Saturday, May 31, 2008

May MH Montevideo... because we're the best of the best (sir!)


hellooooooooo there people!!

First thing I want to say a special thank you to our MH member Elkana Shtul (the king) that the last Monday left us for a better life in his home town Yad Binyamin... we're very grateful to g-d that we had him in our team, and I wish him a lot of Hatzlaja (luck) in everything he would do.. Go Elkana!!
We do more and more stuff around here some bigger and some normal, people you had to see us and the girls that work with us here in Montevideo working til 5.15 AM (!!!) to decorating Yavne- the Jewish central here.. it was amazing and we had a Yom Haatzmaut event that was cool, a lot of flags and israeli music that you could hear 500 meters from there, a lot of kids came and we had a great time..
about the Asado we don't have to talk, you have to be here and taste it.. no words needed! a lot of fantastic meat for everyone, of course Kosher meat..
well there was the Sushi night as well that was good, to tell you the truth i don't like sushi so much and from the ones that i did eat i took out the salmon but never mind, the spirit of the night was good so who cares right?
well ... that's it for this time.. Jay and Lior will tell you about the other stuff and events, good luck everyone and specially Elkana!
Yonatan Yussim, MH Montevideo

Saturday, May 24, 2008

שבת נפלאה בבודפשט

התארחתי השבת בבית של ערן אלבר, שליח הסוכנות בבודפשט, מוסיקאי, מלחין, איש אשכולות. יש לו שני ילדים מקסימים, דניאל וליה. הייתי כבר בבודפשט בעבר, אבל תמיד טוב יותר להכיר עיר מהכניסה האחורית, זאת אומרת, דרך אנשים שמתגוררים בעיר, ולא דרך סוכנויות תיירות ומלונות חמישה כוכבים. מזג האויר היה מצויין, האנשים יותר נעימים מהאנשים בוינה, בילינו עם הילדים של ערן, ודיברנו דברי תורה
דברי תורה הן לא בהכרח סברות של אביי ורבא.
אני מאד מאד עייף, אבל אנסה לכתוב עוד בקרוב.
להשתמע בקרוב, לכל מי שקורא

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Love: the Tree ‘n Me

Sitting here along the Danau river, enjoying a wafting array of Viennese sunshine carried forth by the cool winds of spring, participating in a gathering of mutually diverse entities whom collectively share in this marvelous gift of life, I ponder the nature of existence: sentient vitality inescapably bound in the familiar arenas of space and time. The astoundingly green grass, rejoicing in all its organic vibrancy. The boundless breadth of the Blue Danube, whistling timeless rhapsodies along its golden embankments. And poised in its natural serenity, a lovely tree, placidly stretching its tendrils into a hovering pool of endless blue mystery. Concerning this tree: I quietly observe its passive displacement of an indeterminable amount of atmospheric elements, a perfect fit for a setting so precise. Sometimes there’s a tree- well sometimes there’s a tree, and it’s the tree for its time and place...
Inspecting its shape; tall, curvy, branches intermittently extending from its proud trunk. Fresh spring leaves jettisoning their way through a hardened exterior crumbly bark. Its color, a beautiful tapestry of greens and browns, constellations of vivid color playfully oscillating through perfectly defined spectrums of luminescent splendor. The tree, lets say, has weathered no fewer than 60 cycles of solar rotation.
Now, I begin to think… 61 years ago this tree was but a speck of biological speculation. A fragment of phantasmagorical filament. A mere ponderance of a wandering poet. The origins of this tree once hung from a branch of a prior tree, encased in a tiny pocket of seed- no larger than a pebble, quivering, utterly helpless to the wild dances of celestial winds. Then, at the critical juncture, an unknown momentum of cosmic proportion sends it flying away from its home, dislodged from its host of eternal potentialiality. Into the winds of space, the sands of time, the dust of the earth. Buried in the soil, disregarded from the world, forgotten from those who never had a chance to know… The seed lay dormant, whole a swan searches for fish. The seed lay dormant, while the water ripples bit. The seed lay dormant, the seed lay dormant, the seed lay dormant.
Gravity thus taking its toll, the seeds integrity begins to recede, precursory layers of its outer shell begin merge as one with the dark earthen substrate holding its withered spirit. Shivering by the darkness of night, the seeds inevitable disintegration pulses with the timeless rhythms of an incandescent moon. Perspiring by the fire of day, the seed gradually melts in accordance with the sweeping arc of a commanding sun. Nearly at the point of despair, the aged, weathered, decaying seed musters all of the strength it has left in its infinitesimal existence, braces itself for surmounting the impossible, and ZOOMPH!
A sprout.
A sprout!
A sprout?
Where did this seed get the nerve! Where did it receive the wisdom, the fortitude, the material resources to send forth a burst of crisp new life? Where did it get the courage to defy the commanding laws of entropy, slowly dooming its autonomous disposition into the innards of a pervasive soup of dust and stone? Where did it ascertain the guiding principles of life, to set in motion such a miraculous wonder of inexplicable phenomena?
Ok, so the seed has a spout, BIG DEAL; an awkward and tense state of existence to say the least. What opportunities does a tender thought of fresh hope actually have trapped in the hardened dungeon of its withering seed? Sensing the tremors of its own fated demise, this budding aspiration surely despairs of any notions of life to be. Yet the sprout pushes on. Weighing no more than a few grams, the brave sprout summons its intrinsic wisdom in order to further its exterior growth:
“Lets see, first things first… ahh, yes, to move beyond this constricting enclosure of my birth, some sort of rigid encasement no doubt, I’ll just wiggle a bit and slip myself right on out of there- check! Second, must establish the roots. Roots in a rootless world. Roots in the soil below. Roots which shall uphold my eventual development into a multi-ton powerhouse of towering lumber and leaf. Ah, at a loss, am I! What am I to do? Where shall I find the material necessary to implement this vision, extend my influence into such an expansive subterranean network? Resources are a little tight around here these days…”
And thus the new sprout contemplates the daunting task ahead, plotting its strategy. Displaying an elegant brilliance, it proceeds to craft an impossible scheme; an exquisite process of harnessing enriching vitality out of lifeless earth, thus giving substance to its eternally confident vision of full-fledged system of life. It turns out the sprout has emerged equipped with just the precise state-of-the-art hardware and software as to extract plump nutrient vestiges from an unresponsive sea of dust and dirt. And so, step by step, mineral transforms into plant, zinc turns into cellulose, iron into glucose, obliterated rock into vibrant plant.
And this process continues, the sprout eventually emerging victorious from its dim exile underground exile, finally greeting the unknown benefactor who has so selflessly encouraged its hardened plight against the burdensome chains of Newtonian theoretics: the sun. And thus our brave sprout is immediately thrust into the orgasmic process of photosynthesis, the benevolent exchange of abundant sunlight for precious oxygen. And this continues, throughout the blizzards of winter, the sunburns of summer, and the fogs of fall, liveliness of spring, the cars and the joggers and the geese and the sirens, the boats and bridges and the elections and the wifi and the knights who say Ni!
60 years have passed, and the tree now holds itself with the time-honored confidence of an elderly sage. Yet, with this wisdom, it anticipates it’s the inevitable. Another few sets of 60, and this tree will be long gone, embedded in the earth, decaying into shards of dust and sand- and time and space. It will give back its life force to the soil from which it had initially expropriated nutrients from. Soon, it will be the indistinguishable patch of common matter upon which our souls and shoes nonchalantly tread upon from day to day.
And when the process is said and done, when the proud tree I now admiringly look upon completes its transformation from microscopic a flake of genetic potential to a humble clump of indiscernible dirt, I find myself at a loss of words. Perhaps nothing happened at all? Perhaps the tree never was? However, these irritable ripples of doubt soon pass over steadfast stream of mental clarity- tranquility assumes its beaming crown atop 5 flawless kingdoms of order and purpose.
I know you, tree; I have walked your path, I have known your ways. I see the sentient principle within you, guiding the material which passively flows through you. I know not fire, nor water can touch that which dwells in regal harmony at the core of your unquantifiable essence.
I know you live on, marking your existence in the world within the vast rivers of space, the channels of time. I look upon you with confidence, tree- receiving your light with the uppermost realms of my perception. I look and I know, beyond reason, disabling doubt, that you and I- we share something of quintessential profundity, beyond that which any moral creature can conjure. We share the most intimate principle of existence that any living creature can be possibly endowed with. Together, you and me, tree, we are One- in the unceasing Love of the Master of the Universe.

Monday, May 12, 2008

MH SAC Jen's in the Hospital

I have now been working in the hospital for 3 weeks. I am currently on my psychiatry rotation, so my schedule is great...and I have lots of interesting stories. In keeping it short, appropriate, and under HIPPA regulations....I can't share the best of my experiences. Let's just say, though, that I have seen and heard a lot while on the psychiatry. My days are filled with excitement. Hey, one of my classmates sat in one of our patients' urine on the 2nd day (don't ask). I have one more week in the hospital, and then I will be at a county inpatient mental health facility. I'm really liking what I am doing. Maybe psychiatry is in my future. Who knows. Stay tuned. And now I am off the Israel's 60th celebration.


Saturday, May 10, 2008


I just came back from New York, and last night I went out with a few buddies from college in Williamsburg, in Brooklyn. In the taxi ride I noticed an incredible amount of chassidic Jews walking on the sidewalks. I cannot remember the last time I saw a chassid in San Francisco, and it always makes me kind of question what it means to be a jew. I consider myself 100% committed towards being Jewish, but are the chassidics Jews any more Jewish than me? I have no idea, but it's certainly an interesting question, and if nothing else, it illustrates how broad of a meaning "Jewish" can have.

In case any of you have never been to San Francisco, when I got back I really felt excited to be back in the greatest city in the world. I highly recommend a visit...


Friday, May 9, 2008

late entrance

after so long a time, I manage to publish my first blog.
This month is hectic in the Moishe house vienna. We all live in the fourth floor of an old building in the center of the Jewish quarter in Vienna. Our street is calles, Grosschifgasse, or the ''big ship''. In the 2nd floor there is an Iranian refugee synagogue, and the other one in the first floor, is always giving us new experiences, new people to meet, and exciting experiences.
I want to write here a little bit about ''arthur'', a lonely homeless who comes to visit the Iranian synagogue once in a while, for a drink, a little food and a small conversation with whoever agrees.
He#s short, wears second hand leather jackets and has a long and curious nose. He Always speaks very directly, not always easy to understand his speech, but sometimes something interesting and penetrating comes out of his mouth. He comes up to me and says, are you jewish at all? I say: yes. How do you know? My family is. What does it mean to you? Too long to talk about this right now.
He stares at me.
There were days I thought i was jewish, and it gave me the whole world. I thought we own everything. Now I know I'm just a common man going to the place where everyman goes, and staying at place where every man dwells.
Said and left the room to his endless journey.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Coming back to Moishe House

Wow, it has been a really crazy couple of months. I have been to 5 countries for work, Tanzania, Kenya, India, south Africa and Ghana, which mainly involved sitting in conferences and meetings, but also a little travel here and there. It was amazing to see these places and I met some great people, but I didnt realise quite how much Moishe House london had become home, until these trips took me far far away from 110 Chatsworth Road, AKA MHL. I have such a strong sense of community at MHL, that being away made me feel a little bereft and adrift.

It is great to be back at MHL for more than a week, and I do feel like I have come home, which I think is a great testimony to my housemates and what we have built at MHL. Long may it continue and bring on May!

Hope all at MH have a great month.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

MHLA Lee Levin, May 06

April has come and gone but the fun of 08 has just begun. We have many more BBQ's poker nights hebrew classes dress up parties and more. Sit back and relax and let the jew flow through you.

Go LA moishe

Happy Yom Ha'atzmaut!

Dear Moishe house familly,

I hope you all had a wonderful Pessah and that you are enjoying the spring.
After this long cold winter, the sun has finally reached our city. Smiles, smell of flowers, smoke of BBQs are everywhere....welcome the Spring!

I should be spending my summer in Israel, so it happen that you are there too, it would great to be meet. So keep in touch

I wish all a

Happy Yom Ha'atzmaut!

Kol Tov!


Monday, May 5, 2008

Zvi from Silver Spring , MD

Exciting prospects on the horizon as we search for one more new moishenick. I think our house is open for a needed change up of energy. We are looking forward to Lindsay moving in and giving us a boost of community togetherness, and still to find the last mystery person for our family. This week is a lot of endings for me ... i finish my internship, classes for the semester, and my TA placement. Oh... so nice to let go. It is also a beginning week, as I am teaching my first class tonight in a Yoga studio... I am excited and some friends are going to come and take my class for support ... feel free to send good vibes my way at about 8pm EST.

For the future ... hoping to maintain a little more balance in my life. that means more downtime for breathing and taking care of this being.

Peace to all of you ...


in the fall, the living is easy

aaah, moishe house in the AUTUMN (that's fall to you americans)
as we near winter, it is raining outside
inside, friends gather for the pesach meal, as we explore different themes to do with the passover festival
chinese oppression of religion, the crisis across our border in zimbabwe (where over a month after the fact, the opposition still have not been announced as the winners of a presidential election).

friends, both old and new, come over often
things have been great this year so far, with many events ranging from movie nights to israeli guest speakers to relaxation evenings - we've had it all.

jonathan has moved in as a new member of the house, immediately fitting in while bringing a whole new crowd to liven the place up.

what a brilliant few months, bodes well for the future


MHSS Alan was killed by Passover

Oh my god what a trip. And I didn't even go anywhere. At MHSS we had about 20 people over, eating, talking, playing games, and observing the entire three day Shabbat-Passover-Passover holiday, complete with two Seders that each lasted past 3:30 am! This included my family, and Rachael's family came over one night as well.

I'm exhausted!

Just in time for the upcoming Yom ha-Atsma'ut party....

the House London - RRR - Power of 5

It has occurred to MHLon how much we need to have fun and relax with each other.
We are all friends, that's how this started. In the madness of always being the hosts to the party it's easy to feel like we're always in the midst of a party, but it's not quite the same.

The MH Binder allows for one house-residents-only event per month.
I've heard that some houses don't use it, that it is perceived as a pointless bit of fun when it could be spent on some world-changing event. I cannot stress how important it is to hang out with my housemates socially and to have fun. Otherwise all I'll ever associate them with is the business of running the house, and the House, for all my passion, may become more of a chore. I want to associate my housemates with fun, I want to get to know their personality outside of meetings and conference calls. I wnt to value them as whole human beings.

It seems that MH is about getting people to form their community in their image. Who would not wish to have fun? How can we expect our guests to chill if we are not chilled? How can we expect to work hard without a day of rest?
I would recommend using the budget, use that day as suggested in the binder. It may seem silly to some, but it's quality time that builds into something bigger.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Rachael, MHSS, April -- May -- What??

I don't think I blogged for April!

It's been nuts here:
Pesach CRAZINESS at the house - first Pesach with my Maryland family since 2004 - Margo's literally on her way moving out - the search for new Moishemates - teaching my 6th graders which ever Sundays we actually have class - subbing for Pre-K thru 9th grades other days - family experiences, wonderful & not nearly enough of them - my cousin is about to have a baby! (!!!) - got a new mobile phone ["finally," my friends & family say: my other one is from 4 1/2 years ago; the only reason I replaced it is because the battery was amped no more -- my phone would only work when plugged into my car charger] - reuniting with friends I haven't seen in a long time (& who haven't seen one another in a long time) - seeing some friends more frequently, including one that I would sometimes see every couple years if I was lucky - loving Old Time Radio - producing amazing (to me) lesson ideas (I love teaching!) - FANTASTIC matza pizza + Prince of Egypt event! - on a quest to clear out the past, try new things, & activate dormant ideas - looking forward to an AWESOME May & the visit of Jeremy, our fearless West Coast leader!

Till next time!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Moishe House London - Joel - April

I'm writing this in a willful pause as I wade through the 150 or so emails I've let build up over the last few days. It's been that busy since I got back from my month in New York. A flurry of deadlines converging at once. I think I'm doing alright. And to be honest, all this work and activity has readjusted me to life in London. Plus it's quite fun stuff. I led a drama workshop on Wednesday at Alperton Community School, the first of ten sessions on the topic of domestic violence against women. We meet each week and the teenagers ultimately create some kind of performance to show their peers or parents. Then yesterday fellow-housemate Daniel and I led a drama and rap/poetry workshop to Jewish kids on the subject of self-esteem youth issues.

But perhaps most interesting was the panel I was on, this Wednesday night. I was asked to speak to the Adam Science Foundation Leadership programme and its alumni about innovation in the British Jewish community. I was alongside someone from the JCC, someone from Limmud and Trevor Pears of the Pears foundation. In the course of the conversation, which was very interesting, we identified a split, between those who want change and the development of new, engaged ways of being Jewish, and those who would rather sit back, pay their shul fees for their burial rights and accept the same old. Why change?

Because every society needs a growing edge. The bark of a tree grows old. It becomes the core but if there is no new layer the tree will die.

"Why change?" is what they said to the Baal Shem Tov too.

Springtime in the north, atumn in the south...

It's getting cold down here in Montevideo, and it was strange celebrating Pesach in the fall weather. All the life and rebirth symbology that I normally attach to the holiday just didn't fit. It was also my first Pesach without my family, which was hard. So it was different for me this year.

I still enjoyed a lovely seder and ate matzah all week though. It's funny how at the beginning of the holiday matzah always tastes so good, and by the end I never want to see it again. Kosher for Passover food isn't always the tastiest, but in the States at least there's options. These days it seems like they have everything except for kosher for Passover bread.

Well, finding kosher for Passover food in Montevideo is not so easy. For that reason, we hosted back-to-back-to-back dinners at Moishe House Montevideo! It was a great way to get people together and celebrate Pesach, and I think we made their kosher food hunt a lot easier.

Actually it was quite an active month for us at Moishe House Montevideo, with 12 events in all. The coolest had to be El Asado Mas Grande del Mundo, or in English, "The Biggest Barbeque in the World." It was an event organized by the city of Montevideo to celebrate their meat-loving culture, and generated a turnout of over 22,000 people. And there cooking the kosher meat was Moishe House Montevideo! Check out the pics...

So... here comes the winter. There weren't many April showers, and I doubt there'll be any May flowers. Just cold, and I'm not too excited about it. We'll try to keep things cookin at Moishe House Montevideo though! Until next time,

Jay Krefman

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Moishe House Warsaw goes to London

Myself and Tadek had a great luck to be able to visit the London house while Kevin was touring Europe. The guys there deserve their house of the month prize. I didn't see any other houses but there is so much energy there and good things happening it got us totally inspired. So now ..... ladies and gentleman we are looking for the new, bigger house in Warsaw to be able to bring this feeling of community to Warsaw too. Keep your fingers crossed since when we do find it you are all welcome.

The trip to London kind of showed me what a Moishe House can be and I believe that it is so important that we will get the chance to meet once in while together to talk and exchange ideas, after all I believe our Moishe House network is as important as the small communities we are trying to create. Looking at the activities of the guys in London it gave me a lot of new ideas and approaches of how we can build our Jewish Community, how to take on a different level and introduce Judaism and Jewishness into our every day life. So Kevin I hope you will keep your promise and we can all meet son for the Europe retreat.

Talking about Kevin I just wanted to share with everyone that he is a wonderful person a good and kind men with a 'huge heart' (if there is such an expression in English).

I'm currently in Brussels telling my friends about Moishe House, I guess having one in the EU capitol would be cool.

Bye for now.....