Saturday, January 31, 2009

January in Chi-City

is cold. very cold. I'm biking through this winter, which is refreshing and gets me to work wide awake, but this winter is just not letting up!

We've been having events where we go to shows lately. This is good for a few reasons. One is that it is nice to get out in winter. it is really easy to just get cooped up and have all of the events at our house. also, a friend of ours has been producing the shows, so we get really cheap tickets (vip baby) and support him by bringing a big moishe crowd.
Last weekend we went to this show, Prefuse 73, RJD2, and Disco Biscuits. I was real excited about it. Prefuse 73 was supposed to be really good, even though I don't really know them (and we ended up missing their set), RJD2 i kind of like even though last time i saw him he decided to pull out his acoustic guitar and sing, and that's never what you want a DJ to do. Then Disco Biscuits, which I was actually excited about, but then immediately disappointed. It wasn't until the next day that I realized I was thinking about the Flaming Lips the whole time before the show, and actually excited about them, not the disco biscuits at all. I don't know how I made this mix up, but it was so resolved in my head it still took me 24 hours after the show to figure out why reality was so far from my expectations. weird. anyway, flaming lips would have been a much better show, i'm sure.

that's it for now. happy february everyone!

MHSeattle, Neal Schindler, 1/31/2009

I just returned on Monday from my ten-day East Coast trip, which included two nights in Washington, D.C., where I witnessed the Inauguration, albeit on a Jumbo-Tron in a crowded field of people just north of the Washington Monument. The mood was, as you might expect, distinctly joyous, and it's worth mentioning that my companions at the event were Rivka, Adam, and Steven of Moishe House D.C., plus their friend Maura. Our toes were cold, but we still enjoyed the festivities, and when President-elect Obama finally stood opposite Chief Justice Roberts to become President Obama, we weren't paying attention to how chilly it was. If you're interested in my experience, I suggest you check out the article I wrote for

Winter is proceeding fairly comfortably here in Seattle; today there's even sun. I have a new part-time job, at Childhaven, a nonprofit that provides therapeutic child care for kids one month through five years old who have been affected by abuse or neglect. It's a great organization that does really good work, and I like my coworkers a lot. It's also the first job I've ever had that requires business casual attire, something I've grown to appreciate in the last few weeks, since almost everyone looks better in a dress shirt and slacks than in jeans and a sweatshirt. I think not looking like a college student every day of my life is a plus, not a burden.

Anyway, I have to go upstairs and bake some chocolate-chip cookies for a friend, and then maybe watch Mad Men in my room, unless the sunshine compels me to get back outside and enjoy it. Hope all's well at your various Moishe Houses!

Intellectual Stimulation at MHP

I have been blessed by interesting housemates. For some reason I often mind myself standing/sitting around my kitchen/common room with them just talking about nothing in particular, when all of a sudden, we dive into a really rich and interesting topic and continue sharing our thoughts on it for half an hour or more. It could be free trade, communal living situations, global politics, etc - I just find it amazing that this happens on a consistent basis and that we all enjoy it.

Sometimes my other friends come over and hang out long enough to get a glimpse at what these conversations are like - and they become slightly jealous. One friend in particular longs for the kind of conversations we have here on an almost-daily basis. During my undergraduate years it was fairly easy to find a lecture or discussion group to join and increase my understanding of global issues but, as I waltz into the professional world I find it more difficult. I thank my luck and my housemates every day for this kind of intellectual stimulation.

If you want to take part - just come visit!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Doggie Delight- January, Rae MHP

This month has been monumental for a number of reasons: with the inauguration of President Obama America has set our country on a new course, the Eagles went further than most people thought they ever would in this rather inconsistent season, and I started serving on the Moishe House Board of Directors.  While all of those things are exciting and wonderful, they aren't what I want to discuss here.  What I want to talk to you about is the happy occasion of dog sitting.  While my friend Cody is out of town I'm watching his super sweet dog, Chica, and it is a total joy.  Just walking around the city is so much more fun with a dog by your side.  On the practical side she's always warm, so even though we keep our thermostat set at frigid for environmental and economic measures, with Chica snuggled up next to me I can think about shedding my third layer of sweaters.  The only possible negative about this dog watching gig is it makes me want a dog more than ever.

January in the iladeph

January in Philly is generally cold. Not arctic tundra cold, or maybe Warsaw cold, but cold nonetheless. This year was no disappointment, it was colder then it has been in several years. However, with the cold comes the warmth of my family, city, Eagles, MH community, and fireplace (mmm). So despite the ice outside and on my car (which was thick enough to break my ice scraper when i attempted to dismount it) the iladephia remains full of warmth and light. I think I may even feel bad for those of you in the southern hemisphere that are likely basking in the heat of the sun, cause the heat in BA or the Cape cannot match the beautiful weather of Philly.

january among books

Hello everybody!

Having 6 events already and 1 upcoming (today evening) we are succesfully ending January. Now I am sitting in library and reading. All MH Warsaw residents are having exams now. On Wednesday I got one on antropology. What is funniest- I am reading about antropology of amusements :) So hopefully the exam will be just fun! Same fun as last month at MH was.

I cannot wait for February events. we are planning so many iteresting things! I hope everything will go allright and there will be also some time for resting and relaxing after exams. I wish everybody who is having his examination session now- good luck!!!

Today it is snowing in Warsaw. What I am waiting for is Spring, but for now:

Ania C, MH Warsaw

Thursday, January 29, 2009

change has come to MH Providence

Firstly, MH Providence has moved to a new new space! The new building is a classic Providence home, restored through the Preservation Society, with a charming and homely exterior. The interior space is huge (!) with high ceilings, spacious social area and larger kitchen.

Secondly, MH Providence has relocated to a new neighborhood on the west side of Providence. With its funky patchwork culture, the west side is home to many twenty-something Jews. The new house is right across from a giant park for outdoor events in the Spring and Summer.

And saving the best for last: we've got a new Moishe House resident. World meet Stephanie Gerson. Stephanie, world. Stephanie simply cannot help herself from hosting themed gatherings. She has worked professionally with social media technologies and already has ideas about how to use the web to extend the Moishe community. Stephanie has already brought a burst of energy and creative freshness to MH Providence.

The re-vamped, Moishe House will be known as Moishe House Providence 2.0 - or MHPVD 2.0 - in honor of our second iteration and our intention to better utilize Web 2.0 technologies. I have confidence that all three changes will be very positive for Moishe House!

Much love,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hope and change

In continuing to hope for change I have started looking for a new job in Washington DC. The home of things political and the das kapital of the world. I'm ideologically promiscuous and staunchly pluralist and willing to be an ideological mercenary.  On Moishe affairs this has been a good month. We met with heir direktor David Cygielman who has the best (bromantic) taste in television shows and who is an all around cool dude. With him was Shelby from the city-of-brother-loving and it was great discussing the stock market with her. In terms of events we had plenty of nice people over for Shabbat dinner and had lots of great conversation. People are excited over President Obama's election which is heartening. I am a conservative but its nice to see people with faith in their country again. I'm not saying I agree with why they lost faith in the good old USA, it was rubbish then and its rubbish now, but its good to see we are all back on the same patriotic page again.  xoxo


Monday, January 26, 2009

GOOOOOAAAAAL!!!! - Sarah, MHSF, January

When the stock market started plunging and all the banks went to crap it didn't really hit me that I would be affected in any real tangible way myself. I don't have any stocks really, I don't work on Wall Street, I don't even work for a company or corporation, etc. I felt the general tension but kind of lived in a little bubble of denial. Then one day I realized that the fiscal situation in the State of California is bleak, very bleak. And the City of San Francisco fares no better. This part DOES affect my job. The deficits keep rising, and the cuts keep coming. The Child Abuse Prevention Center where I work is a small non-profit, funded roughly 50% by city government contracts, and the money situation is getting tight in the social services field. The mayor's office keeps announcing mid-year cuts, and each day news makes it down the pipeline that come June (the new fiscal year) a lot of children's programs will cease to be funded. This translates into -- to say it mildly -- a tense work atmosphere.

I spent much of my day today in staff meetings with our executive director listening to contingency plans for cutting spending based on our speculations of what will happen to our funding streams. Basically it was depressing, overwhelming, and just plain old exhausting. Then, I stumble home from work, grab myself some food, and suit up for our MH indoor soccer team game with 'The Number Twos.' And it's like starting my day fresh again.

Weird team name, I know. All I will tell you about the team name is that yes, it is a reference to bodily functions, and our team shirts involve both the Republicans and the Democrats, with the slogan "Everyone Poops." Somewhat immature I know, but it puts a smile on my face every time I think of it! Tonight we killed it and had an excellent, amazing, fabulous, intense and super fun game. There is something great about being able to put everything else aside and just run around for a while. There's nothing like taking your frustrations out physically. Tonight our team had some great plays, with lots of passing and scoring, and it's obvious to all that with each game we are improving exponentially. At the end, all sweaty and tired, I walked home with my roommates and realized that we won our game and life is good regardless of the city, state, and country's financial situation. In the face of possible lay-offs and program closures, and in despite the lowered co-worker morale I return to tomorrow -- I feel great. It is incredible how much better I feel right now. Gotta love soccer.

A Fair Purple Line....

It was a rainy and windy evening, and I was concerned that many of the RSVPs will choose not to leave their warm homes to come to the campaign meeting. Moishe House SS is partnering up with Jews United for Justice to strategize the role we can play to make sure the soon to be constructed public transit will be a 'fair Purple Line'. I didn't need to worry long, as our front door kept opening to welcome more people. We had over 20 people present and intentional to learn about the Purple Line and the issues surrounding it.
We had three speakers, a huge advocater for the public transit, housing attorney for the local community, and a local rabbi. They provided a range of facts, perspectives and concerns about the arrival of the Purple Line. The biggest concern is the negatvie effect it will have on the current low-income tenants and small, local businesses. It is anticipated by many local community advocates that the Langley Park area (a community only 2 miles from the MHSS house) will experience similar mass displacement that was seen in Columbia Heights area when development began around the metro.
Unfortunately, two hours was barely enough time to get the conversation started about how a group of jews could mitigate the negative impacts. We still had a lot of research to do, and ended the meeting with assigning research questions to individuals and planning a next meeting.
I was very excited to the large response for the kick-off strategy meeting, and also for the continued energy and interest in the group to continue meeting and get this campaign on the ground. This campaign is very important to me, because Langley Park (the low income immigrant community likely to be displaced) is the community I work with every day as a community organizer. I look forward to our next meeting and planning our strategy and next steps for the campaign.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy New Year of the Ox!

Finally, you can use what you learned from all those menus at Chinese restaurants: Today is the first day of the Year of the Ox. If you were born in 1985, you're an Ox:

The Ox works hard, patiently, and methodically, with original intelligence and reflective thought. These people enjoy helping others. Behind this tenacious, laboring, and self-sacrificing exterior lies an active mind.

Chinese New Year (Chunjie) is the biggest Holiday in China. It kind of combines the food and family aspects that Thanksgiving encompasses, and then adds in a huge amount of fireworks, plus a special TV show that everyone likes to watch together. The TV show is mostly short skits and performances (just like on New Years eve in the US), but what I'm in the most interested in are the fireworks.

Unlike in the US, where most of the big firework displays are paid for and co-ordinated by a township or whatever, fireworks in Beijing are paid for and set off by residents. People spend a lot of money on fireworks, because it's said that setting them off will scare off evil spirits in your house that might prevent you from having a prosperous year. Personally, I keep out evil spirits and ensure prosperity with a mezuzah, but that didn't stop me from setting off a few roman candles for fun.

Fireworks are set off everywhere - in the streets, on the sidewalks, in the parks. Firecrackers, mortars, bottle rockets, roman candles. Fireworks are set off throughout the night, the din of firecrackers growing louder and louder until it reaches a crescendo at midnight. Imagine the best fireworks show in your city, but spread over the entire city of Beijing, and it lasts for a few hours. It's absolutely incredible.

Moishe House Beijing has a pretty sweet apartment- 15th floor, with roof access. We had an amazing skyline view of the city and its fireworks. Landon Loomis started taking this video when a few mortars exploded near us, but then started filming the skyline too. The fireworks were only this intense for maybe 15 minutes or so, starting right after midnight. Enjoy. If you're interested, get a higher resolution version here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

MHSS Alan says, "Oh December....

You were chilly and misty and oh so beautiful. You were also packed with events at MHSS!!

There was 'Breakfast Club' Breakfast, and Ice-skating (rained out), and watching the movie Milk, and a Shabbat with interfaith learning, and lots of partnerships with Jewish social justice organizations.

I'm enjoying all the new friends we're making and have made through Moishe House. Whether it's getting to know Abby B. a little more at a coffeehouse after Ice-skating is cancelled, or whether it was having the opportunity to help out Jon H. when his landlord started acting creepy, being part of Moishe House has given me the opportunity to meet lots of great people and welcome them into my house & life.

I've also found a new calling.. I want to be an omelet chef when I grow up. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year Brings New Residents to MH Portland

As the we turn the corner on the new year, MH Portland would like to say "goodbye"to Marcus Dorsen and "hello"to Becca Cigan and Rachel House.  

Marcus has been a great housemate.  He has turned Poker Night and Bowling into MH staples, and has connected us with the Jewish crowd at Portland State University.  We wish Marcus the best of luck as he leaves to pursues his education at PSU.

Becca and Rachel are both Portland natives looking to give back to their community after their time away at college.  Beccas moved in mid-December.   She has already succesfully executed a huge shabbat dinner that took place on January 2nd and will be helping MH Portland enjoy the inauguration festivities on January 20th (which is also her birthday--Happy 23rd Becca!).

Rachel just arrived today (January 6th) and we look forward to what she will bring to the House. Rachel just graduated from Columbia University and will be applying to Medical School next year.  

With 4 housemates we plan on doing more than ever for the local community.  Each of us has committed to 2 events per month, ensuring that we will have at least 8 events every month.  

I can't wait to get started.  

Happy 2009 everyone!

My Visit to Moishe House Vienna (JODI BERRIS)

This is a post by Jodi Berris, who asked me to post it for her b/c she is having trouble logging into blogspot.

I spent more than half of december away from the MH portland....but had the fabulous opportunity to experience another MH, one in another country too! a week and a half ago, i went to MH vienna and experienced the most amazing hospitality from 3 individuals i had never even met. we immediately connected via ping pong and joking around. we spent the day touring vienna and seeing an art history museum, followed by having a nice kosher dinner. i was so impressed that their house was so "jewish," with jewish art/posters/items all over their flat and that the 3 guys living there were shomer shabbat, shomer kashrut, but also took the time to daven (pray) 3 times per day and put on tefillin each morning. it made me really happy to feel that another moishe house in the world has such an inclusive standard where all jews, kosher and non kosher, can all gather at the same place and eat the same food because it was kosher. i left feeling like i had 3 new friends and wished they all lived closer. i hope they can visit our house in portland so we can extend them the same hospitality and experiences they provided me during my visit!

MH-Sacramento Jen's vacation flies by

Hi all. December flew by really fast. I had some time off of school, and so I was appreciating my vacation time. In terms of social events, I really enjoyed our dinner & a movie event. I hope we can do that again. Hannukah was fun, but kinda crazy b/c I was running around all over the place. I am not back in the swing of things with school. I am not excited to be back, but oh well. For this month, I hope MHSac can make its way up to the Tahoe Mountains. We have tried to make such a trip happen in the past, but it is always a hard time getting schedules to match up right. We'll see...

-Jen MH-Sacramento

December wrap up

So December has come and gone and we are now in 2009. Who'd have thunk that here we'd be, less than 2 weeks from the biggest presidential inauguration of my lifetime. It's crazy to think of how far we've come from 2000/2004. Just something to think about.

December was awesome though. I don't know how many of you are familiar with the weather in Cleveland, OH but let me give you some scope. I have heard two things said about weather here. 1) If you don't like it, wait five minutes for it to change, and 2) If you don't like it, move. I personally like the weather here, but I would bet that some people area little wary of going from air conditioning to heat in the same day. Of it being 65 and sunny one day and then 15 and snowy the next. We definitely had our ups and downs weather-wise in December and there were some very nice days.

My favorite day in December though was our Christmas party. Our Jewish Christmas party. The stereotypes of what Jews do on Christmas are true, at least among our Moishe House. Chinese food and movies, who could ask for more? We had almost 30 people at that event. It was a very fun day to be had by all. The best part was the type of movies we watched. Tarantino films, all of 'em. It made me very happy.

Happy January everyone!

Sam Selker

New year, Old plans

So now after months of living and learning with this community of young people like me... sometimes obviously and sometimes very subtly connected , sometimes debating heatedly and sometimes just dancing wildly, I feel very at home. Really I don't know how some people get by without having such a feeling of the communal good and healthiness that comes from having so many interesting people in one's life.At very least, it's a fine way to be able to reflect on one's own path so far.
Our events have been great... the shabbat dinners cater to everyone, with kosher dishware for the very observant and happily answered questions for the learning... movies that get people talking and thinking... parties that every time connect people with both new friends and friends they hadn't seen for years...
On top of all this, I'm now attending college again. I'm a little old to start fresh, but luckily my credits transferred... I'll so be like so many of us writing papers and stressing over deadlines again, and I'm very excited. My family is thrilled as well, as I'm sure many of you know how very important your education is to any jewish mother or grandmother... oy


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas in North Carolina!

Last week I set out to discover what it;s like for a St. Louis Jew to spend Christmas in North Carolina What are the traditions? What makes it different than Hannukah? Do people really stay awake during "Midnight Mass?" I set out to answer all these questions and more.

The first thing I found is that, just as is the case for Jewish holidays, every family celebrates Christmas in their own way. So my experiences are in no way meant as broad generalizations, but simply as my own experiences and observations.

Granted, I noticed some pretty stark differences right off the bat. The Christmas tree is an ever-looming visual presence, and the spectre of Santa Claus surrounds events throughout Christmas Eve and Day. Instead of presents coming from Mom, Dad or Jimmy, a majority of the presents were labeled as coming directly from Santa himself.

And Midnight Mass was mostly a conglomeration of Christmas carols (I think with the idea being that they were hymns before they were hit songs on the radio).

However, I also noticed some similarities that really should not be all that surprising. Large family meals, a reason for family and friends from across the country to gather, popular movies and songs watched and listened to again and again...

A lot is made about the differences between Christmas and Hannukah and the negative commercial impact that Christmas has had on the traditional Jewish holiday. However, what my "first Christmas" reminded me of is that ultimately these holidays really are all about family and friends. In our somewhat crazy world, an excuse to slow down a bit is never such a bad thing. Even if it does come with tacky sweaters, bad movies and re-told stories you really wish would just go away.

Posted by Dave, MH STL

Forever a struggle...

I write today with heavy thoughts in my head and emotions in my heart. The conflict in Israel is forever escalating, forever present, and forever looming.

Israel is struggling, for peace with others as well as peace with itself. The conflict seems never ending, and being here in the States makes it that much more difficult to really understand. The media attacks on Israel are rampant, and yet 90% of Israelis support this war. Doesn't that mean something?

My family is Israeli and I know my relatives are burdened with this weight every day while I am able to sit here comfortably in my life and ponder the destruction and depression that is happening on both sides. It seems useless as well as impossible to judge the actions of these fighters. Both are fighting for the right to exist as a nation and as a people. And I'm half a world away, stuck with thoughts in my head and confusion escalating.

2009 here we go...

2009 is finally here. Which leads me to wonder where did 2008 go, and why did it go by so quick? Hopefully anyone reading this email, can agree with me, that for the most part 2008 was a heck of a year for most of us, assuming your life does not revolve around the financial market, the prevention of natural disasters, the anti-genocide movement, no on Prop. 8 campaigning, increase funding for public school education and teachers, a better understanding of where our fruits and vegetables come from, accepting that global warming is here and it is very very scary, acceptance that global violence is getting more extreme every year, the issues of too much imprisonment/homelessness/and drug addiction are matters the US govt. will never take seriously, and Gov. Arnold is a complete joke. Yes, these are all troubling issues, many of them of such inconceivable size, it leaves me to wonder, if not now, then when?

Pessimism and Judaism, ah yessssss, hand in hand. It can't all be that bad, or can it?

Sure, now that we elected Obama, things will begin to change, they have to change, don't they? But are some of these holes so deep and dark and scary, might we never get out of them? Was 2008 the beginning of the end? Or was that 2004, or 1994, or 1984? Well it couldn't have been the 80s, because that's when big hair bands were around, but didn't Bob Marley die in the early 80s?

Only time will tell, let's just hope history does not continue to repeat itself, and it if does, let's hope we can recreate some social upward mobility and civil progress, rather than the bleak global future which sometimes can be seen on the horizon and in the rear view mirror, leaving me to wonder, what are we doing to make a difference RIGHT NOW?!?!

Monday, January 5, 2009

So many miles behind me, so many ahead

I cant believe that its 2009 already, i still remember it turning 2008. We have so many things to look forward too, especially our current president packing his shit and getting the fuck out the White House. The arrival of our new President Elect. My band recording our debut cd, and it being released in the next months. My girlfriend and me celebrating our year anniversary together, and oh yea Clevelands very own Moishe House.
We have seeen programs that range from Movie Nights, to election watch parteies, shabbat dinners, and concerts. Now as Moishe House Cleveland welcomes 2009, we welcome it with MOishe house goes Punk rock Vol. 2 with us as a band Headlining our local concert club. I look forward to what we as a house have in store and not just us as a house, but ourselves individually. In the end 2009 should be a fun year for Moishe house.

I am Batjew!

By David Rosen

Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that I have an unusual, perhaps bordering on unhealthy, obsession with Batman. Being that 2008 was the year of The Dark Knight, you can probably guess that I had a pretty good time this summer. Ever since I was a kid, there has been something about Batman that has kept me hooked; toys, costumes, comics, movies, I did it all. As an adult now, I continue to immerse myself in the world of Batman; though for different reasons and in different ways. For example, how many of you have had your mother go to Israel and come home with a Batman mezuzah for you? (A mezuzah is a small piece of parchment inscribed with biblical passages that is put into a small box or container and affixed to door frames in Jewish homes). It’s still sitting in its package on my desk, but that’s beside the point. I mention all this, because as with most things that we carry with us from our childhood, the meaning and understanding of these things change as we grow and learn more about the world around us. When I was a child, Batman was a super-cool crime fighter, but not much else. As an adult, I still think he is the coolest crime fighter around, and I challenge anyone who disagrees with me. But in today's world, what he stands for has taken on a whole new meaning.

So why do I talk about Batman when I should be talking about my experience as an American Jew? It's because I've come to the realization recently that Israel and Batman have a lot in common. And in order to make sense of one, we can look to the other. Aside from both being created by Jews, which I’ll get back to in a second, they are both a single entity situated in an area surrounded by people with ambitions for power who will willingly and aggressively destroy those that seek to get in their way. It sounds like the typical plot to any superhero story. But in fact it's a reality...Israel's reality.

If you've seen this summer's hottest blockbuster, The Dark Knight, you'll understand what I'm about to talk about. If you haven't, then I will do my best to explain and hope you at least know a little about Batman. If you don't know who Batman is or think he's some guy with a nature show on the Discovery Channel, then I've probably lost you at this point anyway.

We start with Batman, the creation of a young, Jewish comic book writer and artist named Bob Kane, originally born Robert Kahn. Having witnessed his parents' murder as a child, Batman is a person with the drive and dedication to devote his life, body, and mind, to achieving a goal that he believes is just, protecting the people of Gotham city from dangerous people. He is someone with a strong and unyielding sense of moral obligation and direction, with enough fortitude to enable him to take on the challenge of ridding his city of evil - even though it will sometimes push him to the breaking point.

In it's short existence, Israel has had no choice but to devote itself to surviving in a hostile area surrounded by enemies. From just a day old, it's had to endure numerous wars and attacks all while trying to provide a safe place for Jews to live free from persecution. Through physical, political, and religious attacks, Israel has been bent. But it has never broken.

And then we have Batman's arch-nemesis, the Joker. He is a man with no morals, no regard for human life, who performs horrific acts without reason or provocation. He is a man who kills people for his own amusement, who represents evil in all its aspects, who brings anarchy and terror to an entire population. He is a cold-blooded, mass-murdering sociopath, a sadist, and a self-described "agent of chaos."

I can probably compare the Joker to any one of Israel's numerous enemies. Take your pick: Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaida, Islamic Jihad...the list goes on and on. They all believe that there's nothing wrong with spilling innocent blood, be it Jewish, Christian, even Muslim, and will stop at nothing in order to accomplish their goals. They are ruthless, and have all used methods of terror and fear to try to achieve their ultimate objective of wiping Israel off the map.

Then we have the Joker's plan - to return Gotham back to the way it used to be before Batman arrived; a place where crime, corruption, and fear run rampant and unpunished. His solution - destroy the one thing that has given the citizens of Gotham hope, Batman. Sound familiar? That's because it’s the same goal as all the Arab governments and extremist organizations that want to destroy Israel. Their motives are solely based on senseless hatred and longing. They want to go back to the way the Middle East used to be before Israel become a country in 1948; an Arab controlled region, where theocracy and fundamentalism rule, instead of democracy and religious freedom. They loathe Israel and resent the fact that Jews have a place where they can be free.

To accomplish his plan, the Joker will not just simply attempt to kill Batman. He will use the media, press, fear, murder, and any other means necessary, to demonize Batman and convince the very city that Batman tries to protect to turn against him. The Joker's tactics involve killing innocent civilians and blaming their deaths on Batman. His plan ends up working and the public calls on Batman to give himself up because they believe it will stop the violence and threats of this terrorist, when in fact we all know that it won't.

Along the way, even Batman himself contemplates giving up his fight precisely because his actions are causing the deaths of Gotham citizens. But he is reminded that his existence must stand for something more than what can be brought down by the whims of a mad-man. He is reminded that when going up against evil, there will always be casualties and people will hate him for it. But it’s a sacrifice he must make to endure. For his very being is a symbol that the citizens of his city don't haven to be afraid of the people that make the world they live in a dangerous place.

In the end, you can say Batman emerges victorious, but all does not necessarily end well for him. Yes, he stops the Joker but he has no glory. In order to truly win, he has to sacrifice his image for the greater good of the people he seeks to protect because it's not about him. It's about the people of Gotham and being able to live in a city that is safe.

So why was it just necessary for me to rehash the entire movie to you? If it's not clear already, Israel is in the same predicament now as Batman was in The Dark Knight. Israel is trying to do what it thinks is right - fight for its people and survival in a time of extreme chaos. Lives will be lost. Lives will always be lost, both soldier and civilian, on both sides. But it must not waiver from what remains its ultimate goal - to bring peace and stability to the region and provide a safe environment in which its citizens can exist without fear.

While a large portion of the international community will attack Israel and urge them to stop its attacks, partly from only seeing innocent dead and injured Palestinians on TV, it continues on because it knows that it fights for the freedom of its people. It's not that Israel doesn't care about who is dying, it most certainly does. But Israel is fighting an unusual enemy - one with little regard for human life. One who will use any means necessary to turn the larger community against it, including using their own people as human shields. It leaves Israel with an agonizing moral dilemma: give up its fight for freedom so innocent people will stop dying, or continue on knowing that people will die, but only because its enemies have put it in that position.

In turn, Israel and its supporters must remember that this is a battle over morals and ideals, not just land. If Israel truly believes that what it fights for is right, then it must endure through the attacks of not just rifles and rockets, but also from the media and press, from outsiders who don’t understand what’s truly going on, and from a hostile world that generally resents its existence.

To some, Batman is just a comic book superhero. But he represents the difficult and unpopular choices that some must make when fighting against those who wish to destroy you. In times that are as difficult and complex as this, we can sometimes lose ourselves and our direction when trying to make sense of it all. All the moral questions that arise can sometimes lead us off course. Doesn’t Israel have a right to exist? If so, at what cost to its people and its image? And what about the collateral damage? What are we supposed to do when our enemies use human shields? Do we stay the course, or decide to abandon it because the expense of life is too great? These are all very difficult moral and ethical questions we must ask and deal with, and the answers are not clear cut.

But like all ancient myths and morality tales, we have our own versions of allegory that we may turn to figure out our moral dilemmas. That is what Batman and all superheroes exist as in today's world. They're not just drawings on a page anymore like the way they used to be. They exist to show us the way to combat the evil people in this world who will stop at nothing to accomplish their selfish goals. In this world, there are "some men who aren't looking for anything logical. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." They are the men who Batman has continued to fight against all these years. That is why Batman is and will remain such a powerful symbol. He shows us that sometimes there's nothing left we can do in the face of adversity except make the unpopular choice to do what we think is right; including making choices that no one else will face. Both Batman... and Israel.

I think I’ll go put up that mezuzah now. I'm Batjew!!!

Role call!!

Happy, happy new years everyone! 2008 was a wonderful year full of many ups and downs. I hope 2009 will be even better! I am very thankful that I have been introduced to Moishe House. I feel blessed and excited that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a difference in my community, and I know it is something I will always be proud of.

Sima and I have enjoyed our time so far learning more about Moishe House and understanding what our peers want to do as a group. We have had a great turnout so far with the different events we have planned. This month I am looking forward to our shabbat dinner on January 16. Although we are making a majority of the meal, we are also making it part pot luck. I am eager to cook for our fellow friends and allow the food to join us together.

As Sima mentioned, we were featured in the Texas Jewish Post. Several people have contacted us from the article about becoming involved, and it was another great way to spread the word of what and who Moishe House Dallas is all about.

Until next time..take care Moishe Houses around the world,

happy newyear!

Cleveland weather has consisted of frozen textured slush, covered in a thin layer of slippery snow and a sun that has only made a handful appearances in the past month of December. woohoo. Despite that, we defiantly had a successful month in terms of events. My personal favorite was our Jewish Christmas party. As Jews we all feel a lone on Christmas, order Chinese food, and watch movies; so why not do it together? There was a great turn out for our 12hour party, from 1pm till 1am starting on Christmas day, and I actually had a difficult time getting people to leave (despite being over for hours and ordering Chinese food for both lunch and dinner). Watching movies with a large group of people is defiantly more fun when you're using a projector. I hope everyone had a awesome month and HAPPY NEWYEAR!!!!!!!!!!

MH-SAC Elishama's reflections on 2008

I had some time this past month to reflect on my 2008, the things I am proud of, the things I am not so proud of, and the growth that has come as a result of both. I feel that I spent much more of this year than I would have liked 'cruising' through life, and not really living it to it's fullest. I have let myself get stressed out and apathetic in a world that is filled with joy and excitement. I will make it a stated priority to seek out those things that bring joy to myself and my community. I will be much more active and proactive in my life this coming year. Thank you Moishe House for supporting us in building a loving and supportive community here in Sacramento. We will continue to plan events that support our spirit and that of our community.

-Elishama MH-Sacramento

I missed you Moishe!!

Dear Moishe Philly,

I missed you this month. December took me to DC, NYC and back again, and unfortunately I did not get much quality time with my fellow Moishenicks. But the holiday season was great when I was here. We had a delicious gourmet holiday dinner, and wrote cards for our Vets at the VA over a glowing fire and chocolate fondue. Our holiday cocktails were delicious (please e-mail me if you would like the recipes) and cheer was a-plenty, as always, at our Heymish Shabbat.

I'm excited about 2009 and keeping my new years' resolutions which I still need to make. Although I did just join the gym!

January has a lot of fun in store - Heymish, book club, and the SIXERS!!! I hope you can stand the anticipation until next month's blog ;)


Happy New Year!

Happy new year all!  December was a fun month here at MH Hoboken, especially our ski trip that we had with MH Great Neck in the Poconos.  We had lots of deer in our front yard along with some wild turkey and there were even bear tracks in the snow on the side of our house, but thank goodness no bears bothered us while we were there.  It was nice to go away for a few days and bond with members of the community.  I never did make it to the mountain to go ski, but I did go on an exciting trip to Walmart, learned some new card games, and watched .  It was definitely a great time had by all!  Two days after the ski trip we hosted a New Years Party and then the next day had a large Shabbat dinner, so it's been a tiring but fun past few weeks!

In other news the Giants are playing the Eagles next week in the playoffs and I'm very nervous about this game, we better beat the eagles!  I have faith in the giants and Eli Manning, who also happens to live in Hoboken only a few blocks away from us!  

Most Glorious New Calender Years Joyfulness from Gregor?

Happy Gregorian!

As we all have celebrated the recent coming of the sun around the Earth a miraculously 365 and 1/4 time the gears in my head have spun and I think. Though is not a Judaism event many houses of moish did this occasionally observe and I wonder about assimilationism. Over more, I am pondering the differentification between assimilation and occulteration. What make we different? Are the people Jews have same cultural rights in AmeriC-C-C-a? Serious now, point one that has delineated us in house of moish hoboken is recent adventure in tumbling down mountain with silly long flat shoes.

Traveling to white powder covered bumpy land natives know as Pinoccios. We sanged songs of Jewy time long past and litted small pillers of rememberance fires, we mixed broken ices and knew each other, we welcomed the Shabath Queen and feasted on resting day. Jew we all were as one but it could not have been so much togetherness without the Kristian Ameri-States. We traveled on their messiahday in the vacationing they call "winter" but is the ex-mess and evergreen vacation. So in honouring of suns two thousand and nineth rotation around the Earth I think we are acculterated and that is okay.

Nothing is wrong with living in larger non-Jewy world. Houses of Moishe get that. Living in worlds two is what Jewsies have done and what we do this year. Committed not only to resolutions of the gregorian year but also as Jews. Here is to 2009!

Snow, wherefore art thou?

Happy new year to one and all, big and small! I know one thing I'm thankful for - Moishe House!

So, I just came back from a two week trip to Ecuador with my parents. The Galapagos are a lovely place - I hope you all get a chance to visit, so that you too can become obsessed with sea lions - they're SOOO adorable! Also, new year's eve in Ecuador is like none other - a huge street fair with bands and food and cross dressing men! People also burn huge dolls to represent leaving behind the old year - craziness!!

But enough about me. December was an event-ful(l) month at MH Silver Spring. There were movies galore [Rocky Horror, Breakfast Club, and Milk (x2)], which made studying for finals oh so difficult. Thankfully I get to apply for jobs before my grades come out! Our house also became home base for knitting blankets for the homeless, an initiative of two of our community members. While my own contribution was quite limited (I managed approximately one row of stitches - I knew I should've taken Home-Ec in high school instead of Shop), it was really wonderful to see old and new MH members come together and get excited about helping the homeless during the holiday season. Plans are in the work to continue and expand our efforts, so stop by if you're in the area...


hey moishehouse friends

I hope you are well,

I found that the joke of Michael was not really funny, so here s a better one:

A depressed man
There's a man sitting at a bar just looking at his drink. He stays like that for half an hour. Then, a big trouble-making truck driver steps next to him, takes the drink from the guy, and just drinks it all down.

The poor man starts crying. The truck driver says, "Come on man, I was just joking. Here, I'll buy you another drink. I just can't stand seeing a man crying."

"No, it's not that. This day is the worst of my life. First, I fall asleep, and I'm late to my office. My boss, in an outrage, fires me. When I leave the building to my car, I found out it was stolen. The police say they can do nothing. I get a cab to return home and when I leave it, I remember I left my wallet and credit cards there. The cab driver just drives away. I go home and when I get there, I find my wife sleeping with the gardener. I leave home and come to this bar. And when I was thinking about putting an end to my life, you show up and drink my poison."

Love to all

D. Mor
hello to everybody

here s a little joke to start the year

New Years Resolutions for Pets
  1. Have a torrid one-night stand with a street mutt.
  2. Try to understand that the cat is from Venus and I am from Mars.
  3. I will no longer be beholden to the sound of the can opener.
  4. Circulate petition that Leg Humping be a juried competition in major dog shows.
  5. Call PETA and tell them what that surgical mask-wearing freak does to us when no one is around.
  6. Take time from busy schedule to stop and smell the behinds.
  7. Hamster: Don't let them figure out I'm just a rat on 'roids, or they'll flush my ass.
  8. Always scoot before licking.
  9. Grow opposable thumb; break into pantry; decide for MYSELF how much food is *too* much.
  10. Get out of the castle more, maybe swim counter-clockwise this year.
  11. January 1st: Kill the sock! Must kill the sock! January 2nd - December 31: Re-live victory over the sock. AND the Number 1 New Year's Resolutions Made by Pets...
  12. I will NOT chase the damned stick unless I see it LEAVE HIS HAND.
regards Michael

Short post but sweet

Hey everybody,

I wish all a happay new yaar!

Blessing to you all,


Big D Checking In!

Hey guys! First off, I'de like to wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year! Hope everyone had a good time bringing in the new year and is ready to take on whatever 2009 has in store for us!

Shana and I have been working hard on spreading the word about Moishe House around Dallas and have had a lot of positive feedback! We were in the Texas Jewish Post newspaper which definitely sparked a lot of people's interests in M.H!

I was supposed to be leaving for Israel yesterday with one of the Birthright groups...however, because of the recent events going on there, my family did not want me going (actually they gave me no other option!) sooo... I will no longer be out of town this month which means January should be a good month M.H.D...So i guess thats the upside of the situation :)

All my best !

Sunday, January 4, 2009

David Persyko, MHSF

Moishe House SF Haiku Collection

jewish peeps hangin
kosher food or otherwise
we make it happen

did you hear the door?
are you sure that was the door?
good shabbas, come in!

no, not a temple
we do a different thing
we be secular

all around the world
and in my city also
jews get familiar

The New Year Brings Much Joy at MHP

Hey Y'all,

Well the New Year has come and gone but that doesn't mean the fun is going to stop here at MHP. The switch from 08 to 09 was quite fun for all of us here in Sunny Philadelphia. I was able to see two wonderful klezmastic/Balkan-tastic groups at the local performance venue, The Electric Factory. It has been and continues to be fun being in the company of good friends during these celebrations.

We had a great time over the Holidays, especially at our Channukah Celebration at the local retirement home, Sterling Glen. We ran a small service for the last night, lit the candles, distributed some diabetes-insensitive foods, sang traditional songs together. I was excited to play dreidle with three lovely older ladies who cleaned me out of all my almonds (no gelt for us, folks). We even left a bunch of spinning tops for them to continue the party after we left.

Well, I guess that's my update for now. Here's looking to a bright and beautiful 2009!


Israel here and there

Our Moishe House mate went to Taglit Birthright Israel on 29th December. She was afraid to make that decicion but after taking the advice from her parents and friends she finally took off. We are still worried about her so we decided to put in the schedule of january's events a special meeting to discuss the israeli situaton today. We invited some special guessts: a Rabbi, an graduate of Arab studies, an graduate of international affairs, a journalist, a lawyer, a pacifist, and an anarchist and all of our dear friends.

The introduction to our discuss was watching the interview with Ania Ciszewska- our Moishe House Mate on the nationwide Polish station. She was saying what young Jews in Diaspora are thinking about current situation. Here is the link, just copy it to your browser:,14220,wideo,,73101,konflikt_w_gazie,aktualnosci_detal.html

The discussion, as you can guess, was passionate. We acctually cannot say that it was fruitfull but it brought lots of new ways to look at the conflict.

Just after the meeting was going to an end we got the info that IDF land forces entered into the Gaza Teritory.

I am so exited to have moishe house for the first time

That is our first post on the Moishe House Blog. We are running the Moishe House Warsaw since 15th December. It has been only two weeks. But we all feel it was very intensive. The moving in was a little bit in hurry. We had little time to move all our things to our new house in the center of Warsaw. Our flat is very beautiful and spacious. Sometimes when we clean we thing it is a little too spacious...

We are very happy and exited to run the MH. That has a great meaning to us. Officially we can say that we create the community of twenty-something people in Warsaw. That is fun but also we find it a responsible task. Below we post some photos from the moving in proces.

We already had run five events. Recently was the time of bank holidays. So that was quite easy to have events. But the time of work and studies is starting tomorrow so that will be a bit harder than. We wish ourselfs that it will be no abstacle. And we will come into New Year with lots of power to put our ideas into reality of Moishe House.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ilana Schuman Stoler; MH Chicago; New Month New Year!!!

Good Evening everyone!

It has been a nice mid-week weekend! New Years was an exciting time, I got to leave town for a couple days and escape the humdrum of the city. New Years Eve, we had an event and welcomed our regulars to take a trip with us to Madison, Wisconsin to celebrate the new year. We made a beautiful dinner, packed with schnitzel, lasagna and a delicious salad which got me thinking: we've had some really great Moishe House meals lately. Some fun and holiday-inspired meals, and some just plain delicious. For our shabbat dinner, we had Elana's famous peanut soup and an amazing sandwich spread, which we mostly ate as leftovers because people loved Elana's soup so much that they were full before the sandwich course! For Hanukah we ate a hefty amount of latkes and sugar cookies and those were simply divine! We must have made three hundred latkes, if not more! In our second year, it's been very fun to see when our regulars from last year come to events, and it's been nice to see a whole new slew of regulars come out of the woodwork anew this year. For however long we decide to keep this up, I know for certain, that whatever community we've built in the past year and a half will remain solid so long as we all live in Chicago, and stopping for a moment last night to think about this made me very happy and pleased with this fact and proud to be a part of such a moving organization.

Happy New Year Everyone!


MHSeattle, Neal Schindler, 1/1/2009

In the last few weeks alone, I've been impressed by how many different kinds of people find their way to Moishe House Seattle, and how many ways there are to end up here. One person found us on Facebook and decided to stop by after giving Jconnect (an organization connected to Hillel and targeted at a similar post-college, pre-family demographic) the old college try; my impression is that she won't stop attending Jconnect events but simply wants an alternative for times when Jconnect isn't serving all her Jewish social needs. MH Seattle also seems to have enough staying power in people's minds that they come back to us, even if they've been out of town for months. What others enjoy about our community is fairly simple: unforced fellowship, genuine warmth, and the kind of rich, stable home environment that can be hard to find between college and marriage. It's not that any of this is news, just that I start 2009 with renewed appreciation for it all. As my life begins to change in certain ways -- a likely new job, a return to (the terrifying and exciting world of) dating -- I'm grateful for a home that supports and nurtures my development, personal and professional. And of course for my housemates, who are worth more than their weight in gold, or latkes. (Speaking of which: I think I've had about enough latkes.)

Our calendar for January offers the triumphant return of "Jews on Ice," albeit this time at a proper rink rather than the rinky-dink specimen we found last month at Seattle Center. (Though the sight of little kids skating with "walkers" -- don't worry, they weren't actually disabled, just unsure of themselves on the ice -- amused us all, I think it's safe to say.) We'll also be bringing back the Havdalah-and-Spicebox combo event that Snow-mageddon '08 managed to spoil in December (Spicebox is a belly-dancing event that a number of MH Seattle regulars are into). There'll also be a couple of Shabbatot, including our signature Russian Shabbat, and I'll be leading an excursion to Town Hall Seattle's "Jewish in America" series -- specifically, to an event on Jewish film and music that will include live performances and the screening of four short movies. With the new year come changes, but MH Seattle's certifiable awesomeness remains delightfully intact.