Monday, March 31, 2008

Moishe House NYC - Joel - March

If there is a Moishe House New York City then I'm it.

I arrived just before midnight the night before Purim, ready for my month's internship with Storahtelling ('Jewish Ritual Theater Revived'). It took me three hours to make my way from Newark airport to where I was staying in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, including half an hour walking through the rain (hmmm... should probably have looked up exactly what subway stop to get off at before flying).

Eight hours later I was at the 6th Street Synagogue downtown Manhattan, being introduced to Storahtelling cast and crew and preparing for my company debut. That night. As Jesus. And Esther. At the same time.

Adorned with long blond wig and and crown of real thorns, easily interchangeable with tiara for when Yeshu becomes Queen of Persia, I paraded up and down the synagogue after the megillah reading. I was, by this time, feeling decidedly ill, but the show must go on. The adrenaline got me through. That and the thought of finishing off the show with a rousing solo rendition of 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'.

I've since moved to Noho, which is fantastic, and started my work on various Storahtelling shows, getting to know the staff better and being properly introduced to their mission and work - to change the face of Judaism, no less, at least in how people relate to the Torah reading.

But I'm quite certain there'll be nothing quite like that first day.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Prayer Flags and Answered Prayers

Shalom, Moishe Lovelies!

First, I need to give a shout out to Moishe House Philly for helping with our book tour event a couple weeks ago, and I'm psyched to come to Seattle next weekend, where I hope to see the Seattle Moishe House folks.

Next, I wanted to reflect on an awesome thing that happened today. This morning I got up all excited because Sarah had organized an event where we make prayer flags to decorate our upstairs. The idea is to make visual representations of what we are praying for, as a way of creating a physical space that actually inspires prayer during our services. So I mentioned to Sarah that I would see her later, but then it turned out that she had also helped plan ANOTHER event that she was attending, which was a concert to benefit the local super progressive ritual bath (mikveh). And our friend Laura, who is an emerging leader at the house, was running the prayer flag event herself.

So I joined the prayer flag event, which was really fun, but then half way through, a bunch of amazing people started showing up, and I was reminded that we had a THIRD event going on in our community, Joe's bi-weekly radical Jewish thought class. So as I finished up gluing my fabric representation of people at a social justice rally, I got to listen as a new leader at our house helped folks explore their attitudes towards Torah and texts in building a Jewish social justice movement.

Anyway, as I made my prayer flag, I couldn't help but think about how this day represents some sort of answer to a prayer I had when we were just starting up, that we would have this kind of community where all these people are making things happen, so that I can just attend, enjoy myself, and be proud and supportive of all the holy work taking place.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Aliyah of Moishe House Minsk

Real Belarusian Males

Popularly referred to as "Man Day," February 23rd is a Belarusian holiday designated for the celebration of those of the masculine persuasion, specifically those who serve in the Belarusian armed forces. Little boys, adult men, and grandfathers alike are given gifts and praised, as they represent the defenders of B
elarus. There's nothing quite like "Man Day" to reinforce strong gender identities!

So how do the Minskers celebrate their noble men?
First, since Day of Motherland Defenders and Armed Forces is a national holiday, there are usually wreath laying ceremonies and speeches given by high ranking officials.

Second, there are fireworks ceremonies in the national colors of Belarus, red, green and white, all over the city on the night of "Man Day."

(P.S. The fireworks in honor of New Years only stopped happening every night about one week ago...but I digress...)

Even Belarusian cellular telephone company, Velcom, offers a special Motherland Defenders Day deal!

And what do Minskettes do for their manly compatriots? Quite like the platoons and battalions they celebrate, scores of women storm the men's departments of the national stores like GUM and TZUM in search of the perfect present. Popular gifts include cologne, neckties, pens, and underwear, especially in camouflage print.
TZUM="Central Universal Store"

It was actually in TZUM that I learned just how fun shopping for "Man Day" can be. I was thinking that the abundance of women's events offered by Moishe House Minsk is a tad discriminatory, so we decided to offer a males only "Man Day" event. N
atasha and I wanted to present our man friends with Moishe House Minsk logo undies. This required going to TZUM and requesting from the friendly store clerk, 12 pairs of white boxer-briefs in various sizes, and some permanent markers for printing our logo.


Me: "Excuse me, can I have 12 white underpants please?"
Clerk: "12?" (She looked at me like I was either an idiot or socially deviant. I couldn't tell which.)
Me: "
Clerk: (She started handing me men's thong-style underwear.)
Me: "Uh.
Nyet. Different ones, please"
"We only have 9 pairs of regular white underwear." (She paused while impatient women behind me in line started to fume.)
Me: "What about those?" (I pointed to the very large pile of what can only be described as many more than 9 pairs of exactly what I was asking for.)

Clerk: "Uh huh." (She handed me more and more pairs as I counted them in Russian. Under the intensity of the moment, I blanked at the number 7. Older woman behind poked me with her umbrella, kindly reminding me, "syem!")
Me: "12 pairs, ok, that's enough. Thank you."

I paid and was on my merry way to the stationary department to do it all over again, but this time I only needed one red permanent marker for printing "Moishe House Minsk" on the triumphantly obtained unmentionables.
Natasha has great printing skills!

So the man-friends of Moishe House Minsk had their male-only event which included both fun, and learning about influential chemist and Jewish hero, Chaim Weizmann.

Hooray (
Ooorah! in Russian) for Motherland Defenders and for the XY chromosomed contingent of Moishe House Minsk!

Presenting the bold, brave, strapping, and resolute! Moishe House Minsk Man Friends!

Natasha of Moishe House Minsk

Привет, друзья!
Не знаю, есть такой праздник только у русских или он есть и в других странах, но тем не менее у нас он есть и про него я Вам расскажу+ 23 февраля - День защитников Отечества, или проще говоря - мужской день. И мы, естественно, с Алиичкой не могли не поздравить наших мужчин. Баня только в мужской компании, видимо, прошла на УРА! Ребята остались очень довольны! А после того, как они попарились и поговорили об одном из довольно известных в наших кругах человеке, первом президенте Израиля, выходце из Белоруси, Хаиме Вайцмане, они получили в подарок именные трусы "Moishe House Minsk"  Теперь, для того, чтобы войти в наш Дом - Мойше Хауз - нужно пройти "дрэс-код"  И у тех ребят, у которых есть эти замечательные трусы, есть больше шансов быть на всех мероприятиях Мойше Хауза. (шутка)  На самом деле, двери нашего дома открыты для всех, молодых, красивых, инициативных ребят!
А буквально через 2 недели после "Мужского дня" девочки празднуют свой день - 8 марта - международный женский день! Именно на этот день и выпал Рош Ходеш - начало месяца. Девочки тоже очень красиво отметили свой день, не в бане правда, а дома, но все равно было очень хорошо!

А сейчас мы с Алией в процессе подготовки еще одного замечательного мероприятия - МИМУНЫ. Это традиционный праздник после Песаха евреев Северной Африки и Среднего Востока. Но об этом позже+

Всех целую! Наташа.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rachael - MHSS - March

What a day!!!

Here's my REAL March post.

So far, so good. Been loving our March events (so many are food-based! How interesting.....), as well as all other March goings-on. Beer battered veggies last week and LOVED the experience -- & the results! So very excited. :) Zach was here (our favorite Jewish cowboy!), I've been working in our various patches of dirt in prep for garden(s) of sorts (I'm excited for planting!), I bought packets of seeds (wooo!), and for fun, I shall share with you a bit of my day today: (it was a lot more amusing as it happened than it will sound here)

Ran some errands this morning -- quite successfully, quite thrilling; a gorgeous day here in MD. I sure do love that Baltimore skyline. Explored & discovered, got some things I have been needing to get, & visited my parents' time for a SEWAGE PARTY!!! Backed-up sewer lines & leaking was a Shitwater Fest! My sister and I cracked up quite a lot during this escapade. Sometimes we were laughing so hard we couldn't actually accomplish anything productive. In trying to clear out the storage area that was getting leaked upon, my sister and I became rather innovative (need bequests invention?). If only you, too, could sport the fashionable plastic bag bonnets my sister created to prevent...well, getting dripped on. We're a good team, I must say. And we have pictures to commemorate the day. =D Fabulous. Nothing like family bonding!

PLUS -- not that ANYTHING could top my afternoon adventure! -- we saw one of the foxes that frequents our and our neighbors' yards. This one is the latest newcomer, the one my mom was just describing to me yesterday on the phone: fluffy, golden...absolutely gorgeous.
It was eating.
A squirrel.
I know this because I walked over to where the fox had been enjoying his (probably a "his" and not a "hers") meal before he trotted away (I scared him -- oops) to investigate the leftovers & see what I could discern. Quite a neat eater: nothing left, nothing at all but the tail....

Sorry March

I promise I won't forget about you again........but you have to realize we moved into our new house this month and I've been sooooo busy. It's only about a mile and a half away but it's so much nicer than the old Los Angeles Moishe House. We now have a backyard to hold people in for our events as well as a jacuzzi built into the deck!!!!! There's great hardwood floors and plenty of room to run around. And it's not shaped like a hallway like our old house. We really want to throw some great events here and I think it's possible due to the upgrade.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Home part deux

I just returned from a weekend in Florida at the hippie music festival called Langerado. When I found myself in a rental car at 4am with police officers yelling, tornado warning-stay in your car, rain began flodding through the window cracks, my cell phone beeping in death, and my mind racing...i couldn't help but say there's no place like moishe's home, there's no place like moishe's home"... and "poof", i was still in the car freaking out..

now back at our new and improved moishe house, we are gearing up for some awesome activities and a radical purim party.

I must say and admit, i never knew how much work went into being in a moishe house. Working more than full time for a startup really leaves no horas para moishe familia. As i am still adjusting to life here in LA, meeting new folks, and relocating twice now - I am excited to get pumping away with Moishe LA 2.0

I think i will plan a gardening party like Maia suggested -oh that sounds sweet.

Till next time,
stay good yo

Saturday, March 8, 2008

First Time from Warsaw

Running a Moishe House has been a great experience, making my Jewish involvement even more active. Even after a month of operating I have met new people and got new ideas.

Right now here is all about Purim, we are making a BIG party at one of the most popular clubs in Warsaw. Last few days me and my friends have been running around the city putting the posters an brochures in different bars and clubs of the city.

The event will take place on the 15th, so it's getting a bit hectic. I still have no outfit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Got to run......

Friday, March 7, 2008

Lee Levin MHLA feb blog

Sorry for the delay, but after a long move we are finally MHLA 2.0 Please come and visit us any time. I am a little weirded out about the Ari situation since I never thought something like that could happen so close to home. I am sorry for morris and his family for the unfortunate turn of events.

On a Happy note March is going to be Kick-ass so let's bring on the Holidays


Lee Levin

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Silver Spring Alan and the Deadly Hallows

Dear Rachael,

I can't believe you're hating on the Halloween bowl.

Why do you have no soul?

Alan that we got that out of the way, I'm gonna kvell about the sheer variety of events we've had this past month at Moishe House Silver Spring Maryland:
-- a klezmer house concert
-- a superbowl party
-- a "super tuesday" primary election results-watching party
-- israeli dancing
-- classic movie night
-- shabbat services and dinner
-- interfaith spiritual evening
-- field trip to the baltimore poetry slam!

So thats two trips, four arts, two performances, one sport, four blatantly jewish experiences, and one awesome 29-day-long month. Also tons of friends, good foods, exercise for the body, mind, & ego, and the best shabbat dinner ever (30 people! Staying up til 4 am!)

For next month we're looking at a great Purim Party, sushi making & bagel baking, and more.

the House - February - RRR

The Squire family's support of Moishe House London has given us the opportunity to create a family of friends and when I heard the news about Ari, it felt as though I lost someone from that circle, even though I never met him.

Though we are not in the presence of Morris or the Forest Foundation day to day, the potential that we are able to release due to his help has created an emotional connection that goes beyond the one expected from the recipient of a fund. This community is the kind that I always wanted, where the community is part of the daily action of life, rather than something taken for granted in between work and play. The strength in numbers of people with goodwill, will, I hope, eventually create a large web of support where everyone offers a little and so benefits from the 'little' offered by everyone else, which adds up to a whole lot of support. And that support provides the springboard for new and higher dreams. Feeling that support makes it easier to give without hesitation.

So thank you to Morris, Lei and all of the Squire family and their community who make this a reality. I send you all my love and I hope that we can offer you some kind of support in return now in your grief, and in all times to come.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Moishe House London - Joel - February

Yesterday the Tricycle Theatre, one tube stop down the Jubilee Line, gave the Royal Shakespeare Company a break from their show to put on a very special day of Muslim-Jewish artistic collaboration, organised by a group called Muju. Rachel and I were in the play, 'March', about a march (i.e. a demo) in London and all the different groups and people attending. I was cast as a thug ex-convict (as usual... it's always either hooligans or vulnerable rent boys with me) and frankly it was great being on stage again in a relatively normal play i.e. not interactive, off-the-wall radical Jewish weirdness (which - don't get me wrong - I love), especially at such a fantastic venue. Daniel did his rap performance poetry with a Muslim and Jewish poet upstairs in the studio and, all in all, the day provided some much-needed positivity between the Muslim and Jewish communities, when all the news from the Middle East seems gloomy right now. Just a creative, happy atmosphere.

Dialogue eh? Earlier this month I attended a vote at my university, where I'm doing my Masters, to discuss linking with an Israeli university, in addition to the Palestinian university we've been linked to for the past two years. Unfortunately the vote was defeated, 82-80, as they went for specific solidarity over, as far as I see it, building bridges and looking to the future. At almost every Israel/Palestine event I've been to, it's turned into each 'side' shouting at each other about their own victimhood. Contesting victimhood, no matter what the truth of the situation, will simply embed us all more.

On Monday we're having Eliyahu McLean and sufi Sheikh Bukhari from the Jerusalem Peacemakers speak at The House, sharing the spiritual approach to peacemaking they practice in the Holy Land.

Then, to bring this blog back to a theatrical theme, I leave for New York City for a month, where I'm doing a month's internship with Storahtelling, from Purim to Pesach. They've mentioned something to me about dressing up as Jesus and singing Monty Python, but I don't want to reveal too much - it sounds like I'll be revealing quite enough as it is...

MHSF, Maia, March 3

San Francisco has just begun to see the light of Spring -- trees full of flowering branches and early morning light that shines in my eyes to wake me before I hear the traffic of Fell St.

A delight it is. MHSF has a gardening event date set, and we're ready to plant new life into our soil and our home and our relationships and our hilly corner of the world. Daydreaming about summer heat and trips and more sunshiney days to come.

Being a member

of the Moishe House...
has alive fertility in the soil right now,
Spring time is approaching in San Francisco for all to drift around on the scent of...
most likely between rains and overcast weather,
and thoughts and plans of an adventurous day... what are you going to do with you one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver's words replay every so often in my thoughts...
Today, I am going to share the glory of a warm sunny day with the wind, and my friend... down the coast and through landscapes that illicit memories of good times for each of us, as we travel the coastline of our lives, into and out of shorelines, rocky outcroppings, sea bird nests, tidepools... alive alive...
this is the way I want to live my one wild and precious life...
It occurs to me that there are many avenues and seemingly unmarked paths to take...
what is it to be my one wild, precious and authentic self...
creating and processing momentary existence... daily...
sounds freeing, good and trusting...
in both myself, and my fellow human-kind, in the greater ecosystem and all who share in the world we know, and all those that we don't know about -as humans...
What a gift to share, a fresh breath, ocean breeze and air, laughter, love and tears, and some words with the coastline...

Condolences to Moishe and his family

Dear all,

The Moishe House community was shaken by the terrible news we heard last week about the tragic death of Moishe's son Ari. All of us at MH London send our sincerest condolences to Moishe and his faimly and wish them much comfort in their time of grief.

It is hard to know what to say in the face of such a terrible tragedy and as a member of MH London I am not sure how I can respond. Hearing of such news my first reaction was to think of the fragility of life and often the leap of faith that it requires to invest in somebody and something when you dont know how long it will be around or when it might be taken from you.

But such an effort, a leap of faith is absolutely required if we are to make something of life, create positive life experiences and bringing them to others. I suppose that is how MH members can respond, to continue to create such life experiences and make the most of life in the face of such fragilities.

If we can now reaffirm our commitment to doing this through MH then perhaps we will have contributed to creating a fitting legacy and memorial to the life of Moishe's son. We can but try.

May Ari's life be an inspiration to us all and may his soul rest in peace

A confused, powerless and shaken Gideon Rabinowitz

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Margo from MHSS

February was a pretty relaxed month. I think my favorite event was our shabbat services and dinner for this month. I really enjoy singing kabbalat shabbat, and it feels really good in my own home surrounded by friends. Dinner was delicious as usual. And it was even nicer to have people hang around 'till the early hours of the morning sharing stories. This month already is off to a great start with a homebrewing beer event. Hopefully before pesach we will have our bottling party. And who can forget that Purim is almost here? Definitely a cause of happiness.
Keeping it short and sweet, until next month.

Rachael MHSS for Feb.

4 glorious weeks + 1 glorious day of February....
Reunited with an few old friends, had a FANTASTIC full house for Shabbat (with lots of newbies!), & my amazing, life-strengthening Nature's Classroom experience has been officially fully integrated into MH & the life for which I left NC....

Also got mucho donations of fabulous stuff we can absolutely use here at MHSS from semi-relatives who are moving, have a kosher house, & wanted to give to our community!: extra blankets for our multitude of guests (come visit! you won't be cold!), mugs (we can now drink our hot tea properly -- though this eliminates the extra-fun challenge of drinking hot tea out of a spaghetti sauce jar), massive amounts of bowls & plasticware (please G-d, no more serving salad in that hugely & atrociously orange Halloween bowl! We have REAL bowls now!), aprons (who knew *they'd* be a hit?, yet which have already come in handy: Texas Becca lit up in excitement to learn we had an apron she could wear while deep-frying Oreos), pots & pans (so we'll be able to cook even after Margo & Noam move out), baking goodies (Julie's reaction to our new rolling pin was precious -- something to be experienced), & other excellent treasures. I love family. :)

Always growing & expanding -- it's amazing how different things feel from when I first moved in -- how "at home" everything is, how much everyone belongs....

i <3 mh



I write today to say that the past month has been quite a time! But besides that YESTERDAY was the shizzy. We did a little something called the Chi-Diterod. It was the third annual urban iditerod in Chicago. The organizers all seemed like people that had been to the Burning Man festival and who heard some ideas from others from cities like San Francisco where they have been doing this for a long time! Moishe House volunteered at one of the stations during the race and we helped direct traffic and man the station as groups showed up throughout the day. This race was based in the goal of collecting canned food to give to the Chicago Food Depository and people grouped together and thought of hilarious themes to dress up as and run all over the city. It was so super hilarious. We had such a great time seeing all the costumes and chucking it up with everyone! I was happy to be out doing this and years past, I have showed up to the scene too late to catch anything. We had a blast! Stay tuned for pictures and captions. It was great.

On another note, it was a tragic thing that happened to Morris' son, Ari and I would like to once again, send out my condolences to the family and to say that my thoughts are with you all at this time.

Until next time,

Great Start

Hey Ya'all

With a ew year comes a new housemate
Mr Yoni Bass, a moishe house regular last year has joined us for what promises to be an amazing year. To think this time last year the idea of Moishe House was still fresh and uncertain in the minds of the Jewish community in Cape Town. Now, one might call it an institution.

Anyway so the year has started off flying. A number of people returning from extended time overseas, have joined us for moishe house activities and it's been great to see Moishe old timers and Moishe rookies rocking it at the house.

My highlight so far has been our poker night. I hadn't played in ages and loved it. I got a real sense that it may develop into something that happens more often at Moishe House Cape Town (you know how us Jews can gamble).

Anyway the Dragon (Daniel Barnett) is calling me. More next time on why his name is the Dragon if I've never blogged about it before.

As we say in South Africa
Mooi Moishe

March 2nd isn't February 2nd

February 2nd, Groundhog Day, is not the same as March 2nd, which is simply March 2nd. That's why this year I'm going to try and make March 2nd a really special day. I'm going to go coach little league baseball out in the sunshine on a beautiful San Francisco day. As I recall, Puxatony Phil gave us some bad news in that he saw his own shadow, indicating 6 more weeks of winter. Well today I'm not going to give any of the 13-14 year olds on my team any bad news. I'm not going to say, "Paul, hope you're ready to sit on the bench all year," or "Danny, I wouldn't get your hopes up for improving." It's going to be all encouraging, and maybe a little confusing for the kids. If I hit a fly ball and a kid drops it, instead of telling him to run a bunch of laps I'll simply say, "hey, it's ok, I like your t-shirt." I'm sure he'll catch the next one. Or maybe not. But at least he will know that I appreciate his sense of style, and that's really important in baseball.

I wish a happy March to everyone, and here's to 6 less weeks of winter...