Sunday, November 30, 2008

November with Moishe House Chicago, The Best Days of Our Lives

Good Evening Moishe House!

I write tonight on the tail end of my Thanksgiving trip where I drove many many hours out east and back for a wonderful Thanksgiving time full of food, and activities INCLUDING ice skating which I am REALLY feeling right now. In Chicago, things are buzzing with excitement after Obama was elected and has chosen to stay in Chicago for the interim until he takes office as our new president. Having grown up here in Chicago, I now feel completely overwhelmed with the sheer pride I have in my city. I think it's interesting to think about a city as a living thing; something that changes as it ebbs and flows through the chaos of time. Also, I am now so much more aware of all the great people that have come through this city (Morris included!)and feel so happy to be able to call myself, at least for a time, a Chicagoan. I will leave it at that. I hope everyone is well and that as we move to close 2008, we are able to the years ahead as a kind of new frontier in our nation's history. We have a lot of challenges yet to face, but I now officially have faith in our country and global community that we will be able to take on those challenges and be the masters of our own destiny yet again.
-Ilana Schuman-Stoler
Moishe House Chicago

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
I hope that everyone had a good one. I just returned on the Megabus from Chicago where I was visiting my family, writing a research paper and seeing old friends under a huge time crunch. Apparently I barely missed a huge snow storm. Although it was nice, I am definitely glad to be back. One of the great things about being out of town for thanksgiving was that I had no obligation to work Black Friday. Which I heard was pretty good.
Here at Moishe House Cleveland we are trying to get a group together to go winter camping, but only a few people want to do it due to the cold weather and all, so we may have to hold off until spring before doing that. Along with everyone else, I can't wait to see Matisyahu in two weeks.

November in Chicago

was a long month. I can't believe that we still didn't know who our next president was going to be when this month started. I can't believe thanksgiving is already over and I have to go to work tomorrow morning.

It is pretty exciting to be in Chicago right now. Even though we are preparing to hibernate for the long winter (i've switched to my winter bike, which is a beast. it is a bridgestone mb-3 w/ big beefy tires, and it bikes over and through EVERYTHING) Chicago, for the first time, feels like the center of attention. Obama has split the press room into a cubs side and a white sox side, and everyone is talking about their friend in hyde park who is a neighbor of, or works out with, or who's kids went to school with, the Obamas. it feels good to have a new president coming... i only wish he wasn't so pro 2016 chicago olympics. but that's a different story.

One final note: here is my suggestion. After thanksgiving, when you have all that extra turkey and gravy and all those extra overcooked buttery vegetables, get some puff pastry dough and make a big ole pot pie. omg it's delicious!

have a great month mhs of the world.


Settling in the new house...

Hi everyone,

Long time no blog!!
I hope you are all very happy in your Moishe House.
I am very glad to announce you that our Moishe House has just changed its location:
We are now living in a beautiful penthouse very near from the City Zentrum.

This last two month was very challenging with getting the new house organized, celebrating the month of Tishrei, and starting a new academic year; thanks G-d our house is now up and running with two new room mates, Daniel and Michael that will get to know, and a really nice programing.

Chanouka is coming and I had the idea to do a inter-Moishehouse Chanukia building contest... Who's in??

I wish you a beautiful and colorful month of Kislev;

Shavua tov!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Blogging from St. Louis to DC

Wow, just got back from a whirlwind weekend trip to DC for Beit Midrash with the Professional Leaders Program. You ever take a trip that is so fast, you feel like you were never there? That's what happened with this weekend. I have distinct memories of running through the airport in Philly to catch my flight, sharing a margerita pitcher at Guapo's in Tenleytown with good friends, and choosing from one of 300 beers at RFD (my new favorite DC bar). But I also know that I woke up in St. Louis Saturday morning and went to bed in St. Louis Sunday night. Was I really ever in DC? Weird.

That being said, being able to be at PLP was really great. We discussed issues surrounding the question of Jewish identity with a rabbi in Jerusalem via video conference, talked in small groups about the inherent inconsistencies in the writings of Maimonides and debated the selection criteria for Birthright Israel. Most important, we made connections that will help build MH STL, and got a chance to meet Eli from MH in DC. Since we will be in town a lot over the next few months for PLP, hopefully we can check out the House there sometime soon!

Other than that, things in St. Louis are rolling right along. Personally, I am most excited for the big pre-Hannukah blowout, a few Shabbats from now, featuring what I am told are the world's best latkes. Also, we have sandwiches from a kosher Subway in Kansas City on the way back here after Thanksgiving, so the eating won't end once Turkey Day is over!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting back in the Moishe Swing

Hi all again,

So ends the most ridiculous month and part of my life. Its hard to function as a sufficient human being when you are faced with a mountain of university work that never seems to end. I finally finished a week or so ago with my many many exams. The sad thing is it wasn't even a relief, i was so stung out that i didn't know what to do with myself! It took a week but i'm now back to feeling like a normal human being again, who does things such as socialise and hang out with his Moishe House friends ;-)

On a bright note, Barack Obama fever hit South Africa with a force. I too got swept up in the Obama hurricane. Even doing my civic duty and making sure the Moishe House staff were voting right :P. They were.

Anyway although i couldn't attend the all night Obama party i was invited to (exams. bleh) nor could i stay up long enough (i made 2;30am before i passed out-weak, i know), i did manage, along with Daniel Barnett, to wake up at 6AM to watch Obama' s acceptance speak. Even from here in South Africa it felt awesome. I am happy i woke up for it to experience the moment, one which will go down as incredibly significant in the history books. It really has been amazing how he has captured the imagination of the world. For all the Moishe Americans, good luck. I hope he manages to rectify some of the problems the US faces. Meanwhile i'm off to wait for my Obama shirt my aunt sent me from the states....

Speak soon moisheniks


Monday, November 17, 2008

Change we can blog about

Hello loyal Moishe House blog readers. Here in the nation's capital we've had a single-minded focus on the election. Now that the elections are over (except Minnesota and whatnot...FRANKEN 4 LIFE), we're feeling a wee bit lost...but no matter. We attended a rockin' election night extravaganza, and participated in the spontaneous march to the White House. And so change has come to DC (or will shortly)...and as it happens, big changes are also afoot in MHDC. We're losing the lovely (hands as soft as a baby's bottom) and talented (peanut noodles to die for) Leo, whose projector, stylish locks and eclectic music taste will be sorely missed. But we must press on. And so we're looking forward to some fun upcoming events, including our long-awaited book club, a joint ice skating adventure with the Silver Spring house, and the relaunching of the MHDC knitting circle. SWEET ASS.



Sunday, November 16, 2008

MHSS Alan doesn't Roll on Shabbos

I think my favorite event of October was going to "Dude-Fest", a celebration of all things Big Lebowski, at the new Montgomery Cinema & Drafthouse, nearby in Wheaton, MD. It's a multiplex cinema! And a bar! With big comfortable rolly-chairs to sit in and have drinks and food brought to you while you watch a movie!

There was a costume contest, and themed drink specials, and a (cancelled) live music performance of songs from the soundtrack of the movie -- and of course, a showing of "The Big Lebowski" itself. Damn that movie gets better every time I see it.

We rounded up 6 people to go on this "field-trip" event, and they all had a good time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Beijing: documenting a unique expat communtiy

Moishe House Beijing (aka me and Max) just finished our monthly conference call with Kevin, during which he asked us whether living in Beijing was isolating, if we felt there were no other Americans or foreigners.

His question made me think back to our community events with Moishe House in these first few weeks, and I have overwhelmingly decided that after more than 2 years in China I finally DO have a community, however temporary it may be (because really, who knows how long any of us will stay in the cities we live in now). I have people to count on for movie nights, dinners, and best of all always for learning new things (from juggling to crafts to cooking to languages). Our Jewish community has many people who want to learn about their own heritage, and many people of mixed ethnic backgrounds. I am happy that Max and I are cultivating a very open space where all kinds of Jews (and non-Jews as well) can connect and feel comfortable together.

For further evidence of our unique Beijing community, check out our photos on phanfare.

Even more fun (personal plug), check out my video "Calling for Obama in Beijing" that shows how Beijing not only has Americans, but has dedicated civic-minded Americans who volunteered for Obama and were overwhelmed with joy when he became President-elect last week.

If you take the time today (Thurs, Nov 13) to watch my video, please register an account on the site (e-a-s-y to do) and vote for my video or post a comment. As I write this I'm number 2 in the countdown and if I reach number 1 my video will be on TV!

Later this month I will also post the link to an article I wrote for The Forward about starting a Moishe House in Beijing. Look out for that!

cheers, ali

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bloggin in the USA

So here is my second installment of the Moishe House DC blog (2nd for me, I'm sure we've had non Steven run blogs). This week is a somber one here at Moishe House DC. Mostly because i only tied last week in Fantasy. You see, I made the huge mistake of playing Chris Johnson instead of Lendale White on the week that I needed more than 3 points from my number 1 running back. Well Johnson isn't really my number one, but at this point it is hard to call Joseph Addai a number one. So anyway I tied which puts me one and a half games up on the number four and five seeds and in a virtual tie with the number three seed (I am currently the number 2 seed). I need a good showing out of a couple guys this weekend to clinch a playoff spot and then in week twelve i will have a shot at the number one seed.

In other news I am now grading paper 2, which is why I am up this late. Paper 2, or the duo as I have just in the last couple of seconds taken to calling the second paper from my ENGL 101 class is a paper that incorporates outside evidence into my kids experience as evidence essays of inquiry. They now need to take their inquiry and answer some of the questions with outside academic sources. This also means that they need to have a thesis and that each paragraph needs to work towards answering that thesis. both of these things are proving to be difficult for the little ones. But all is well, I went to two poetry readings this week. I saw Frank Biddard, Bruce Smith, and Rae Armatrout. They were each special in their own way although none of them were what I would call superior readers. The best part was getting to talk to Bruce Smith about what it means to be a poet from Philadelphia and what sort of voice comes with being from Philadelphia. We also discussed the Phillies winning the championship and whether or not that effects our self image.

till next time,



It's been super exciting here in Philly.  You might not all be aware (or care) but the Phillies won the World Series (after a 25 year drought of Philly Championships)! Things were mayhem around here.  Horns blasting for days, a see of Hamel and Victorino and Howard shirts, lines around the block to get into Modell's.  Schools and work places literally closed down for the celebration parade that Friday and public transit couldn't accommodate all the people.  It was pretty great for our underappreciated city.  I'm not even a baseball fan, but it was very special.  Then something even better happened.  I can't say what it is now that we are a 501c3, but I'll give you a hint.  It was great for the whole country, it's all about CHANGE, and as a result of this momentous event, my birthday will no longer be the most important thing to happen this January.  

Jesse from MoishePVD for Nov

I just had to let that out.
Now, on to the story of our first-ever surprise Moishe event. My friend Caleb works as a trivia host. Every week he hosts a trivia game at a local restaurant. On Monday he confessed to me that he thought it might be nice if some of his friends showed up to one of the games. Sounded fun to me. So I got the info and, on short notice on Tuesday, managed to secure teammates to come with me and compete. I was pretty psyched about this opportunity because I had been looking for something fun to do for the Veterans Day holiday besides just taking off from work. So, I gathered my two co-nerds and drove them down to the restaurant in question. Sure enough, Caleb was surprised to see us among his crowd of regular players. Unfortunately, our collective trivia knowledge suffered from an egregious overlap, and we did not actually win any prizes on the night. But that's cool, because we had fun, and remember team, it's not about whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.
The end.

Election Night Spectacular

Hey y'all,

I wanted to take this blog-time to share with you the amazingness that was our Election Night party. We began the festivities at 8:30PM with a number of people showing up and chowing down on the food selection we had prepared. Make-your-own cupcakes dominated most of the table, with blue, red, and white icing available to make designs. There were a number of really great ones - an Obama logo, a Union Jack, and the Stars and Stripes, of course. We also bought some green, blue, and red candies to place around the table in fun assortments.

Outside of food we had some great activities planned as well. Election Night Bingo, where participants wrote down words they thought would be said, was a hit. We gave out some fairly ridiculous prizes (Mardis Gras beads, anyone?) to the winners of that game. We also had t-shirt making with your favorite campaign slogan and fill-in-the-country maps for those who wanted to follow along.

It was a great night. For more than just those reasons. Yeah for change!


This mid-November time...

We are in a great time - in history, in the calendar year, in the seasons, and, for sure, at MHP. We have shown the world that America is capable of change and yet, echoing someone else's post, still has much to learn. It's not quite yet winter jacket weather, but there is definitely a crispness in the air. We can still remember summer parties, but are also looking forward to those warm sweaters and homemade fires (thanks, Adam!). MHP 2.0 has really grown into itself. We have a full house of dedicated members and some community participants that are starting to step up as well. Our regulars continue to fervently attend events while we are recruiting newcomers all the time. We are able to plan more events and spend more time just enjoying each other with such an awesome group. From standing monthly activities (shout-out to Yoga, Eating Club, Heymish and Brew Club!) to unique one-time programs (Election party cupcakes, anyone?!), I'm totally feeling the love of this mid-November. It truly is, a great time :)

Moishe House JHB - Buzzing

Helllo fellow Moishe World,

This really is the era of hope. No longer are American's reputations long shadows casting over them in every conversation inducing apologies at the next corner. Today America seems like it good be the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Moishe house JHB is taking a pg out of this tree (yes that is where pages come from) and rocking the kazbar, hard.

Event after event, my stomach cannot handle another haloumi burger or game of twister.

It's good to be alive.

Well done to all those who voted Obama, the task will not finish now but it is still our responsibility to begin the labour even if the fruits will not be seen now.

Moishe House Johannesburg

Rachael - MHSS - November update

So much going on, want to make sure I capture it all....:
1. Going to Israel!!! (!!!!!!!!!!!!)
2. Inauguration Madness seems to be forming as an event Jan. 19th-20th... Let us know if you'll be in town!
3. We now compost!!
4. We're to be featured on "Shmoozin' with Shmuel" the morning of Sun., Nov. 23rd.
5. Lots of cool new partnership-friendships underway (reaching out to & connecting with other organizers we can work w/ to pull off events we haven't been able to do as a house community and who can "co-sponsor" some of our current happenings -- advertising to their audience -- hopefully informing more people of the fabulous MH initiative, and the MHSS)
6. Our latest decorative additions are looking amazing.

Preschoolers are interesting.
I have a new idea for childhood development education -- way better -- clearer? -- than my class in college. More experiential.
They really are the ultimate in copy-cat play (or yell -- depending on the situation). They covered the bases on Monday: a room full of hands-on-ears "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" and then a collection of "artists" who were all making "dog food" out of bars of Ivory soap (breaking it into tiiiiiny crumbles instead of being soap carvers a la Michaelangelo).
I was subbing with a preschool art program and so wore a pair of pants that could get clay or paint or preschool drool or whatever on them without being ruined, and my Coke Bear sweatshirt (not exact, but there's a resemblance).

One lovely girl sitting next to me asked, "Why are you wearing that shirt?" A trick question, perhaps? I answered, "Because I wanted to," and then returned the inquiry: "Why are you wearing that shirt?" She had a good answer: "Because my mom picked it out."

More about Michaelangelo....but not too much more before she asks, "Why is he wearing sunglasses?"

How do you answer why a polar bear wears sunglasses?

I did, though, and asked her if she has ever worn sunglasses. She said no! Can it be???
(Turns out one of her classmates came outside for the "soap carving" portion of class wearing sunglasses -- so maybe only certain 3- and 4-year-olds have been introduced to coolness/eye protection.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Apparently we still have a long way to go...

I do want to applaud all the other Moishe House folks that have written posts about how incredibly STOKED they are (as am I) about having Barack as our next President. I am proud of our country for finally taking a leap out there and not only electing the best person canidate for the job, but being confident in our ability to elect someone many of us never knew about during the last Presidential election. Sadly, on a day when so many of were reflecting on how far we've come, we also very disappointingly showed how far we have to go.

The constitution was designed to protect our civil rights, not strip them away. However, here in California, the home of the most elite public universities, global trendsetting in social and scientific research, "medical" marijuana clubs, the Castro District, and one of the Bluest states in the entire union, the most basic fundamental civil right of marriage is being stripped away with the sad passage of Prop. 8. What a joke, rather than allowing gay couples in California to get married, we just prefer they have a "civil union."

Hmmmmmm, if does not sound like discrimination, than what is? Is there any irony seen in the fact that Obama was elected President, yet 70% of African American voters voted in favor of Prop 8 passing? I mean come on California, we seriously approved a $45 billion high-speed railroad, which will cost $100 billion when it's all said and done, we continue to cut a billion dollars every year from education, continue to build prisons, and now we are taking away people's rights to get married, even if done so in the privacy of their own home. Talk about a fantastic way to completely alienate and ostracize 10% of the population. In a state that has so many social ills, the fact that tens of thousands of volunteers, workers, and check writers concerned themselves so much with taking away other people's rights rather than involving themselves with more noteworthy and necessary causes leaves me shaking my head.

Like I said earlier, I believe this is a great day in American history, however, I am saddened to think of how far we still have to go...

Danny in the East Bay

Thank God Its Over!

What a crazy election season!

Marcus and I spent election night at the Oregon Convention Center, where there were at least 30 different parties going on, all but a few of which were celebrating victory.

We spent last weekend on a bus travelling the state getting out the vote for state legislative candidates in tight races. Two of the three candidates we helped out won their elections. We did this with the Oregon Bus Project, a nonpartisan organization that fills giant bus with young volutneers and travels the state helping candidates. Check it out at

The campaign that I worked the most on, Measure 65, failed. It was an attempt to open state primary elections to include independent voters. In fact, it went one step further by creating a "top-two" primary, where all candidates for each race, regardless of party compete in the primary and the top-two go to the general. Its very similar to how most local elections are conducted, although under Measure 65 voters would still be presented with information about the party of each candidate.

In Oregon, we have all mail-in ballots. I tried to host a ballot-filling-out party at Moishe House a couple of weeks ago but no one came :( . I think folks were just electioned-out.

Thats all for now.....


I mean, how could I write about anything else

I know I am on the tail end of blogging for the month and pretty much everyone and their mom has blogged about the election, but seriously, I worked every day for the last week for over 12 hours a day in Alexandria Virginia to see him become the next president, so here are my thoughts:

It is AMAZING how many people volunteered for Obama. In my office alone there were about 10 full time staff and all but one was a volunteer. And these are people who quit, or took leave from their paid jobs, severely depleted their bank accounts, and lived off of donuts donated by crispy cream, for months and months, with no days off. Then, every day at least 40 people came into do phone banking and another 20 or so to go door to door. Election weekend we had so many volunteers we sent them to other VA offices because we were flooded with people wanting to do everything they could to see him win. Wow!

Ok, I have other things I could say, but everyone's said it. He's amazing! I'm so excited! I saw him speak in person at his last rally in Manasas VA on monday, and I think we have elected THE best person for the job.

And.....I just found out my sister is pregnant with her second baby due in the end of May. This election, more than anything is for them, the next generation.

Ashley MH Oakland

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Santa Fe

I wrote this on Sunday but only now could post it... enjoy.

What an amazing time I've been having. Santa Fe is a nice little place and the weather has been just amazing. On Saturday I spent the whole day in the Obama office making phone calls. At first I was doing early voter calls with everyone else, but then i got promoted to volunteer management calls. There is a really funny split between young and old here where all the young people are running the show and all the old people are volunteering and taking orders. I think they saw my youth and wanted me on their side of the office which has been nice. Calling people went well and I got hung up on a lot. At the same time I also got information out to people who didn't have it and that was great. I love it when people say to me, "oh yeah I was just about to call you to find out." Bullshit. I know what I mean when I say I was just about to call you... i was supposed to call you but I wasn't going to. On Saturday

I found myself in three ridiculous conversations where I had to fight for Obama. The first started with, "I hate McCain... but I'm not even convinced that Barack is an American citizen." We went at it or about 20 minutes where finally all I could say to him was, "well, out of all the lousy candidates out there... I just hope you'll please vote for mine." The second was made quite insane in that it happened while calling to confirm volunteers! "We have you scheduled to canvass for Barack tomorrow, yes?" "Yeah, well I was going to but now I don't even know if I'm gonna vote for him." Yikes. The third and my favorite was when calling about absentee ballots I got a wrong number. I apologized and was about to hang up when the guy insisted that I try and solicit his vote. OK... Can we count on your support for Barack on Tuesday. "Give me five good reasons and I'll do it. And no Bullshit one's either!"

1. Economy
2. Healthcare
3. Renewable Energy
4. Education
5. Foreign Affairs

I was on the spot and really had to pull shit out of my ass for it but came out pretty well and by the end everyone around me had stopped calling and was listening. How'd I do? "Oh I already voted for Barack!" God Damn it. Still it was pretty fun.

Yesterday Sethy and I canvassed College of Santa Fe and St John's College. I guess you're not really allowed to canvass schools so we had to go as bi-partisan people just trying to get out the vote and assuming that most of that vote will go our way, which i think is a pretty safe bet. We snuck into the santa fe dorms and got kicked out twice before leaving (2/3 of the way done). I mean we gave it the old college try but as Andy Grossman likes to say, "You were never too good at the college try." At Santa Fe we were more successful and we knocked on every door on campus. In both schools a lo of people had no idea where to vote and we were able to tell them which was awesome. At St John's things were even worse because there had been so much campaigning for early voting that everyone assumed that Tuesday voting was at the same place which it isn't. Also at St John's they were advertising a free shuttle that ran from 4-8PM... Voting closes at 7! yikes. So after canvassing I made fliers for both College of Santa Fe and St. Johns. Soon I'll go flier up St John's (where I am staying) and then I'll bike down to College of Santa Fe. After that I'll go to the office and see what's needed of me. I'm set to be a canvassing captain tomorrow. I'm going to see if I can get any higher in the Obama rankings and maybe be at base for election day coordinating some of the Houdini project or something. I know being on the ground is very helpful and I'll do it... but if I can be more helpful in the office and be there watching the polls with everyone else that would be awesome.

Got Hope?

As I walked through downtown LA this morning stumbling to try and find my car, i realized I was still buzzed...still quite high. Though it wasn't from the beer or tequila shots I had consumed just 6 hours prior.

It was from the words I had heard coming from our new president elect. Change. Hope. Freedom.
Goosebumps and chills still cover my body. A perma smile on my face and those I see on the streets.
Our country has been re-energized in the last 24hrs. We see the light at the end of the tunnel. The time of war, oil, and racism is hopefully behind us. Equality, sustainability, and a new America is at our finger tips

Today is one of the first days in a long time that I can actually say and mean it, "I Am Proud To Be An American."

It is just the beginning however. Yes prop2 passed here in California which is the beginning of a healthier, more sustainable, and animal right conscious movement. We have a black president which I never thought I'd see. Other countries around the world are looking at us with excitement and eagerness to reinvent ourselves.

However, not everything is glorious.

Though as i see prop8 pass, and our laws amended for the worse, I ask myself, when will there truly be equality? I worked hard with my friends, colleagues and amazing team at Causecast to spread awareness around prop 8 and the importance to keep gay marriage legal in California. We produced 2 videos - one a speech by Harvey Milk: Got Hope? and another PSA with Kathy Griffin and Ryan Eggold . After over almost 100,000 views for each video, we figured we reached some people, made a difference. It looks like, unfortunately, that the churches, the central valley, and the rest of the country sides of California are staunchly against gay marriage. We need to change this and work together to educate this state - We Live In California for god's sakes. I encourage all of you to join me and although the elections are over, the fight has just begun. And now that we have an amazing leader, we can really make change a reality.

I encourage all Moishe Houses to do some sort of outreach for a local proposition that did or didn't pass in your area - that you feel needs to be re adressed! Building a Moishe House Community is building a community for all and we need to stand up for our friends and families, those we know and don't, those that need our voice to amplify their need.

As late Harvey Milk stated, "There is Hope for a better world. There is hope for a better tomorrow...I know that you cannot live on hope alone. But without it, life is not worth living....And You. And You. And You....You gotta give them home."

in cause,

One Giant Step for Man Kind...

So this past week I was in Columbus, Ohio, campaigning for President-elect Barack Obama. To say it was an eye-opening experience, would be a huge understatement. I was blown away by the commitment level and enthusiasm of all of the volunteers. People came from all over the country and world to bring about change.

One reason Obama's campaign was so successful was his ability to identify and motivate first-time voters to go to the polls. One of these groups of people that Obama identified in Columbus, was Somalis. My main task in Columbus was canvassing and driving people to the polls. One night I drove three Somali women back from the polls. It was a very interesting experience as two of them didn't speak any English. However, what I gathered from our limited conversation was that they had stood in line for 3 hours!!!

Going forward, I am very excited to see how the organization of Obama's campaign can translate into his time as president of the United States of America.

MH-Sac Elishama is sick

Ok, so I'm in the middle of conference week with parents where I have to explain how and why students are doing really well, or failing the 2nd and 3rd grade...and I have to use a whisper voice because I am sick. Seriously I have no voice at all and am struggling through this week. That being said, I did manage to wake up early on Tuesday and cast my vote for our next President, and that was awesome. I am super excited for next weekend when we are taking a trip to Davis to see some rocking music. It will be nice to stay up and stay out late with good friends.


MH-Sac Jen Votes

Hi there peoples. It is Tues, Nov 4. I voted this morning, and then went to a cafe and studied. I am so happy to not have to work today. I cannot remember a voting day that people were so excited about. There is just a vibe out there on the streets. People are talking about the election. People are on the streets with signs to remind people to vote. What will the outcomes be? I am excited and nervous. I am concerned about all the "yes on prop 8 signs" that I have seen. When I see supporters of prop 8, I wonder if I have done my part. I wonder if there is more that I can do to ensure that people have justice and equality. I am very satisfied with what I do on a daily basis in medicine. I am very appreciative to be in this field. But, I wonder if I could be doing more. How can MHS help?


Masha, MHSeattle 11-5-08

Things have really been in flux in this past month with Moishe House. With the change in leadership in the MH organization as we've been told that we need to really enforce the age limits in our communities, because of this we as a house have decided to significantly reduce our Moishe programming, and keep our all-inclusive programming as a part of the Ravenna Kibbutz project that we've been doing. I want to call it growing pains, but it's really more like shrinking pains, unfortunately. Yes, we are not happy with these new rules and I'm not afraid to admit it! Are other houses out there having the same problems? We would love to hear from you! It would be one thing if it was ok if the majority of the community were in the target demographic and it would be ok to have a some outliers, but to not have any outliers I think really limits the community and makes it hard to enforce. It's been frustrating to come up with a way to do this and to come up with new programming that would somehow appeal to the under 30s and not the over 30s. We've been having house meeting after house meeting, and things are slowly coming together, but it will take some more work...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Joel from MHSeattle

Two things:

First, I want to take a moment to gloat about our sukkah. It was possibly the most beautiful, authentic, and nice-smelling sukkah since antiquity. (From Moshe to Moishe there was none as great!) Seriously, it was built entirely out of giant sticks -- courtesy of my father's scrap pile -- lashed together with bamboo and ivy pulled out of the ravine behind our house; it withstood heavy storms; it had kitschy Hanukah lights all around, and two colorful hand-sewn curtains; and the damn thing seated 15+ people. I mention this because there is a moral to the story: it takes a village to raise a sukkah. Besides my dad's contribution of his scrap firewood -- and Tamar's and my shul president's contribution of the vehicle to shlep that scrapwood up from Olympia -- it took the housemates plus some extraordinarily dedicated guests two days of gritty, sweaty, bamboo-whacking-you-upside-the-head-y manual labor to put it all together.

Second, I would like to announce that I just discovered the community center around the corner has an air-hockey table, so enough with Moishe House, I'm going to start hanging around the community center!

Another blog about Obama

In one night this country took a hyperspeed jump into reality, advancing light years ahead of where we were last election. To witness history take place with such magnitude was more moving than I could have imagined. I grew up in a town that tried to ban Jews through the 60's, then later that decade was so ahead of its time in diversity that it went around the law to integrate its neighborhoods and avoid white flight. My high school (public) was majority minorities, experienced race riots and walkouts. My Mom marched on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr. and a hoarde of believers. Last night, she passed the NAACP in Cleveland on her way home from work and saw people dancing in the streets. To see such advancement in her lifetime, and to take part in it, is truly amazing.
Obama's win was a victory for all groups that have ever faced discrimination in this country's history. This nation is ready to be tolerant. And while there are still many haters out there, they will have at least four years to get used to it and to be proved wrong.

Now I hate to end on a bad note, but I want to add that although this country has proven its colorblindness, I don't believe it will ever be able to elect a Jewish president.

Congratulations, y'all. We've taken part in history.
I don't think the creators of 24 and President Palmer have been thanked enough.

mh seattle, tamar libicki, 11-05-2008

a years worth of apreciaion

I feel like our moishe house has really built up over this past year. October marks our one year anniversary, and the friends we've made, who come again and again, and contribute to events, are numerous, and I am so glad to ave so many wonderful friends, who teach each other, enjoy time together and share love.

MHSF - David - 11/5/2008

I'm gonna cheat a little bit. I usually don't condone going outside the rules, but in this case I'll make an exception. It's nothing too scathing, don't worry. If I rally wanted to pull a fast one I'd just cut and paste my roommate Ari's blog and claim later that it was he who had hacked into my computer to steal my profound blog wisdom. It's just that usually in my blog I touch upon something from the last calendar month, but I'll be honest, none of it compared to the few hours I spent with some of the Moishe House community last night, on the 4th of November.

There are few moments in our life which we can point to, while there happening, and say, without a doubt, this is something spectacular and it will forever live in my memory. Maybe it's a graduation, a wedding, a birth, or that magical moment when you realize that you are more proud than ever before to tell people what country your from. To share a moment like that with friends makes it all the more meaningful. It felt like I'd always imagined the culmination of a democratic process should; cathartic, overwhelming, and joyous.

Looking around the room as results came in, speeches were made, and countless silent moments were shared, I couldn't feel anything but grateful. After all, what is democracy if not sharing in the accomplishments, defeats, and challenges of those around us. Thank you friends, neighbors, and everyone across the country who helped make this moment happen.

Naima MH Ceveland!

Wow, October was a crazy month, full of holidays and autumn colors . I just can not believe that we started with a well deserved Yom Kippur breakfast, Sukkah building and had a cold sukkah shabbat/shabbat around the world, attended Simchas Torah services at a Chabad shul and then moved into a great Halloween Shabbat fallowed by a costume party. It could not have been more fun, but it would have been nice if the cold waited until after Sukkot. 
Because there are fewer holidays this month we will be doing some different activities. We will be participating in Food Not Bombs as a volunteer event, resuming karaoke night, and attending a Punk Show, among other things. Although we usually have around 10 people at each event, we are still looking for Jews in the neighborhood who need a community. 
The day after election day has arrived and I am so relived. I voted a month ago with Ohio early voting to try to prevent voting problems of the past few years. In the 2004 presidential election none of the Ohio absentee ballets from Cleveland were counted and ballets from entire neighborhoods (mostly African American) were thrown out. So, this election ran smoothly in comparison.
Last night we had an election watch party which was a lot of fun. No one knew if Ohio would be a red or a blue state, so we were flipping back and forth between CNN and FOX because they were calling states differently. As a house, we have been trying to stay away from political discussions at events and from doing any political activities or programing because people attending our Moishe House events have different political views. As you can imagine conversations became heated as the election drew near. At 11pm we were watching The Daily Show/Colbert Report Indecision 2008 Special on Comedy Central, aka the fake news, so when they announced that Obama was the president, we didn't believe it and had to change the channel to CNN. For me, the best part of the night was watching Obama's moving speech. 
-Naima MHCLE

Taliesin Haugh MH-CLE

Taliesin Haugh here, speaking through the e-auspices of my roomie Shiah due to a complete failure to work and play well with blogger under my own efforts...
My first attempt at blogging, hurried and long postponed, awaits me now and all you who read hereafter...
Let me say that I'm not an experienced writer, that I prefer to speak, dance, heck guys I'll draw in the sand with a stick before writing if I can. Alright, I suppose that's enough of a preface for our purposes.
Due to software miscommunication this entry finds me opening into the third month of my participation with Moishe House here in beautiful Cleveland Heights, OH.
We are celebrating political and social change, pursuing several degrees in science and education, teaching, throwing awesome parties, engaging our peers in thoughtful debates, holding down at least 6 jobs, and becoming more and more prominent in our jewish community. It's a busy house. Shabbat may be the only time all four of us actually sit together at once, but we've all been working in the same direction since we moved in and honestly, we're a better group for all of the pressure we're under.
I've never really had roommates that could be relied upon to wash the dishes... these guys took them to the mikvah. Instead of a passing interest in each others' lives, we've actually be *pooling* our interests, whether they be music, movies, art or events. So far, I think the four of us are leading by example how to maintain a community spirit. Something like this house has always been an aspect of this neighborhood, a place where the young musicians and artists tend to congregate... only this house, it's more focused, and a place to celebrate jewish life and culture. Yes, I'd say I'm pretty excited. What more to say? I hope we don't alienate our less liberal friends in the weeks to come by celebrating too loudly last night's results...

Sam Selker MH Cleveland

So by now we all know what has gone on in this country over the last 48 hours. I am so relieved to have a president I can be proud of now. I attended a rally for President-elect Obama on Sunday night here in downtown Cleveland. Bruce Springsteen sang some songs while playing acoustic guitar and then Barack took the stage and spoke to the crowd of approximately 80,000 people. The energy was electric. The crowd was excited and it was amazing to be a part of. He gave a speech (which I later found out was covered by CNN). These are crazy times to be a citizen of the United States. So now that the dust has settled on election day, and with only a handful of races still too close to call, we have learned a lot about the state of the country, about the direction we are headed, and about what we believe as a people.

I am so excited.

Lee MHLA Nov. 08

Obama that's right our new President elect. I am really looking forward to the upcoming times shared by us as a Moishe peoples and us as US peoples. This month has some nation wide tradition mixed with Jewish culture. Turkey day and Shabbot and all that hot. Come celebrate a new future and a grand community.

Dave Eagle, MHLA, 11/05/08

What an amazing election this has been and what a privilege it is to be a part of American history. My mother called me on the phone a little after it was announced that Obama had won the election. She had been watching with her husband and neighbor and had the sound of tears in her voice. "We won!!! We won!!" she yelled with excitement. "I just had to call you and share the moment. I never thought this day would come!" "So many", she told me, "have fought for basic civil liberties for all and the opportunity to become whomever you want to be in this country. We were so excited when I was young to have John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy speak out against the injustices in the world and it was so discouraging to see all three assassinated. I'm just can't believe the day is finally here." Of course I was excited too, but instead of quickly replying I just sat back and smiled at my mother's exhilaration.
It's time to fix our country people!!!!
~Dave MHLA

I ate the ghost that ate pacman, basically im the S**t.

So, its been a month already, where does the time go i ask, and i answer to Moishe house events. No seriously its been hectic. All the past events have been a ton of fun, movies and shabbat dinners, and parties galor. I have been learning alot through each event of who i am as a person. There is a quote that i just heard of recently that i am not done growing up but im not oppressionable anymore that i feel fits me perfectly as i continue to grow.

something else i have noticed since becoming a a house is that we eat alot of food, yummy delicious food.

Also thank god the elections are over,

Ilana schuman-Stoler ;moishe house chicago

Hellooooooo Everybody!!!!!

Well I am glad I waited to update my blogosphere. I must say. Being live at Grant Park for Obama's acceptance speech was one thing. Being live at the whole buildup and pre-show was quite the experience. Being a Chicago native myself, I must say I take pride in events such as this where not only the city know's what's up but THE WORLD watches. My mayor, mayor Richard Daley can be an interesting guy but the fact that his buddies organized an event such at this high level profile. The security was really chill and they really made the backdrop of the city so beautiful that the only thing anyone wanted to do was stand in awe of where we were. I really cannot iterate enough how happy I am to live in Chicago at this moment and how happy I am to live in a city that gave birth to the Barack Obama we all know. We have an uphill battle to fight from here but I am confident that after making a decision like this, we are ready to take on what we need to. Including standing up for our civil rights and following through with our promise to reach across to the other side; wherever it may be. Additionally being a part of Moishe House for this experience has really been great. People to talk to through the primaries, House to welcome people for the debates and what came between, I have really truly enjoyed this experience and it has been a privilege to be a part of such a community. I think we are the ones who will now have to step up and move forward into the next generation. This is our time to set the standards and make the rules. So again we go forth to another month and I hope that we can keep this momentum and continue to bring people in to this community. Happy beginning of the holiday season. I hope everyone stays warm.

The first Wednesday in November

I was struck last night by the level of excitement shown by young folks all over San Francisco, including the 17 people who came to our house to share in watching the election results come in. While I voted for Obama, for some reason I didn't share in the same level of excitement exhibited by the majority of people I was hanging out with. I certainly understand the tears and overjoyment of black people, especially those who were around when there was legal discrimination. However, I just didn't feel like I was anywhere close to the emotional level of excitement of those around me who were crying or uncontrollably screaming with joy. The scene reminded me of a sports team winning a national championship, with people saying things like, "we did it!" My response is to think, "what exactly did you do?" Obama is president, and I think he's going to do amazing things, but it's a little self righteous of people who didn't put much effort into the campaign besides wearing a trendy pin to say that they individually have accomplished something. I just hope for the next four years that people remain excited, and try to act in a way where they can look back and legitimately say "I did something." Lots of people are saying this is the most anticipated presidency since JFK, and he hit it right on the head in describing how people need to act when he said, "ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

moishe moishe moishe.....i feel like a frat boy...or sorority chick......ok, maybe not. the kickball league just ended. my team got second place out of 4 was the inaugural league and was fun. dodgeball starts up this week and that's when we all put on the war paint :). 5 teams, 75 jews....all thinking they can throw a ball really hard....and then whining when they say they weren't hit/gotten out by fred from the other team. we'll kick it back at the house after the games....that's always fun. i'll be doing a bit of work travel over this month, so i'll be a little MIA at the moishe ranch. fun times......

jodi berris

MHSeattle, Neal Schindler, 11/4/2008

Election fever has consumed my social circle, and more and more of my Facebook friends' statuses are reflecting either having voted already or intending to vote very soon. Last night at the house we hosted an Election Eve discussion that included all the down-ticket items, which gave a number of people a chance to learn about measures and local candidates they had little knowledge of. One attendee in particular spends a lot of time doing local political activism, and he was extremely thorough and eloquent in talking about the pros and cons surrounding each initiative and candidate.

I have to admit, it's hard to focus my energy today; I scheduled a call from a friend in Jerusalem for this morning, and all I want to do is vote. I will, of course, but it's hard to calm the urgency I'm feeling about it. It's also a poignant day for me, as I'm missing people -- my father, who died in 2003 and would have loved to see this day; my ex-girlfriend, with whom I followed the Obama campaign from its beginning until this past August, when we decided to break off communication; another ex-girlfriend, from college, with whom I've just recently gotten back in touch, and who traveled from Oakland, where she lives, to Nevada to canvass; my mother, though I'll certainly call her during the returns tonight; and my friends in New York, whom I miss without always realizing how much.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Erev Election

Me and fellow MHPortland roomie Jeremy watch SNL political skits on NBC, the night before the election. The same ads run over and over and over for Jeff Merkley and Gordon Smith, the two candidates in the federal senate race. One more day, 24 hours and it will all be over, sweet sweet merciful relief. Me and Jeremy spent this weekend knocking on doors all over Oregon with the bus project. Us and 38 volunteers knocked on 6,000+ doors which represents 10% of the total amount doors knocked on by that organization during the election cycle. We are spent. I'm over this election. I will cheer and giggle and perhaps weep with relief when I turn in my ballot tomorrow. Please please please encourage all your Jewish friends to BaRACK the Vote tomorrow.

stay up

october in chicago

October was good. Not as good as November's been so far, but what you gonna do. Last night we stood in Grant Park, waiting for the election results and then hearing the first speech from our president elect... pictures going up soon.

October was a good mix of high holidays and debate watches. The first half of the month was spent trying to reflect on the past year and the second half was anxiously anticipating the next four. We did a shabbat dinner with Righteous Indignation, which was great. For one, there were a lot of new, and interesting people. More than this, this month was so much about spending our time getting out the vote, dialoguing on the issues surrounding the election, and even doing some plain ol' tikkun olam. It was a good month. Now we need to hold Obama's feet to the fire, keep things moving, and stay active. I hope that our house can do it's part to help keep people involved in the types of things we should all be doing, but sometimes need a little push for..

Sunday, November 2, 2008


This just computer will not let me hit the "enter" button! So this will be my only paragraph. In other news the Presidential race of 8 thousand is winding down and the coronation plans have just begun to take shape. We at Moishe House Hoboken have changed our name to Moishe House HomeBroken because resident McCainiak Rav Joshua Avraham Einstein and his albino (nationalist) ferret, Perry, are very sad. However the coronation must go on, don't ya know and the debate on corporeal hill is currently caught up on which type of Greek columns, Doric or Ionic, go best with President O'Bama's golden halo. On the Jewish desk Moishe House Homebroken was acknowledged by the tri-states most important and internationaly (better) recognize paper, Der Yuden Standard (pronounced The Jewish Standard). Late breaking news - from the Western Front - all is (relatively) quiet in Iraqistan and the surge is continuing to well surgify. The questions Iraqistani's are begging to ask is will the Presidency of Mr. Obama percipitate the coming of the hidden Imam or is he as the left in America believes the Mehdi / Messiah himself? Before we end our broad cast from international corporeal headquarters in BrokenHome its important to take a moment to say thank you to Aaaaa dooo reeey meee naai, the Blessed one, blessed be S/He, that as of tuesday the endless crappy moronical commercials for petty politics of all stripes and types end! Vive le electrions, vive le liberty, viv le president (FILL IN WHOMEVER WINS HERE)! Long live Moishe HOUSE!

This message was not approved or endorsed by any presdiential candidate at all, not even Palin (so cool), for reals not even Nader (less cool) would approve this. Drill baby drill!

Caren, MH Chicago

The focus this month was on the election- Chicago is ALL about Obama! It's exciting to be apart of history and help create that change... This month we partnered with Righteous Indignation (shout out to Margie- you rock!) with debate watch parties, a Shabbat dinner with voter info, and a canvassing experience out of state. We did some partisan and non-partisan election activity both in and outside our house. Something that really stood out was going to the Obama headquarters in IL and making phone calls in large room with tons of people mostly strangers all working together to push for a new direction and share the importance of democracy... It was a great month and it's been a very exciting beginning to November. We pulled together and we did create change! I'm proud.

OBAMA rocks MH Chicago

Oh, Election Day! Please come and go just as Moishe House Chicago would like you to! We are here, in Chicago, where in just two days people will start flowing out of polling booths and making their way to Grant Park on Lake Michigan. It is pretty exciting that after two years of all this craziness and ridiculous media, it will come to end with one day of voting (well, that's what we hope, right?). It is more exciting that we have the opportunity to celebrate in Chicago with the throngs of Obama supporters on the eve of such a historical day. I am curious about what will unfurl in the night hours of such masses... hopefully there will be a high energy of excitement, hope, and change that will fill the air and consume the world! Oh, Obama, Moishe House Chicago is ready for you!