Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Madnesssss

March was... madness...! After being sick for almost 2 weeks with strep/flu/upper respiratory infection/everything that makes you feel like total ..... I am finallyyy starting to feel better and get back on track... so for all of you who have been fortunate enough to get whatever is going around, I feel for you!! Aside from that, everything went well over all butttt glad this month is over...! April is going to be a big month for us in D-ToWn! We are very excited for Jeremy’s visit to Dallas and are in the process of planning something special, in his honor ;-) … GeT ExCcCciTeD JeReMy!! In addition, it is my wonderful roomie’s 25th birthday ((Happy Early Birthday, Shana!)) on the 12th so we are going to throw a Moishe House party to help celebrate her special day!! Hmmm.. thats about it :) Oh..and I will be meeting my Newwwish boyfriends entire family on Passover sooo wish me luck :) :-/ !!!

With love, Sima

Rachael - MHSS - March / Adar / Nissan

Wow. (!)
Where to start?

- Springtime is here! Flowers blooming on trees (my favorite); Cherry Blossom Festival has begun; some of my seeds are sprouting & blooming -- planting time is DEFINITELY here!

- MHDC-MHSS Purim party was great -- excellent efforts put forth (thanks, planners!!), ridiculous turn-out, decent $$$ raised considering the general bedlam....and dancing is ALWAYS a plus.

- MHSS-GesherCity Crafts-GesherCity Community Service "Crafting for Charity" event was a bit low on the male segment of humanity, but was successful nonetheless. It was cool to introduce to one another people coming from very different arenas within the local Jewish community and to really serve as a community space for people to meet, gather, and do. Requests for repeat events and future collaborations are always nice to hear, too. :)

- As We Forgive (in conjunction w/ 6th & I) went very well -- Laura and Genvieve (the person that works on setting up screenings) both said several times that this was the best group and audience they've ever had, and how lucky we are to have for our use & how honored they were to be in such a beautiful space. They kept saying how much they appreciated the questions and feedback & the level of engagement this audience exhibited. After the program officially concluded, dozens of people hung around after and approached Laura to ask more questions and engage her in conversation and establish connections & partnerships. Laura's also interested in doing future programming with us! (MHSS!)

Folks in general seemed very appreciative of the screening: the opportunity to screen, the opportunity to view. I'm glad we as MHSS were able to participate; and I thank very much everyone who came to the viewing, who showed their support, and who thanked me & verbally expressed their gratitude for and congratulations on my involvement.

A few personal additions:
- I trailblazed with Becca (one of the folks who assisted with our compost event back in November) of Kayam Farm, a Jewish working educational farm just north of Baltimore. We chatted life & community & outdoor education while clearing the way for future educational backpacking trips in the beautiful (if slightly deceptive) Baltimore sunshine. It was great to be outside, to work the land, to contribute to Kayam's work and mission, to spend time with yet another fabulous person, and to be a part of the Jewish community Becca (& co.) is (are) helping to establish & live out Kayam-way.

- Someone from the Birthright trip I led in Jan. was in the area for a weekend -- it was cool to reunite! (Ran into another, one who lives somewhat close by, @ our local Irish pub on St. Pat's Day -- but of course!) I'm still floored and amazed by connections that seem to almost spontaneously and haphazardly happened into my life -- by their depth and strength and continuity. If I stop to think about it for even a moment, it feels to me very, very weird....

- Attended a Kayam Farm Jewish educator's outdoor ed training; I wish it could have been several days longer! (I miss outdoor ed!) Have subbed for a few religious schools, am plugging away at the two I teach regularly, & am leading the children's program at the JUFJ Labor Seder in just a few hours. Been invited into a couple other Jewish community organizations / intiatives, local & beyond -- it's all so unreal sometimes; doesn't even seem to be my life.

Adar, Adar, March, March...how do I love thee :)
Welcome to Nissan, to April, and to spring full-force (but without the allergies, I hope!).
May everyone have an uplifting, freeing, meaningful Pesach!

And thanks, everyone, for your blogs -- I enjoy reading what you, my compatriots, wish to share with us of your various worlds.

Till next time --
~ Rachael of MHSS

My first date auction…

…and god willing my last. JUST KIDDING IT WAS AWESOME. Seriously, though – In these times of economic hardship I simply didn’t know whether to expect a good turnout/exciting and competitive bidding wars, even given the 17 fine specimens that were on the auction block (including every single resident of MHDC!!). But the Moishe House DC/Silver Spring (we teamed up with them for the event) community didn’t let a little ole recession get in the way of their bidding… We made a whopping $750 for an awesome local non-profit organization, and in the process assured that awkward first dates will continue to abound for DC’s Jewish residents.

Additional shout-outs for March – Eli organized a great event on ethics and kashrut, bringing a rep down from New York’s Uri L’Tzedek, which is working with kosher restaurants to develop a justice seal of sorts. Though this model would be tough to replicate in DC due to the complete vacuum of kosher restaurants (uhhhh there’s approx. one within the district) it’s interesting to think about how we could make similar strides that might better fit the offerings/character of the DC community – perhaps a seal for catering companies would be better suited to DC…. In any case it was a great discussion.

Love,

Riv

Moishe House in the eye of the storm


So this is actually my first contribution to the Moishe Blog. My name is Dylan and i'm the resident in the room under the stairs in the Cape Town House. So far life in the house has been pretty exciting, with our regular official events, not to mention the new hoarde of regulars who have decided that the lounge area outside my room is the ideal place to pass time and chill throughout the day.
And while it's usually myself, Gab, Rossy and Dodo that are facilitating the spectacles for all to see and enjoy here at MHCT, a few days ago nature decided to give us a well-deserved break and make our home the vantage point to what over the past few years in Cape Town has become a semi-regular occurence: Fires on Table Mountain.
Although the cause of it has not yet been established, the fire was one of the biggest and most destructive of recent times in Cape Town, having started on the back slopes of Devils Peak by the University of Cape Town, and spread across towards the city bowl and the lower left side of Table Mountain, not 300 meters away from Moishe's spot.
So while everyone was relaxing on an otherwise uneventful night, someone happened to look out the window and commented on the smoke in the air. We all went outside to find the skies red, and massive flames licking the air up on the mountain. We spent a lot of the night perched on the roof watching the fire nervously, especially since there were people at the top of our road that were forced to evacuate.
Luckily though, there was no damage to property, and most of the indigenous plants and wildlife escaped harm.
The Picture attached was taken from the roof.
Best wishes, Dylan

Monday, March 30, 2009

gefilte fish with guajillo-chipotle sauce

When people ask me about being a Mexican Jew, I joke that we eat spicy gefilte fish. Which is actually not such a joke – the title of this post is a recipe my cousin Fany contributed to an article on Latin-Jewish cuisine that just came out in Jewish Woman Magazine. The article is timely as we approach Pesach, noting that the story of exile and exodus repeats itself throughout Diaspora history, and wondering how customs and tastes inspired by new locales enrich ancient Jewish traditions and create new traditions to pass on; in this case, the new locales being countries in Latin America. And indeed, the author writes, “local cuisine definitely makes its voice heard at the Passover table of several Mexican families. Some Latinas I spoke to have suggested that this may reflect a special relationship the long-standing, stable Mexican-Jewish community enjoys with its host country. Fany Gerson, a Mexico City–born pastry chef [and my cousin!] deeply proud of the culinary traditions of her native country, explains it differently: ‘Maybe Mexican food is simply so tasty that they needed to translate that into traditional dishes…[it’s] probably the most rich and varied within Latin America.’” I Love this answer, as it suggests a metric for comparing the tastiness of different foods (the fact that Americans adhere pretty strictly to ancient Jewish recipes: oy ve). But more broadly, I Love this perpetual imprint of new places on our customs and tastes – when I eat my mom's spicy gefilte fish in California, I'm tasting both her family’s exodus from Poland and Austria, and her exodus from Mexico. And of course, I Love the possibility of seasoning brisket with tamarind and garnishing Matzo Ball Soup with cilantro, chile, lime, and avocado.

So if you wanna spice up this year’s Passover (hey, some extra spiciness – especially for the unsuspecting – can certainly satisfy the same function as bitterness, Mexican-style), go for my cousin's Gefile fish with Guajillo-Chipotle Sauce. And, spelling it the way Mexicans do, Hag Sameaj!

Moishe Nola hosts Stanford Volunteers

Last week Moishe Nola hosted a group of Stanford Sprink Breakers for a conversation about the history of the recent rebuilding effort.

Nate Rothstein joined the house for this panel discussion that addressed the relevance of recent graduate activity in post-Katrina neighborhood/city-wide development.
Posted by Picasa

Friday Night Dinner, Nola

Friday Night's Dinner was a blast!

The house was packed for our first spring Shabbat, and with a little luck we may be able to expand into the backyard for next month's dinner.
Posted by Picasa
Moishe House New Orleans get's a Puppy!

Josie is a hound sheppard mix, or so we think. Jon picked Josie up last week from the pound and at only a few months old, she is still working out a few of the basics.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 29, 2009

game night at MHBJ

MHBJ recently did a game night- cards, boggle and that game where you pull blocks out until the whole block-structure falls over. I forget its name, but I like it.

When I was in college people would randomly stop by the Hillel lounge to snack on whatever was laying around, talk and maybe play games. Boggle was popular - I guess a fair number of us were nerds - and we had a super nintendo that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't.

Game night totally brought me back to that. Just hanging out with people. And eating, of course.

Also, what is up with people who are really good at boggle? I just don't understand how they can see all those words. I'm always twisting and turning my head, but good boggle players just kind of stare at the board and accumulate 30 points without even looking like they're thinking. Jerks!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Zvi from MHSS

Hi Moishe Land!

Happy Spring! Things are bustling for me as I get more involved in the dissertation process. My topic is Personal Meaning and I will be using narrative analysis to explore my topic. Basically, I will be meeting with people and asking them for stories about meaning in their life. I first have to go through a proposal defense and then I can start collecting the stories.

In Moishe activity ... our house is busy, we are fighting social injustice in our county by getting involved in a new transportation line that might displace low income families. (Argh!) The mussar group is really colluding. We are moving through different qualities and seem to be getting a lot of self awareness from our meetings.

Wishing everyone a Happy Passover!

Zvi

Spring is arriving and Philly is blooming!

Dear Moishe House world,

This past week saw a lot of shift in weather in good ol' Philadelphia, with temperatures rising, rain falling, and a good amount of sun and 60+ degree weather just yesterday. It makes me really excited because that means we can start doing some more outdoor activities with our community members. We are in the planning stages for a hike in the near future and a work day at a local urban farming community. I definitely look forward to that.

But, I don't want to digress too much from March, which was a great month in its own right. One of my favorite events this month doing a havdalah/sing-a-long service twice over two weeks. I tested out the concept two weekends ago with some camp friends of mine and we had a great time singing by the fireplace. I am looking to replicate that event this evening with some different participants and more musical talent. I'm sure it will be fun and I look forward to it.

That's all for now, I suppose. I look forward to updating you after my birthday next month! We are going to have an awesome house party with some cake and candles too!

Brian

My last post...

it is time to say goodbye for me. Happily, I am just leaving Moishe House but I am staying in Warsaw. So I guess I will be now a Moishe House Warsaw guest...

Firstly, I want to thank my dear co-residents for all your support and for the big thing- creating a community together.

I want to say thank you to all Moishe House Staff for letting me to be a part of big Moishe Houses Family.

It was a great experience for me. We have organised over 20 events since December. That's something! I will be missing all the preparations and the most funny moments like creating the calendar for the next month...

Today I am packing my things and I am leaving tomorrow. I wish Zosia, Agnieszka, Ania and (the new flatmate) Kuba all the best! I am sure Moishe House Warsaw will be still most funny, Jewish, party, open place in Warsaw!

Friday, March 27, 2009

In response to both Yoni's and Ben's posts

Since I live in the St. Louis MH that Yoni was originally talking about and also have some insights into how to both enjoy Moishe House for what it is and also enjoy having your own personal time not representing Moishe House. I make sure that there are distinctions between when we have a Moishe House event and when it just time to hang out and shoot the proverbial shit. I feel like we as a Moishe House have a warm and welcoming vibe downstairs where the living room and dining room are, however upstairs is our personal area and for the most part people are not really encouraged to see it besides a that first tour of the house. Therefore I feel like when I am up upstairs I have the freedom to attend to my own personal life and so forth. Downstairs is the Moishe House area and therefore we treat it as such with lots of seating open areas and just general openness to walking in to my house and seeing random people whose identity I do not know. Additionally, we have kind of started including other people in the organization side of our events, so you may receive a personal invite from one of us for shabbat dinner one week and next week, it may be an email from a normal regular seeing if they want a ride to another event. In that way, we end up not spending as much time stuck in the details of each event and it allows people to work out their plans themselves.

However, in the recent past we have starting down a slippery slope where even if you plan on doing a non-moishe house event with a smaller amount of people for the sake of organization (for example going to dinner, movie or some other arbitrary event like eating caramels*), others begin to ask if they can attend, and there is nothing worse that saying that I would rather people not attend just because of trying to coordinate every one's schedule. It ends up harder to push out the event planning responsibilities in a non-moihse house event just due to the fact that these things are usually last second. I have never hit so many minimum party requirements for tip being just automatically added to a tab. Though that part I don't mind at all, its just calling everyone, telling them what we were planning on doing, and then reacting and changing plans when certain requests come in. In all truth, I don't have the most fantastic way of dealing with those items besides running up to my Non-Moishe House room and locking the door. Anyone have a good idea for that?

*Good Will Hunting has so many better quotes than this but it just seemed to fit, how do you like them apples?

new month, new life

Yesterday we said goodbye to the month of Adar, and with it the old year. I bet you didnt know one of Judaism's new years - in fact the oldest one, that we're told about in the Bible, is actually this month, the month of Nissan. Adar is a month of some chaos and confusion, as new life struggles under the surface of the earth, and the last husks of the old must decay and die away. But as we enter Nissan, the month of the spring, new emergence begins, and a new cycle of life. This month is blessed with much newness and possibility.
That was why our ladies got together last night to celebrate this new turning of the season. The healing of the month of Nissan is particularly associated with a healing of voice and expression, as symbolised by the telling of our story at the Passover Seder.
This month in general has led to some new opportunities and focus for healing. We've started a healing circle, where people can come together to share attention and support each other, and learn about and trade different forms of healing touch. Also this month our monthly movie was about Juliette de Baraicli Levy, a great pioneer of herbal and nutritional medicine for both humans and other mammals. After the movie we shared some different herbal teas and learnt about their uses.
Although we may want more light and more wellness at all times, our awareness of that need is usually most acute when we're suffering and in pain. I always find that Adar hurts. It did this year, but it was that pain that pushed me to reach out and call in more support, and invite in the newness which this month is sure to bring. Chodesh tov!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

march blog mhwarsaw

March was a very exhausting month for me. Firstly, I had my 20. birthday, so now i'm not a teenager! Secondly I had to choose in which department i want to make my Bachelor's degree . It wasn't obvious for me which one i schould choose. After a few days of thinking and talking with professors and students i chose the department of applied microbiology. I went for an interview and they put me into their scientific group. I am very happy about that!
Thirdly, Ania Ciszewska is moving out on Sunday, so i want to thank her for everything. She was a great moishemate. Unfortunately she has some private reasons for moving out. I know that maybe we aren't perfect flatmates, but i hope that she had spent some nice moments with us.
And last but not least, in Warsaw is still very cold, and it's snowing and raining everyday. I'm really sick of this. I want to see some sun!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sarah, MHSF March blog

Sorry folks, feeling in a sorta uncreative mood right now though, hence the really uncreative title, but figured I should crank this out to kill some time at work. It definitely beat staring at a sterile office wall, and feeling sorry for myself and my sore throat, right?

I've lived in MHSF for five months now! It's sorta incredible how time flies. Like the saying goes -- time flies when you are having fun. I'm so busy between work responsiblities, house responsibilities, fun MHSF events, and trying to spend time with friends, I feel like I went from moving in right to today without even noticing the time going by.

Some of my personal highlights from the month thus far (in no way a complete list of events):

1. Kicking ass on our soccer team. We won the semi-finals match, lost the play-offs, but 2nd place ain't all that bad, especially considering we played back to back games after work on a Monday night!
2. DB leading an awesome Purim cooking class that was well attended, delicious, and very hands on.
3. Huge dinner party with musicians from a few JDUB record label bands, held at our house, right before their concert around the corner at The Independent

And, of course we still have Shabbat to look forward to. I'll actually be out of town this month for Shabbat this Friday, and although I'm very excited to go visit New Mexico for the first time ever, I'm honestly sad to be missing the event. Potluck Shabbat at our house is something I look forward to every month. I love sharing blessings and food with my housemates and friends. I think it's a testament to the community we have created here in SF that part of me doesn't want to get on that plane Friday afternoon... despite my excitement to see an old friend, explore the desert, and maybe even go snowboarding in Taos. The good news is there is always next month...

In Response to y? from St. Louis...

I appreciate y?'s post, which begins, "What happens when the lines between your Moishe House and your home collide?"

I think the question of balancing your personal needs (and investment in a community that works for you) and the professional aspect of doing a job to staff that community is very difficult. It's made even harder by the fact that the personal and professional space is one and the same -- your house -- and thus the dilemma is literally brought home every day.

y? asks the question in a way that suggests this conflict doesn't occur so frequently for him, but perhaps I'm misreading the post. Regardless, for me it's something I've struggled with almost every day for the last three years. Frankly, I love building our community, but I really dislike building it in my house. It's too much for me, too intrusive, and it doesn't jibe with my need for protected personal space. Nonetheless, I recognize that one of the reasons that we are successful is because our home environment creates such a warm and welcoming vibe, both for folks coming in to our community for the first time and for those who keep coming back for more.

I tend to respond to this issue by spending a lot of time at my girlfriend's house, but I somewhat resent that I have to do that. Obviously, since I've managed to stay at the Moishe/Kavod House for three years now, I've found a balance that works for my life, but it never feels so great to me.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm curious what others have to say on this subject...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Esther vs. the Bank of Shushan

This year, in addition to our regular Purim celebration, Moishe House Boston teamed up with one of our favorite organizations - the Boston Workmen's Circle -- to help organize and promote their second annual Gragger/Noisemaker Purim party. The party this year was focused on housing justice, and worked to raise money and recruit for the affordable housing campaign Moishe House Boston has been helping to lead for the past two years. I missed the party last year, so even though I had talked to loads of Moishe House people who were helping with set up or practicing for the spiel/skit, I was pretty awed when I arrived this year and experienced the amazing creativity and turnout for this party.

I showed up, in my cowgirl get-up, to find 400 people dressed in every sort of costume, including what felt like everyone who had ever been to Moishe House Boston. One our leaders, Michelle, who helps lead our affordable housing campaign was the star of the Purim Spiel (skit), which was a home-made piece of radical theater in which Esther (Michelle) had to save the Jews of Shushan from losing their homes to foreclosure, due to the evil advice of financial manager, Haman, advisor to the Bank of Shushan's CEO, Ahashverosh. Another leader, Joseph, served as one of the night's two MC's/radical cheerleaders, dressed in a hot pink mini-skirt.

After the spiel, a troop of hulahoopers did an elaborate show, then there was an Ethiopian band, and then there was a wild dance party. I often have a lot of fun at Moishe House, but it was exciting to see people from so many different parts of our work all dancing and having fun together. Yasher koach to the Workmen's Circle and Moishe House folks who put this on - I am definitely coming next year!

The Moishe Dilemma

What Happens when the lines between your Moishe House and your home collide?

We're about to find out.

As is the case with most things, everything always happens at the same time.

Jeremy Moskowitz, our regional director, will be visiting the St. Louis Moishe House over Passover.

My parents also decided to come in that same weekend. So did Ross'.

On top of that, I was offered a ride home for Pesach from a good friend, which I had to refuse due to work, and the aforementioned fact that my parents are coming in.

So what do we do with my parents? What do we do with Jeremy? How do we host a dinner that makes everybody happy?

With finesse, I hope. But this is the reality of Moishe House, in which your life is the communities life, and vice versa. These delineations have become blurred to the point that I've been referred to as The St. Lou Jew.

How do you extricate yourself and keep what is personal personal without detracting from the communal nature of this endeavor?

I'm interested in your thoughts

Monday, March 23, 2009

European Jewish Youth Leadership.

Week ago me and another moishe mate Agnieszka and moishe mate to be Kuba went to Krakow for European Encounters Seminar.
European Encounters progr
ammme provides Eastern and Central European Jewish community leaders with capacity-building opportunities related to EU affairs, fundraising, programme development and project managment. Around 30 participants from 8 Eastern and Central European countries attended the seminar which was led by CEJI and ECJC staff.
It was extremely useful and inspiring, both because of the content and the opportunity to share ideas with the others

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"A woman who sits in circles with other women."

It's my 3rd month in the house. Technically, Rachel, the other newer housemate and I are to be "initiated"...but that'll come later at our retreat.

I must say, I'm quite excited. I think Moishe House has really helped me grow as a community organizer, and I really admire and look up to all the people I am meeting and crossing paths with.

This sense of belonging and inspiration also coincides with the sense that I've straddled the bull and can at least stay on it what with all my other work pursuits and endeavors. My teaching and youth work is going really well. I'm energized by my work, I learn a lot, and it's a great exchange for everyone. The people I serve and I seem to get a lot out of it.

I'm happy to say that I'm in Portland, nearly a year after graduation from undergrad, and things are going well.

Being involved with Jewish community in Portland is really really rewarding.

My interests in women's issues are also filtering through. I've been studying with some of the rebbetzin, working with coworkers, etc, etc. There's this poem I've been trying to find...but I remember one line of it. It's about how a woman should know and love herself. And that this kind of woman is also:

"A woman who sits in circles with other women."

Something about that line seems so universal to me...and connotates the level of peace that women find in connecting with one another. Sometimes it doesn't matter how... but making connections with the other people around me, particularly women, is really powerful for me. There are some really driven, awesome, beautiful women around here...and I just really like that image....of a woman who is proud, strong, defiant, questioning, etc, etc, and yet can "sit in a circle" or be among, so many just like her.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

First Posting/Twitter anyone?

Well, I guess I should introduce myself first.... Julia here, from the East Bay Moishe House in Oakland. I'm new to the house and am excited about all there is and to look forward to and to make happen! I have my first Shabbat in the house coming up this Friday and am looking forward to that.

I was curious when I moved in about how we were advertising ourselves/events and learned that we had a group on facebook, but not on the ever-growing Twitter. I thought this could also be a great way to publicize events and things we are getting involved in so I started an account for us. You should all check us out: http://twitter.com/eastbaymoishe and follow us if you're on, and join if you're not! I think it could not only be another great way for us to interact and learn about what the other houses are up to, but a way for our friends and anyone who is curious to see what we're up to as well! I hope to see some of you on there soon!

It's been a good, busy weekend, and I now need some shut eye for another exciting week of the traveling unemployed.... signing out. iamthepiv

march blog

moishe moishe moishe...just had another house meeting. i love them, these days. my housemates cook dinner and i get to enjoy "family" dinner with everyone and eat healthy food too. not sure how i've gotten out of doing the cooking, but i have. i like to cook, but sort of have lack of time. tonight's dinner was really yummy! looking forward to the next time we get to chat about our events over food.

jodi

feb blog

basketball boyz.......those were my events for feb. 32 guys....sweaty, some chill, some pretty competitive, some really good, and some really bad. i like watching them play, but some get really aggressive and that ruins it for the others...and then they come complain to me or ask me to make the call. what to do? i just want them to have fun. after all, it's a moishe hosue event!

jodi

Friday, March 13, 2009

Where do we fit in the grand scheme of things?

This months blog is dedicated in the memory of Haim Ezair Z''L. My uncle who passed on several weeks ago.

Having discussed the course of his lifetime made me sit and seriously think about where we stand as Jews in America, and even more specifically where we stand as leaders in our respective communities.

My uncle Haim lived a long life that at times was difficult. He was born in Iraq where he lived the first part of his life amongst the vibrant Iraqi Jewish community. While life was for the most part quiet for Iraq's Jews, things began to change, and Jews started leaving en masse. Uncle Haim then left Iraq and headed for Iran, where he was able to get married and start a new life. He got married and had three children in Iran, and in general life was good for Jews in Iran.

Unfortunately, the good times in Iran came to an end in 1979 with the Iranian Revolution. Jews faced tough decisions and many left Iran leaving their former lives behind. After the revolution Uncle Haim ended up rejoining his wife in kids in New York where he lived until the day of his death.

Looking back, you see that all the turmoil that was caused in his life was due to the sole reason that he was a Jew. He had to flea from country to country, and his life changed in each place he lived. The only thing that did not change in each place was his Jewish pride. Wherever he lived he was proud to be Jewish, and this remained with him throughout his life. The drive to live freely as a Jew shaped his life.

We at Moishe House, have the amazing opportunity of not only living free as Jews in the United States and abroad, we have the ability to lead and help the Jewish people on a daily basis, and we act on this ability. No matter what type of event we run, no matter who comes, the fact is that every event we run is bringing the Jewish people closer together and is celebrating the fact that people like my Uncle Haim risked their lives so that we would have exactly this opportunity.

As we move forward as an organization we should always keep in mind, that we are serving the greater good of the Jewish people through the events we are running and sponsoring. Ultimately, we are not just running an event, we are fulfilling the dreams of the generations before us who had it much harder than we do today.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rabbis Gone....Wild?

On March 5 Moishe House Portland teamed up with other local groups to present the first ever "Rabbis Gone Wild."

Over 350 participants showed up to this hilarious event that featured rounds like "Sermon on the Spot," a talent show and stand-up comedy.

The three rounds of Rabbi comedy were broken up by "Cantors Gone Wild" musical interludes.

This event was a smash hit and I encourage you to think about doing it in your hometown. The event was a fundraiser for another local Jewish group and they raised over $4000.
Publish Post

Check out the pictures at: http://picasaweb.google.com/jonperrin/RabbisGoneWild2009?authkey=Gv1sRgCNfp9of0lZSCpwE&feat=directlink#

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Improper Bostonian

Well, my fine friends, it's been pretty full-on March madness here in Boston, MA - 55 degrees one day, freak snowfalls the next. This month, Adar, is the last month of the Jewish calendar - a month indicated for a certain chaos as new growth churns away under the ground, waiting to burst forth. It's also a month that's supposed to be humorous - but in my experience mostly because it's not funny at all - more about seeing the funny side of life's dark happenings.

These were some of the insights that emerged from our monthly women's New Moon gathering, now a couple of weeks ago. Meanwhile true to season we have some great new projects brewing underground, including an exciting new Dance the Parsha class led by professional choreographer and community member Gabrielle Orcha. You'll be seeing the pictures when that happens. Also very exciting is the fact the Jesse Stout, formerly of MH Providence, will be heading the team re-establishing Moishe House Burning Man this year at the epic arts and creativity festival in the Nevada desert. Check out more about that here www.burningman.com and if you're interested in making MHBM happen, email Jesse!

Have a great rest of Adar - and remember, it's funny because really we're all one, this is all a big dance, and we're helping each other learn and heal. Blessings!

from the leafy suburbs of johannesburg....

So i'm back, having moved cities from the quiet and still waters of Cape Town, to the large, pollution infested minedumps of Johannesburg, one of Africa's biggest cities and the home of Moishe House JHB.

Joburg, while being a real 'African' city, is also home to the largest (by far) Jewish community in SA, a community that we're very much an integral part of. Many in this community are conservative, a large number religous, and most intolerent to the idea that is Moishe House. nonetheless, the fact that we're not a synagogue has not stopped us, and - as expected - we have outdone our predecessors with more and more events every month!

We've also introduced new things, such as inter-organization events, yoga and exciting guest speakers, all of which are making moishe JHB a more vibrant and visitor-friendly place.

Finally, I'm not studying this year, and am instead doing work for a Jewish Foundation and Youth Group. This leaves lots of time to grow the house, something that has proven to be very inspiring.

All the best
Daniel

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Masha, Moishe House Seattle, February 2009

Things are finally starting to settle with our Moishe House transition. A big help has been that we greatly reduced the number of (non-Moishe)Ravenna Kibbutz events, and have done a better job planning and spacing out all of our events. As sad as it is, we did away with our mid-week potluck, but not the weeks feel a lot more sane. We're doing more field trips like bowling and ice-skating. Hiking is going to take more work - it seems to be hard to get the young Jews of of the house for some reason. We had a bonfire in out backyard, which very easy to host and a total blast. My jacket still smells like the sweet smell of smoked hot dogs, and if you think I'm going to part with that smell anytime soon, you're grossly mistaken...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Purim and moving on

Purim is always a fun holiday. This past week, one minyan here hosted its annual “Purim Shpiel,” which is short play that is put on during Shabbat dinner- and featured a couple of Moishe House members (hooray!). Moishe House Beijing hosted Purim Karaoke, which was all of us pretending that we could sing. The next day, we baked hamantaschen, using Ali’s mom’s recipe. I think they came out pretty good, judging by how fast they disappeared.

I’m almost definitely going to grad school next year (have already been admitted, just need to get financial aid in order- I forgot how expensive college is!), so I will be leaving Moishe House Beijing sometime in July or August. I’m going to be pursuing a masters in a crossover between engineering and public policy. It’s sad to know that I’ll be leaving in just a few months, but I also know that we can keep on going strong.

Also, I might be back in Beijing next summer for work related to my masters, so I can come and visit everyone :)

First Month In Our New House

Last Month was our. first month in the new Moishe House Great Neck. It was a great month, and we have already seen the benefits of our new location. We had some new faces in our programs this month. Our poker night was a great success (and I'm not only saying that because I won the tournament). I look forward to great month in March. 

Happy Purim,

Joey

Friday, March 6, 2009

Brady Time

There will never be anything ever quite as fun as Mario Kart on the nintendo 64. I started playing this video game when I was 13 and it still tickles me pink. by know I know ever curve and jump better than I have ever know the bodies of any of my past relationships. I have gone through a journey of self discovery from DK to Yoshi back to DK and now to Wario or as we call him at 636... War War.

Although there are many things to love about this blessed game one of my favorite is what others hate about it. the computer gives a lot of help to the underdog which allows you to incorporate that into your stratagem. Some times the best move is to hang back and wait for the killer box like stario or "everybody lightning" or unlimited yahoo to propel yourself into first at the last minute.

It is my belief that when I am 80 I will be playing this game and it will be a great day!

Shaun Reznik's First Month

The first month in the house has been quite an experience. At first it took a while to feel comfortable not being at home (this is the first time I am not living at home) but it was great to be moving into a house with two of my best friends - Daniel Linde and Daniel Barnett.

The first couple of weeks were a bit slow as we were all getting used to being in a new city but once we were settled we started to explore this big and busy city. We have been to some club and pubs and have met lots of new people as well as reconnecting with some old friends.

I am very excited to learn to cook. I have made a pasta of sorts, burger and chips, some chicken meals and of course eggs on toast. Barnett has also tried to cook a bit but Daanie is very lazy. It is a slow process but I am confident that I will be able to cook various more meals soon.

All in all things are going very well. I am happy here. The house is warm and people feel comfortable coming here, even when we aren't having an event.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gettin in the Swing of things

Hey Guys,

My first full month at the Moishe House has been a blast. I finally got the hang of how all this stuff works. I even got my first reimbursment check from MH which means I am posting correctly! Whohoo. This has been a busy month for us. We had over eight events ranging from sports to educational sessions. I am very pleased to say that I think our list of regulars is growing and more and more people are learning about what we do. We finally got our own listserv put together and we are adding people to that all the time as well. Our coffee shop was a great success. Even though the turn out could have been higher, the people that came really seemed to enjoy themselves and I think it is something we should continue in the future. Not to mention that our very own Moishe House band had its first performance ever! Its awesome living with such a talented and motivated group of people. I cant believe we pulled off writing a song in under a week! My first session of A Hope for Peace was extremely interesting and I am hoping to get an even larger group for the two upcoming sessions in March. We have a lot of exciting new events planned for the next few months and I can't wait to continue growing as a house and individual within the house.

David P. - MHSF

March MHSF Haikus

Four jews in four rooms
A secular group conscience
In a hippie town


Come walk through our door
Smell the challah thats baking
You're in the right place


Faces of strangers
Becoming the smiles of friends
Community peace


The eye of the storm
Can be a safe place to be
If you live inside

my first month

so I have lived in MHOAK for a month now, and there is a lot going on around here. i have to say its a little overwhelming at times, but it is way more exciting than living at home thats for sure. i feel like all of sudden I have people counting on me to actually do stuff and get things done, which I appreciate because it makes me feel productive. i have never lived in oakland, and its a slow process getting to know the area and figure out my routine. 
so, cheers to anyone else who is just starting out! I learn more everyday, and I'm very excited for all that is to come

building power and building leaders around food

Dearest-

As a JOI fellow and organizer-in-training last year I really internalized the notion of building power and building leaders. But I hadn't really had the opportunity to run a campaign or work with a community of folks wanting to make this notion a reality.

February 8 Moishe/Kavod House Boston organized an incredible, 200+ person seder. Folks from different Jewish communities and congregations across Boston came together to learn about, discuss and reflect on the connection between food and Judaism through the lens of the Tu B'shevat (New year of the trees) seder. Within two weeks, three Jewish Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs launched in the Boston-area Jewish community (and we're launching one in 2010 in Brookline/Brighton). What we're learning in our community is that there's a HUGE need for this, both for 20/30-somethings and for everyone. And in the Jewish community, where challah, matzoh ball soup and paprikosh are held in such high esteem, food's status as deeply-engrained cultural ritual makes it all the more relevant. The leaders on this campaign, totalling more than two dozen, did an incredible job preparing the presentation and discussion questions, recruiting local farmers, and finding and preparing local/organic/sustainably produced food. But we also found an issue that really resonates with people, and there's incredible energy to move forward on the project.

Next week we're launching the beta test for our educational workshop. Originally, we decided that the best venue to educate and empower folks around local foods in the Jewish community is to develop fun, engaging workshops with folks of different ages and to do these workshops in communities around Boston. This was also our vision for the seder. And our vision for starting a Jewish CSA in Brookline/Brighton was limited to getting Brookline/Brighton community members to join.

But at our most recent planning meeting, a shift occurred--we decided that we could most effectively leverage our skills (organizers, educators), networks and political capital by training leaders in communities across Boston to deliver these workshops and to be the CSA Connector helping connect these commnuities to local CSAs. It's a paradigm shift from local grassroots power-building to building the larger network of communities and being the intersection of resources, tools and networks to do local foods education and advocacy in their communities. We're pretty excited about this paradigm shift, and are excited about the upcoming workshops to continue to move forward with our project.

Be in touch (kavodlocalfoodeducation@gmail.com).


B'hatzlacha,

~ Aaron

Check out the event on Google Calendar:

Long month... short days.

SO much has happened in my life this past month: my first college essays and quizzes in years, the start of a great new relationship, friends moving away, new friends being made everyday all contribute to a feeling like a stream that because it's frozen on its sides, the current in the middle flows even faster. I presented my art form Capoeira to the Siegel College of Jewish studies, so my mother's less artsy friends got to see it for once. Even though the economy is tanking, I think creativity is really soaring. Maybe those are related... people less sure of their day jobs are more likely to give everything to their hopes and dreams in life. The future is, like the past, a shallow reality compared to life right now, and life right now is good, even when the weather can't decide which way to go.

Also, go Cavs.

Morris

It wasn't so long ago that the entire Moishe House idea was completely reliant on Morris Squire, for better or worse. In fact, none of what we have today would be available or possible without the ideas and generosity of Morris, and while he is no longer contributing to the project with his money, the foundation of his initial generosity really shouldn't be forgotten. Generosity and philanthropy are overlooked in our society, as they illustrate an element of humble selflessness rarely seen. Trying to raise money can present an arduous task, sometimes seemingly impossible. However, in the infancy of Moishe House, when we were still grounded in the Forest Foundation, no one had to make appeals for funding. We could always count on Morris, and I'd be curious to know how many people who received a rent subsidy or a reimbursement check ever actually thanked Morris for providing the opportunities he gave. As Moishe House has grown into a non-profit independent of Morris, we're in a position where seeking funding is imperative to our continuing success. I'm writing this in the hope that if an organization does open up to Moishe House with their generosity, that at some point they will read this and realize that we are truly thankful and humbled by their ability and willingness to give.

Mardi Gras Magic

I'm not sure you all have seen the New Orleans tourism commercials, but you can probably imagine them. Hordes of happy, smiling costumed faces dancing through the French Quarter streets. Improptu jam sessions on street corners with trombones and trumpets raised to the sky. Everything's warm and colorful and wonderful.

I always sort of felt those ad campaigns were a little overkill, pigeonholing all of New Orleans as merely just a series of parades. The disney-nola.

I was wrong. Mardi Gras day, that is "Fat Tuesday", really can have all that magic from the commercials and then some. Along with my Moishenik partner in crime and a few other friends, we biked around the city from one parade to the next. In the quarter, friendly revelers droped super bouncy balls from their steel terraces. Strangers offered each other hugs and drinks. My apologies for the triteness of this post. But on this Mardi Gras Day, New Orleans was one giant-cheesy commercial. And this New Orleanian is all the more appreciative for it.

Moishe House Dallas

February was a very busy month for me, as will this coming month. Between Moishe House events and work, I pretty much have every day planned. We had several great events this month including a last minute sushi happy hour. We all had a great time enjoying free sushi and cheap drinks.

In other news, I just planned my trip to Miami for the end of the month to go to Ultra Music Festival. I have been wanting to go for so many years, and this will finally be my first time to go. Has anyone ever been before? For those that do not know what I am referring to, you can check it out at www.ultramusicfestival.com. The International Dance Music Awards take place here, and every major DJ around the world will be there. As you can see, I am pretty pumped about it! I will let you know how it goes.

Also, Sima and I had the pleasure of meeting with David Cygielman. We talked over brunch and mimosas, and it was so nice to finally put a face to the name. What a great guy! If you have not met him yet, you are misssing out and should request that he comes to visit you. Sima and I were happy to find out that we will also be meeting Jeremy in April. We are very much looking forward to that!

March should be busy and full of fun events like a purim party, learning to play mah jong, and a happy hour.

Talk soon,
Shana

Short Month

I usually like February because of its length (or the lack thereof) but this year it somehow got to me. I don't know if it's the lack of days numbered 29, 30, and possibly 31, or maybe it's the Friday the 13th in now two months running that is getting to me, but something about this short short month just shook me a little bit. Oh well, I can't change what already happened. I might as well just accept it. So March is shaping up to be an awesome month. Cleveland has its International Film Festival from the 19th-29th and we will be seeing at least one Israeli film during the festival. My birthday is also right on the end of March, and by that I mean right at the beginning of April, April 1st. I'll be 23. It's not as exciting as birthdays past - 13, 18, and 21 for instance, but it's a milestone nevertheless. So as I approach that milestone I don't know if I've learned anything in the past year per se. I probably have. Check back with me next year.


Sam Selker
MH Cleveland
Moishe House Cleveland
What a long month, well its one of the shortest month, but it felt long. I am working on this crazy geological research project that involves a lot of stream measurements and calculations... but it's really cool. I've also been looking at some really awesome topographic maps. There's really just so much cool stuff out there in the world. Other than that we are planing a big purim party for Saturday night. I am definitely excited for it. 
Happy Purim everyone,
peace
Naima 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good times are a comin!

Wow, it's March already! Hard to believe. Spring will be here soon and Winter isn't leaving without having said all it's final goodbyes first. Football season is over and Spring Training is just getting under way, Purim and Eas...err...Passover will soon be upon us, and piles of beams and bricks suddenly start to look like movie theaters. With the arrival of new months and new seasons, comes new opportunities for Moishe House events. Warmer weather lets us take advantage of the outdoors once again. Soon we'll be going to concerts in the park, throwing some shr...err....shish-ka-bob of the barbi, and spending weekends at the shore. And everywhere we go, Moishe will follow. So listen up winter, thanks for sticking around, but its time to go. Football was fun, but the Giants didn't win the Super Bowl this year. I love snow days and all, but cleaning inches of snow off my car in the morning isn't very pleasant. And I'll gladly trade skiing accidents, for sunburns. So watch the door on your way out winter. And if you see Spring on you're way in, tell him thanks for the WBC this year. It will ease the pain of waiting through March Madness.

Steven Kleinman MHDC 3.5.09

About 2 weeks ago I was in Chicago for a large writing conference. Associated writers and writing programs or something like that. We, my friend Natalie and I, went to a conference on representations of the Holocaust in literature. Well, not exactly, it was something like, the black forrest revisited. Natalie and I are, to be modest, the world's biggest fans (outside of Poland) of Polish Poetry. There is a rich history of Polish poetry, two of the most famous being Jewish poets, and probably many of the others, although I'm not sure of it. Anyway, this might seem tangential at best but the point is that we were excited to hear poetry about a subject that interests both of us and in a poetic voice that we both find very enticing (sorry couldn't think of a better word). The presentation was horrible. Essentially the presentation did what so many presentations on the Holocaust do, it created a sort of pornography (although a very strange pornography) out of destruction.

To put it lightly, I am tired of this type of presentation. The type of presentation that wants to never stop looking at the death of the Holocaust without actually talking about the Holocaust. The woman read her poems and cried along with her husband. She talked about how her daughter didn't care to pay attention on the trip until a cute boy showed up. At one point she even found a way to implicate the Palestinians (don't ask me how).

But our community at times is no better. The other day we had a community member, a guest at our home, get upset by the word Holocaust. Just the word. In the community of almost all Young Jewish men and women, he was unwilling to hear the word. As if to hear the word spoken was an affront to him. But how do we heal without creating new images? How do we move forward out of the Holocaust as a community if we are unwilling to discuss it even within our own community.

In answer to the presentation but also to the guest at our home, I wrote a poem called so what, which was an effort to address the questions I have recently had of "so what". I do not mean it flippently, just scientifically. What is the purpose of the way we handle the greatest atrocity of recent time to our people? The poem needed critical distance and conceptual work, but what happened when I showed it to school was very interesting. No one knew how to talk about it. It turns out that no one wants to be the first to open their mouth and talk openly even about a piece of art that addresses the Holocaust. So where do we go from here? I don't have the answer to this question, but it seems to me that we as a generation of Jews needs to find one, and find one fast.

Ilana Schuman-Stoler; MH Chicago

This month has been really tough in Chicago. Moishe House, is still going strong but each day above freezing is truly teasing me with the promise of spring. I think we're just down to a little bit now until we finally can take a breath out and get ready to warm up! I can't wait for April and May. I got Cubs tickets, restaurants begin to have outdoor seating again, and generally EVERYONE is happy. It's not that I don't like to live in the moment, but sometimes it really is nice to think about. In the meantime, we can get our last truly cuddly cups of tea, and we can drown ourselves in layers for the few final times. We can cozy up under the bed, or we can heat up a fresh glass of apple cider. I will miss thee winter, but I am not sad to see you go.

DC: it takes a nation of millions to hold us back.

It’s been a hectic, discontented winter, but Moishe House DC is truckin’. Much to my chagrin, I haven’t developed the hoped-for penchant for the blogosphere since my last gem was deposited on this very site, but I remain hopeful.

It’s been a noteworthy month – a Shabbat dinner attended by fewer than 50 people was an intimate change of pace, the triumphant return to the confines of a liquid crystal display projector enabled a much-enjoyed viewing of my favorite film, “Everything is Illuminated,” accompanied by an obscene amount of pizza. We whipped out our needles and got our knit on, an event at which copious amounts of pastries were baked – for better or worse, a recurring occurrence these days. We extolled the virtues of eating almonds at our Tu B’Shvat(ish) Shabbat, and at our hindmost event, Hookah and Havdalah, a couple dozen of DC’s finest ate, drank and smoked away any remnant of the Shabbas Queen.

March madness is upon us, and a program on ethics, kashrut and Jewish activism promises to engage and compel, while the District is abuzz about our date auction, at which all members of MHDC will peddle that which is forbidden to peddle – at least outside of the state of Nevada and certain progressive Western European countries, that is. FIN.

שלום עליכם,

Eli

February in Chicago

I turned 27 this month. Here is what is crazy about 27... I realized I still think of my half brother and sister, who are 15 years older than me, as say 23 and 24. So then I realize that I am 3 years older than my earlier memories of them. I'm sure this sound boring to anyone reading, but it is pretty nuts to me.

A few other things that happened this month. One day, in the middle of the miserable, never ending winter, it got warm. Like 60 degrees warm. That night someone stole my bike, the bike I rode through the whole long cold winter, so for those few days of 60 degrees I had to walk.

Also, I've started baking my own bread, and a lot of it. Here is the challah I made for our last shabbat (if the link works). It was delicious.

Looking forward to March, busting out my roadbike, going rock climbing in Kentucky, and finding the Sun!

Oh, lunar months!

Well, it's a week away from Purim and fancy that, it falls on the full moon! How I love our Jewish lunar calendar.

I've been thinking a lot recently about our lunar calendar because I am currently teaching my 2nd grade students all about the moon. They go home every day and look at moon, drawing pictures of its different stages, and then writing their observations. This current awareness of the moon's whereabouts has recently heightened my interest in the timing of holidays and certain important periods on the Jewish calendar. It just makes so much sense, a new cycle that is visible and you can monitor just by looking up in the sky! Ah, those ancient Jews were surely in touch with something greater then themselves.

These simple moments of appreciation for small aspects of my heritage and religion just make me want to share... Have a wonderful Purim celebration, wherever you are!

Enjoy your month of Adar,
-Elana, MH CHICAGO

What St. Louis has to offer

Ok, so this might come off sounding like a sales pitch for St. Louis, but that's because it is! I will give you (you being all the St. Louis haters out there) that St. Louis does not have the continuity of your "more fun" cities. Fine. But just because everything is not within walking distance (and there is no public transportation to save your life out here) does not mean that it all does not exist, and then some. I say this after a surprisingly fun Jewish happy hour tonight at Araka, a restaurant/bar in Clayton, a St. Louis "neighborhood." Araka could have been in any number of big cities, with its expensive drinks, cool decor and uppity people. So we have that in St. Louis, but we also have your dive bars, your pubs, your corner bars (big ups to Thurman Grill on our street corner), all of which Moishe House has helped me to experience in various ways.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that St. Louis is growing on me? (Hell, it better be after five years here!) and that all you people out there who have never been (so all of you probably) owe it to yourselves to come check it out.

And if you do, we'll take you to the City Museum...it's a jungle gym for big kids... with beer.... show me that New York and Chicago!

Posted by Dave, STL

Its come to pass 6 months MHCLE

It has been 6 months now as a moishe house, and I still I search for my meaning as a young Jewish professional. I have been to Israel and back and have been from Eilat to Tel-Aviv, and that solidified my being a Jew. Something I knew but knew nothing of. I have worked at Jewish Camps and have helped young Jews try to find their right path. And yet I still am unsure of what my Jewish Identity is. When my friend sam first asked me to do this with him 9 months ago, as we sat in our apartment living room and were talking about the next year. I told him I would do it, then backed out but in the end i promised him I would. Now 9 months after and 6 months into a Moishe house stay I still find myself asking the same question. I have made new friends thanks to Moishe house, and have been to many sweet events. But as Moishe House continues to grow, I am sure that I will contiune to grow and stay on the right path towards my finding out my Jewish Identity.
Moishe house cleveland continues to grow and with it a more of an understanding of the workings of the Jewish individuals that surround the MHCLE. We eat and we drink and we better understand ourselves and each other.

Cheers
Shiah MHCLE

Febuary 2009

Well, another month has gone by, yet still it seems not so long ago, when we were moving in bags of luggage into our lovely new home.

February has been a very exciting month for the Cape Town Moishe House. We have run 7 exceptional events. Our main event of this month was our Moishe Cultural Cookout. It was a fantastic night, where we explored other religions and cultures through food. We made incredible dishes from all of the world, which I can say was quite an experience.

We have really grown an incredible amount in one month, our events are getting bigger and more and more people just keeping coming back for that special moishe house vibe!

The four of us have spent alot of time together this month, and have now really bonded into to proper house mates.

Things can only get better from here!

Rossi

What shall I call my blog entry this month?

Daniel Silverstein just walked into the kitchen as I sat down to do my blog so I asked him, "What shall I call my blog entry this month?" I was thinking of the startlingly original 'Joel - Moishe House London - March' but Daniel said, "I'd rather go for 'What shall I call my blog entry this month?'" Which kind of appeals.

I could call it 'Comings and Goings', because we've decided on two new residents and Daniel Silverstein is leaving in a week. Or maybe 'Rothschild a-go-go' as we've just been awarded £10,000 ($14,000) per year for the next 3 years (hence taking on an extra house mate).

Or how about 'Festival!' - cos we're preparing for Purim (Daniel and I have been rehearsing a Hip Hop Megillah play with three actor friends, to perform at our party and at Jewish schools and synagogues), and Rachel and I spent 5 days up north performing and facilitating workshops at a little Yorkshire village folk and arts festival.

But no. I'm left less with an overriding sense of any of these things and more a feeling of the hecticness of times of late. I'm directing three different plays at once (the hip hop thing, a 15 minute play about the collapse of the economy and a Pesach play with 5-10 year olds), teaching regularly, running youth weekends and just about every evening has been booked up from here until...

Oh and I've been reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, which might go some way to explaining the somewhat self-conscious tone of this blog entry.

So what should I call it?

Purim party tomorrow

Maybe it is not that obvious but there are several purim parties in Warsaw. So the best time for us to make party is tomorrow. Girls already have done shopping so we are almost ready for the party.  This year Im going to prepare Humantashen for the first time I wonder if they are going to be good.
Last party we had in Moishe house was really amazing. It was celebrating Polish jewish youth organization new board. There was a lot of people and it was really nice, we have also grat foto's from this party we are going to upload theme in few days.

Tag, Your Turn - Reb MHP FebBlog

First, a shout-out to my fellow housemates - Moishe House of the month, booyah! And now, let me join in the chorus of those Moishe members who are touting the benefits of grass roots collaboration. Not only do I agree with Ben about working with other grass roots projects, but we also need to look inward, echoing Brian's sentiments about internal participation.

Get off your patoots and donate, people!

But not just with your dollars, with your hearts and your time. We are providing such an amazing and unique service to our critical demographic. Each of our houses has a great personality and that is what our constituents respond to. We don't program with an agenda, we're not a singles group and we are inclusive to all streams and attitudes. It is crucial that our work continues, especially in this economic climate. It has been said that as the economy takes a turn for the worse, anti-Semitism rises. As if we needed more of a reason to get together for Tu B'Shevat seders, Casino Night parties, pizza making evenings, Shabbat dinners, soup kitchens and the like, now is the time to be reaching out to new members and donors as well as reaching in to strengthen your individual house programming and the bonds among each of our houses.

There is a reason you joined a Moishe House, and why you continue to work on the events and services we provide, month after month. Think about that reason and how you can expand on that, take it further, work harder, push more and soar! Yes, we can!!

A Jewish Mardi Gras

This Mardi Gras season Moishe House New Orleans was invited to join the Krewe du Mishigas. Yiddish for ‘craziness’ the Krewe du Mishigas is an all Jewish Mardi Gras Krewe, which parades in the Krewe du Veiux Parade. The first large-scale parade of the carnival season, the Krewe du Veiux is known for it’s satirical humor, social commentary, and general lewd nature. This year’s parade theme was ‘Stimulus Package’. While I’d love to share in great detail the bawdy visual experience that is Krewe du Veiux, we made a promise to our Moishe House regional director that we’d keep our Mardi Gras content PG; that said, the theme for the Mishigas float was ‘foreskin and foreclosures’, featuring a mechanical falling deck of cards, and the entire Krewe was dressed as ‘bankers’ and ‘wankers’. We were wankers.

Rachael - MHSS - for Feb.

Seems I missed writing in Jan., my blog for Feb. counted for the previous month, and so not writing again in Feb. (so as not to overload) = a Feb. blog written in March.

Can it get any better than this? (I think not.)

Feb. wraps up like this:
- It was the Inauguration. It either inspired anew or re-kindled the dormant, grumbly, sluggishly lazy slumbering beast from Israel, and so I spent the first part of Feb. hovering on the brink of that fine line between not-quite-sick and not-quite-well.

- Inspirationally, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting MH London & enjoying their residency & home town. I must say: I do love London. It set things good in my heart.

- The film screening I've been trying to make happen is confirmed! In partnership with the 6th & I Street Historic Synagogue, we will be screening local director / producer / filmmaker Laura Winters Hinson's film, As We Forgive, and she'll be joining us afterwards for Q&A / chat. (Man, that took a while!)

- Looking fwd to the co-event between MHSS, Gesher City Crafts, and Gesher City Community Service Clusters; and to the MHSS-MHDC Purim party

- Some fam things going down. I love my family and am quite proud of them.

- 1st event of one of the Gesher City clusters I am co-coordinating -- the biggest cluster GC has, I've been told. Looking forward to more! :)

- Rosh Chodesh Adar: through my involvement w/ MHSS, I've met and worked with the brains & brawn behind Shomrei Adamah, who hosted a special herbal Rosh Chodesh event involving tinctures, elixirs, and very delicious sesame-peanut butter cookies (thanks to one of the others who attended).

Feb. became a month of exploring, understanding, expanding, embracing.
May every month be filled with such. :)

May your hearts be filled with joy this month of Adar!
Happy March!

Blog Blog Blog, Blog Blog-a-ran

Dear Moishe-niks,

The month of February was a surprisingly low-key one in MHDC… and that was a-ok with me. The last couple months have been a bit of a whirlwind in the house – gigantic Shabbats, new Presidents, an awesome and all-consuming season of Top Chef (oh Carla, how I CONTINUE to mourn your performance in the final episode). Needless to say, a restful month was long overdue. I think my favorite event was our second February Shabbat. Rather than the insane 60+ person Shabbats that we’ve been having, we had a wonderfully manageable 25-35 people. Which, among other things, meant that a) I got to eat and b) I got to go back for seconds. Perhaps more importantly, though, it meant that I got to have some really nice and in depth conversations with the folks who were in attendance, rather than frenetically running around and making sure that things are going smoothly. Don’t get me wrong – I LIVE for the mad house, but this was a nice change.

Anyhow, there’s much to be happy about - I’m SUPER psyched for our March events (esp our joint event with Silver Spring), spring is on the way, and the President released on awesome budget, so life in MHDC is goooood.

Heart,

Riv

MH Seattle, Neal Schindler, 3/4/09

Our recent planning meeting for March events went more smoothly than previous ones, and my hope is that our "reboot" of MH Seattle is starting to pick up momentum. That is, we're creating new programs for the MH contingent because we've turned some old MH events into all-ages events that are outside our subsidized programming.

Moishe House Bowls, which happened last month and was tremendously fun, is coming back in March, and I hope to break 125 this time around. February's bowling excursion was highlighted by spontaneous jumping jacks, excellent disco music coursing through West Seattle Bowl's sound system, and a group of female bowlers who were wearing their underwear outside their clothes.

Also planned for March: a "pi" party, aptly scheduled for 3/14. I believe it is our thematic duty to serve pie at this party, not just because it's a homonym but because pie is circular, so pi is relevant to it. And while I'm likely to skip this month's round of Jews on Ice, our monthly ice skating event, I wish those who participate a lovely, chilly time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

MHSeattle, Joel: Lessons Learned

I’m traveling for work this week. On the tarmac awaiting takeoff, I thought of what a relief it would be to get far away from the office, where economic panic and layoffs have laid down a fog of toxic mojo. I thought about how much I used to love this job, and how gloom and stress might sap the last ounce of fun out of it before long. I also found myself thinking that the prospect of getting laid off myself doesn’t scare me like it would have two years ago. The financial hit would hurt, but so much of my heart is in this community I’ve been building, I think the emotional loss would be bearable. I even thought: if I lost my job, I would have more time to spend on the Jews! Not that I want to lose my job. The lesson learned is just that having a community you love is all the more important in insecure times.

So that was nice. I sat back and snoozed my way into some other time zone. When I awoke, the very friendly lady in the seat next to mine, who had been unable to sleep, began asking me questions about where I was going and what it is I do. I wanted to go quietly back to sleep, but I took a breath and answered her questions. I told her about the convention I’m attending, I told her about the job I am attending it for—but, I added, I also have this moonlighting gig building Jewish community. She became even more inquisitive. She asked all sorts of very detailed questions about our programs, our people, our ideas of cultural and religious identity in changing times. Despite myself, I got into the conversation, because she asked good questions and the subject makes me happy.

Before long, it came out that she is married to a Jewish man who grew up going to synagogue but would much rather be a “cultural Jew”—just like so many of the new and old friends whom we’ve been working to give a Jewish home that fits—and that she herself balances a full-time profession with a big volunteer role helping to run a nonprofit organization. She also wishes she could make her community contribution full-time, but depends on the professional income. Not only did she give me valuable insight and solidarity in my struggle to maintain competing commitments, she also offered some great ideas, taken from her own experience, for more effective organizing. I was sorry when the long flight was over, and thanked her for initiating the conversation. She told me: “You should always try to find out who’s sitting next to you on the plane. There’s no telling who they’ll be.” Lesson learned.

Life has been good

Ehh, don't have that much to say really, we have started hitting our true max in terms of hosting dinners which is about 25-30 people. I am thinking when the spring actually finally comes, we can move outside and maybe handle 40 people. I am thinking steeplechase and bbqs. Just started a new job too which seems to be somewhat common around our circle of friends which definitely seems to be surprising based on the economy. As part of starting that new job, I finally left public accounting which was a huge relief. Leaves me with a schedule I control and coworkers that I can actually stomach, either way that is probably why life is so good. Til' next blog post.

MH Chicago

February was a short month and it sure did fly by... It is still very much winter in Chicago and the indoor activities are a plentiful from Whirlee ball to bowling to movie watching, Shabbat dinner and Tree-tini's. We are maximizing our indoor FUN! It was a month full of Moishe House birthdays starting with a house member, tress and some of our MH favorites... the celebrations continue as in the beginning of March we celebrate another house birthday. Happy b-day to Ilana SS (today is her b-day)! Happy Birthday Ilnana! We love you.

One of my favorite this month was celebrating Tu'Bishvat (in a non-tradition way). A new favorite Cafe has a drink called the tree-tini and every drink sold a tree in planted in India. When we were there over 5,300 trees have been planted! It was a celebratory Tu'bishvat gathering.

Purim is coming!

As the day that celebrates the salvation of the physical existence of the Jewish people, Purim is the most physical of the festivals. Its observances include giving gifts of money to the poor, sending food portions to friends, and eating a sumptuous meal accompanied by plentiful drink in the closing hours of the festival!

Our dear Moishe house brothers and sisters, we wish you a wonderful Purim, and L'Haim of course!!!

Daniel, Michael and Eytan aus Moishe Haus Wien!!!!

fill 'er up!

This month of Moishe-ing has been especially rewarding. The newly cristened Moishe House Providence, version 2.0 (symbolically represented as MHPVD2.0) has welcomed a new resident: the lovely Ms. Stephanie Gerson. With both a formal and not-so-formal background in experience design, Stephanie has injected a shot of creative energy into Providence goings-on.

This month has been a colorful month, with a red and pink themed Valentine's Brunch and crafting and with a second dichromatic shabbatluck featuring purple and yellow.

Two comments from MHPVD2.0 guests really stood out to make this month's work worth it all: 1. from a guest at the blind feast: "I will remember this for the rest of my life." Wow. It's not everyday that one receives that kind of feedback. In fact, I'm fairly certain that I've never received that kind of feedback. 2. from a regular at MHPVD2.0: "I think you guys are bringing a lot of loving energy into the new space." Fantastic!

I'm looking forward to continuing to represent Moishe House in Providence as the winter thaws. Hey, it will officially become Spring this month on March 21st and we'll be there as Providence blooms once again!

-Nathaniel

happy snow day!

I love snow days!  I hate snow but love getting snow days, the New York City public schools even got a snow day yesterday and they never close.  Thankfully the cold weather hasn't deterred people from coming to our events,in fact this past Friday we had one of our largest shabbat dinners of the year!  We had a bunch of first timers this month who all seemed really intrigued by moishe house and are eager to come to our future events.  I'm looking forward to this months events that we have lined up, especially for our combined St. Patrick's Day and Purim (St. Purim's Day!) party this weekend which promises to be tons of fun! 

MH Warsaw on winter camp

February - shortest month of the year but certainly not the laziest one.
Apart of the the ZOOM camp (which I will talk about later) I had ma first weeks of the new semester - new classess, new homeworks :)

But the part during which I had most fun with was the camp!
We were in Slovakia for a week. There was a lot of snow, but we didn't ski because we chose to drink ;)
We traveled around trying different brands of beer from all around Slovakia. Seriously you have to visit this country, some people think the beer is better then in Poland!!

But I have to disapoint you - we also had jewish activities on the camp ;) We had shabbat, discussed the very interesting parsha, had a lecture about jewish law, and other. We also talked about moishe house :) We explained what is it about and why we participate in this great experience.

Can't wait for the summer camp !

Ambition

I want to be the silhouette used in empty gchat photos. I will shave my head so as not to cause offense, and I will relax my shoulders to impart a sense of calm. And then when people start recognizing me on the street, I can say something modest:

"Are you that guy from gchat?"
"Nah, but I get that all the time."

Frankly, this is all just an elaborate ruse to ensure that I am no longer mistaken for Lindsay Lohan.

-Adam in DC

AlakaZAM!

Dear Moishe World,

We here in STL have been trying our best to make things happen in the young Jewish community. Sometimes it feels like everyone wants to see us succeed, sometimes we feel like rebels.

We originally moved into the house so that we'd be big enough to house more people for dinners, now we are running out of place settings again and trying to figure out what to do.

We've made friends with the owners of local bars (we pretty much keep them in business), become connected with artists, musicians, politicians, and hosts of others, and the question to some extent is...where do we go from here?

How do we move MH STL forward so that it really becomes bigger than us?

In terms of funding, succession planning, etc.

Also, how do we tell people that they should probably help us clean up? We try to be green by using our plates and glasses, instead of disposables, but it definitely creates more of a mess.

We (Ross) instituted a no shoes rule to help keep our floors clean, which I think has helped.

An interesting phenomenon is that we are seeing a fair number of young Jews starting to consider our neighborhood (or nearby neighborhoods) to live in. Was it all Moishe House, or does cheap rent come into play at some point?

To read more about what is happening in STL, be sure to tune into theSt.LouJew

Monday, March 2, 2009

challah!


I Love designing experiences. Throughout college, I curated blind feasts for friends, in which they wore blindfolds and marinated themselves in whatever bite they were eating right now. I once took my favorite storybook, split a group of friends into pairs, and had one partner illustrate the story on the body of the other, who was blindfolded, while I read it aloud. Instead of experiencing the story as illustrated by pictures, the blindfolded partner experienced it as illustrated by touch. (Friends have generally born the brunt of my so-called experience designing, which has generally involved blindfoldedness.) Last year on Valentine's Day, I choreographed a tele-dining experience for long-distance Lovers. There were tables for two: people sitting across from their laptops, sharing romantic desserts with their significant others, who were sitting elsewhere in the country, or elsewhere in the world. The event was small, but it ended up getting picked up by WIRED.

Still, it's always a mild struggle. Soliciting people to participate, securing any necessary funds, finding an appropriate venue... So you can see where this story is going: I was overjoyed to accept the position of Moishe House Providence hostess. Not only would I have a community, budget, and venue with which to design experiences, but I’d have a mandate. And after precisely 60 days at my post, I have to give a shout out (...ok, a "challah!") to the folks in our Providence community for being such willing co-conspirators. Dear Providence peeps, thank you for participating in our dichromatic shabbatlucks with such gusto, looking fabulous in your color of choice, and surprising our palates with the likes of bright green rice crispie treats and bright purple cabbage salad. Thank you for trusting Nathaniel and I to take care of you at our blind feast, while you cuddled, ate, and fed each other for over three hours while blindfolded. (Oh yea, and for being sports about staying blindfolded in the bathroom.) Thank you for giving me the courage to wanna try a tele-shabbat with a sister Moishe House (who's down – Hoboken? DC? Phillie?), and in general, to experiment with experience design.

Moishe House Providence is blessed to have such an engaged community to grow with.

My favorite 28 day month

Yo Mo Kids -

Holla at Moishe House of the month!!! February was great in Philly with awesome events and tons of beautiful faces. We had a great Kiddush Shabbat party, an engaging FonDue B'shvat Seder, an intimate text-based discussion lead by Dr. Bernstein (Dean of Pardes), and another delicious round of Brew Club.

On a more serious note, I would like to commend Adam Rose for his articulation of our current concerns at Moishe House Philly, and hope that everyone else feels the same fire sparked within themselves. We, the residents, are the bread and butter of this organization, and with our collective intelligence, energy, and ambition we can sustain our vision well into the future.

Think about it. Do something about it.

with love,
Shelby