Thursday, July 31, 2008

on the other side of an old-school color war

moishe/kavodniks went canvassing for tenants' rights this past month. we registered new voters in partnership with acorn, the national poor people's community organization. we made plans to implement our membership structure, and we received a grant from our local federation to continue growing our food justice efforts in the local jewish community.

but, sometimes, you know, you just need to have some good fun. so when we got together for our color war on july 13th, i was super-pumped. and it was everything i hoped for...and more.

about 40 of us participated in tank wars, blowing q-tips out of straws, tug-of-wars, dizzy-bat runs, three-legged races, and ridiculous mind games.

bottom-line: it rocked.

many props to our ministers of fun, evan and katie metter, and to our whole community for being such an awesome group of kids. i'm already looking forward to next year's event...


I cannot believe it's almost over. The month was so good and past so fast.

We started with an asado (BBQ) for the 4th of the July. We were five Americans, and if you ask me, we were the only five Americans in Uruguay. It was real fun, real cool, and good food.

We continued with a Shabbas meal. And how could I forget about the movie night. It was so good we decided to do two more, and if we had more time we would do even more. The Shabbas meals were real good and every Shabbas we had a different type of people and a different onda (vibe).

This month there was a fast for the 17th of Tamuz and we did a big meal after the fast for the people that fasted, and the people that did not. Last Sunday a group of about 20 people came for dinner and they didn't stop speaking about Moishe House. I'm sure they want me to thank Moishe House on their behalf.

Waiting to write again next month,

Lior Sztrigler

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

From Brian Cohen - new member of MHP

Hello Moishe-World!

This is Brian Cohen, one of the new members that constitute MHP 2.0! I am über-excited to be a part of the Moishe family and can't wait to get my gears working.

In fact, I've been living here for a little under 3 weeks and we've already had a bunch of really cool events. From our regularly scheduled yoga classes to our documentary-night, we've made sure to entice a wide variety of people to come over to our house. I have to say, living here is like Moishe-madness!

Not to put too fine a point to it, but I think the MH concept is stellar. I'm so happy to be a part of it and potentially leave my mark. I can't wait for our East Coast retreat in Washington in September and definitely can't wait for the National retreat in January! See you there!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008



Heeeeeeey people!!
we're here in the Montevideo MH preparing ourselves to the big day, the day we will come back HOME.....
is was a good month, we had a couple of movie night, spontaneous hangin out, shabat dinners and lunches and more..
we had the fast of 17 of Tamuz, a horrible day to the Jewish nation and from that date to 9 of Av, when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, there are 3 weeks that in them Jerusalem was in war, a war that in the end of it, the exile of the Jewish nation...
I hope that we all will come back home, to Israel! that way I'll be able to see Jay my friend a lot more.. (come to IL Jay!! pleaaaase)...
so, as i was saying, we're preparing ourselves to leave Montevideo, and to leave the MH, one of the best things that I've done ever!
so again, thank you MH... you are really good people and thank you Morris!
now, wait to August for the events, it will be great!
next month is our last month in the Moishe House Montevideoooooo (respect!!)
alsta la vista, baby!

Yonatan Yussim
Moishe House Montevideo 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008


I can't believe I'm leaving in less than a month. I've been in Montevideo since September and have had an awesome time living in the Moishe House and working for Hillel Uruguay. I've met tons of great people who I'll miss a lot, and it just seems crazy that I have no idea when I'll see them again. August 20 is the date, and while so many good-byes make me sad, I'm also very excited to see my people back home.

I'm getting ahead of myself though. I still have some time left here and I'm trying to have as much fun as possible.

July was a good month, for Moishe House Montevideo and for me personally. I'm still meeting new people down here, and I met some great ones this month, which just makes it that much harder for me to leave. At the Moishe House we had a few Movie Nights, a few Shabbat meals, and a 4th of July BBQ for the Americans in town. It was nice for me to have some American company on Independence Day!

So I'm trying to finish up strong down here, working hard and staying easy. I've got a lot of hugs to give out in August, that's for sure. It'll be bittersweet, as moving usually seems to be.

I hope all the fellow Moishers out there are doing well. Take care,

Jay Krefman

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hello Moishe House World......

Well, i think enough time has passed for me to be able to be fashionably late with my first blog. So, i'll start with a quick intro... Hi, i'm Yoni, i'm 21 and i'm the (now) 2nd newest member of Moishe House Cape Town. woohoo! Whilst i may be relatively new, make no mistake...I rule Moishe house cape town with an iron fist... (In other words, all you Moishe House europeans i'm the guy you beg to accommodate you for free during the 2010 football world cup and yes we do live 10 minutes from the stadium.....)

So, i'm originally from a city in South Africa called Durban and i find myself in Cape Town as i'm studying law at the University of Cape Town (and i would be lying if i said Durban wasnt a bit of a social hole..). The best part of all of this is that i get to live in Moishe House Cape Town, mainly as it happens to be a massive house on the side of the mountain (my bedroom window overlooks the city and table mountain-you cant beat that). The reason i came to live in the house is pretty much because all of the house members have at some point been a part of the youth movement habonim dror. So thats how we all know each other....

Anyway, thats pretty much me in 3 lines. Just been on holiday at the moment so i dont have to much moishe house cool stuff to blog about. My holiday consisted of seeing my parents so it walked the line between lame and boring, though i did manage to factor in an incredible amount of sleep..awesome.

anyway cheers for now...


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Efthesis Mundus

Im a naïve child, bent on world contemplation
I walk with the underground

I tread the dusty paths of elapsed shooting stars, losing myself in the jesters Rubicon before realizing the sun broke the horizon again at dawn.
I trade myself for laughs

My garments are silk-screened projections of spirituality.
I cannot decipher their pigment.

I dance the salsa, but know not the steps
I think in colorful spices

I often wrap my head in multicultural produce,
to ensure freshness,
to ward off canned spirits

My documents are as leafy figs,
Tend as they do towards Newtonian inevitability

Ancient quills long replaced my fingers
Soaring wings trapped under paperweight

My guess is as good as yours,
But you are probably wrong

I reserve the best seats for angels in the night
One day

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Absince Makes the Heart Grow Fonder - MHJ

After a 8 month sabatical I am back and more importantly Im back with a new Moishe House - Moishe House Johannesburg. Opening now - Moishe House Johannesburg is the beacon of light in the religiously dominated community that is Johannesburg. Myself, Adam Sack and Doron Moshe will be taking up the guard and rocking our new house 24/7. I am working for Habonim Dror and the Jewish Community in Johannesburg and so far this year has been an exciting one for me.

I know that with the introduction of MHJ (nice abbreviation hey - it was ment to be), my year will only get more exciting. We have a ton of exciting events and idea's planned and I cannot wait to be apart of Moishe House again. Moishe House has a lot to give the Johannesbug community - it will create a secular Jewish space that will enable the young-adult section to come Alive and fun some real fun together.

Anyways - I got to run. Im in Durban and need to eat some curry now. (Durban has the second largest Indian Popoulation in the world, the 1st being Indian [obviously[)



Thursday, July 10, 2008

Zvi from MHSS


I am feeling rather appreciative of the Moishe House project and its supporters. I feel like I have the ability to do some good in the world becuase I have this great platform to stand on. This month I taught Yoga at a local synagogue. I am from Brooklyn and many Jews in Brooklyn are not healthy people, from the physical to the emotional, mental, spiritual. Yoga did not make me into a stringbean, but it helped me to get in touch with my body in a respectful way that is connected with heart, mind, and spirit. I think Jews need a body centered practice that is more focused then shuckling (bowing back and forth ... looks like air-humping) during prayer. So I was glad to share this with some Jews on Sat. morning before we went to pray in a more formal way. I will teach Yoga this month too as an event on the astroturf in Downtown silver spring. I also have been really happy with our Shabbat events. We now pray as a group in our living room with a text that everyone seems to be able to access. Then ppl just explode into friendliness as the blessings are made and the food is eaten. We do not even have much drinknig at our events. As one of my Rabbis in Yeshivah would say, "Good for the Jews."


Rachael - MHSS - July

Getting a head start (seems I keep neglecting these blogs) -- perhaps I'll Part II it later in the month.

July says:
- In June, my sunflowers began opening up! yay!
(Other planting experiments and attempts have not proven so successful.)
- Did I ever mention my gorgeous cousin Baby Brooke being born in May??
- Also June: John Marks, as Alan mentioned -- AWESOME
(At the John Marks event, magically I was the only gal -- except for, thank goodness, this new gal we haven't had at the house before. Very cool chick; glad to have her on Team [Female] MHSS. :) )
- Saw a couple friends I haven't meet up with in YEARS
- Saw one friend I haven't seen in a year and another I haven't seen in two
(- What's up with my social life?!?)
- Cousin's bar mitzvah (another one -- not of the LA variety)
- Block party: met our neighbors! A cool bunch. I <3 this place. (Way different from where I grew up.)
- A very successful Artsy Craftsy Night here @MHSS (complete with JEM -- clearly an awesome crowd), double doses of some of the best humans ever (Cheryl & Shelly), free concerts in D.C., sumo bean bag slams, fun w/ cooking, minor league baseball, hermit crab bonding -- and only good times to come.

Rachael - MHSS - June

Life = nuts


The remainder of June included, for me:
- I think I picked strawberries one day with my sister
- the last day of Sunday School -- I really like this Jewish community!
- a week in my beloved Ocean City with my parents, sister, and grandparents -- I love love LOVE that place (& those people! !!!!!)
- a couple days of work at the beach, a temporary tattoo that wouldn't come off, a sunburn (which never happens), and a now-very-white spot on my leg where the temp tattoo was (we think the chemicals in the tattoo + the sun leeched the pigment out of my skin -- cuz there's no way I'm that pale)
- a week solid of work in Silver Spring and Baltimore -- new buddies, new connections, new jobs, local film friends, new MHSS events & recruits, reunion with someone I haven't seen since he was 7 probably (our fathers have been friends since high school), lots of tea, JEM, motocross & vert finals . . . am I missing anything?
- saw a friend I haven't seen in over a year
- a week of LA -- more family, more good times: cousins I don't remember ever having met before, cousins I never did meet before, cousins I last saw 3 feet (and many years) ago), bonding with cousins I *do* know, swimming, beach, a great-uncle's 90th birthday, a couple friends I haven't seen in many years, and a possible love connection between one of them & one of my LA relatives. :) I {3 LA. (I've always liked palm trees.) I {3 my family. SoCal = home-like now -- & with increased familiarity when listening to Dragnet or watching The Rockford Files, well, how can you go wrong?

And, of course:

i {3 MHSS
my housemates rock

man, oh, man....

Go team.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Let my people vote!

Next week, at our "Let my people vote" event, Moishe House Boston is storming the statehouse with hourglasses and rugalach in hand, to tell our state legislators that time is running out to pass a bill that would allow same-day voter registration, and a sweeter, more democratic future for MA. The bill would allow low-income people to vote without having to take off extra work-time to register, which we think is a good idea.

This action is just one of the many things happening in our community around the election. On July 27th, we are holding an interfaith voter registration drive in a couple of low income communities, in September we are doing a ritual theater media event as part of the "fighting poverty with faith" interfaith week of action, in October we are helping run a big debate watch party with AJWS and AVODAH, and in November we are doing voter turnout.

Our work is all non-partisan so can't support any candidate or party, but we can call on the candidates and voters to focus our attention on key issues such as poverty and the environment, and reframe them as moral priorities. We've gotten a big volunteer response from our community in Boston, I think because our friends are excited to be part of a Jewish community that is focused both inward and outward, and engaged with the major events of our day (namely the election).

If you are interested in making this kind of thing happen in your community, please contact me at Parallel work is already happening in Chicago, DC, SF, and LA, and likely also in Seattle, so it would be awesome to plug folks in.

Si se puede!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I was lucky enough to participate in the ROI120 conference in Jerusalem this month.  It was fun.  My favorite part was a lecture given by Ruth Calderon, who founded Alma, the secular yeshiva in Tel Aviv.  She taught a piece from Bava Metziah.  I haven't read anything from Bava Metziah since I was but a young yeshiva lad.  This is my favorite line from her lesson:

כי איני יודע שיפה אמרתי

Rav Yochanan, whose spirit and health are weak, says this to a young yeshiva lad who is trying to make him feel better.  The young yeshiva lad is trying to convince the Rav that the Halacha is on the Rav's side after he has had a bitter argument with Resh Lakish, a badboy who the Rav, long ago, had won over into the study of Torah.  

Anybody want to quit work and go study at Alma? 


This month my parents came to visit me from Israel and stayed here three weeks. One of the weeks we went to Buenos Aires, Iguazu, and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. We had a real good time together after not seeing each other for many months.

Also at the beginning of the month they did in Uruguay a seminar of B'nei Akiva of Uruguay and Argentina and a group of kids from Argentina stayed at our house to sleep for four nights.

Shabbas we did a meal in our house with 18 people, and the next day we had Shabbas lunch with 28 people! A week after that we did another meal with a birthday surprise party for Aron, one of our friends.

We also did two birthday parties for Yonatan this month, member of Moishe House Montevideo. I was only at one of them because I was with my parents for the other, but it was amazing and I heard the other one was too.

Waiting to have a great month like last month with a lot of activities and a lot of new people,

Lior Sztrigler


So I spent July 4th weekend up in NY for the wedding of my oldest friend, the girl who is practically my older sister. I got back pretty late Sunday night (after about 5 train rides and getting traded for a small poodle on the side of Interstate 95) and am trying to re-adjust to the working life. Assignments, bills to pay, a semi-empty house until our new SS Moishketeers move in...

Last month included the holiday of Shavuot. Like on all Jewish holidays, we tried to stuff our house with 30 people for a massive sleepover and meals. Why do we do this? Because we're crazy. We did it before joining the Moishe House project, and I hope to do it for many years to come. On Shavuot we organized a grand dinner the first night of the holiday, preceded by living room-style services, and followed by the classic, traditional, and ridiculous custom of staying up all night talking Torah until the coffee's got you so wired you try to play "human knot" in the middle of Mississippi Avenue. Members of the MHSS community enlightened and enlivened our night with text studies and guided discussions on such diverse topics as "Traits of Wisdom", "The History of Conservative Judaism's Understanding of Homosexuality", and "Secrets of Kaddish". Once we'd all gotten naps in the morning (after or during synagogue) we enjoyed the next two days of the holiday with the select group who chose to hang out with us for it, eating potluck meals, playing board games, talking more Torah, and trying to stay out of the 110 degree heat indexes.

My other favorite event of June was the talk by John Marks of "Search for Common Ground", but that was Rachael's baby so she can describe it.

Side comment: I just heard a rumor that MH London is going to Burning Man and I'm seriously jealous. I'll be at the Havurah Summer Institute, which is cool, but not as cool.

July- Rae- MHP

We are so busy at MHP this month. I literally couldn't fall asleep at all on Sunday night because I couldn't stop thinking and planning for these next upcoming months. While I had some fear that we'd be a bit slow for the summer considering that about half of Philadelphia goes to the shore on the weekends in the summer, we've been busy busy busy. We have some really great events coming up, like home brewing tomorrow, which I 've been wanting to try for years now, and a Salsa and Sangria party next week. I love summer in the city with MHP.

moishe/kavod color war

Normally I handle the social justice organizing and organizational development work associated with our community here at Moishe House Boston, and I enjoy that, and there's plenty of that going on this month.

But I have to say that what I'm most excited about coming up is our second annual Color War.

Evan Metter, our house's Minister of Fun, is putting the event together with his lovely wife Katie. It's coming up on Sunday, and I'm just feeling totally jazzed to hang out with a bunch of awesome Moishian Kavodniks, to run around on my bum knees, and to forget that I have any responsibilities in the world other than guarding the jail in capture-the-flag.

Doesn't sound bad at all, does it? Yay for summer!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Aliyah of Moishe House Minsk

I have celebrated many a Yom Haatzmaut in the diaspora before, but this year's was different. Perhaps because of the hardships the Jews of Minsk have endured in their recent history, and because of the relatively limited Jewish outlets here (compared to other diaspora locations where I have lived like Los Angeles and New York), I expected to feel particularly far away from Eretz Yisrael Sheli on Israel's sixtieth. But several events were held by the Minsk Jewish community, which actually brought me very close to Israel in unexpected ways.

First, a benefit concert was organized by several Jewish organizations here, at "Bronx" nightclub, one of Minsk's most popular. The concert featured a Belarusian Rock Band called J:MORS. The band usually sings in Russian in Belarusian, but in honor of Yom Haatzmaut, they added a new language to their repertoire, Hebrew! The band, whose members are not Jewish, but have some friends in Israel, sang the famous Israeli song "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav," Jerusalem of Gold, by Naomi Shemer.
Take a look at the video below. Vladamir of J:MORS sang from his transliterated song sheet so well that you might forget that you're watching a Belarusian band.

Second, The Israeli Embassy and Israel Cultural Center in Minsk sponsored an Israeli film festival, which began with the showing of one of my favorite Israeli films, "Ha Kochavim Shel Shlomi," or "Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi." This film has the power to emotionally transport you right into Israel, even from Minsk!

Natasha of Moishe House Minsk

В ночь с 07.06 на 08.06.2008 в Moishe House собрались любители изучения Торы по поводу праздника ШАВУОТ. Что это вообще за праздник такой и почему мы его празднуем? Шавуот мы празднуем в честь великого события: Синайского откровения. В этот день сыны Израиля получили от Всевышнего Тору и Десять заповедей - морально-этическую основу всей западной цивилизации. Тору нельзя было вручить иначе, как в "громах и молниях", в "огне и пламени", когда "вострепетал весь народ". Мы не знаем, что в точности происходило на Синайской горе, но само это уникальное духовное переживание оказало неизгладимое воздействие на характер и судьбу еврейского народа.
Шавуот, как и другие наши праздники, тесно связан со Страной Израиля. Это подчеркивается двумя другими его названиями: Хаг гакацир - "праздник жатвы" - и Йом габикурим - "день первых плодов", ибо он совпадает с началом жатвы пшеницы и сбором плодов, которые приносили в Храм в качестве благодарственной жертвы.
В Шавуот принято есть молочные блюда, собственно, что мы и делали. Существует несколько объяснений этому древнему обычаю. Некоторые считают его символом страны, "текущей молоком и медом". Другие отмечают, что до дарования Торы евреи не знали никаких запретов на продукты питания и после Синайского откровения были вынуждены ограничиться молочной трапезой, так как вся остальная приготовленная еда оказалась некашерной. Кроме того, стихи Торы, в которых сказано о принесении в жертву плодов первого урожая, завершаются заповедью "Не вари козленка в молоке матери его" (Шмот,23:19,34:26).
На самом деле, сначала я думала, что придти ночью и всю ночь изучать Тору будет очень утомительно, но как оказалось, всем очень понравилось!

Moishe Love

I stepped out of Providence this month enjoy the facets of my own mind. I hoped over to Shelburne, MA for a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat. Or as some might say a meditation "expedition." Expedition literally means getting your foot unstuck. In many ways, that is the goal of Vipassana meditation -- get yourself unstuck from old habit-patterns that are unhelpful.

In this vein, Moishe House really helps to live spontaneously and creatively. Here we have a budget and a mandate to engage and interact with the local community of Jews. So we listen carefully to the needs and desires of our community and look to collaborate to create new forms of joyful living.

This month we co-sponsored a birthday party at the beach for one of Jesse's AEPi brothers. What a great way to support the post-college Jewish community. My thanks goes out to the Moishe masters where-ever they might be scattered around the world...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

MHP Rebecca

Lots o' changes goin on over here! We've got people movin out, new kids movin in...and lots of fun gettin started! Currently, I'm spending the week in Florida - gotta love workin for a Jewish non-profit. Personally, I can't wait till we start our new month - it'll be an awesome beginning to MHP 2.0. Hooray!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008



Ok... you must be asking yourself what the hell is this title all about.. well, in one month and a half I won´t be a moishehink anymore.. I´m starting to think about it now already...
you know, I felt this month that we did really a good job in our MH. I hope you guys in Santa Barbara fell the same way.. (:
we had shabat dinners, shabat lunches, those are events that in the end of them you fins yourself washing dishes of 28 people (that the %$% part of it.. but ok..), it a great feeling to see jewish kinds, young adults and so having good time together.
I had my Bday too! twice! (Mazel Tov! thank you guys!, 24 years- i´m getting old.. ;)
these were great events, new people too in these one, you always know new people, well almost always..
we had argentinian kids in our house as well, they were in our house for 4 days (!), now i´m staying in house of one of them, yup, i´m in Buenos Aires now..
And,,we can´t forget the Yom Yerushalaim event, an event that no one saw here, and for us, Israelis (and J) that we´re used to celebrate that day in Israel, in that day, the 28 of IAR, Jerusalem was liberated from the hands of the arabs and was of the Jewish people again..
a very important day!
the last event that i was in it, was the Bday of two friends that we know in Montevideo, Aron and Gabriel, they´re great kids, and it was nice to see their friends that we did´t knew coming and knowing us..
ther´s a lot of work to do, so have fun and do more events!
un Abrazoooooooo
Yonatan Yussim, MH Montevideo!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

MoishePVD Jesse 7/3

The blog is where I say what's on my mind, right? Okay so the question at hand is: where can I have my birthday party? Every year for my birthday in July I have a large party in my yard; PROBLEM, Moishe House PVD where I live now has no yard. None. We have a roof, but we also have serious concerns that it would collapse under the weight of my numerous partygoers. I remember one time, for my 19th birthday, I borrowed someone's yard because I was living in the wrong city for that summer... but so far everyone I know has resisted my attempts to borrow their yard for a day. One friend said her parents would be in town so no large party could occur in her yard that day. Another friend said his yard was in view of too many small-child neighbors from whom he wished to hide his grown-up partying. Yet another friend told me her yard is under construction. Under construction?! Who DOES that?? Arrrrggghh. If I ever start another Moishe House I'm totally gonna insist on having a yard (preferably a back yard, though front yards can be okay too in certain parts of town).

A Haiku for Moishe

June at Moish(e) DC
Shabbat, movie nights, yoga
Birthright loves thee, Moish(e)



Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Busy June

June was a fun and busy month for me...

Besides the nine Moishe events we put on, there was a group of nine kids from the U.S. here the entire month studying Spanish through Hillel Uruguay on a program I helped organize. I spent a lot of time with them and it was fun showing them around Montevideo, especially our Moishe House!

One of our events this month was really incredible. Three of the Spanish Program kids and I went to Punta Colorada (a city in Uruguay about two hours from Montevideo) to help take care of penguins that were harmed by a recent oil spill. It was a bit disgusting cleaning up the penguin poop and shoving fish down their throats, but really an amazing experience to be able to help 140 sick penguins.

Another cool thing was when I went with the Spanish Program students to Buenos Aires for a weekend and a few of us were able to hit up a Moishe House event there. It was awesome to see another house in action, and I want to send a shot out to MH BA for hosting us. Thanks guys! It was a lot of fun.

So June was good and I think July will be an active month for us too. I'm looking forward to it. Take care everyone,

Jay Krefman


It has been quite some time. MHDC is getting ready for a pretty amazing house retreat in Delaware over the 4th of July weekend. It is the perfect setting for assessing our last 6 months and of course looking ahead to the next 6 months. It will be great to connect with our Moishe House family in a setting far from where we usually meet and work. We will sure to keep you updated on our adventure.

For up to date information on our retreat check out:


you can also email us at: