Saturday, February 28, 2009
I am very happy to tell everyone in the blogging world that Moishe House Philadelphia has 100% donated to the cause of the Moishe Foundation. In these troubled economic times it is important to remember that we are a community of people who are in the same boat: we all want to make a difference with our local Jewish 20-somethings and MH is one of the main avenues for this.
At MHP we often talk about the future of our house and the future of the Foundation because we see how it benefits anyone and everyone involved. We are constantly surprised by the new Jews who walk through our door because they feel comfortable with our model of engagement. If we want to continue this model for years to come, it is important that we all buy in and look to our local donors/funders to do the same. I urge all of you out there to approach your local Federations/Foundations/rich Jews and talk to them about what we do.
After all it's pretty sweet and you all know it!
Friday, February 27, 2009
We started the month off with an awesome speaker, David Mendelsohn, PhD, of McGill University, Canada. He gave an intimate lecture/talk at our house for a small crowd on the socio-linguistics of Arabs living within Israel. He was young, down-to-earth, and fascinating to listen to. Not only did I find both his personal story (an ex-ultra orthodox Jew, national high school champion wrestler, Yeshiva drop out, who made aliyah, and in ulpan began studying Arabaic which led to his career in sociolinguistics) and his research compelling; I loved how many new faces his presence brought into our house. We shoot out every event via email to a mass distribution list, and I think we piqued the interest of a lot of new folks with this event. It was great to see different people come out of the woodwork and show up for a more intellectual, cerebral event. It made me proud to be a part of a project that not only provides a social space for young Jews but also a place for inquiry and educational growth.
Later on in the month we had our monthly potluck Shabbat dinner, but this month with a little twist. We co-sponsored the event with San Francisco Hillel Grads, which is basically the Hillel program for grad students at all the graduate schools and programs in the city. I think at one point we counted 37 people in our kitchen!! t was the largest Shabbat dinner since I've lived in the house, and once again, it was great to meet so many new people. I was pleased how well the two different groups mixed and mingled. I love being able to open my home for my peers to network, mingle, relax, and celebrate Shabbat. The more the merrier!
Oh, and our soccer team is pretty much dominating the charity league in which we play. This last week we had our first loss, but we should be well positioned to be heading into the play-offs in a few weeks and hopefully will win the semi-finals! I'm so happy to find my life filled with educational experiences, social experiences, Jewish experiences, and even athletic pursuits. Gotta love Moishe House.
Looking forward to spring...
I've been very fortunate in my life to have not had to experience death that often. Maybe it is because I have a small family. Maybe it is because my parents tried to shield me from it as a child. Whatever the reason is, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to prepare yourself for a loved one passing away. The idea of someone you love and care about so much not being in your life anymore is very difficult to comprehend.
Death makes us think about our own mortality....As my 24th birthday approaches, I find myself attempting to try new things, telling myself to smile more often, step outside my comfort zone more often, accept people for who they are and enjoy all the little things life throws at me.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is surround yourself by things and people you love.
MHSS is busy. We are all running around these past weeks creating and participating in Jewish creative spaces. I am most proud of the Mussar group venture, where a group of 8 community members are committed to an ongoing meeting to work themselves through Jewish texts. We began with Equanimity and now to Patience. We also have Mussar buddies that we check in with in between group meetings. I just amazed to be part of this project.
I cannot wait for spring weather!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Probably my post won't be as interesting and gripping as my flatmates will post. The reason is simple: the few days of my winter vacation I spent at home when Ania B, Agnieszka and Zosia were in Slovakia on winter camp. I had really nice, lazy, movie days-off.
I love cinema. I am not only talking about movies but also about the whole cinema vibes. I spent lot of the evenings (and one morning) watching films to make up for movies backlogs. I made also a good preparation before the Oscars, so I know what's going on:)
My post will be about movies. I guess my friends will write about the Jewish winter camp, so you will have full view of our vacation:)
And the winner is... Slumdog Millionaire! It wasn't a surprise for me. I saw this movie in very curious circumstances: with my sister's Indian friends. They didn't like the film. The were saying it is artificial and biased. From my point of view that's really decent movie! I liked the music and the story very much. I think it also shows somehow the condition and the needs of people today (crisis etc...). I am very happy that such a film got the mail award.
About the Milk I had some doubts if it will be picked out. But fortunately it was! Lovely Sean Penn!
I really didn't like Brad Pitt. But it has changed when I saw him in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I wouldn't say it is my favourite movie ever but I was encharmed with the sense of fairy tale.
What I wouldn't say about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I am saying about WALL-E!!! I love this film. Simple, lovely and charming! I was thinking that won't be awarded because there were not enough of special effects, but finally somebody appreciated the simplicity!
The Dark Knight is one of the movies I won't say a word about. First: because I haven't seen it, second: everybody blame me for my attitude to Batman... So hashhh...
The Duchess is one of the films (Happy go lucky was another of this group) which I thought will get award and I would be very sad about it. Happily The Duchess had one only in costumes...
The Reader is still a movie I am going to see. Hopefully I won't have to wait for that for next winter vacation when I find some time...
I hope you forgive my that my post this month is not so moishe-like... Enjoy movies!
Ania, MH Warsaw
Monday, February 9, 2009
And yet we're still working our magic. January and February have brought more than their fair share of truly memorable - dare we say it, epoch making - moments and events.
We started 2009 in spectacular fashion, welcoming 100 people for a Shabbat service and dinner that can only be described as... rocking. Guests were fresh from Limmud, hungry for more, so we joined forces with local minyanim Wandering Jews and the Carlebach Minyan to give the people what they wanted. Yossi Chajes, a speaker at Limmud and original friend of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, led the service. I'm surprised you didn't hear us in Cali.
January was also, of course, a month of tension and concern over events in Israel. We wanted to respond as a house in some way, but also wanted to avoid the polemic, partisan positions much in evidence across the Jewish community, Facebook, demos etc. So we held a 'listening evening', in which guests were invited to speak for 4 minutes each, without interruption or argument, on their feelings on the situation. The idea was to create a space big enough to hold conflicting opinions. The assumption was we all benefit by being able to sit down and accept opinions and ideas that may be difficult to hear. Collectively, we come to a richer, fuller picture as a result.
And then last night we held held a Tu Beshvat seder which surpassed all our expectations. Over 60 people turned up - at least double the number who came last year - which shows just how far we've come since we started. Our living room looked magnificant, filled with gorgeous happy people and lovingly prepared, multicoloured platters of delicious fruit. Together we ascended the 4 worlds of physicality, emotion, the mind and holy oneness via a series of exercises and guided meditations. We also laughed, chatted, shared and sang, finishing on a high with a jubilant conga line.
Feedback we've been getting has been marvellous. Really, it's times like these I know why we're doing what we're doing.
I think it's always really enjoyable and relaxing to hike with new friends. It's good conversation, and your blood is pumping and you soak in all the natural beauty around you.
We nearly escaped the rain...so I'm happy. It was perfect.
Tonight, we had our February house meeting, which I "took charge" of. It actually reminded me of doing USY in high school. I still remember the big pot-luck I made for my board when I was president senior year...and I remember high-lighting the different agenda items. My youth director cooed from above, "Oh, you're so organized!" It's neuroticism, really...
I decided to go all-out on cooking because it's Tu B'shvat and I got all into the whole nuts and fruits and grains theme. I need more cooking practice, and it's fun to have people to cook for so it's good. I spent Saturday night cooking lol...which I usually spend in because I have to teach Sunday mornings...and sometimes I feel like I need to get out, but I really enjoyed this activity. I think that's what's great about Moishe House--it presents you with all kinds of activities to partake in. It's interesting, it keeps things exciting.
The meeting was good, I was surprised to see us staying pretty well on task. Steve, our house dad, gave some really good input. I'm really glad he's so supportive to us. I've come to respect more and more his personal growth and role in the community--as I have known him as my friends' dad for years.
We have some good ideas for the future...some good structural processes since our house is pretty new. We work really well together. When I look around I see some really smart, capable, awesome leaders. We click and it's great.
After the meeting, we worked on our song for the Moishe House Coffee Shop Night we are doing in a couple weeks. Rachel and I are spear-heading it, but it's a cooperative effort--esp for the song. Jeremy is so talented with harmonica, piano, singing, et al, Jodi's great with drums and has a blast, I can kinda pick around on guitar on some basic chords, and Rachel's helping us all coordinate...she'll sing with us and maybe do somethin silly too like play a coffee-pot hahaha.
It was really really great to spend time with the house on a specific project together.
The light is dim...Jeremy strikes his piano...Jodi smashes and clashes the drums...I am bent over, picking and listening...and Rachel is watching and writing the words on her lap-top. Electricity fills the room and the instability of greatness is lingering in the air, waiting to fly exploding into the air, and float on down to us like fireworks.
We string along melody and rhyme....until weariness pulls at our eyes and yawns yank on our jaws. Our ambitions are aflame with excitement and the satisfaction of good, hard work has sunk into our pores.
We wander off in our own directions...to bed, to blog, to murmur softly as the dryer hums.
The zippers bang and the towels thud. The rhythm is familiar and constant, but eclectic.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Good day fellow Moishe Houseniks and anyone else who's reading this. Since this is my first blog, I think I'll start with a breif introduction of who I am: My name is Ross Engers, I live in Cape Town and as of this year I will be living the fantastic Cape Town Moishe. My interests include Music, Sport, Movies and Fantasy Novels. I have moved into the Cape Town Moishe House with 3 good friends of mine: Dylan, Gabi and Doron.
The first month has gone by and I can't beleive how fast! We managed kick start our year by running 7 great events this month. My highlight of the month was definitely the Big Friday night launch that we held, where we had a massive attendance. It was really great to see so many Jewish Youth in our community interested in being part of moishe house this year. That really excites me!
We have spent alot of time chatting with each other and discussing ideas for events for the year, and so far everything is looking very positive!
Till next time
Friday, February 6, 2009
University who decided to travel to New Orleans during their Winter
Break to rehabilitate homes in the 7th Ward with the nonprofit
Operation Helping Hands. As part of our monthly programming, Moishe
Nola hosted the Brownies with pizza and soda, and assembled a panel of
New Orleans young professionals who facilitated an open discussion about
life, work and recovery issues in post-Katrina New Orleans. The panel
featured a diverse group of young talent representing an impressive
cross section of fields operating in the rebuilding industry. Each
spoke briefly about their personal journey to New Orleans and the
impact of their work. New Orleans 2010 mayoral candidate James Perry
headlined the evening. James spoke to the group about his work as a
housing advocate in New Orleans, life growing up in the Big Easy, and
his effort to bring grassroots change to our local city government.
Afterward, the students' engaged panelist in a question and answer
session addressing their concerns about future flood protection, the
reformation of the education system, the rebuilding process, and
issues of social justice.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
informative and enlightening. Our group talked about it for days."
The JCC program later spent time volunteering in Broadmoor with the Free Church of the Annunciation, working with Ari Braverman and Rich Holden on Miss Brenda's house. According to an email from Joy, the director of the JCC training program "The highlight of the day was when Miss Brenda came home from work and met with us. She showed us inside the house and was so grateful for our help." Moishe Nola has been receiving more requests to host volunteer groups as Spring Break nears.
(To the tune of Ripple)
Oh Stacey's old
And suuuper hairy
Puts on socks and sandles one foot atta time
A sexy man
Loves eating his corn chips
Crumbs on his shirt, sleeping in a well lit room
(Chorus) Stacey in the mooovies
You're laughing really loud
Please let go of my shirt
Oh what a coach
Likes to scare children
Not to be mean, just cause he thinks it's fun
He likes to surf
While eating burritos
Collects caps, loves his wife, and always boxes out
To be continued...
It's February in 2009, and I realize I have finally begun to feel like Obama is president. Looking back a year ago, it's quite amazing all we have gone through. So many emotions, so many ups and downs, and so often it was shared in a group. Ah, the beauty of community. Some day, when I look back at this time period I will not only remember the wonderful tension of the Obama campaign, but I will also associate it with my Moishe House community (and with tons of pictures to prove it!). The debates, the volunteering, election night at Grant Park, our inauguration celebration... all of these are shared memories.
And now comes the normalcy and inevitable regularity of life. The normalcy of politics, the normalcy of world problems, and the normalcy and depression of a recession. Well, at least we got some shoulders to lean on.
From Buenos Aires, Originally born in BA, I'm the new MHBA Roommate!!!... So.... I hope to have a lot of parties in my Moishe House time!!! As long as I understand, wherever U are, the MH spirit includes parties and having fun in a Jewish environement, or at least this is what I've lived since my arrival!.
Parties I have and will!!, and my Jewish life is starts in BA with my grandparents came from weird named places in Eastern Europe, and finishes in this curly haired guy called Jordan playing the world famous "who do U know?" jewish game.
So I'm the new roommate in BA!!... I arrived 2 weeks ago!!! And I'm sure this is going to be a great experience!!!
I have been thinking about how very easy it is to make big differences in life through making small changes.
All it took in London was for there to be a big pile of snow and suddenly strangers were talking to each other, playing together, building snowmen and interacting in ways they never would have otherwise. What a beautiful thing. So, seeing the crowd that came to our Open Mic tonight, I guess Moishe House is a bit like that snow.
One of our guests returned to the Open Mic after a few months. He came to us a few months ago and had never performed in front of anyone, and now he is gearing up to play in front of 2000 people at an upcoming gig.
Those are the changes I believe Moishe House can make all over the place. There is a desire in all of us to connect, all that is needed is an act or two to make it permissable.
There's a chill to the air in Cleveland. It's not just the subzero temperatures during the ice storms... it's a kind of malaise that casts a spell of hibernation on the majority and of resignation on the rest. It always happens this time of year... far more regularly than the weather in fact. It has seemed a few times now that our little house has really been one of the few beacons of light warmth and excitement this season... people trudging through the snow to sit and eat or go and dance... it's like fighting against an invisibly enemy made of laziness and frost. Anyway we've starting to get more into what makes this area unique... more music and sports and culture, things we can some pride in as locals. Personally I'm very excited to make things like live music, salsa dancing and book groups available to our community... they build not just friendships but culture also, who knows what might grow in the spring our of these seeds we're planting now in the cold?
The full tilt impact of Moishe House is hard to understand or quantify sometimes. However, since I have made the move from one Moishe House in Oakland to another one here in San Francisco, it always amazes me at how deep Moishe House San Francisco has asserted itself in the young adult community of San Francisco. My sister went on a blind date last week with a guy who played on the MHSF softball team two years ago, and the two of them exchanged names of people they both know through the house. We have a guest speaker, who currently lives in Israel and is traveling throughout North America to speak about the current state of Arab/Jewish relations and misunderstood stereotypes, coming to present for our house next week, someone I heard about from a woman that lives in the Philly house. I contacted him, and he said he is very familiar with the house, and knows all about the great work we do. However, he has never been to a Moishe House or actually met a resident, from the past or present. I have a friend that was traveling throughout South America, heard from someone he met on a bus one day about a "Jewish community house" in Buenos Aires that happily hosts Jewish travelers. Curious to learn more, he contacted them, and suddenly had some cool people to hang out with while passing through. They were even able to exchange stories about a certain Brady Gill....small world is right.
The Jewish community. We are a people that never ceases to believe of the small world we live in. With the popularity and growth of the Moishe House community, it is clear that this small world is only getting smaller and smaller, which is awesome!
Moishe House Chicago is lucky to have so many birthdays to celebrate! I would say over 45% of our regulars have birthdays in February and I'm so excited that we get to celebrate them! We had a birthday party for Joe last night, and we're planning on having another group party this AND next weekend and that covers already six of our friends that have birthdays in February!!! AMAZING I KNOW.
The flip of all that is that it's FREAKING COLD. I have to say I'm grateful to MH for giving us the opportunity to continue to be social and have activities to plan and do during this absolutely miserable time because without it, I bet we and our core group of people would be really messed up. Ever heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder)??? It's pretty funny actually. Poor us midwesterners, have to deal with a whole new disorder!!! The good thing is that we all go through it together. The dead of winter holds so much over our fair city, that once we make it out, we sure ROCK the summer. And baseball is starting soon....! It's the promise of another summer that will be the only thing that gets us through this.
So I use this blog to document this feeling of woa and despair that I feel day in and day out in this awful cold and bleak weather. It'll be funny to look back at it come May when we're all dancing in the streets and playing softball in the park and playing with dogs and riding our bikes and having a blast!!! I can't wait.
How is everyone doing around the world?
TuBishvat is coming (new year for the trees) and
We found two interesting website for you:
1: Plant a tree in Israel
2: Shiourim about TuBshvat
Daniel Michael Eytan
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The last several months Moishe House Hoboken has begun to gather a reputation for our Shabbos dinners. We've enjoyed the food, the company, and the chance to meet a whole bunch of new people, and I'm sure our guests have enjoyed the same. We hold all sorts of various other events each month including discussions, hookah nights, and football games, but there's something about Friday night shabbos dinners that I enjoy just a little bit more than all the rest. Maybe its the work that goes into cooking for anywhere from 10 to 20 people, but the fact that its so varied, new people are here all the time, and I get a chance to try out new recipes, makes it all the effort worth it.
Today, like everyone else in the Moishe House community, I received Shelby's email and it struck me what Moishe House has become in such a short time. I can't think of a single person who I've talked to about Moishe House that has said anything negative about the concept and ideas behind it. As times continue to get rough these days, its important to remember that we always have the community around us for support. As a Moishe House resident it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know that we are the ones who are able to provide that community. Or maybe that's just the chicken cooking in the oven and Josh showing off his meat balls.
(Unfortunately, no superhero zionists to write about this month. Although there is an Obama-Moses idea brewing. Stay tuned...)
What up Moishe Blog. I’m Eli, and I live in MHDC. Thus commences my long-avoided foray into the blogosphere -- guess I’m a bit late, but I expect to deposit something of relative quality here every so often.
A native of the
MHDC is an incredibly dynamic environment, to which I look forward to contributing in myriad ways. I’m the newest DC Moishenik, and, in addition to lots of bizarre objects strewn about our house, Leo without a doubt left behind some large shoes to fill.
The events of which I’ve been a part thus far have made it clear that MH is becoming the scene in DC, especially for those who gravitate toward the organic vibe that our community offers. Shabbat dinners, which are attended by some 40-100 people on any given Friday, always seem to devolve into a pleasant Riesling-tinged chaos, and from Jewga to Mik Moore bagel brunches to board games to a chock-filled February, we certainly, and happily, have our plates full.
My first event was a Shabbat dinner just after New Year's and at the tail end of Winter Break for students. Many of my friends still in school/grad school got to come together and see each other. Some hadn't seen each other in years! It was great to see my old USY and camp friends together. We even sang the Camp Solomon Schechter version of the Birkat Hamazon! I think we'll recruit some people from it...if they come back to Portland, anyway. I was really happy with it.
My other event in Jan was my birthday party!!! It fell on Obama's inauguration this year so that was QUITE exciting. I had friends new and old come to the big Moishe House event--complete with not one but TWO birthday cakes from my roommates!!! I was really happy it all came together. The little burst of joy came at a good time since I flew out to Florida and D.C. the next day to see a sick family member and attend a funeral for another. I'm glad that I am part of a solid community here. One that discovers Judaism and being young in the world at large.
This coming month I'm planning a Tu B'shvat Hike, and a big "Coffeeshop Night" with my other new roommate, Rachel. We're hoping to get all our friends to perform at this "open mic"-like event. I'm feeling really positive about everything MH but still adjusting to all the responsibility. It has already taken so much work but it has easily been well worth it. Still adjusting to the pace, so I'm glad all of us have been so supportive to each other here in the house. We're hoping to get a bonding event on the calendar in March...
Still brewing with lots of ideas...excited for what will come...
I was fortunate to go with David to NYC for a few fundraising meetings with some of the big Jewish Foundations. The purpose was to get the word out about our organization, and create advocates for our cause. I am so grateful for the opportunity, because the experience reinforced what I already knew about our work: that we're providing a nurturing environment for the post-college Jewish community, and creating a network of future Jewish leaders. But it became even more apparent that we are filling a void in the continuum of Jewish identity, and we need to keep it going.
With every Moishe House we reach a diverse group of people who are yearning to belong to a Jewish community. Whether it's Shabbat Dinner or Running in a 10K together, we are bringing people together who share the LCD of Judaism. And we know we are making an impact, as seen by MHP's successful events this past month. We met new faces at our Heymish minyan, had a full-house for Casino night and added about 30 names to our listserve.
So what I'm trying to say is keep up the good work Moishe. Because what we are doing is fun and meaningful for the Jewish community, and what could be better than that?
(Moishe's new marketing manager. wink wink...)
Don't worry though, everything's all right now or even better than before.
This has made me think about how important the mission of moishe house is. the possibility of being together, talk, laugh and sometimes argue is a very inspiring one.
As Ania already wrote we've seen "defiance" yesterday and had lot's of discussion about it. This was one more opportunity to see that even among the jews the approach to such things can vary. And that one should never take things for granted.
On a more lax tone: the winter break is starting! Tommorrow I have my last exam and I'm off to my parents :)
In a few days I'm going on a camp with my friends (from The Polsish Jewish Youth Organization), and cannot wait!
But for now I have to go back to learning biochemistry, so goodbye!
Thanks you to the whole Moishe House staff for their hard work and persistence in keeping such a great program going for so many years and I wish them the best of luck in keeping the momentum of the program going across other houses all over the world.
Winter in Poland could be cold and could be really freezing. What we have now is the second. We're at the end of our examination session at univeristy and within a day our two the winter break will begin! Yesterday we finally got the chance to go out and have a small breath from studying. We went to cinema and watch"Defiance" it's about three jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.
It was very meaningfull to us, young polish jews.
What about our winter break plans?
We are going to ski (actually I am NOT into winter sports at all so I'm planning to swim in thermal pools and drink beer) in Slovakian mountains with our friends. It's over twenty people so it's gonna be real fun!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Our second event was my favorite. We had a huge Shabbat dinner and were very surprised with the number of people who attended. As Sima said, it got a little crazy with the planning and last minute changes. We had never cooked for such a large amount of people, but it turned out fabulous. Hopefully, we will be able to host another one soon, as people said they really enjoyed it. It was great to have everyone together at Shabbat and to have it be very easy going at the same time.
We rounded out the month with a happy hour at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. They gave us a nice space in the corner, where we had ample room to sit together and enjoy each other’s company..all while enjoying margaritas :)
We already kicked off February with a Superbowl party and are very excited about the number of people coming to our house. Hopefully February will continue to be a success. Nice hearing all of your ideas. Hopefully we can meet someday.
Til February, peace out.
Before the meal we have what we call "living-room style" Kabalat Shabat services where nobody leads and everyone sings and slows down from their busy weeks.
It's not unusual to have folks staying around until all hours of the night. I love the feeling that my home is full of well-fed, happy people.
This community is on the map, and it's a powerful thing we've got going on. I'm proud of the work happening at the Moishe/Kavod House, and I'm excited for where we're going next.
1 Snow Covered City
Handful of People Staring at You and Laughing
Dash of Whimsy
1. Find a particularly slippery spot of pavement
2. Ignore the danger to life and limb such spot poses
3. Walk gingerly over such spot
5. Take pictures to ensure reimbursement
Adam in DC
-You get to feel like you live in a frat house at 23.
-You get monthly conference calls with the indomitable Jeremy Moskowitz.
-You spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook at work (well maybe that one is not so unique).
But nothing is as Moishe Housey as the pre-Super Bowl Costco run. One of my secret desires has always been to win an all-expenses paid shopping spree, one of those ones where you just run through the aisles and throw as many items into your cart as you possible can... well that is what Costco was like this weekend!
Potstickers? Check... Chicken sausage? Check... Ross taking a ride in the Escalade built for a 5 year old? Double check... 5 lbs of honey bbq wings? Let's make it 10!
I know, I know, Moishe House is all about building community and the food and whatnot is all secondary. And we certainly built commuity this weekend, with Shabbat dinner on Friday night and the Super Bowl on Sunday. But for me, learning how to shop for 50... just as valuable.
Now if only we could get a delicious dinner on the table Friday nights before 9:30, we'd really be in business!
Posted by Dave, St. Louis
Speaking of Russians, I strarted a new monthly Russian Shabbat night, which has finally gotten the attendance it deserves! There were so many people that I had to scounge up a "kid's table." There were people that I knew but haven't seen from 12 years ago, and also some new faces, and everyone had a great time. I think I'm onto a good thing here with this program. I hear that there are two Russian-speaking houses on the East Coast, and I'm very curious to see what they'll be doing. And frankly, it's about time this is happening. :)
Monday, February 2, 2009
To backtrack, last summer, we held a leadership retreat where we asked our leaders which direction they wanted Moishe House Boston to go. We heard a lot of feedback that while people loved the programs and the community, they wanted a sense of deeper ownership and decision making power.
So we embarked on a membership drive (led by Aaron, who did an amazing job), got people to sign up as members, and then invited people to a membership meeting that was attended by over 40 people. At the meeting, we told the story of our house and how our leadership expanded from me (pre-moishe house funding) to the four Moishe House housemates to our program teams to our community leadership team, and now to the members. New and veteran participants shared their stories about what is working in our community and could work better, and we set up working groups to a) create a more empowered leadership board and b) to explore and address the issues raised at the meeting, like how to deal with diversity of religious styles, how to be welcoming even when we have huge crowds, how to create more opportunities for connection and relationship building in the community. It was just really exciting to see people get it that Moishe House is THEIR community and to realize that they are invested in making it even stronger.
If that had been the only Moishe House event of the day, dayeinu, it would have been enough. But as the vibrancy of our community would have it, after the membership meeting, the tubishvat (Jewish environmental holiday) seder planning team and the shabbat/holidays team each got together for meetings in various parts of the house, and then everyone congregated in Ben's room to watch the superbowl. It was a full day that really reminded me why I love our house.
On a personal note... Life in Silver Spring is going well. I have started writing my dissertation and it is crazy to start something that I know I will not finish for at least 1.5 years. So, I have jumped into that project because every moment I spend now gets me closer to my goal of finishing. And I love to finish things. Don't you?
Well .... My topic is meaning in life and yes, it is an undertaking. I am close to figuring out how I will be looking at this subject. But I know that I will be interviewing people about the meaning in their life and how they go about maintaining it. So I am sure you will be solicited to partake in my study.
Moishe House newz ... The silver spring Jewish community is much sweeter thanks to the Moishe House Foundation. Last year, community member Yael Kornfeld introduced us to International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. Her grandparents started it and it is happening all over the world. The Moishniks celebrated a bit early, but the folks came out to make ice cream sundaes and waffles with ice cream. 'Twas a tasty morning. Other then that , the Moishe House mussar group has resumed but in a more focused fashion. The mussar group has 8 members that are committed to bimonthly meetings discussing specific attributes and working on personal growth through Torah. Can we be more excited!?!
Till next month.
A quick recap of the different pieces of the event; The Karaoke was kind of a joke. I mean, this little screen was hooked into Dell laptop speakers, and it was right by the entrance... did anyone sing? At all?
The open bar, on the other hand, was a hotbed of activity all night. The themed food and drinks seemed to go over well, and, while I didn't have any time to eat it myself, I heard the tempura was fantastic. The dance floor was empty early, but after a Tango demonstration by Tal Stein, the man who holds down Atomic Cowboy's Thursday night Swing dancing sessions, people started moving in, and eventually, booty shaking ensued.
After going 'around the world with YPD' on Saturday night, my own journey to become a part of the post-college Jewish community in St. Louis came full circle.
A year ago, I walked into YPD's kick-off knowing a handful of people, with my only claim to fame being that I had connected YPD with 30 cases of beer, thanks to my former position with a beer company.
Saturday night was a wholly different experience. To me, the evidence that we have started to succeed in building this young Yid community was present in the sheer number of people that I knew at the event, and who now know each other.
As the night wore on, the sake bombs took effect, and the dance party took off. One friend remarked that you could, "totally tell who the Moishe House kids were, we were the ones dancing and having a great time."
While it was certainly true that we held down the dance floor, we weren't the only ones having a good time.
Actually, there were so many new people to try to meet, it was a bit overwhelming.
In fact, I may have to reassess my claim that there aren't any young Jews in St. Louis. There clearly are, the question now is, what do we have to do to ensure that I don't have to wait another whole year to try to meet them.
Israel is & was fabulous & amazing.
I had a hiatus from MHSS while being a staff member for Taglit-Birthright Israel Outdoors group 225 -- and it was amazing. :)
I have had trouble shifting myself back to USA life. I think my mind stayed in Israel.
A lot of great pictures are posted at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=52020287463 (our group's page).
Returning to the States brought me to MH Hoboken (thanks, Dave, for picking me up from the airport, and thanks to all MH Hobo for hosting me and being awesome!), the Inauguration, delicious chai masala that I made (first time!) for our Indian Shabbat, and enjoying the left-overs of our Ice Cream Breakfast (which of course I missed b/c I teach Sunday School).
My Sunday School lessons have centered on Israel since returning. I've had a lot of fun with my class -- and I like these new lessons we're doing. :)
And that's all I've got. Oh, and if you get a chance, buy some sparkly chocolate next time you're in Israel. :) (Most important: Don't chew! Let it sit on your tongue.)
We've already started our Feb. events with our super bowl party on Sunday night, which had an awesome turnout! Hopefully the rest of Feb. will have similar results :)
All my best to everyone!
I'm super stoked to e that I have a new job and am totally loving it. I work for Camp Galileo which is an arts and science camp in the bay area. I am a phone interviewer for people applying to be staff and although the work in itself is not crazy exciting I am still really happy. the people are so nice and I am working for an organization that I really believe in. I also see room for growth with them which is very exciting. I can't really say exactly what it is but the fact is that I have been working in an office for a month and am still happy and haven't gone crazy. This is amazing in itself and as i put on my shoes to head out to work today, I am really thankful for my life!
The beginning of 2009 brought much excitement to our humble city of Washington, DC. With all the craziness of inauguration, January was a bit of a whirlwind, buuuuuuut a couple things that stand out: 1) WE HAVE A NEW PRESIDENT HOLY CRAP 2) At MHDC we had our first “Moishe on the Move” Shabbat. Basically, a few of our Shabbat regulars offered to host a Shabbat dinner at their place. We were a bit taken aback by this generous offer, especially given that it came on the heels of some of the biggest Shabbats we’ve ever had (75-100 people). But we decided to give it a try… and it worked out famously. So, in honor of this new development in MHDC Shabbats, I thought it only appropriate to count down the top 5 differences between Shabbats hosted at our house and Shabbats hosted at this new venue: 1) They live in a very different part of town, which brought in some totally new faces 2) Their floors are clean 3) Their furniture is clean 4) Their kitchen is clean 5) They are clean. All in all it was a great experience and a neat way to give the members of our community a more active role in event planning and participation. I think it’s something that we’ll definitely do again.
Love and chocolate,
Sunday, February 1, 2009
A point of cultural translation for those from the east: on the West Coast, Maui is our Miami Beach -- a way to get remedial Vitamin D in the winter, if you don't mind visiting your grandparents. The difference is that Maui, like West-Coast dress codes and punctuality, is just a bit more relaxed.
So a week ago I was enjoying the record-setting low afternoon temperature of 72 degrees, thinking to myself, "the last time I walked in the warm sun in January, I was in Israel. But it's so much calmer here." For good reasons, obviously, Israel may be warm but it is not chill. Hawai'i is the perfection of both.
The weird thing is, it felt wrong. Even in the dark, dank winter, somehow in Seattle I always know that I share a land mass with New York City, which had might as well be Israel, between Golda Meir Square, strangers asking questions in Hebrew, and a 747 full of screaming chareidi babies coming or going at any time of the day or night. On Maui, I realized, if I wanted to find so much as a continent with an Israeli consulate, I would have to cross thousands of miles of beautiful blue tropical waves.
I felt as though I were in a completely other world. I should have known better.
Meandering about the sleepy town of Kihei, after taking a wrong turn back from the beach, I came across a giant Star of David attached to what looked like a house, and I had to check it out. This is how I discovered Beit Shalom, a charming little synagogue reminiscent of Emanuel Congregation back home, right there in my grandfather's neighborhood (not that he cares). The rabbi popped out and invited me to the next morning's services -- where I got to hear not only the Torah, but also enough passionate talk of Israeli politics to more than make up for my isolation in paradise.
Even Hawai'i, it turns out, is not as far from Jerusalem as it seems. The Hawai'ian Legislature, I was told, opened 2009's session with a performance by Maui native Willie K, the "Hawai'ian Jimi Hendrix," who sang -- what else? -- the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikvah." No kidding.
The moral is not that it's a small world. It's a huge world. Most of it is covered with water. We live on islands among the oceans, and as Jews we live on cultural islands among the oceans of tribes dwarfing ours. But, not to start any rumors, I think we've got some rabbi, backpacker, or grandparent installed on any little island you can find.
It's definitely been a running start to '09. Our events this month were great-we had a fun range of programs but Shabbat dinners are always the biggest events and my personal favorite. I think we had our biggest Shabbat yet with more new people then regulars. We're definitely growing... With all the challenges taking place in our communities across the globe it's more important than ever to be surrounded by support and feel apart of a community. I'm really proud to be apart of a group creating that community. The winters here in the Midwest are long, cold, and dark and our Moishe programs keep me going so I'm grateful for the motivation to be active and social in these hibernation like months. I hope the ground hog sees his shadow and Spring comes soon... I have to be hopeful! I wish everyone the best.