Friday, February 29, 2008

MH seattle Azura Newman 02-29-08

So, hi. Buzy month. I'm caught up in my homework for school. I'm set up to go to the Nihirim West Retreate Next month. We've got fliers made and tabled at tha Seattle Jewish Arts Festival last night.

Sabbath is almost started.


Home Alone

I began February alone, with my three roomies off backpacking in Argentina. Moishe House wasn't the same without them.

Not only was I bored with loneliness, I also struggled trying to get the same large turnouts at our events that we previously were accustomed to. Soon as Elkana got back--BAM!--26 people at our Shabbat dinner. He really spent some good time on the phone making that happen. Lior and Yonatan just got back today. It's nice to have a full house again.

I wasn't alone the whole time though. A few Israeli backpackers stopped by for a night here and there, and I even hosted one of our brethren from India who was in Uruguay for a conference in Colonia. It was cool to hear about the Jewish community in Bombay, which apparently has been going strong for quite some time now.

Another cool moment this month was our Moishe event at the opening parade of Carnaval. I don't think I've ever seen a longer parade. Tons of guys dancing around in old man costumes, colorful flags, half-naked girls in feather masks, people lining the streets, and NOISE! Great drum rhythms! And you could even join in on the parade if you wanted!

All in all it was a pretty good month, but I like having the boys back in town. As always, looking forward to another fun month of Moisheness,


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February. To start again

Hola, yeh its no one except here but yeh im here again.
after a month at all south america im here, and that the time to continue with a new power, so yehh i was really exiting to the dinner of shabat i invited 28 people, yes u heard right 28 people, our house was full!!! but with it no one left hungry (at least i hope).
tuesday we made dinner again, and with the food of Hillel i guess everybody want to come to Moishe House more.
we just start and the future look better then alawys at Moise House Montevideo
Vamo Aribba!!!!!!

By Elkana

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Summer in Uruguay.. Where is everybody??


Hola a todos!!

Well, I'm writing this blog from a computer in Ushuaia, the most southern city in the world.. (or in south America? never mind..) what am i doing here?? good question..
well, in Uruguay the summer is in the months December-March, this is a period that you won't find a soul in Montevideo.. almost everybody is out of the city and goes to vacations..
that's the reason that we had so little events.. you have to be here to understand what's an empty city..!
In January we had two dinners with friends that were still in the city, we had a shabat dinner with all the people that we could "scratch" from all the people that we know and were still in Montevideo, and we had a farewell 'party' to Zev the fifth member of the house.. we already miss him so much!!
Because there's almost nothing to do in these months, we received a month of vacation, we chose to travel here in south America, Lior and me, traveled from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, up to Pucon, Chile. then down to the south in a rented car, it was great!! 11 days with a car, then to El Calafate to see the glacier Perito Moreno that's an amazing thing! highly recommended!!
from there we got to Punta Arenas in a bus, and now we're in Usuhaia, it's very beautiful!
and in two days we're going back to Montevideo, ready for some hard work! all the trip was amazing, we knew a lot of people from all kinds, it really is a great experience!
see you in Uruguay!

Yonatan Yussim,
Moishe House Montevideo, Uruguay.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Moishes Back in Town

hello all my moishe friends.

so living in Moishe House Los A has been awesome thus far. from bbqs, card games, music jamz, moishe retreat, humps from hannah, and making new friends- being a moishe is only beginning to feel real.

- my shoes are still soggy from the retreat
- my hair is starting to dread in the back, this one piece, wants to go rasta style
- i have a rat living somewhere in my closet
- i started eating candy recently, will stop today
- i learned how to juggle while i am obsessed

until next time,

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wake up Moishes!!!

Bibibi bip bibibi bip bibibi bip!

A new day, new challenges, new battles. The day's first battlefield is your bed, and the first shot is fired when the alarm clock rings. I WANT vs I SHOULD! I WANT reaches out to hit the snooze button; I SHOULD is ready to jump out of bed and take on another day.

The first instruction in the Code of Jewish Law is: "Be strong as a lion when you wake up in the morning to serve Creator." Because if you win this battle, the rest are lambchops.

Next morning, when you wake up try to be this Lion (explain first to your moishehousemate otherwise they will think your are crazy) and have an amazing day!

Moishe house Vienna

Sunday, February 10, 2008

january? Karen - MHChicago

Where did you go? What an insane month. Very good. There was a birthday in there somewhere spent with good friends, i know it cause i remember the german chocolate cake, the red velvet cupcake, the carrot cake, and the cheese cake - which means it was spent with many a great friend who happily indulged my love of cakes - there was also some seaweed, some rain, a dead dolphin, some lovely rocks, a touch of pacific sun, colorado mountains, drag queen brunch, and meeting a whole slew of other moishe houses that emcompassed my trip out west. There was also the mad rush to finally turn in my graduate school applications, which i believe it is going to be one of those things i will choose not to think about for a while - as i think the process ate part of my brain along with the last four months of my life. excellent. I will honk my horn for January, and promise to tip drag queens more in my 25th year.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Dealing with neighbours

Dear Moishe Housers,

I write to you all this month to request some advice on how an ambitious and lively Moishe House can best develop good relations with its neighbours.

Let me fill you in on our situation. Moishe House London is in a respectable residential area, semi detached (i.e. attached on one side but not on the other) and the neighbour we are attached to is due to give birth in 6 weeks. Oh and the other thing, she is a DJ on national radio and has already had a good at us live on air for waking her up with live saxaphone during our house warming party.

We want to carry on doing great and lively things but also want to respect their privacy and act with derech eretz. What can we do? Ideas I have just had off the top of my head:

Turn our Moishe House into a trapist silent retreat (how does a trapist Open Mike night sound)
Have all our events at 1pm on a Tuesday morning (surely our bet midrash is cool enough for people to take the day off work to attend)
Offer our neighbours free babysitting and dog walking services (could even become an event)

As you might be able to tell, we need a little bit of advice, so if any of you Moishe Housers have had to deal with similar circumstances let us know what worked and what didnt. Much appreciated

Over and out


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Synagogue 3000

Shalom shalom. I just got back from Boulder, where I was repping the Moishe Houses (and MH Boston in particular) at the Synagogue 3000 Emergent Sacred Communities gathering. Though when Synagogue 3000 first approached me I thought it was some sort of Jewish spam or a Jewish version of mystery science theater, in fact the organization works to document and reinforce innovative practices in Jewish communities in the US and Israel. My cohort of "emerging leaders" includes a guy who runs a Jewish theater troupe, another guy who runs the Jewish camp at burning man, a woman who created the first coop synagogue hybrid (Kavana in Seattle), and then a bunch of minyans and other new Jewish stuff. And some folks doing cutting egde work creating non-orthodox religious communities in Israel.

Anyway, I wanted to report two things from the experience. First, combined with the MH retreat, this gathering gave me a sense that we are really part of a growing movement to revitalize Jewish community and recreate it in a way that is meaningful for our generation. That means a bunch of different things for different people, but in general, folks are mixing and matching, not sticking to conventional expectations about what Jews look like and act like.

Second, the gathering was focused on developing our leadership, and gave me some tips that I thought might be useful to my Moishe brothers and sisters in the struggle. In one of our exercises, the facilitators asked us to map out the different roles we play as leaders of our communities, such as exec. director (fundraising, website, staffing issues), community organizer, teacher, thought leader, pastoral care giver(or just being there for folks one on one), prayer leader. For us Moishe House members, I would add a few other titles, like maybe chef and party planner.

The goal was to think about what our personal strengths and passions were, what balance of these strengths the community needs, and how we can either build on ourselves or partner with members of our community to make sure that we are covering these functions overall, to the extent that we want them to be covered. For example, I am good at recruiting volunteers and big vision stuff, but I spend less time than I wish I did having one-on-one time with our key leaders. I am also technologically inept, and don't really like dealing with finances. So, I'm committing to spend more one on one time, and working to support Joe and a couple volunteers to build up our website and financial management.

Anyway, whatever your particular strengths/challenges, I think it is easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day of planning programs that you can forget to think about the big picture of what you are trying to create and how to get there. But when you do step back, it can be really exciting, and bring a lot of clarity. So I encourage you all to take a breath, think about where you are, where you want to get to. Then, deep breath deux, imagine how you might bridge that gap by building on your strengths, overcoming your challenges, or getting help from your community members who brings skills you might not have in spades. I know I'll be doing the same....

Another Month in London Moishe House

Its been a great month in Moishe House (Rule) Brittania. It may be hard work, balancing the demands of ones Mosaic heritage and being a subject of Queen Victoria but we carry it off with great aplomb!
We began the month with an inspirational session entitled "How to be a Good Gentlemen of the Mosaic Persuasion", in which very speakers gave presentations on how to live out Jewish values. All the major banks were represented and the speaker from Rothschild's talk on "Expressing your Judaism through trade interests in the commonwealth" was particularly well received. The event was enriched by the presence of the House ladies guild, who served cucumber sandwiches. Our next event was even more successful; "Understanding the Ghetto Jew". Around 50 participants arrived (mostly by horse and carriage, those arriving on foot were turned away), not just to hear a talk about the filthy yiddish speaking Ostjuden but to actually meet one! Obviously there was no actual conversation between our guests and the East End 'Yid', as we placed him in a cage and threw Kugel and Lokshen at him. Apparently these are the sort of eastern 'delicacies' that these people enjoy! Finally we held a social action event in which we invited several street urchins to our house to come and sit in the warmth and clean our floors. They were utterly delighted at our hospitality with comments like 'Oh my Hebrew masters, you is such outstanding gentlemen, oi is not worthy". Frankly, we became worried that they would start coming round whenever they pleased, so we decided to send them to the Workhouse. Besides that all is well amongst the house residents. As I write this, the house Jewess Rachel Rose Montefiore is warming herself by the boiling kettle, having failed to pay the heating bills for her room. We did consider paying her bill for her, so she could be warm, but if we behave like this the poor will never learn.

Joseph Moishe House London

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Masha, MHSeattle, January 2008

Another month had passed, a whole month that I still haven't been able to work because of the shoulder injury... The acupuncture is starting to make things better, but oh so slowly and with ups and downs. Just last week after a really long needling session I felt as if I was never injured at all, and I cooked up a little storm to celebrate (curried zucchini, eggplant, chayote...yumm). The next day I felt worse again, and the same thing happened again this week. It's so amazing to feel healthy again for a short time, and then ever more so discouraging when things regress. I'm starting to get the hang of the pattern, though, and I'm definitely better than I was a month ago, so hopefully with enough time and patience this will actually heal.
I was worried I wouldn't be able to sit through the retreat, but things were actually ok, which was very empowering. For instance, I realized I can sit long enough to enjoy a movie or a plane ride. This is huge, as I haven't traveled in a longtime. It was amazing to be near the ocean, and living in cabins always makes me nostalgic for our old summer cabin outside of Moscow.
It was great to be exposed to such a variety of people and ideas, and just to be in a different place. I can't say I made any close connections to people at the retreat, but if was definitely a good experience. If nothing else, the trip was a bonding experience for Tamar, Azura and myself. It was great to see her really come alive after the retreat. We were all inspired enough to come up with a couple of new ideas for events, and we finally had a house meeting to reshuffle our responsibilities.
As for the personal goals, I'm planning to check out some nutrition and TCM classes at Bastyr tomorrow, and I started to look at doing interpreter work. I still haven't gotten anything done, mind you, but now that I've said it maybe I'll actually do it!

Monday, February 4, 2008


Dear friends...
today was a beautiful day! i walked through the mountains of marin today, eating wild plants and enjoying a wild salad with lunch. what a spectacular day! what spectacular weather we are having! a wonderful way to invite spring into our california winter weather! also went weeding a rasberry field... introduced new friends to old ones, and sang. happy monday.
back home, with a warm welcome.
no tank tops, no frozen veggies, just the goods...

Tank Top Gangster

Go put on a tank top and tell me how you feel. Or if you're not into listening to demanding people, I'll let you know how you would be feeling. Well, it all really depends on what kind of tank top you're rocking. It's either the stained white ribbed one commonly seen on a front lawn from the show "Cops" or it's got some tropical/80's flavor writing on it that makes you feel like you're on a beach. Those are the only two kinds I know of, and if you think there's a third kind, you're about as wrong as an 8th grader in a spelling bee whose just heard a "ding."

So right now I'm wearing a tank top with tropical tendencies, and here's what I'm feeling: it's 80 degrees, and I'm Jewish and living in a Moishe House. I'm closing my eyes and imagining my room filled with sand, but the thought kind of disturbs me so I discontinue that thought. In fact, it disturbs me so much that I'm going to discontinue writing. Happy belated Groundhog Day!

Maia, MHSF, February all month long

Sweet, totally blogging right now.
Sitting here with Joie and Ari, rocking some 49ers gear like you know we do.
Eating some chips and cheese, Ari's hitting the hookah
That's what she said.
Then I was like, "this is whack" and Ari's all "homegirl, you be speaking truths." Then Joie's like, "word."

Love from SF.

Jan 08 Lee Levin Moishe LA

Jan was fun but hard. My family had emergencies that brought us together again. The retreat was a blast. Feb. has a lot in store. Look out LA is back and hungry. Go Giants

MHSS Alan is a bit shy

The Moishe House retreat was a great little break from the day-to-day. I loved meeting MH folks from all over, and I look forward to visitting you guys and getting to know more of you over the course of the year.

Karaoke night at MHSS was hard core amazing. Who knew Rachael knew Korean? She deftly showed us around the place and explained how to use the foreign equipment. The benefit of "private-room" karaoke as opposed to "open-bar" karaoke is that your friends can sing along with you, dance around you and be totally ridiculous.

The Tu Bishvat seder which we co-sponsored with Shomrei Adamah of Greater Washington was a delight. We provided strictly kosher food and wine for the attendees who needed, and helped set up tables and materials for the seder, facilitate it, and clear out the space after it. There were over 50 people in attendance, and in between ritual foods and thoughts on nature, the soul, and ecology, we told them all about MHSS! Then we all stuffed our faces.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Vacations, ahhh!

It was a nice, relaxing month of January. All of us Moishe House Montevideo residents were off work for vacations, and we all got a bit of traveling in.

My parents visited me! Which was awesome. We spent a few days in Montevideo so they got to know my new city, a couple days in Punta del Este (real nice beach town in Uruguay about two hours drive away), a day in Iguazu (one of the most amazing places I've been in my life--TONS of HUGE waterfalls!), and four days in Buenos Aires. We had tons of fun together, but now I miss them more again. Oh well, it was nice to see them, and things are still going well for me in Montevideo.

After getting out to a hot start as a Moishe House in December, things slowed down a bit in January. Not only were we getting our own traveling in, but it seemed like the entire city was out of town! Everytime we made calls for our events people told us they were in Punta, or Piriapolis, or Rocha, or somewhere on the beach, not in Montevideo. I've never experienced this type of vacation culture before. In the States we all take our allotted vacation at different times. Here pretty much everyone gets off the month of January, and some get February off too. Even some of the restaurants I go to are closed for vacations. So our turnouts were smaller, but in a way it was nice because things were more intimate that way. We're starting to find out who our regulars are too. Although it wasn't the busiest month, I feel we still made progress.

Hope everyone had fun at the Moishe retreat in the North! Looking forward to a great month of February,

Jay Krefman
Moishe House Montevideo

Saturday, February 2, 2008

MH Chicago, Caren M. 2/1/08

Shabbat Shalom. It's a nice cold and snowly day in Chicago. It's been a very full week since our return from California. The wet but warmer California air was a nice break, but it's great to be home. We had three programs this week and I started a new job. There are a lot of good things happening here in Chicago and lots more to come. So, all is good! Upon coming home we decided to increase our programs to the next level and are looking forward to making a greater impact in Chicago.

Thank you all for a wonderful retreat. It was a pleasure to meet and spend time with all the American Moishe Houses. It was really special to learn more about the overall program and learn from each other how our various houses operate. Thank you all for being open and making the retreat what it was. It was a treat to spend the weekend together. You all have friends and a home in Chicago so please know you're always welcome. Take care.


So, what is this Moishe House project we are working on?  Last week's gathering really gave me a context to place my own work building MHBOS into.  The first element is the connection to the other houses.  While we are not bound by any robust set of explicit values, it is clear that just in signing up to be a Moishe House, we share a deep interest in welcoming guests and building community.  I think we even share an understanding of the goals of that community building, that is to improve, in some small way, our corner of the world.  Where we may not share perspectives is on exactly what that change should look like, and how it can be achieved.  This is not a trivial gap, as it turns every Moishe House into its own project, rather than uniting us in one big project.  The benefit, however, is the incredible diversity of communities that are being built under the Moishe House umbrella.

The second element was hearing from Morris.  I've been mulling over his slightly cryptic remarks all week, clearly a sign that they got to me.  What they mean, however, I am less clear about.  Leadership and Tikkun Olam.  Sounds simple, but again, what does this radically transformed world look like?  And how do we get there?  I think these are the important questions for all of us moving forward.

Friday, February 1, 2008

RRR, the House, London

So, there were thirty three people sitting downstairs talking and hearing about whether the method of providing aid to developing countries is effective, and ten people upstairs watching a man use his electric razor to see whether their inner peace could be unsettled by its use out of context.

The House has enabled me to be much more sociable and outgoing than before.
When I say outgoing, I guess it just means leaving my bedroom, because there are forty people beyond it.
And playfulness. I guess I became a mixologist to make myself more outgoing, but I always managed to preserve my personal space because I could stand behind a bar.
But what's to be scared of? Noone has their defences up when they come in here and kick their shoes off.
And it's not a bad progression to make a Manhattan in my kitchen and sip it at our Beit Midrash.

bloggidy blog

Moishe house Tel Aviv is sad that they missed the retreat. Maybe next time we can have it in Israel. That’d be cool. Anyway,…I was thinking about writing a blog…and that got me to thinking about blogs in general. So I asked myself, “Dave-do you actually read any blogs?” and the answer was yes, yes I do. In the spirit of sharing, I would like to provide some links that I am known to frequent:
-these guys are the kings of jewish blogging in my opinion
-Sarcastic and funny
-Kanye West’s blog is surprisingly informative