Sunday, May 31, 2009
Our second event was the best one! We went rock climbing, and most of us had never been or had not been in a very long time. It was a chance for all of us to act like kids, and we all had a really great time. We had a really great turnout, and we tried to step out of the normal ideas that we usually have, and it definitely paid off.
Our last event happened today. We all met at a new Jewish deli that opened recently. It was sooo good!! After that we caravanned to the Holocaust Museum. It was nice when we were able to sit and chat at brunch before going to the museum. Some people just came to brunch, some just came to the museum, and most of us went to both. Overall, it was a great place to come together as Jews and look at back at the past. The museum had just moved to the downtown area, so most of us had never been nbefore. It was a good time for all.
That concudes the month of May. We are looking forward to doing some more exciting events in the future. We are trying to get feedback from everyone to make sure we keep planning events that people really want to come to.
Until next time, peace and love from Dallas!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Shabbat continues to be my favorite MHSS event. We just consistently keep getting awesome people who contribute to -- create -- an atmosphere charged with positivity; I love it. I've also noticed that I really like cooking for a bunch of people and hosting a lot of friendly folks in the space where I live! Of course I knew that second part already -- that's what brought me to MH in the first place -- but I never would have suspected that I'd enjoy cooking for a bunch of folks like I do! It's very fun for me -- and very cool for me to realize this about myself!
Just completed a week-long teambuilding / leadership / group facilitation / ropes course training this past week. It was very, very cool. :) I love this kind of stuff; I'm quite grateful to have learned of the training and been able to attend. Fabulous learning-doing environment, excellent fellow participants and facilitators, and really quite amazingly cool to build upon and expand some of the skills and knowledge I have, and to acquire completely new skills and experiences I never bothered to imagine would be integrated into my life. -- Care to dangle from a cliff edge / rock / tree, anyone?
Been wondering quite a lot lately: if I were to leave MHSS tomorrow, what lasting impact would I have had? If all the residents were to magically cease to be residents: what would happen with the MHSS community? Would a community continue?; or is it like iron filings to a magnet: when we have events, a community comes into existance for that moment, then disperses.....some lingering, some now attached that weren't before, but for the most part a single-shot entity that leaves an impression but isn't its own solid unit, independent and self-surviving? We do a lot of giving at MHSS; but have we enabled? (Is that something anyone even wants from us? Maybe it's a moot point..........)
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Beside pigeons we have another new moishe mate now - Tomek. He is staying at our house for two weeks and he is helping us with events and everything. You probably know him from our pictures because we were having his 27th birthday at our house.
Examination session is here, and this time is really important to me because i am choosing my speciality this year, I hope to study clinical psychology and i'm dreaming about work in hospital. If i fail my statistic they will send me to second year so it's really stressing!!!
In May we did many exctiting things: like attending polish jewish film festiwal or cowboy party. We are planning to do a lot in June also. Another big picnic(last one was really spectacular!) and prepare to Krakow Jewish Festiwal the biggest jewish festiwal in Poland.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
We have lots of plans for our Moishe House for the vacation. We are planning to do more events on fresh air ( i hope it won't be raining during all of the summer) , and because we will be having more free time we are planning to make our events more fun and interesting. We have lots of new ideas and I hope that we will put them into effect. MH Warsaw has almost half a year and I think that we did a great job and I hope that we will be making even better for the next half year.
For two weeks we had two new mates on the balcony in our moishe house - a small pigeon and his mom. But we don't know why - they moved out.
I bought tickets to Greece - I will spend there two weeks on August. I'm very happy about that. We are also going to Hungary with Polish Jewish Youth Organization.
My contract with the NRDC expired at the beginning of this month. It's the only job I've ever had that I have been sad to leave, but I'm excited about starting graduate school and I know that I'm making the right decision. The office threw a going away party for me and two other co-workers who are leaving. One is still an undergrad in college and was interning at the NRDC; the other one had been at the NRDC Beijing almost from the start. The former is returning to class at Northeastern, and the latter is starting grad school at Harvard. What this means is that we will all be in Boston, not too far from one another. That's kind of cool!
Blogspot (the site this blog is hosted on!) is blocked in China. Again. The only reason I'm able to post on this blog is because of my school's VPN.
I blame Lianna at MH London for provoking the Chinese authorities with her activist letter writing. I'm just kidding, but I think she makes a good point: Things that we take for granted in our home countries may not necessarily be so in where we wind up. For example, I like eating string cheese for breakfast, but I just can't do that in China without spending a lot of money at an import store. OK, maybe not such a powerful example, but maybe this will impress you more.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The letters are the outcome of an 'Activist Letter Writing and Cake' evening. A small band of houseniks sprawled on the floor surrounded by resources from Amnesty International, and scribbled away, fuelled by brownies. Reading the stories behind the letters we were sending off, I couldn't help but feel awed by the bravery of activists working in countries where they are daily faced with the threat of imprisonment, torture or death, for having the temerity to speak out against abuses.
To share just one story, the journalist and poet Shi Tao has been imprisoned in China since 2004. His crime? Emailing a pro-democracy website with information on how the Chinese authorities instructed journalists to cover the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Yahoo! admitted providing information to the Chinese authorities that led to his arrest, and a ten year sentence.
I feel so privileged to live in a country where criticising the government will not land you in prison. It's that hoary old Pesach-Shavuot dichtomy of freedom / responsibility.
Baruch atah adonai, matir asoorim. Blessed are you, Eternal One, who frees the bound.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
This past Friday, May 15th 2009, witnessed the first ever multi-Moishe House tele-Shabbat! But lemme rewind for a sec...
As the proud Moishe hosts and hostesses that we are, we all host Shabbats, oftentimes on the same nights and – if we're in the same time zone – at the same time. Meanwhile, we go about our Moishe activities independently, oftentimes with little more than Jeremy's mentions of each other to cultivate a sense of connection between us. So the intention here was to use videochat as a medium for multiple houses to celebrate Shabbat together. And thus, Providence, Hoboken, DC, and Philly got together and planned a simultaneous Shabbat, using iChat to transform videochatting screens into portals connecting our houses; hence a multi-Moishe House tele-Shabbat.
Ah, but technology has a temperament of its own: at T minus almost zero, our network went down (NOTE: FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER) and was unable to even connect to the internet, so we had to hop onto another weaker one. Jeremy was having difficulties tuning in. There wasn't sufficient bandwidth for the four houses to iChat together. People in cities across the country were getting hungry and impatient (ok fine, only four cities, and our guests were not only forgiving but amused). So at T minus slightly past zero, I made the executive decision to split up into pairs – DC with Philly, and Hoboken with us (Providence). Hoboken and us did a communal Kiddush, led by Nathaniel in Providence (captured in the video above and also posted on YouTube), and Hamotzi over the bread, led by David in Hoboken. Then it looked like Philly had gone offline, so we hooked back up with DC for a 3-way videochat to enjoy our meals together. We'd been nervous about the screens feeling supremely un-Shabbatish (un-Shabbish?) and people in remote houses not interacting with each other, but at least this aspect of the evening worked out absolutely impeccably. Our laptop was sitting at the end of our table, so we had our own conversation going while being able to see Hoboken and DC at the other end of the table, and people would periodically leave our conversation to interact folks in other houses. But because it was difficult to hear each other, interaction evolved into something more playful, visual, theatrical – the fellows at our table modeled our colorful wigs, Hoboken showed off their pet ferret (confirmed Jew), all three houses spontaneously broke into Redemption Song by Bob Marley. It was adorable and hilarious and precisely what we were hoping for. And although there were tech glitches at the actual event (profuse apologies, Philly), the planning process itself was precisely what we were hoping for – as I discussed in my previous post, it became its own way to connect more intimately with other Moishe Houses.
So voila: I'd definitely be down for an encore, and encourage other houses in the same time zone to consider the possibility...
Monday, May 11, 2009
April in Mo House
Seder, Hiking, and Zahav
Bring the May Flowers
Our Seder was incredible. We hosted 22 people for an alternative, locally focused Freedom Seder which was really well received by all who participated. Everyone loved the Hagaddah and the Shulchan Orech (10 hours in the kitchen?!?! I now have nothing but respect for my Mother...) and the energy of the prayers and songs was incredible.
Hiking in the Northeast was pretty far from rugged terrain, but it was fabulous to get outside on a beautiful day with a dozen friends, delicious matzah gorp (thanks again, Mom) and doggies who hate bicycles.
And Zahav is my obsession, so obviously I had a fantastic time at Happy Hour checking out Kevin Bacon - yes we saw Kevin Bacon :) And for the record, I totally beat Philadelphia Magazine by recognizing that the restaurant is clearly #1 in Philadelphia.
I am looking forward to a fantastic May in Mo House. We just had an extremely productive town hall meeting where our constituents expressed their wants/hates/suggestions for what we can do better, and I am excited to implement these changes. It goes to show you that you never know until you ask.
And on a final note - farewell to Adam and Rae. Hello to Alissa. Philadelphia is going through some seasonal changes, but thankfully my allergies have begun to go away.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
The four of us have really settled in well into the moishe house life-style and are having a great time! April was a jam packed month fromthe book club to Yom Ha'Atzmaut it was really an enjoyable month.
I also decided that this would be a great time to redecorate my room. As important as the public areas in the house are, I feel that personalising ones own room is equally as important.
I was also luckey enough to be selected to attend a 10 day seminar in Israel, with Gabi, which was a truly a wonderful experience.
I think we have now set our bar very high and April can definitely be seen as the model month in terms of quality and turn out for events.
All in all moishe house cape town is really becoming a hub of jewish activity in Cape Town!
Until next time
I think that Moishe House is really going to blossom over the next few years, and knowing that I have been part of that is really exciting. Sometimes it's hard to think about it, when you're in your own little bubble and community. But meeting with others from the greater Moishe House community really helps remind you what a cool thing this is and how lucky we all are.
Have a lovely month of May!
Es El Cuatro de Mayo
Este lunes los hombres de casa Moishe Nola fueron a Taqueria Felipes, la mejor taqueria en Sureste de Ustados Unidos. Por este blog, recantamos la historia rica de Felipe's. Taqueria Felipe's viene por Boston orginalmente. La taqueria tiene relacion a otra taqueria, una de pedigree mas impresionante, Ana's Taqueria. Desde 1998
Then this past weekend, we held a BBQ in the park across the street from Moishe House Providence. We had our doubts about attendance for two reasons: 1) the weather was grey, cold, and depressing given that it was May 4th! and 2) there was a marathon running through the city, blocking off some of the major roads. Yet, lo and behold, Providence came through, with the lead off guest none other than MHPVD alumni, Jesse Stout. We grilled, laughed, and huddled under blankets -- yes it was that cold. But it was a BBQ to remember. Thanks Moishe House for giving us continuous motivation and support to gather the sparks within our midst.
On Saturday May 16th, 2009, I will become a Bar Mitzvah...
No. On Saturday May 16th, 2009, I will become a college graduate. This semester can't end soon enough. Not with all the cool stuff going on in Cleveland over this summer. From the Hessler Street Fair and its hippie-goodness, to camping for festivals out at Nelson's Ledges, to art-walks, concerts, movies, and just trips to Lake Erie on warm summer evenings, we sure have a lot going on. Won't you come hang out with us this summer?
I'll leave you on a funny note. Here are two videos which have been made by people from Cleveland, which are completely tongue-in-cheek about our fair city. I hope you enjoy the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Videos.
Sam - MHCLE
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
This last New years I made the mistake of getting excited about it and nit just letting it be. sure enough the party that I went to was fair at best and I walked away feeling really let down.
This is the second out of the last three birthdays when i just suggested what I was going to be doing on my birthday and simply encouraged others to come do as well. the first was beach and a movie and this was the horses. Something that I would have done and enjoyed by myself. The result was tat everyone who came was a pleasant suprise and a joy to be with. Not to mention that I won $50!
mhdc was featured in the washington post recently -- it was a good article that has generated a tremendous amount of buzz in the area, and, much to our delight, has resulted in a slew of new people at events. it would have been nice, though, had the article quoted, or at the very least noted the existence of my housemates.
worth mentioning is a lunch that i shared on monday with rabbi daniel brenner and world-renowned jewish leader and philanthropist extraordinaire lynn schusterman. it was my first time meeting rabbi brenner, exec. director of birthright israel NEXT, an organization that has recently partnered with moishe house in a number of cities. he's certainly a man with a vision, and by the end of the lunch, it was eminently clear that the jewish community would be in a much better place if we had more leaders like him who just seem to "get it." and i was surprised to discover that though she makes nearly everything that we do possible, mrs. schusterman has yet to visit mhdc. i invited her, she happily agreed, and we're going to coordinate something within the next few months.
also coming soon: revamped shabbat dinners, teleshabbat, mhdc jam session/klez-punk band formation, increased volunteerism, and much more.
happy belated yom ha'atzmaut -- next year in florentin.
Our microwave which was the first to go we possessed by something that wasn't of our world. The Microwave would suddently start beeping the number 66:66 across the front of the screen when not in use and would suddenly start beeping at random times in the middle of the night. Our toaster was destroyed when, well my girlfriend was trying to cook something and it caught fire from the luminaries on top of it. and the mixer which was destroyed apparently by moishe house occupant Naima, when trying to make a cake. We are trying to not destroy our blender, and have successfully kept the espresso machine. We will try to keep the others. HOPEFULLY
Moishe House New Orleans draws in the neighborhood with our first first outdoor movie of the summer. Projecting on the front of the house over the driveway we've drawn in a few neighbors and some good friends for this first event. This regular program will continue throughout the summer.
I decided that we should arrange 'The Grand Shabbat'. After carefully selecting an appropriate jpg for the picture to send out to our facebook group (what looks like the front cover of a novel - 2 cats with their tales up and the title 'New Boy'), I realised that in fact, I had sent the message to all 600 facebook members, without even attempting to select carefully!
This was indeed a 'schoolboy error'. However, we ended up with a manageable number (around 40). I conducted a meditation session, before we launched into some beautiful singing of some classic Kabbalat Shabbat tunes.
Joseph one of my housemates warn that people don't always bring enough food to contribute to the dinner. I decided that even though our other housemate Joel had written out a reminder for food, I would also send another...Sufice it to say, people brought food...LOTS! But, it still all went, save for a pasta salad and a few dreggs.
We ate, sang, talked about the Universe and we also had around 10 people stay the night and spend the whole of Shabbat with us, coming to shul, eating lunch and having a Seudah.
The night was a roaring succes, with around 25 of the 40 being complete newbies to the house. It was a marvelous experience for us.
Oy. That’s a lotta tele! What the title refers to is today's tech run between Brian (MH Philly) and Nathaniel and I (MH Providence) for the tele-meeting tomorrow night between all the MH folks in Philly, Providence, DC, and Hoboken for the tele-shabbat we're hosting on May 15th. Whoa, lemme try that again. Today, Brian, Nathaniel, and I tested out multi-channel videochat (vchat between more than two people), to make sure it works for tomorrow, when we’re gonna have a four-house tele-meeting about our upcoming four-house tele-shabbat. Nathaniel and I got to see Brian's room, he got to see our home (where Nathaniel was) and my office (where I was), Brian learned a little about my job, we got to see him on a roller-coaster (those visual effects iChat offers are awesome)....all this to say: planning a joint event is already bringing Moishe houses together meta-moishe style, before the official meeting for the event, and before the event itself. Even the email Jeremy sent out describing what different houses were up to this month and including the tele-shabbat inspired Rachael from MH Silver Spring to get in touch. (And for the record: I profusely apologize if any east coast houses felt left out! The intention was to go for houses that would allow for videochatting on the Sabbath, but all houses are more than welcome to ‘tune in,’ of course.) So, because of an email about a joint event that hasn't even happened yet, I had a mini-exchange with Rachael and Alan of MH Silver Spring. It's like the adage about the process versus the product. You know, the journey instead of the destination. Anyways. Check these visual souvenirs from today, a mere aperitif of what's to come...
The Moishe Foundation has replaced the Forest Foundation. We are all a little older, and hopefully most of us feel a little wiser, even if it feels like life has not gotten any easier. Even with the life changes I and all of my various housemates have felt over the years, it is we ,the house members, who are still so very fortunate to be in the very lucky positions we all currently find ourselves in. Im not really sure how I ended up here sometimes, but now more than ever, I count my blessings and am very thankful to be a member of such a lucky and privileged group of people.
So what does this have to do with Moishe House? I'm not really sure. I guess all wouldn't be so bad if we lived in Israel. Hardly any rain there this time of year. Maybe thats what we should all do...move to Israel. I know this is not a new idea, but maybe we just need to the right motivation. I wonder what the Aliyah numbers would look like if Israel changed their slogan, "Come to Israel, there's hardly any rain!" Maybe we should try that and see what happens. Forget being the promised land. Move to Israel and I promise you wont need an Umbrella. That's what God should have told all the Jews maybe. Oh well. I guess it's never too late...
knowing i'm moving out is also inspiring me to get several things really firmly in place over the summer. these include
- making sure the movie night team can run itself
- making sure the healing circle has proper leadership so it's sustainable too
- helping a bunch of really cool guys consolidate a men's group
- cleaning out the shoe-room and transforming it into a cozy arts and crafts space
- completing the text and pics on our website
- rationalising and concretising our communications structures, with our kick-ass new communications team
- and last but not least getting a solid arts committee in place to bottom-line monthly crafternoons and skill-shares, movies, clothing swaps, movement workshops and other such activities. hooray!
once school gets out in 2 weeks i'm gonna be a busy lady...
The following Thursday, I had the pleasure of picking up Jeremy from the airport. He tried our Mexcian food and a few margaritas :) Friday night we celebrated Shabbat, and we had a very nice turn out. The food was good, the company was great, and the wine was definitely flowing. Jeremy was able to see some of what Moishe Dallas has to offer, and I hope we will be able to grow from his visit, learning from several conversations that we had. Sadly, I was not able to spend nearly as much time with Jeremy because I was on a plane Saturday morning to go to Mexico for the week. Don’t worry, I didn’t get the swine flu!! When I came back, I had a relaxing weekend ending in movie night. Unfortunately, it was not a huge success, so we will trying other events for the future.
That pretty much wraps up April. I am very excited about the events happening in May, including free sushi, rock climbing, and a visit to the holocaust museum. I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out!
MHP recently had a Townhall meeting, where we had an open forum to get feedback from our community about what they like, what they do not like, etc. It is arguable if we can any new clear direction of soemthign we need to do, or need to stop doing. But, there were two very clear goals First, the ability to get many more ideas out on the table for our organization and our programming was a great win, and something that should be done more often. Having 15 people to think about programming, marketing, a board, etc. instead of 5 is very helpful. Secondly, and maybe even more important, I think it was a great step to give some of the ownership of MHP back to the community and was a great step in our efforts to develop leadership. I hope that this is something we can repeat, and I would recommend a Townhall meeting for any house out there that is looking to maintain a balance: a balance of power between the residents and the community.
Moishe Nola hosted our first outdoor movie night this April, and now we have been snuffed out by Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. for holding an ‘unlicensed movie exhibition’. First of all, kudos to Swank for whatever web spiders they have crawling through the Internet or secret movie detectives they have on surveillance in our neighborhood (I imagine their informants will be reporting back on this blog-post as well). Our first movie night brought out our neighbor, his wife, and two friends from work - hardly a mass public screening. So where do you draw the line with this? Do you need a license every time you have some friends over to watch a movie? Is it public if it can be seen from the street? I can sit on my porch and see what baseball game my neighbor is watching, but I wouldn’t call it a ‘public exhibition’. Anyway, I’m off to the Major Motion Picture Association of America website to see if we’re in jeopardy of breaking anti piracy laws. If any members of the New Orleans Moishe House go missing send rescue - we’re probably been taken hostage by the MPAA and being popcorn-boarded to confess all we know.
A good friend from my NFTY-OV days was nice enough to put all eight of us up at her place for the weekend, which happened to be a short walk from Churchill downs.
Now, despite the weather warnings, which dampened our plans for seersucker suits, and the late start caused by the fact that, while we wanted to act like we were still in college, we aren't...and businesses in St. Louis don't see Derby as a holiday... we ended up getting to Louisville in time for a bite at a restaurant whose claim to fame was foods from all over the world. We were impressed that they managed to do most of it justice. More impressive, though, was the magician who came over to our table.
Within 10 seconds, I knew there was something familiar about him. Between the Catskills-like comedy routine, and the mannerisms... he reminded me of the quintessential New York Jewish grandfather. So I told him... sort of..
I think my exact words were, "You remind me a lot of Sid Caesar," to which he replied, "well, we're both Jewish."
At that point, I made a mental 'I knew it' note, and told him that he was, in fact, performing for the largest crowd of Jews on 4th street. I also forgave that his hands had slowed a bit, his cards had shown, and his coin tricks had suffered a bit of inflation, because he was hilarious, and reminded me of the very best of my own grandfather.
The next morning, we started out, with what is now MH STL tradition, mimosas and a touch of the pong.
Luckily, we brought our house grill....unluckily, I wasn't there when we set it up, and so it turned into a smoker, rather than a grill.... but it was all good, and even encouraged a certain other blogger of ours to try a hamburger cookie sandwich. Not sure I'd recommend it, but I guess it sounded like a good idea at the time.
A word about Derby, the cheapest entry is $40, and gets you into the infield, which you literally have to pass through a tunnel to get to.
Apparently, a large piece of Derby culture is to try to sneak in alcohol in the most creative ways possible. We heard stories of people who modified wheel chairs to sneak in kegs, baked bottles of bourbon into loaves of bread, and stuffed bras with plastic bags, all to prevent the security (which included MPs) from finding and confiscating the booze.
Personally, we were all totally disappointed when we walked right in. They didn't even ask to look in our backpacks.
Also, and maybe most importantly, people-watching far outranks horse-watching as the actual point of Derby. From the ridiculous hats that women wear, to the ridiculous tattoos that men and women sport, and the ridiculous antics of everyone in the infield, we hardly remembered we were there for a horse race.
Which, ultimately, was a pretty good thing considering that we could barely see the horses.
My 'menu' is still pretty small but I have taken over the mantle as "Chief Cooker" in the house. The tow Daniels help out a bit but at the moment their cleaning skills are being perfected.
Today was a good day. For lunch we made pizzas. We bought the pizza bases, and then all that is needed is some cheese, vegetables and a bit of luck. They turned out really well.
And then for supper I made burgers and hot chips. A very easy meal, but by mistake I over cooked the hot chips in the oven a bit but their crispiness was a nice difference to the normal ones.
Tomorrow I think I will be making a pasta of sorts. This has turned into one of our favourite dishes. Its also quite easy after some practice. The main ingredient is a can of Indian flavoured diced tomatoes. And then its just about throwing in whichever vegetables and spices we have in the house. It normally turns out pretty well.
Another favourite is strips of chicken rice. We put some chopped up peppers in yesterday, and they really made an amazing difference. The rice was spicier (obviously) and this added great taste to the meal.
But thats what cooking is about - just trying things. Having the balls to throw in an extra ingredient or two and having the confidence to know that it will taste good.
We just had a nice weekend visit from Summer, complete with a sloppy Mayday Shabbat, a windy beach side meeting, some belly dancing and a man falling off a latter. No pumpkin punching this time, unfortunately. One thing we talked about was ways to make this blog more useful, so I figured I would post about something that works well for our house.
Something I've noticed about our house is that everything goes smoother if we are able to meet more often, like every 10 days or so. The bigger meeting is always the one where we put together the next month's calendar, but if we meet often enough we're able to address all the other house issues, like cleaning, talking about how past events went and what we would change, finances, reminders about things coming up, personal issues, etc. Having these meetings often enough that the agenda isn't packed and things are too urgent also lets us enjoy ourselves a bit, and is a good way to make sure we're all in communication, not just about MH but also generally regarding what's going on with us.
The way we do meetings is we plan them ahead and put them on the calendar, and trade off on who is in charge of facilitating. This person is in charge of putting together an agenda, sending it out before the meeting, reminding everyone about the meeting, and facilitating it. We use a shared google document, with the newest stuff on top, for the house agenda, so we can always look back and old ones. this is especially useful if you take notes at the end of the meeting about what you want to discuss at the next one.
Anyway, this was probably the most boring blog post you've ever read, but maybe you haven't figure out how your house should do this yet and this will help. I've never really thought much about how other houses handle this, so i'll just assume we do it the best way.
Over a hundred years ago in Cracow, Moishe the Maizer was one of the few wealthy Jews in the city, but he was also known for being very cheap. Moishe the Maizer would always invite less fortunate people to his house. Whenever his guests came, he would treat them like kings, give them tea, and would sit and talk with them. However, when his guest would ask him for some money to help, he would get mad, kick them out of the house, and tell them "don't you know who I am. I am Moishe the Maizer I don't give anything." And his guests would leave in disgust. Yet Moishe the Maizer would continue to invite the less fortunate, and the same story repeated itself over and over. Moishe the Maizer would always kick his guests out.
Many years later on his deathbed, the Chevre Kadisha (The holy people who handle the dead) begged Moishe the Maizer to donate his money. but Moishe the Maizer refused. After he died, the Chevred Kadisha were so disgusted they punished him buy burying Moishe the Maizer outside the cemetary.
A few months later, it was brought to the attention of the Chief Rabbi, that for many years hundreds of poor families in Cracow have been able to buy food at the local markets and butchers free of charge. The families were appreciative, but did not know who was paying for their food. After some investigation, the Chief Rabbi discovered that for all these years the poor families' bills at the markets and butchers were paid in full by Moishe the Maizer. Whenever Moishe the Maizer would invite people, he would write down their name, and told the owners of these stores that he would pay for their food. He kicked out all of his guests , because he didn't want the poor families to know that he was paying for their food. Moishe the Maizer did not want the recognition. The Rabbi was so touched that he told the town that when he died he wanted to be buried next to "Moishe the Holy Maizer" outside of the cemetary.
Being from Denver, I am an avid Denver Nuggets fan. If you didn't know, they are playing pretty well right now. You would think people in Denver are going crazy about the stars of the team like Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony, but no, everyone in Denver is going crazy about the Nuggets' bench players; the people who are out of the main spotlight and usually get the least recognition.
That is why I am glad to be a part of the MOISHE House organization. It is full of dedicated people who help out our fellow Jews in their specific area because they care, and not because they want any recognition.
I wish you all the best, and GO NUGGETS!
Moishe House Great Neck
Indeed the word Finals has been nothing less than a dream for us. The mere mentioning of the possibility would probably excommunicate you from those who live in realities of society. It has indeed been many tough years. The last time we had a glimmer of hope, it came in the form of the false messenger Dikembe Mutombo. He got us excited only to leave us quickly thereafter. Following his departure were the pogroms of the late 90's and early 20's where we had seasons of 11 wins, and were consistently under 20 wins.
Today, it appears that we may have a new messenger, in the form of Chauncey Billups. Can he be our Moses? Can he lead the Jewish People, I mean the Denver Nuggets, to the promised land? It would indeed be a storybook ending: After so many years of false hope, hometown boy comes back to lead his people to victory. Indeed much like Moses, it would be someone whos entire life and success, err NBA career, was spent away from the people he is trying to lead, his own people.
Can it finally be true? Can the mere mentioning of the NBA finals not get you commited for once? It has been a long road traveled, and it will not be easy from here as the Amalekites Kobe Bryant and Lebron James will probably stand in the way. As they stood in the Jews way upon their exit from Egypt.
Well I guess only time will tell, and hey if we dont make it, there is always next year in Jerusalem!
We had a blast with Jeremy. For real. He also had a wealth of knowledge and advice for us, concerning issues and ideas for the future... everything but Mariokart really.
Now the weather is really breaking, and any week is going to have at least one or two warmish days... the coming weekends are full of festivals and concerts... so it's an interesting time to have parties too. I'm curious to see how that works.
Oh yea, and our roommate Sam is shortly to be a college graduate! grats dude!
How is everyone doing around the world? Here in Vienna, the sun finally came out and we are now able to enjoy some nice BBQs, outdoor football and nice walks.
We are organizing a Shabbat dinner this week, so if you travel to Vienna, please be our guest.
I would like also to wish you all wonderful Lag BaOmer and holiday of Shavuot.
All the best!
after receiving many positive feedback about my delicious recipes, I would like to share with you a nice cheese cake recipe for the upcoming festival of Shavuot.
If you have any good recipe, either past on from your grandmother or that you invented, please publish it, I would be interested to learn what people cook around the world.
Have a nice week!
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
11 double graham crackers
4 Tbsps. sugar
1/2 cup butter or
1/2 cup sugar
12 ounces cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
USE: 9 inch deep dish
YIELDS: 8 servings
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST: Crush graham crackers in blender until finely ground. Reserve 1/4 cup crumbs for topping. Place remainder in a large bowl. Add sugar and butter to remaining crumbs and mix well. Line deep dish pie plate and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 375°.
FILLING: In a large bowl beat eggs well. Add sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour into crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn off oven and leave pie in oven for I hour; remove and cool for 10 minutes.
Raise oven to 450°.
TOPPING: In a small bowl combine topping ingredients and pour over pie. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove and cool Sprinkle with reserved crumbs and chill for 3 hours before serving.
VARIATION Cherry Cheese Tarts: Reduce amounts of filling ingredients as follows: 2 eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, 8 ounces cream cheese. Using 2 mini-cupcake pans, press a heaping teaspoon of crust mixture in the bottom of each form. Fill each crust with cream cheese mixture. Bake 10 minutes. Remove and chill thoroughly. When ready to serve top with a teaspoon of canned cherry pie filling. Yields: 24 tarts.
Monday, May 4, 2009
But i digress.
It's getting colder here as winter approaches (shut up you North Hemisphere people you), and if there's one problem with Moishe House Joburg, it's that it's paper thin! Seriously, if you're not dressed in a warm coat for most of the day, the cardboard-like walls eat you with their cold-inducing vapours.
On the one side of the house, if you're lucky, you can get a bit of sun through a window. But by mid-afternoon that's gone, so we spend the rest of the day hugging for body-warmth, praying that we'll be ok to last to the next Moishe event!
The misery of our history
Beneath our skin
In the far reaches of our mind
We sit, closer than the years between us
Stories we cling to
Pain, inescapable, makes us whole
Horrors we can't imagine,
But pray we will never forget
The faces of family lost
The smiles we never shared
A load carried, often silently
Is given a voice for one moment
Is it fear we pass on,
Or is it compassion?
What say will I have
On what peace will come?
We talked about a lot of stuff tonight. I think we're generating some great ideas.
I also feel weird since I know we're refining the blog deal...so maybe I'll just talk about how I'm looking forward to that!
I've been running a thread of Darfur awareness events and I think they're going well. There's improvement to be made but I think it's an area of accomplishment and for development.
Jodi, a housemate, brought up an important point tonight which is to harness one's individual passions and create events that are driven by them, or focused on them. I find that I'm passionate about intellectual events. Speakers, artistic things, social action, etc. I want to *learn* something...in a community setting. So it gives me food for thought. What can I create that would be really really interesting intellectually? Artistically engaging? Focused on giving to those in need in a compelling way? I really want to erase any sorts of previous biases and let myself be inspired by my own energy and knowing that others are interested in these kinds of things too. Being open to that give and take of what others are interested in and letting those factors shape my events will also be productive.
A great person once said, "Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do it, for what the world needs are people who come alive."
i am glad to see the cold weather go, and the summer vacation looming ahead. finally i think i have a job for the summer, so thats a relief. the housemates and i are working out a lot of cool new systems for outreach, and i feel positive about this
through a moishe event i was able to reconnect with an old friend in the area! this feels great. oakland is slowly becoming more of a home to me. i guess it just takes time. there is no way i can rush this, but it would be cool if i could. i guess i have to let it happen slowly.
i am looking forward to the new month and we have so much great stuff going on!
So instead I will vent briefly about this movie I just saw with Masha and Neal at the closing night of Seattle's Jewish Film Festival. HaSodot ("The Secrets") was billed as a powerful love story set in a women's seminary in Tzfat. Having recently seen a string of not-completely-over-the-top Israeli films, including some surprisingly sensitive portrayals of charedi/Orthodox life, I went in expecting, well, something really good.
I have to give the filmmakers credit for trying. In fact, I can't think of what they didn't try. After the Catholic schoolgirl dramedy (but, you know, with Orthodox girls) had morphed into a Nancy Drew mystery-cum-slasher thriller with layers of Kabbalistic magical realism -- not to mention an appalling Jaws rip-off score -- then, by way of full-frontal mikvah erotica, a little SMBD, and classic girl-on-girl soft porn, detouring into Yiddish-theater slapstick complete with klezmer musicians and a tablecloth gag, Neal leaned over to me and said, "Wow, this movie has everything!" Yes, everything but a point.
The Festival wasn't a complete bust, though. The best stuff, actually, was mostly Israeli television programs -- "The Woman From the Bubble," a delightful documentary about an Israeli sign-language interpreter named Lee Dan; and two series, Arab Labor, and Srugim. Now that we have a video projector set up we want to screen these at home, as events, so if anyone is going to be in an Israeli video store anytime soon, we'll pay you a good tip. :)
It was heartening to see that even while I was gone, there was a well-attended rooftop brunch at my house (summer is upon us in Beijing!) and even while BOTH Jewish residents of Moishe House were gone, my future roommate Tyler hosted an event at our house and made matzah brie for the holiday.
Finally, a quick anecdote- yesterday I met with a friend of mine who is a NYT journalist here in China. He asked where I lived, and I reminded him that he had been to my house to watch the Obama inauguration. He says, "Oh, you live in Moishe House?" He didn't register my apartment as mine, but rather as Moishe House. I was proud of the branding job we had done :)
Until next time...
Now a week in the low 60s and rainy?
Welcome to Maryland - where if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes and it'll reverse!
This month I became more of a real Marylander, actually. I ate my first crab cake! Now you're thinking, but Alan! doesn't the Good Lord hate shellfish, almost as much as She hates tourists who block both sides of subway escalators? and it's true, my understanding of kashrut precludes me from devouring *real* crabs -- however these were vegetarian *imitation* crab cakes, at a veg restaurant in Baltimore. And according to a friend who was there with me, who had eaten real crab cakes in the past, they were a pretty good fascimile.
Our Birkat haChama project from last month went off SO SPECTACULARLY that we were featured in the Washington Post -- with a front page picture in the print edition, and with a video and photo gallery online! (Jewschool even posted about it here: http://jewschool.com/2009/04/13/15885/moishe-house-birkat-hachamah/)
Other than that, I must say my favorite MHSS moments in the past few weeks were making matsa-pizza and settling in with community members and friends to watch the movie "Stargate" (or as I like to call it, the Passover story with spaceships) on the Sunday of Pesach, and our mini-Yom Ha'atzma'ut celebration of Israel's birthday. We had a bonfire and Israeli music, and well as shawarma, laffa, felafel, and plenty of salatim from the Pita Plus, the kosher Israeli eatery in College Park, MD, and we discussed Israel's legacy of human rights accomplishments and challenges while learning about the Israeli Declaration of Independence with local rabbi Gerry Serrota.
With summer often comes some downtime for MHP - as a lot of our constituency goes away most weekends to the Jersey shore. I think this will be a great time for our house to focus on the overall goals of our programming and what we can do heighten our already awesome community for the fall. At the end of April we held a Town Hall meeting to get some ideas on how to do just that. A core group of MHPers had some great ideas for how to tweak what we offer to take it to the next level. I'm really looking forward to putting their ideas into action in the coming months and into the fall. Happy Monday everyone!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
ohhh and in case anyone is interested .... Passover dinner went really well and my bf's parents loved me :) (I mean I cant blame them .. :)~ ) heheh..
As always, hope all is well with everyone :)
Friday, May 1, 2009
The first event I attended was Coffeehouse, and I remember thinking: Who are all these passionate, interesting, smart, wonderfully nutty people? I'd been attending a potluck at another communal house for a couple of years, and I liked the people there and came to expect great food every Tuesday, but my experience didn't always end up being greater than the sum of its parts -- I was recognized and appreciated, but I didn't quite belong. Almost immediately at MH Seattle, I realized that my sense of humor, my point of view, and my idiosyncrasies would all be "gotten" by pretty much everyone, whether Russian, American, Israeli, or Iranian. I'd never understood how spending time with a group of Jews could be more comfortable, at least in certain ways, than being in a random crowd, but it finally made sense by the end of Coffeehouse. When Tamar and one of the guests performed a number from Fiddler on the Roof that elicited gales of laughter from the audience, I saw a liveliness and humor and ease of being -- the sign of people who have let their guard down -- I'd rarely witnessed in group settings in Seattle.
For me, MH Seattle has been not only the answer to the questions "How do I take part in the Jewish community without feeling uncomfortable?" and "How do I find a community where I feel like I belong?" but also a solution to the problem of Seattle's notorious social chilliness, which means superficial friendliness without a deeper, more lasting warmth (and investment of energy) to follow. At Moishe House, residents and regular guests alike have committed to building a community unlike all the others in town, a place where people who don't fit in elsewhere, or simply want a quirky alternative (or supplement) to the other Jewish events they frequent, can feel at home. Because a sense of home is what our Moishe House has given me, as well as the countless people who have come through our door. And in these turbulent times -- amid economic recession and swine flu -- the ability to feel happy at home is a true privilege.
I'm a big fan of outdoors Judaism - something which is a whole lot easier in Israel than in Britain, where any plans for a picnic or outdoors service or barbeque always need a back-up plan, just in case! But I'm feeling priveleged to be living somewhere where green and trees are never too far away.
Hopefully this should give us some perspective and we'll return refreshed and full of energy and ideas for Moishe House. Looking back on recent weeks it's hard to remember much - all seems quite a blur. David Allen's Getting Things Done has helped me a lot though, making much more organised and productive.
Now though is the time for further relaxation and enjoyment as we enter the last 5 days or so of our tropical break.
As we Moishe Houseniks offered Sukkat Shalom at Burning Man, as an alternative to the mainstream 'Black Rock JCC', so I wonder whether we might have a colourful something to offer in other parts of the world, where there are still only black and white choices.