Monday, April 23, 2007

Spectacular View

Never in my life have I seen any natural phenomenon quite like the massive rushing water at Iguazu. When we arrived we were welcomed by swarms of the most breathtaking butterflies ever and an amazing aroma of freshness. I sound like a tide commercial. So we hiked, and took a little speed boat right next to the falls and got SOAKED. It was really spectacular.
As I am such a friendly guy, I even started chatting up some Israeli folks and some Mexican folks and right away we had formed a group of enthusiastic Jewish travelers from all around the world. I think the most amazing thing was the rainbows that literally followed us where ever we went. I was tempted to plunge into the water to search for the pot of gold but I then realized that the thousands and thousands of tons of water rushing from enormous cliffs would making diving into the river a BAAAAAD idea.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Moishe and Me

This one goes out to all my DC homies. Especially C $, who warms my heart with his DC nostalgia. As a semi-proud LA born Cali kid. I must second C money with his wise and weathered comments. LA surely has DC weather beat. I even hear its snowing in DC, and all I brought to LA (where I am now) is a sweater...I foresee a cold trek back from the metro to MHDC. I too miss MHDC. It is home, and oddly, I find that it is frequently the topic of my conversations. And yes, I showed my grandparents the video. I am looking forward to the next month of spring (stop snowing) and Moishe Events. Moishe has become a collective personality in our house...a virtual extra roommate if you will. Well, of all DC, I miss Moishe. Here is one for you. I can't wait to see you again. I almost forgot. Don't tell my girlfriend about us.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Where did Passover Go?

This is how you know Moishe House has taken on a life of its its own: each member of the house gets about a dozen inquiries as to whether or not the house is having a seder. It's as if we are so connected into the Jewish beat of the city that people assume all of their Jewish needs can be filled by us. Unofrtunately, sometimes during a seasonal adjustment in Jewish need, certain members of the house are craving California sun or missing their families or celebrating their grandfather's 80th birthday in New York. Turning so many people down was tough--we wished we could have had a seder--but it did make us feel Moishe House's success very deeply.

Gotta Run!

Adam in DC

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Since leaving Los Angeles many years ago I've since romanticized it. This week I returned home for a break from DC, to visit the family and to celebrate Passover. LA was mostly how I remembered it - sunshine and smiles - but I found while I was in my self imposed exile that I missed Moishe House DC. I constantly checked the house email to see who was coming to Shabbat. I missed it - the house, the friends, whatever. We have something very special here, something we have built with our own hands - I look forward to the coming month.

P.S. LA has DC beat on weather and women though. And food too.

much love

Abu Musa aka C$

To Monsey and back

I went home to my very religious town - Monsey, NY. My family and I had two seders, both of which we were invited out. The first night we went until about 2:30am and the second night I wasn't in bed until about 4am. But despite the environment it was nice to see the family. Mandella once remarked that there is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways that you yourself have altered.

As of now it looks like Cornell or Michigan are going to be my top options. Unless I hear back with good scholarship offers from other schools. I'm sad that I'm going to be leaving Moishe house in August but I'm so glad to have the experience that I have had and I am committed to Moishe vision. I hope that once I'm doing with law school to continue with Moishe house in some way upon my return to the NY area. - J. Rothstein (Hoboken)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

unemployment = liberation

In this season of celebrating our liberation, I quit my job! Yay! I highly recommend it. Especially while you live in a Moishe House. Thank you Moishe for supplying me the means and enabling me to liberate myself. I have been off for a month during which I went on a week long road trip, picked up guitar, started a chevrutah learning, helped plan and lead a seder, been swimming and biking, getting loads of sleep, and calling my friends and family more often. Ahhhhhhhh.

The only thing close to this feeling of liberation can be found while pool side at a hotel in Pheonix called the Pheonician. I highyl recommend it. Don't stay there, just show up one day in your bathing suit and head to the pool. Any day will do, since it is always hot as b*lls in Phoenix.

If Moishe were the 5th child at my seder, he would probably ask when we could finish the freagin' seder and get to the yum-yum.

Peace out, you free, beautiful Jews!

Non-Potential Fifth Sons

Somtimes in life it helps to answer a question by process of elimination. Since Levi raised a very interesting question (what the nature of a fifth son / child in the passover seder would be), I would like to try and apply this unique rhetorical tool to see if we can't narrow down the field just a bit.

Some hypothetical characters who are NOT likely to be drafted as the fifth son anytime soon:

the sneezy son
the gassy son
the chubby son
the identical twin son to one of the other kids
Jonathan Landesman (just kidding - we love you, Jon!)
the Italian son
the left-handed son
the kleptomaniacal son
the maniacal son
the setting sun
the betting son
the bed-wetting son
Son Yat Sen
Susan Saran-son
the very punctual son
the 1st born Egyptian son
the 4th son voted twice
the son who is simple, wicked, wise, and foolish all at once

Well, in conclusion, there's only one answer to this quandry. The fifth son is Moses. Why? Because Moses is awesome.

Greetings Earthlings

March has been a whirlwind at East Bay Moishe house. Sadly at the end of this month one Brady Gill eft our lives which inspired me to reflect on all the good times we had together. There are of course the sweet memories of first moving in, nothing in the house, pillow fights and late nights was great. We were creating the jewish community of our dreams under our very own Moishe roof. Of course there are the sweet memories of Brazillian night together when we developed a new level of trust and someone got their chest waxed and then cried like a little first born son. Awww those were the good times. We would eat prunes and sit on the toilet, play dueces while soaking in the tube (I still contest that the record belongs to me as seen by my evidence, i.e. collection of score cards that was kept in recliner city).

Then of course there was our little man, Corbin Dallas Multi Pass. All the trips to the park to play frisbee and a combination of some form of "tag" where Corbin was always it. Our friends in the park, those in front of my church, and many more to remember. And how could we for get "the catch 2006"...the answer is we can't, it was just too incredible. Brady thank you for all the wonderful memories and of course for the night of Novemeber 23, 2006, you are a man amongst hobbits eating soup with their toes, and for that I love you.

Now begins a new era in Moishe house which orginially started with Doug, Danny, Emma, and Brady, yet today only Doug remains with Dennysyisys, Aaron, and soon to be joined by Ashley.

As Bob would say, "or you will sink like a stone, oh the times they are a changing."

One World, One Love, Peace on Earth

Life on the run

Sometimes you just keep moving because you have to. Sometimes it is because you want to. Other times it is because you just don't know what else you would do.

Spring in SF has been beautiful. The drought-like conditions have made for more sunny days than last year and for great outdoor fun. Since the end of February I have been camping five out of six weekends on a combination of "work related" and "just for fun" trips. I can't complain about that. It has been great.

Today I pack my backpack again to travel to Guatemala for 11 days. I have wanted to return to Guatemala ever since I left over two years ago. In fact just this weekend an anklet I got in Todos Santos broke. I guess the timing was almost perfect. I will have to replace it with something from this trip to remind me of the amazing country and all my friends.

It seems like travel is always on the horizon. Before I leave tonight I will be making plans for my summer trip to Israel with the Schusterman Foundation. As one of 15 Charlie Award winners I will be attending a conference in Israel for one week in July, but I hope to spend the whole month there. If you are going to ROI 120 or just have plans to be in Israel let me know.

I think that is all for now. I'll keep you posted.

March Madness - FOR REAL!

I think we might have used this name for an event 5 times in 5 different contexts for the month of March. Linking it to the sometimes-insane NCAA basketball tournament - this month we had Massage Madness, Poker Madness, Softball Madness, Moishe Purimpalooza Madness, and an actual tournament bracket. This month our house ended up doing 14 events - 2 months worth - in just 31 days and now that Passover is arrived - all I can say is that I'm VERY tired.

I went to Giant's baseball opening day yesterday and despite losing to the Padres by the biggest margin for a home opener in San Francisco, ever - it still got me excited about the coming of Spring, the summer, our upcoming softball season and ultimately a new beginning in life.

We have just reigned in our 2nd annual insane seder and in a few weeks we will rally the troops for 2nd year in a row to observe Yom Hashoah with a plethora of Holocaust survivors. We've got an exciting month ahead and I only hope that we can figure out how to cut down on the number of events we're doing - my girlfriend is beginning to hate me...

A new face in the lineup

April 1st is not only the beginning of baseball season, Moishe House Softball season, and close to the beginning of Passover. Here in the East Bay, April 1st marked a changing of the guards, so to speak. Brady Gill, one of the true OGs of Moishe House had one final swan song before he packed his bags, his VHS movies, his ukelelee and his beloved dog Corbin into the Scion that will take him to his next galaxy of life in Santa Cruz. Card games, night time frisbee toss sessions, morning doggy walks, pounds of late night grinding, and lots of enthusiasm from a "registered" clown are no longer day to day activities I can count on when I come home from work.
For the month of April we have been granted a vivacious southpaw with some of the hairiest legs, and oddest manerisms of all the Jews and goys alike. Aaron Mandel is our new clean up hitter. Although he will only be here for a short time, Dougie and I are stoked to have him, and all the eccentricities that accompany him.
Our dear friend Brady is not far away, for his lovely face will be hanging over our couch throughout the summer thanks to a little photo shop by mr morris.
A changing of the house dynamic will nicely coincide with a changing of the seasons, as the bountiful bundles of beautiful weather, summer sunshine, and 8:00 pm bbqs are upon us.

Hum Baby all day from Danny B. in the East Bay!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Walk

Things have died down for me this month. Life kind of balanced out and I found my place in it. It was a long time coming. My routine is established now. And outside of Moishe House, much of my time after work is spent walking. It takes me about an hour and change to walk home each day. With the weather better, I've started to really enjoy it and my thoughts have left the rain and the wind and settled everywhere else. I use the time to catch up with far away friends, to process my day, to learn which kinds of houses I like and where the hidden staircases are. It has been such a wonderful way to end each day. And on top of all that, it's great exercise. I sit at a desk for work and I've never been so stationary in my life. On the other hand, I've never walked so much and with such purpose. They balance out nicely. As the days getting longer and longer here in the north, I expect my routine to get brighter and brighter. Things are looking up.


When tequila and Jews meet

Just some photos for your viewing pleasure of Abe's wedding -- quite possibily the most fun EVER...

Monday, April 2, 2007

Lee Levins back in action

Hi all its good to be back at the moishe house after my crazy trip through the south. Its wierd down there. Anyway i hope all is good with everyone. What awesome gifts we got from Israel. I am glad that we are coming up on some holiday time since i missed what seems to have been a very successful purim season. This past month has been great back into the swing and the next month to come will be as great.


Lee levin

Like old, but comfortable, shoes

Usually our house is welcome to all comers. With an e-mail list which recently surpassed the 500 recipient mark you never know who might show up to any given night. Our shabbat potluck dinners are usually no different. A mish-mosh of personalities, newcomers and regulars, they are all on hand for the festivities. Recently our house decided to try something new.

The second to last Friday of March we planned what we called a "Comfy Shabbat". The idea behind this event was a night to invite the members of our Mo House community who contribute so much and make this whole project seem worthwhile to a shabbat dinner where we share our favorite comfort foods. It was an opportunity to let these wonderful people know how much we cherish their contribution, in more intimate dinner environment. By doing so we could limit the distractions sometimes associated with our bigger events, and make our house a meaningful space in a different way.

I couldn't have been more pleased with the result. Besides the fabulous food that was made by my housemates and our guests (cheese and carbs aplenty), the night was filled with some of the most passionate and heartfelt interactions I have ever seen at our house. As hosts, we never had to worry if there would be enough food, or who would arrive when (it was all set up perfectly by my roommates in an e-vite).

Simmilarly to most of the shabbats at our house, this evening ended around the firepit in our backyard. As Isaac led us in an eclectic mix of Weezer tunes, and Tawonga favorites, smoke from the fire swirled with the eratic San Francisco winds.
It was cold and late but we sang on, and on...and on. And we were as comfortable as ever.

Back in L.A.

Well Lee and I are finally back in Los Angeles after our cross country trip. We definitely had a great time despite the amount of work we had on our's weird being home though after being gone so long. Nate was rocking the Moishehouse while we were gone though...big props there man!!!! Getting back in the Moishe swing is difficult, especially when you have a producer breathing down your neck to deliver content right away. We have pulled through with a movie night and a shabbat dinner......speaking of which, how stoked is everyone else about the Judaica gear?!?! I really wasn't expecting such a huge package in the's kinda like a Jewish survival kit minus the menorah. A big thanks to everyone who was involved with that. So we're looking to kick some ass this month and put a bunch of events together as the weather is warming up......I think it finally BBQ time.......I promise we'll have something else besides drumsticks and burgers this time (I'm sure anyone attending will be excited by that). And since I've grown a beard recently, I think I should have that moustache party we've always talked about and never had....then I'll have a leg (or moustache) up on everyone and put their puny facial hair to shame!!! Well, good to be back and hope everyone has a great Peasch..........~Dave

Blog oBoston

Pesach is quickly approaching. For me this is a time of clean out and letting go.

This week our house did major cleaning. The fridge is quite a site! You can actually see the shelves!!! The five containers of humus are no longer.

We also received a magically box from the HolyLand. Filled with the artistry of Emmanuel, a wonderful graduate of Betzalel School in Jerusalem. For me, the box felt like a piece of Israel, arriving to bring beauty into our home. Thanks Morris!
Boston is fluttering between Spring and Winter, sunglasses and raincoats. Soon we hope for warm weather, but in the meantime, we dress accordingly.

Tonight is the night of the first seder. I look forward to sitting down, reciting the tale of our people's journey from slavery to freedom. I hope I can really see myself as coming out of Egypt. With this vision, I pray to become even more dedicated to all the work left to do in the world, so that everyone can sing their freedom songs!

See you at the Reed Sea! Alyson

Search for Hametz...mission accomplished

Never in my life have I spent so much time or laughed so much in the dark and with three candles. The boys of Moishe House Montevideo turned all the lights off, and searched every nook and crany for hametz in our house. It was a futile search as we had spent the previous 5 hours cleaning and throwing away all the crap in the fridge. After the little search was over we said a prayer declaring that we had NO bread products or flour except in Roi's butt crack.

The night before that was Abraham's wedding where we partied hard. The tequila flowed like Niagra falls (becuase he's Mexican), all the ladies and gents were looking snazy, and the Mariachi band was "en fuego." It was one of the best nights EVER capped off by the crew trying to get the 350 lbs "Bomba" into the air (not so successful). Also Abraham's cousin Ester was very cute.

Finally the end of March caps of the building of 9 houses through Moishe House and Un Techo Para Uruguay. It is amazing that in this time of afflicting for the Jewish people, we are taught to give even the little that we have, weather that be our time, money or effort. Now through our construction, we can know that 9 families will have a roof and that we acted as a catalyst for their upward mobility and pride.

Wine, Kugel, and Strawberries..oh my

The highlight of our month was the huge Friday night Potluck dinner that we had last week. I spent the previous week buying ridiculous amounts of food, as well as folding chairs at Walmart in preparation for the dinner. Honestly, I was a bit worried that this will turn out to be a small and quiet meal, and that the folding chairs will remain stacked against the wall. My skepticism persisted even at the shul that night. No more people came to services that on any regular Friday night; even the rabbi was away that week, and people seemed like they were just going about their routine. Turned out, the shul�s attendance was a no-good indicator of how well our dinner would turn out. Right at the advertised time, people started coming, carrying wine, Dunkin Donuts munchkins, trays of strawberries, kugel, and their pets. Most of them were a few years older than us, but I guess after a certain age, you can�t tell the difference, and also it does not really matter. The dinner was in words of Borat, �a grreat success.� All the meatballs, deli roll, salads, everything was gone in about 2 hours. Of the 7 bottles of wine that the guests brought, only two remained, by virtue of being not kosher. The most important thing however, is that people did have a good time. That means they are coming back with more wine, kugel and strawberries. And that means Moishe House Jersey is here to stay. eugene- Hoboken

Another Month another adventure

Hey Comrades

So the house in Cape Town has been buzzing. We had a massive event on Friday past which saw dozens of people coming to chill at our house with Nargilah and other goodies. We have had lots of guests over for our Wednesday Pasta which turned from Mushroom to tomato due to the fact that people would die from mushroom poisoning if they kept on having the same meal.
Living with the other 4 house mates is amazing. You feel an organic sense of growth in the group as you start to become better friends, sharing more about yourself and how you feel as things develope.
Holidays from University started today, thank god, but more work awaits so it wont be as relaxing as what is needed. Recently some settlers decided to occupy a house bang in the middle of Hebron, and as usual dozens of soldiers now surround this house to protect the settlers and especially the Palestinians from being abused. Now this house does not fall within the normal settlement block found in Hebron1. This house, if the settlers are not removed in 30 days, will make the Palestinians lives more of a living hell as the 'facts on the ground' become even more permanent. This means that the lives of 100,000's of Palestinians will have to be rerouted and stopped for this 1 house of religious zealots who are motivated by an extreme sense of ethnic superiority which turns violent through its fundamentalist approach to ideology. With so much good happening in the name of Jews (such as Moishe House), its such a pity that so much wrong is happening at the same time.

Otherwise Iim really looking forward to our massive "3rd Seder." As the name says it will 3rd seder for all those Jews who want to look at this amazing festival in more relevant, cultural and moral terms for today. The theme of freedom is something amazing that should always be commemorated with like minded Jews in todays world context. Thats it from me. Keep well all you Moishe Housniks and have a great pesach.


Strauss (Moishe House Cape Town)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Lousy Smarch Weather

Here I sit, friends,in front of a computer. I know, I're getting nervous. Don't worry, I'll keep this G-rated.

Well, hmm...I think we can all agree: that was a random introductory paragraph.

So let me really get started by saying that we're looking for a couple of new housemates here at Moishe House Boston. Alyson's leaving us for Eretz Yisrael, and Ari is continuing his critical public health work in Mali, so Margie and I are beginning to feel very sad. Now, I'm not posting any farewells yet, since we've got another two months with our awesome roomies, but they're gonna be a hard act to follow. Still, I wanted to stick this up here: if anyone out there in the greater Moishe-land knows of good folks in or around Massachusetts who might want to help keep this awesome community growing, send 'em our way. We've got some good prospects here in Boston, but we're like the Marines...Semper Fi. I mean, we're like the Marines: the few, the, the Marines. Never mind. All I'm saying is we want folks who are as awesome as those leaving us (if that's even possible!) to come join us in this grand adventure.

Just so you know what I mean, this past month we rocked out with some Ma'aseh Breishit (props to Alyson), kept that love going with a little bit more Beit Midrash (Margie Klein, where ya at?), and had the sort of Shabbats that would have made the Ramban go, "From the window, to the wall!" (well, maybe not, but Ari and his team definitely made the love flow.) Me? Just trying to keep on this social justice tip -- making some noise with GBIO over at the Statehouse, helpinng throw down with a sweet Labor Seder, and you know we're just getting started.

So stay tuned, and send your friends our way. This party ain't done by a long shot.


happy matzah week

so varsity vac (and by vac i mean study break) has just started, and after a hectic couple of weeks i think we all need the holiday quite badly. it's weird, but this past week i saw so little of some of the house mates, that you'd think we weren't actually living together! It's because the University of Cape Town feels the need to squeeze all tests and assignments into one week in an attempt to stress us out as much as possible and perhaps even cause a couple of nervous breakdowns. We all made it through the week relatively unscathed though, and i've managed to have some one on one time with a few of the guys that i hadn't seen too much of. I think most of us have just decided to chill and recover for a while after the past couple of days, so that's quite nice.

And what's also nice is that i've recently discovered the joys of watching movies on my computer, so i've kinda become a bit addicted to that. It's great for when you're tired but can't quite fall asleep, so you just put on a movie and watch it until you pass out. I very recently watched "Napoleon Dynamite", which i thought was really good!! It still sucks not having internet though, cos it makes things like my Moishe house blog and keeping in touch with people via email very difficult. But of course we're trying to get it sorted out.

I actually just spoke to my brother on skype though, which was awesome! He's on a gap year programme in israel, and i hadn't spoken to him for like 3 weeks so it was very cool to hear from him. He sounds like he's doing well, so that's good. and also he just bought a bicycle... he's always been a rather strange child... I've been checking out his photos on facebook though, and it seems like he's having an amazing time!

Ok, so what else has happened this month? There's been so much going on, but i'll try think of some of the important things. Living in the house has been great! Well, to be honest, my room's a bit of a mess at the moment, but i've vowed that now that it's the holidays i will make an effort to clean it! And anyway, i kinda like it being a bit of mess - it sort of gives it the "lived in" look. Although i must admit that at the moment it looks a little bit too lived in! :/

Varsity is going well, although i've been oversleeping more often that i would like to, and we've had some amazing events at the house! I've even met some pretty cool new people, which is one of my favourite hobbies :)

so i think i'll end off here, it seems like a good time for a movie on my computer. maybe i'll even make some popcorn, or perhaps guzzle a couple of slices of bread before pesach begins. mmm, matzah...

so cheppy pesach to all
much love and kneidlach :)

Howdy Doodle House-a-reenoes

Hey guys,

So this has been such a great month for me. I'm really starting to feel established and adapted to living with these crazy nutters i call house mates.

The big achievements so far have been:
When i conquered the washing machine and final forced it to do my bidding. March the 14th will always be known as the day of clean socks from now on.

When we ran an incredible event about Israel and Israeli politicians...I'm still blown away about the whole Lebonon war planning.

Celebrating St. Patricks day. This was one of the funnest nights I've had in such a long time. It was such a pleasure spending good quality time with good people.

We still have a bit of problems with the house, we decided to do something called Kupa. A Kupa is a communal money pot. The idea behind it is to express some values of togetherness and equality and pool our money together to buy things for the house. At the moment, the Kupa only covers food, toiletries and essentials for the house. At every house meeting we talk about how well we feel we're handling the Kupa, and Daniel Barnett (he's our "Gizbar", which means accountant) gives us updates. Ideally the Kupa will grow a bit bigger and will include ALL of our expenses and not just essentials.

As you can guess, a Kupa is great for bringing a group together but also very difficult, it's easy to have fights with people when you think they're buying stuff unneccesarily. So far no arguments have happened, but last week, Barnett and I had a massive argument on how to best document all the payments. A few hours later, we spoke and came to a cool compromise and apologised for any harshness that came up during theargument.

Otherwise life in Moishe House South Africa is sweet...

Kev Sack