Moishe House network internationally and was stoked to try to get a house going down under. She had the beginnings of a really vibrant community already going, but thought that connecting to our broader network could really strengthen her work and make her own Jewish community feel like they were part of something bigger. As I said to Cygielman at the end of the weekend, pretty soon we'll all be able to travel the world and stay in Moishe Houses wherever we go!

2) Also, I met one of the leaders of Hazon, an organization working "to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community -- as a step towards a healthier and more sustainable world for all." We discussed the possibility of hooking all of the Moishe Houses up with CSAs (to learn more about community supported agriculture, check out this site: The idea of making sure our programming supports local farmers and helps build the movement for environmental sustainability is very cool, and I'm psyched to try and make it happen.

Anyhow, I guess all I'm saying is that I'm feeling good about what we're doing. So let's keep on, brothers and sisters!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Moishe House London - Joel - October

Wow, we opened. We arrived. When October began the five of us - Rachel, Daniel, Gideon, Joseph and I - were still entangled in the business of house hunting and estate agents, trying to seal the deal on this great big mock-tudor house of ours. But by Simchat Torah, end of the first week of the month, we were in and marveling at the high ceilings and seemingly endless garden.

We started with the 'soft-launch'. A few friends over the first couple nights, a couple low key Jewish theatre group rehearsals for a piece I'm directing for Limmud Conference in December... We've been looking and talking about this long enough for a general wave of excitement to have built up over the weeks (see coverage in the Jewish Chronicle for just what this project means in the context of the British Jewish community) so it was if people already knew and were waiting with baited breath.

And was it worth the wait! Undeniably, this first month was all about our opening party on Oct 20th. Over 200 people came to celebrate on the night. We even made national radio, BBC Radio 1 - our next door neighbour is one of their most popular DJs and spent an entire 5 minutes speaking about "the wild party they threw next door" with live sax, piano and hip hop! (She has since gone on to speak on air about Joseph's piano-playing - it's a blessing he's "actually very good" she said.)

Since then we had artists and other community members round to talk about future projects and possibilities, in an evening that ended in a big game of Torah charades. My impression of the Goat for Azazel went down particularly well.

What else? A lot of hugs. Dan reading out Jill Hammer's Jewish Book of Days each night in what's become a bit of a before-bed ritual. Lots of exciting prospects and projects in the offing. It's been new beginnings all round, as I started my new MA in Applied Drama at Goldsmiths College. So it's been Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in school, running around and playing games like a loon, and then Thursdays, Fridays and Weekends back at the house, running around and playing games like a loon. Talking of loons, I dressed up as Teen Wolf for Halloween - definitely one of my finest costume creations.

October- Rae MHP

Ok ok, it's actually November, but only two days in, and barely cold enough to count as really being that late into Autumn, so maybe we can just overlook the day on the calendar and think about what month it is in our hearts. As for me, in my heart it's October, the month for which I am posting my slightly belated blog.

October was a good month at MHP. It would be tough to call out the single most amazing part of the month, but I can pick out some highlights. Here's my top five list:

5. Heart to heart with the Moishettes

4. Not getting attacked by a bear, unlike a boyscout at the same campsite as us on our first day of camping,

3. Mustaches. Particular shout outs to my girls, Ad, Ryan, Ms. Snedden, Celeste, Rachel of the hemp mustache, and Charlie Chaplin

2. Seeing how happy Bring your Bubbe to Brunch made the grandmas and grandpa of local Moisheniks


Thursday, November 1, 2007

1st Month of Moishe

A lot of big things went down this month. First of all, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Josh Goldstein and I am the newest member of the East Bay Moishe house. This month we had book club, pumpkin carving, and, amongst other events, an amazing shabbat dinner. The house was filled with familiar faces as well as new ones, people just kept coming in, even my parents came out and joined us; it was really a special evening.

This month I was working for an event production company that was putting on the Nike Women's Marathon. It was a big job and a lot of fun. On my first day I saddled up a forklift for the first time, about midway through the month I was driving a 20 foot box truck around downtown San Francisco, then come race day I worked more than 30 hours straight. After it was all said and done, the production team I was on had had enough, but were super stoked on how smooth everything went. Sure, we were maxed out, but when the first runners went through the starting gate and the marathon began, we were very proud.

Now the biggest, life changing, thing to go down this month was I started culinary school at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Two words describe the first month, hard and delicious. The program moves along at an extremely fast pace, already I have completed two courses (no pun intended). But it is awesome!!!! For instance, today I made a lamb stew with polenta and a veal stew served in a pastry shell (sorry to make yall hungry).

What a month, probably one of the most productive months I have ever had. I look forward to the coming months in my new home and the active lifestyle that Moishe brings. Things calm down a little this month with no more marathon work, however, basketball season rolls in and Coach Frisco pulls out his whistle.

-Josh "Frisco" Goldstein, just happy to be here...

Moishe PVD - Jesse Stout - October 2007

Yknow the Numa Numa song? If not you can google or youtube it. "Numa numa yay, numa numa yay, numa numa numa numa yay." When I think of Moishe House PVD, this song plays in my head, but with different lyrics.
"Moishe Moishe House, Moishe Moishe House, Moishe Moishe Moishe House."
Yeah. You know what I'm talking about. Just like that.

Okaaaaaaay switching tracks.

This month I did a spontaneous Apples2Apples playing event but Nathaniel missed it. And Nathaniel executed a well-planned Shabbatluck (Shabbat potluck dinner) event that I missed. I had a good excuse though, I had been invited to give a speech at a conference in LA that Friday. Here is a picture proving my excuse:

Our event we co-hosted (thus our best event) was an Indian food dinner. We were aiming small and invited a half-dozen friends, which kept the total attendee count below a dozen, which was good, given that we're on the same monthly Moishe House expense budget as all yall. Also a smaller dinner is cozier. The event was initially contrived as a demonstration dinner, where one chef friend who actually knows what he's doing would show us all how to make Indian food and we'd eat it together, but this meshed into a very collaborative project.

Once everyone arrived, there were a lot of jokes about how and whether cooking Indian food has any relation to Judaism. Ultimately, I think we were successful in showing everyone that you can have a happy community event, including an event for a community of young Jewish adults, centered around food borrowed from any ethnic group :-) It's not what you eat, but with whom you eat it... Results here:

MH Chicago, Elana, 11/1/07

New transitions...

Being in a new city and working within the community has been extremely exciting for me these past two months. I feel like every day a new adventure awaits, of course, this also depends on how you define "adventure". With so many faces, so many people running somewhere, it's easy to feel like one of the masses, another somebody. Not to mention that when you move to a new place, even if it is not completely unfamiliar, there are so many new things to become adjusted to. Do my allegiances shift to these new sports teams? Should I explore these new chains of grocery stores or stick with the familiar? What about these drivers, I mean, Chicago is a city ruled by cars, and as a native Wisconsinite we have never been fans of Illinois citizens behind the wheel - and now, having officially crossed over the border, I'm surrounded by them!

But, alas, with all change comes transitions - some enjoyable and exciting, others not so much. I must say though, having a consistent community of familiar faces and friends and the freedom to explore this strange new land with others has made this transition into something that I enjoy every day and appreciate. I have started a new chapter in my life and I have the privilege of having a special community to share it with.

Oh... and I am definitely still a Packers fan.


Natasha of Moishe House Minsk

Меня зовут Наташа. Наконец-то проект Дом Мойше открылся и в Минске.
Два первых мероприятия прошли на УРА. Очень большое количество людей, желающих посещать Дом Мойше и участвовать во всех мероприятиях, и это радует. Я очень счастлива. Надеюсь, что в будущем будет еще круче и лучше ☺
А еще, у меня очень классная roommate Aliyichka ☺

Moishe House Seattle, Joel Rothschild, 11/1/07

Third Place

This October could be grist for a whole private Wikipedia of joy and sorrow. My nephew was born. My Honda (and my leg) collided with a much larger Honda. I was reunited after many years with my beloved record collection. I first had to shlep said record collection from my former housemates' basement. (Why couldn't I have just collected stamps?) I had the truly weird experience of discovering that half of my dinner guests somehow happened, like me, to be conservatory-trained oboists. And, of course, I enjoyed my first nights, meals, guests, and dishwashing in the Ravenna Kibbutz Commons, our new Seattle Moishe House.

What I want to tell, though, is a humbler story -- of how Tamar and I went to a pub and carved a pumpkin.

My girlfriend Tamar and I were hanging out with our co-kibbutz/Moishehouse-nik Masha and a friend Marina who had just dropped by to visit. It was Saturday night after our first Shabbat afternoon with only housemates and no guests, so we were all feeling ready for the city to entertain us. Masha, naturally, went tango dancing. Tamar and I meanwhile decided that it was time, after a month in this new place, to see what goes down in our neighborhood on a Saturday night.

It turns out we are perfectly situated to host pub crawls, with a string of four pubs over five blocks beginning mere steps from our door. We began our little pub crawl of two at the farthest stop. The Pub at Third Place is nestled beneath a landmark Seattle bookstore called Third Place Books. The door is massive, resembling a slab of some redwood's trunk, yet manages to purvey a sense of hiddenness, secrecy, as though we would be asked the password from narrowed eyed behind a veil of smoke. (Of course, all Seattle bars are non-smoking by law, but who could say, maybe they had some hot disco and a smoke machine in there...)

It was a handwritten sign on this door that caught our attention:

"Pub-kin Carving! $7 for a pint and a pumpkin!"

So it was that Tamar and I spent motzey Shabbat drinking brew while handling sharp knives.

When we were satisfied with our creation and got up to leave, the barmaid said, "you can't go now, we're about to judge the pumpkin contest!" We hadn't noticed there was a contest. We also hadn't noticed that we'd been joined in the pub by our new neighbor Jacob, who recently arrived in Seattle to spearhead the post-college Jewish community programming at Jconnect, Jacob's fiancee Julie, and Will, the director of University of Washington Hillel. We had just made it through the hellos when I nudged Jacob, pointing "Jew alert," as another neighbor Kira walked in with a couple of her friends.

For the second time in as many months, I found myself sitting around with a bunch of Jews, awaiting judgment. This time it was a lot of fun, though, and herein lies the moral of the story -- I know you were all waiting for a moral to this story -- not that Yom Kipur services need more beer and pumpkins, but that it's kind of awesome to have good neighbors and good places where you can run into them.

In fact, the name of this bookstore-cafe-pub compound, Third Place, is taken from a term in social geography and urban planning. The "third place" is a place where you habitually spend time, that isn't your home or your work. It's the place where you go when you wouldn't mind meeting someone by chance. It's the "home away from home."

Sociologists spend a lot of ink these days on the disappearance of the third place. Between our cars and the Web, we really don't need to spend much time anyplace unless there's a very specific purpose. The freedom is great, but I for one like having random encounters with people every now and then, to shake me out of my set patterns and remind me that there's a world out there. Now I can have random encounters with people at a club or a party -- but in a great sea of strangers, no, that's a bit too random, sometimes overwhelming. (And I'm one of those snobs who goes to clubs for the music, anyhow.)

This is why I'm so dedicated to my coffeeshop. I'm a regular and I know the other regulars. It's small and slow-paced and comfortable. I can read the newspaper or check my email or joke with the baristas. And there's no set rhyme or reason to who I'll meet there, because in Seattle coffee is considered a universal human need.

For years I've been looking for the Jewish coffeeshop. (Yes, Aroma counts but it is too far from my house.) There is more to my life than Jewishness, but I get a special kick out of the company of Jews. The problem is that every place where I can go to find them has an audience-specific agenda: The young-adult mixers are a dating scene, the cultural programs are focused on a speaker or performer, synagogue is for people who like religion or want their children to like it, Jewish Voice for Peace meetings are for the people who can't stand the people at the pro-Israel rallies, and pro-Israel rallies are for the people who can't stand the people in JVP.

Seattle is a genteel (not to say gentile, exactly) place, and it's part of that Wild American West. People don't drop by uninvited. We have too much respect for each other's personal space. But I do hope we can make this house that is our new home into that "home away from home," a third place, for enough of our neighbors and friends that I will grow to take it for granted that whenever I follow a whim to to carve a pumpkin, some folks will happen by to see it -- and not because it was scheduled in their Blackberrys, but just because they were in the neighborhood.