Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sushi, Rocks, and some History

May was a fanstastic month for Moishe House Dallas! We started the month with a free sushi happy hour at a great sushi place called Steel. As long as you make a reservation in advance, you can enjoy free sushi every Wednesday during happy hour. It was a great place to meet up for some cheap drinks and good food.

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


Last weekend there was my birthday  party in Moishe house Warsaw it was really nice! I good a beautiful cake with a lot of decorations. There where balloons on the walls and some good food ( I made moistly ;). I good some cool gifts and there was a lot of fun.
Last days where windy and rainy and it is a bit weird because usually last days of may are really hot in this part of Poland. Yesterday it was raining all they and I got completely wet.
The summer examination session almost started and the end of academic year is very soon so I have to go and write something for social psychology class for monday.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Does anybody really know what time it is?

First thing that came to mind; seems to sum up the feeling pretty accurately. (Been feeling about a day ahead and several hours sideways.....) [I also find it fascinating that people will ask me questions about MH events even still to this day -- like, "what time is the thing at your house tonight?" -- even though I am not the main info. person listed in the e-mails and can search my e-mail just as inconveniently as they can. Then there are those times when the question reveals information to me I didn't even know....]

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

my heart is broken

Our little pigeon is gone. He was so sweet. I did everything to keep him with us, but I am afraid our house is to noisy for little pigeons and their moms or dads I really don't know who was raising him.
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

MH Warsaw

I have an examination session now, so I really have to learn a lot. Tomorrow - ecology, Saturday - genetics, Monday - Microbiology in use, Thursday - Immunology....... But soon (in two weeks) it will be over and I'm starting my summer vacation.
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.

dairy in the land of noodles

Shavuot is almost here- that's great news for me, because that means that I will have the opportunity to eat lots of dairy (mainly at a Chabad event). China isn't so big on dairy, so I count any day when I get to eat a cheese sandwich or a slice of a cheesecake as a good day. Cheese blintzes would be amazing, but I'm not going to push my luck. MH Beijing is doing a shavuos sundae event, where you can create your own sundae and then feast upon it.

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

Activist letter writing

Tonight, in a quiet way, Moishe House London has been a hub of international human rights advocacy. As I write this, there is a pile of twenty envelopes next to me, addressed to Presidents, Ministers, Governers and the odd MP. Tomorrow, I will take them to the post office and they will begin journeys to Indonesia, Nigeria, China, the Congo, Columbia, Turkey and elsewhere.

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

multi-city tele-Shabbat!

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 Showers

A Haiku:

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

Hello from Warsaw

Weather in Warsaw is getting better and better, maybe accept for last 3 days when it was raining. 
There was a lot going on in April.
I got a tattoo, like this:  ( thats not me of course but just a random person from the web. 
Few days a go I met a friend of my family who did not visit Poland for 7 years so it was very moving and interesting to see how we all changed in last 7 years. Other thing that happened is that my photographs are going to be shown in gallery of modern art in Warsaw. It is not a very big deal or a prestigious exhibition  they are showing works of around 30 students from all around Poland but I fell honored anyway. 
Im looking forward to my birthday party witch  will take place in MH Warsaw on 23th of may, Im thinking all the time what to prepare. 

Agnieszka MH Warsaw

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Awesome April!

Yet another incredible month has gone by, and I am still trying to figure out where all the time is going.

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

A Summer Visit!

We just had a lovely weekend with Summer Shapiro, our regional director for Moishe House. It was great to see her and connect together about everything we are doing - and have done - with our house. Seeing her and spending time together as a house always seems to solidify what we are, it's a nice time to reflect on where we've been and where we're going.

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!
-Elana Porat

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
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Shabbat - Family Style

Well, it's been another exciting month at Moishe House Providence. Last month marked our most glamorous dichromatic shabbatluck to date: black and white. As you would expect, most of us wore white -- it's a shabbas color after all. Those adorned in black really formed a delightful contrast with the white garbs. Not only did everyone dress the part, but everyone participated in the color theme -- AGAIN! Our table was full of beautiful white flowers, rice pudding, and the most fluffy delicious homemade macaroons that have ever been made. Once again, I'm impressed with the Providence community.

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.

MHC- summer!!!

I am looking forward to all the local music and art festivals here in Cleveland. I am hoping to do more camping this summer. The art supply store I work at is moving down the street from where they are right now, so that should be a joyous moving experience. I wouldn't say that I have spring fervor, but I have definitely have had trouble focusing lately. As the weather is becoming more beautiful I am developing a greater appreciation for the hammock on the front porch. Hoping that the April showers are over and that it's all May flowers from here on out,

Crazy month

So I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I have been rushing, freaking out, scared, nervous, and now I am so close to relieved that it almost seems worth it. I don't like freaking out so much, especially not over this but it seems like the mode I get myself into every time a semester ends. Only this time it's my final semester of my undergraduate life. It's been a long road, longer than normal, and the end is in sight.

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.


april blog

the drumset went away.....we had it for a couple months....i was really enjoying playing with it...and playing music (or whatever else you might want to call it) with my mh housemates. we made a song....about shabbos....about the was cool. i was the drummer.....a beginner......and one who has stagefright.....what a fun little experience, but the drumset went's owner moved to st. louis and the drumset went with.

Masha, Moishe House Seattle, April 2009

It just dawned on me recently, as we were interviewing candidates for 2 new residents, that the makeup of our house is going to change very drastically. I don't know why I didn't realize this earlier, but with Joel and Tamar gone, Rebecca also gone, only Neal and I will be left as the original housemates, and half of the house will be new people. How will we get together as a group? How will they deal with my neuroses? :) With Joel around, being the 'brainfather' to Moishe House Seattle, there was a very clear natural leader in the group, and now this dynamic is going to change completely. The good news is that we found 2 great folks who are willing and excited to do Moishe House! This is a welcome change , since we could definitely use some new energy to shake things up a bit and make our community even stronger. Neal and I are already realizing that we'll need to put some energy into spending time together as a house and getting to know Steven and Nicole, unlike we did with Rebecca. It's too bad that it didn't work out, but there were things to be learned there. With a little effort, I think we're going to be just fine. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My birthday

I had an amazing birthday this weekend. My birthday was on Monday but on Sunday I went to the race track to spend the day betting on horses and drinking dollar beers. I have realized that with Birthday's as with all holidays... the less you have expectations about it the better it always is.

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: "we still the same with a little fame"

between aipac policy conference and ajc's annual meeting, this week is turning out to be my busiest in recent memory, so please excuse the succinct post this time around. dc's been the place to be of late -- we experienced a heat wave two weeks ago, which allowed me to finally bronze on our roof, a roof which will soon be home some gnarly organic rooftop horticultural experiments.

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.


Summa Summa Summer Time Summer Time

I finally met the illustrious Summer! Wohoo. It was awesome to have Summer come and visit, even for a short time. We had a wonderfully successful meeting and discussed where the house has been and where we want it to go. We got to hear about the health of the organization and what a great job you are all doing to keep us strong for the coming years. I feel much more connected to the organization and its mission after this experience. I also got to learn what a physical comedian is which was an added bonus. Besheret totally besheret :).

MH cleveland cant hold on to appliances

So seeing that our house has some hard time holding onto appliances let me tell you the demise of some of ours which include our Microwave, our Toaster over, and our hand mixer.
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

JazzFest @ MHNola

Moishe House wrapped up JazzFest '09 with a traditional jazzfest brunch. Steak & Eggs served besides Mimosas helped to start the day off right. Headliners for the final day included Neil Young and the Neville Brothers.
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Tuesday Movie Night @ MHNola

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.
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As my first event in the house aside from the regular smaller Shabbats that we have.

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.

tele-tech run for the tele-meeting for the tele-shabbat

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...

Thank you Moishe House!!

A friend of mine who I was very close with in high school and had fallen out of touch with in the last several years is going to be staying at our house this summer for a month. Thank you Moishe House! If I didn't happen to live in such a sweet house, that happens to have an extra bedroom in it, Im sure the chances of reconnecting with my friend would have been even more dismal than what was previously felt. I feel like I find myself saying this phrase, "thank you Moishe House" more and more as the months living in the house have began to compile over the last couple of years. In the beginning of my time living here I was stoked to be a part of creating a vision of what I wanted my Jewish community to look like, though I took much of the day to day comforts of living in the house for granted. 2007 feels like a long time from where we are all now at in 2009.
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.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Don't get me wrong, I love spring. Baseball, ultimate frisbee, BBQ's, warm weather, how can you go wrong? But seriously, this rain needs to stop; or atleast spread itself out. How we play baseball, frisbee, have BBQ's, etc., if it rains everyday? Rain is fun for a while, but seriously enough is enough. It's May already, I want my warm weather, and clear skies. I thought the rain was reserved for April. I guess we'll just have to deal with it for now.

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...

building community

well, my friends, sad to say i have decided that come september i'll be ceding my place in moishe house boston to somebody new. however, one result of that decision is that i got to spend some time in the past couple weeks being part of the amazing decision-making process of who gets to be next year's team. we had a whole set of really talented, compelling applicants, and deciding who would be the biggest assets to the house, and the best team working together, was a truly challenging and fascinating process. luckily our community member Nina put together an amazing application form, series of interview questions, and evaluation mechanism, and a dedicated team of volunteers got together and contributed HOURS AND HOURS of patient time reading and listening and discussing. the upshot is that we have an absolutely AWESOME team waiting to go live next year. Margie will be staying on, joined by another 3 kick-ass women with professional skills in organizing, Jewish learning and a whole bunch of community-building expertise!

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...

Rae- MHP April Blog

This is the last you'll be hearing from me, on the MHP blog at least. From May 9 onward, I will no longer be living in MHP. I'll still be involved (I'm heading an MHP event on May 16 and then flying to Cali to MHP headquarters for a MH Board Meeting on May 31), but I won't be eating, sleeping, chilling MHP all the time. I'm getting a little nostalgic about it already, but I think it's a good thing in the end. After two years of living in MHP, I think it's time for me to move on and give someone else a chance to experience all that living in a Moishe House is. There are two things that make it a little easier on me to let go though: 1. I'm leaving MHP in great hands. My current housemates, and the newest addition to MHP, Miss Alissa Beth Worley, are all fabulous leaders, with a ton to offer the community. 2. I'm only moving down the street, so I'll still get to be around bunches.

I love being an Aries

April was one of the busiest months I’ve had in a long time! I started the month at my boyfriend’s brother’s wedding. We had such a great time that night, until I woke up the next morning and flew to Ft. Lauderdale for work. I was able to spend the first night of Passover with my grandparents before I was back in Dallas celebrating the second with the rest of my family. It was also my birthday weekend, so we all celebrated with a night on the town, where lots of Moishe supporters joined!

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!

The Moishe Balance

I found that to run a house one is constantly trying to keep a balance. Just as mother nature tirelessly pursues homeostasis so is our pursuit for a "great" house. As I am sure many of you have found it is near impossible to please all members of your community. You will likely find different opinions for the most basic of ideas. Some things that we have had to balance at MHP are: Our monthly balance of Social vs. Cultural Events, The number of Large vs. Small events, and the way that we run our organization; Casual vs. Formal. These are all important questions that we get different responses on from our community. It presents a very intersting challenge to continue to meet the needs of our community while making attempts to provide innovative programming.

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.

Raided - Moishe Nola Movie Night

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. 

Moishe House St. Louis Hits the Kentucky Derby

This past weekend, Moishe House St. Louis loaded up two cars and made the trek to Louisville (loo-ah-vill, or luh-vuhl) for the 135th Kentucky Derby. Despite seeing a mere 3 seconds of actual, live horse racing, the Derby lived up to its name.

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.

Summertime in the Chitown

Moishe House Chicago had a special guest this weekend. Not only did we have summertime weather but we had the lovely Summer Shapiro herself. It was a great weekend of reflection, looking forward and learning about all the exciting changes within the Moishe House community. We had a fiesta, May day themed Shabbat dinner that brought the crowds... 40 plus people with tons of food and high fiesta energy! It was a rockin evening and we're still eating leftovers... It's not often that we (MH Chicago) spend the entire weekend together and having Summer in town brought on the opportunity for us to be together. I am constantly in awe of my housemates and I am truly grateful for our time together. It was a really nice weekend- the Summertime weather was beautiful! Thanks for your visit Summer.


One of the goals of mine this year was to learn how to cook and so far I am pretty happy of my progress.

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.

April in Chicago

April was a good month, May will be better.

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.


Moishe House and Moishe the Maizer

Moishe House Great Neck spent this past Shabbat in Brooklyn at the house of Rabbi Vaknin, our Moishe House Monthly Rabbi. Over Shabbat, Rabbi Vaknin told us the story about Moishe the Maizer.

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!

Joey Yadgar
Moishe House Great Neck

Could this year be the year?

Being a Denver Nuggets Fan is very similar to being a member of the Jewish Nation. We as Jews are prone to waiting. Whether it was waiting to be redeemed from Egypt, waiting to arrive in the Holy Land after forty years of wandering through the desert, or waiting for our temple to be rebuilt after thousands of years of exile. Us Nugget fans have faced similar trials and tribulations.

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!

this month in Cleveland...

SO earlier in April we had our first visit from a Moishe House organizer...
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!
Hi there,

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!

Daniel Mor
Shalom everyone,

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!

11 double graham crackers
4 Tbsps. sugar
1/2 cup butter or
margarine, softened

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
12 ounces cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Reserved crumbs

USE: 9 inch deep dish
pie plate
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.

Bon appetit!

Monday, May 4, 2009

joburg.. city of gold

It's been a backbreakingly brilliant month for Moishe Joburg, as we took the Jewish community by storm! with so many events going on, Kevin had to tell us the sad news... we were WAY over budget this month, as pleasing all our money fans cost a fair bit of moolah!
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!

David P. - MHSF

Reflections on a dinner with Holocaust survivors held on April 22nd:

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?

Moishe, Misnagdim, and More

This month in Moishe House Hoboken is going to be a good one. We have tons of good food, discussion, community, and thought coming up. This past month we had an event which was my personal favourite - a straight up intellectual discussion with no religious or spiritual kesher at all. It was oldschool misnagdic litvish thinkin at its best. We engaged in a fun intellectual excersize and discussed issues facing the Jewish people from a philosophical / hashguphic perspective. Israel's birthday has arrived and it begs the question, 61 years and whats going on achshav (now)? Its a great time for the Jewish people - a wealth of new Jewish innovations, creations, and expressions are blooming. The Jewish State, often looked at inherently reactionary, has acted as a catalyst and has in fact percipitated a spasm of creativity that owes its origins to the revolutionary notion inherent in the Zionist Idea. Whether one is a post-Zionist, non-Zionist, or an OZ (Origional Zionist!) everyone recognizes that the fundamental break from normative Jewish thought which existed almost in situ since the fall of Rome / the birth of Christiandom in Europe and the Arab expansion out fo the Hejaz was a self made miracle and amazing feat. I for one say happy belated birthday Israel and invite everyone to come on by Moishe House Hoboken for more good discussion.

April! MH Chicago; Ilana Schuman-Stoler

We just had a great month. Not only is it beginning to actually look like spring, but we have had a lot of fun! Not to mention, Summer was here and it was really nice to show her around. Last year when she came in October, we had only been around for one month! It is crazy to think about how little we knew at the time. When Summer came to visit, we talked a lot about Moishe House and how things can continue to move forward successfully for both the staff and also for the houses and though every house has its own unique challenges, it is still always good to remember that we are part of something bigger. This program really has some legs on it and I am extremely happy to have been privileged enough to have had the opportunity to participate. I look forward to seeing how Moishe House grows, and where all the participants take it. It sounds like staff is doing a lot to create systems that enable us as program participants to learn from other houses but still stay to our uniqueness and organic process. Also, it sounds like there is a lot of work being done to perfect a lot of systems that are already in place in order to streamline a lot of our monthly tasks and to create ways to make the things we do count towards the monthly processes that go on in the central office and between staff and houses. Anyway more power to you guys! I love hearing updates about how staff is doing, and what sweet sounding new endeavors lie ahead. Power on.


Juicy kernels

Summer has come to visit us in Portland and it's awesome! It's a great time to meet Summer and discover Moishe House experiences through my own eyes. I'm glad I'm making a personal connection.

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 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* 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."

april 2009 the end of an era

so april is a crazy month. we said goodbye to an awesome housemate and got a new one, and this is very exciting! i celebrated my birthday this month and thanks to all who wished me happiness in the year to come. 23 is not such an exciting number but we'll see about the upcoming year.
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!

MHSeattle, Joel: Venting

At Moishe House Seattle, we are in the thick of interviewing applicants to join us as new members/housemates. It's a time-consuming, laborious process, that I was all ready to vent about in my end-of-April update. But so far it has mostly been a joy, because the applicants are such cool people!

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. :)

AliKlay from Beijing, April09

April was my first month away from Moishe House Beijing since it began last fall. I usually do my annual visit home to Philadelphia during Passover, so I planned to be in the US for most of April. As usual, going home was overwhelming, with old friends and neighbors and even my rabbi all asking about China and what I am up to. Sadly, there were also several deaths in the family while I was home, and my trip began and ended with funerals. Sounds dramatic, I know, but I look at it this way- these things would have happened whether or not I was in the States, so it's just as well that I was able to be around for the funerals and shiva, especially of my grandmother, who was a Holocaust survivor.
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...

Big Things Coming

So here in St. Louis, the more and more we look at other people's Calendars through Jeremy's weekly email, the more and more we should probably be doing more interesting events than just meet up for drinks, do some community service, and have a shabbat dinner (though we spruce up the names a bit to keep it interesting). Thats why soon we plan on having a family reunion of sorts, a day for the ages, a color war on an epic scale culminating with a Nerf Capture the Flag battle. We are trying to pull donations for most of the items to keep the cost low, so in case any one that you know that works at Hasbro that could help with the donations of nerf guns, an email or comment would be greatly appreciated. We are planning on having a full day of activities followed by dinner and an open bar (gotta cross my fingers) for about 50 - 75 adults. As we figure out more and more, I am sure one of us will communicate it, here's to Yom Sport put on by Moishe House StL.

MHSS Alan is confused by the weather

A week in the high 70s... I get a sunburn on my head.
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:

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.

MHP - April Blog

April really felt like it flew by! Between Passover and birthdays, Tax Day and dialogues, we had such a diversity of events - it was great! I'm really looking forward for all of this rain to stop so we can take our events on the road - hikes, bike rides, walks, trips to the beach; outdoors here we come! Philadelphia has a beautiful landscape for the seasons but I'm getting a little sick of winter/spring - bring on the hot summer!

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

MHSF - Sarah - April Blog

Just read my roommate Ari's post and it's funny because our minds seem to be in the same spot. I've been thinking a lot lately about why it is that our MHSF bookclub has been so relatively unsuccessful. I've always wanted to be a part of one (what a dorky thing to aspire to, right?), and finally had the chance when Danny moved in and wanted to start one at the house. We started off all pumped up, with like 8 in the club. After that first month however, we dwindled down to maybe 4 or 5, and it's been getting even smaller since. Can't quite figure out why. Part of the problem I think is just our generally hectic lives -- as young adults living and working in an urban setting, we PLAN on reading the book of the month, but too much stuff just seems to come up. Whether it's work committments, friends, other house events, all of a suden another month has flown by and I've barely cracked the book. And this is coming from a girl who loves to read. Guess we might be putting it on hold for a while, but I have faith that one day I can get a nerdy enough crew together who will be dedicated to really reading the books, and hopefully will motivate me to do so as well!


April Blog

April was a good month of matza, spring vacation (which of course went by way too quickly), and finally some warm weather.  I am quite happy that just last week  I had the opportunity to  meet Mike Nissenson, the Chairman of the Board, while he was in the city.  It was great being able to get to know him and talk with him about Moishe House, and the great organization that it is.  He is a great guy who has a lot of passion for Moishe House and everything they do.  Ironically, Mike and my dad were colleagues for a few years in Los Angeles-I guess it really is a small world (or at least a small Jewish world)!  This month we also hosted a shabbat dinner at the United Synagogue of Hoboken, the conservative shul in Hoboken, which was a great success.  We had lots of new people, most of whom had never heard of Moishe House, and were very excited about it;  they even gave us ideas of future events that they would like to see happen.  
We have some fun and exciting events planned for May, including a tele-shabbat with a few other east coast houses, which I'm sure will be fun (props to Stephanie from MH Providence for putting this all together!).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mayyy MaYyYy MayyyYYyy , ohhh YaY! (that was for you, Jeremy ) !! :)

March was a great month for us! Shana and I had a really good weekend with Jeremy and we were glad to be able to finally put a face with a name/voice! We celebrated my wonnnderful roomies 25th bday and had a blast! Our Shabbat dinner went really well and We also had a really beneficial conference call about event planning, ideas, expectations, etc.. and have come up with a lot of new ideas and events to get people more involved! So far results have been great so we are excited for our upcoming events !
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 :)
Much love,

Friday, May 1, 2009

MHSeattle, Neal Schindler, 5/1/2009

Since Moishe House's West Coast director, Summer Shapiro, will be visiting us starting Wednesday, and she hopes to get to know us better and more fully understand what our house is trying to achieve, this seems like a good moment to reflect on my time thus far at Moishe House Seattle. I became a resident at a time (last August) when I was still hurting from a fairly recent breakup and in need of community more than ever, and I found a tremendously lively, enjoyable group of people -- new friends, in practically no time -- at the little house on 23rd Avenue Northeast.

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.

Ari - MHSF

over the past year and a half i've been living in moishe house sf, i've come to recognize several things that lead to successful events. I've also seen a few things that tend to make events less popular, namely repeat events. perhaps this is unique to sf, but it seems like people enjoy new events, and they grow tired of repeat events. perhaps this is due to the allure of a new idea not being present, or perhaps it's just that less people want to do something they've already done. that said, there are certainly repeat events that maintain their popularity, like shabbat dinners, poker nights, and sports teams. however, some other events seem to fade after each time it's repeated. for me, those events are things like book club, movie nights, and cooking nights. while fun in moderation, these kinds of events tend to draw less people as they occur more frequently. like i said, maybe this is just an sf thing, but i thought some of you folks might be interested. cheers, and shabbat shalom. and happy may. speaking of may, how is 2009 1/3 over?

Outdoors at MoHoLo

The wisteria is blooming outside our door, there are bluebells pushing up through our lawn. It's been a pleasure to spend time in the garden this month. Last shabbat, along with some guests who had come round after shul, we ate lunch out there, gathering round a table filled with hummous, challah, cous cous salads and other goodies and basking in the sun. It's Lag B'Omer soon, and we have a pile of wood ready to make a bonfire.

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.

Sawasdee (Joel, MHLondon)

Sawasdee from Thailand. Right now Rachel and I are at an internet cafe next door to Bet Chabad in Phuket. We're on a holiday ('vacation' to you Yanks) that Rachel won a year ago for designing a Thai cocktail. What a difference from our daily life in London and the Moishe House. Bangkok was hectic but since we got to the island bit of our holiday we've been relaxing by the pool, sitting on the beach and, yesterday, snorkelling on Phi Phi Island. On Sunday we're going on a three-day jungle safari.

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.

Shabbat Shalom.

Thai Tidings

We've recently been called the Post-Modern Chabad House. But in the meantime, Moishe Houses are just where there's enough thirsty post-modern Jewish community to warrant founding a permanent House. Joel and I have been in Thailand and are about to spend our second Shabbas at a real-deal Chabad House. There's actually around 400 Jewish people in Bangkok, plus countless Israelis, who are also down here in Phuket. Chabad House has become the benchmark for Jewish travellers who want some yiddishkeit with their adventure. Looking around last week I wondered how many of them would enjoy the kind of Shabbat we might have at MoHoLo (shomrei shabbas but egalitarian and carlebach-y). Maybe we shall never know...who else has the will and might to set up a global network of this magnitude. Yet we heard already there are some Chabad Houses in India who have split from the Chabad majority and now run without authorisation.
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.