Friday, January 29, 2010

Programming for MH STL

We've begun to incorporate collaborations with former MHer, Yoni, and his new Next Dor project. These events usually take place at Next Dor where there is more ample space to accomodate our guests. As far as future programming is concerned, we've discussed health/nutrition classes and plan to implement those into February's agenda. Some ideas for this event(s) include eating inexpensively and healthy, and eating sustainable and/or local foods to promote local commerce. Other ideas include continuing our quest to include more social-action programs along with our normal social programs. Even with our Shabbat dinner, we've tried and will continue to shake up the menu and keep our guests' taste buds entertained...hopefully for the better!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Programming in MHSS

We took some time to think about new programs in Moishe House Silver Spring, and we thought that it might be best to try and move our program out of our house and bring it the houses of our community members and the spots that they frequent.

We have lots of wonderful programs that occur at our house or at a space that we rent (like our Capital Boogie), but a model that we might like to look at more would be to do more events in the houses of our community members.

We have started to try this with the Mussar group, and it has been very successful. The Mussar group meets in a different member's home each week, and it has been very successful. People recognize this as a Moishe house event, but they also feel more ownership of the project.

One of the things that we have talked about starting, that would be in a similar model, is a men's group. Rather than simply having one-off events, we could create small gatherings that are enduring and provide value to participants that make them want to keep returning. With the men's group, we envision a monthly social gathering that will rotate houses of its members.

This is a simple idea, but we hope that it might help provide greater value to our community members!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Chicago programming brainstorm

Hello readers!

We in the Chicago Moishe House, benefitted from a visit from Rabbit Scott earlier this month. We were able to sit down with him and talk through our programming. Like the post before ours, we would also like to provide more opportunities for Jewish learning and Tikkun Olam. We spoke about enhancing some of our basic and most popular programs like Shabbat dinners by adding a small teaching moment (such as why do we circle our hands 3 times around the candles before saying the prayer) or adding a song session at the end of dinner. Small things like this could make the experience much richer for our attendees. We should also make a more concerted effort to reach out to the Jewish educators in our community. From our time in Avodah, we have many connections in the Jewish community in Chicago and we should take advantage of these. We've talked about having more events with speakers. We had a very successful shabbat dinner, when we co-hosted the meal with JCUA and heard from a minister working on community economic development in a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago.

We'd also like to create more tikkun-olam oriented events. A challenge we face is that a large portion of our community is already engaged in this because they work for social service agencies. However, I still think we should plan more one-time service opportunities. It's a good way to expose people to the variety of amazing agencies that exist in Chicago. Additionally, people will walk away feeling good about what they've done, but also, hopefully, with a stronger motivation to work for lasting change in our society.

We would also like to see our community members plan more of the programs. We're really excited about our Tu B'shevat/Environmental Justice/MLK Memorial event this Sunday when we'll do a Tu B'shevat seder and a workshop on worm composting. This has been planned by several of the people in our community so it's great to work with them on this. We continue to talk about doing an online survey to get a better sense of what our community members want to see with our programming. Hopefully February will be the month.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Le Programming Nouveau

Exploring new areas of programming is a favorite topic of Nathaniel's and mine. In terms of Moishe's categories, we'd like to venture more actively into Jewish Learning and Tikun Olam. With regards to Jewish Learning, we recognize that as young hip (at least, in our not-so-humble opinions) Jews, we can play a special role in making Jewish Learning exciting, accessible, and relevant to our fellow young hip Jews. Which is why we invited Adam Lavitt, a rabbinical student and member of our burning man community Sukkat Shalom to come do a program with us exploring the Torah through expressive movement, and why we've dedicated ourselves to (as we wrote about right here on the Moishe blog) preparing teachings, discussion, and other activities for our Shabbats. With regards to Tikun Olam, we’re well-aware that we have a major resource at our disposal: young, motivated, talented individuals who come together at least three times per month for purposes of, well, coming together. So we'd like to more regularly and systematically apply this major resource to community service. We've only dabbled with this so far, such as with our Sukkot at City Farm, but we know volunteer opportunities abound, like those at our local Temple Emanu-el and we understand that applying our Moishe community to the service of our broader community would both extend our programming into Tikun Olam and fulfill Moishe's recent intention to create organizational partnerships.

In more abstract terms, we'd like to infuse our programming with a sense of growth, progress, coherence, e.g. by building something as a community (like an art car or hot tub) or having a regularly-occurring event, like a book or movie series. The intention is to feel that we are cultivating something through time, rather than hosting one-off programs. And finally, as we discussed at our Open Source Programming event, we'd Love to open our programming to our community members, and enable them to create the programs they’d like to see in our community!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another year! More opportunity!

Well I really can't believe that a whole year has elapsed. Its crazy to think that exactly a year ago I was moving into the Moishe house what I had no idea would be such a terrific and exciting year. So 2009 was filled with fun and memories that I will keep with me for a long time to come.

So its time now to not only look abck but also forward and the year ahead and what to expect from it.
Omer is the our new housemate, and we have really bonded this last month. I am very excited to be sharing a house with him this year and look forward to the many nights and discussions we will no doubt have together.

I have moved tooms in the house which has been quite nice too. I think its always nice to start a new year fresh and in a new place (Even if the move is only upstairs :p ).

Already the massive Moishe House machine has started rolling with a few events this month, and I think its fair to say that 2010 will be a very special year indeed!


Until next time,
keep well everyone!

Rossi

Personal Blog - Gabi - MH Cape Town

So this blog for me was a bit about reflection. It brought an end to Moishe House of 2009 and a new beginning for Moishe House 2010.

For me Moishe House 2009 was about bringing people together. It became a space for young Jewish adults in the Cape Town community to relax, learn and enjoy one anothers company. It brought a lot of joy to me to watch Moishe House go through stages. Stages of huge popularity and then quieter at times, but one thing is for sure, was that the house was constantly open, welcoming and space for people to make it their own.

We ran activities for everyone's different interests and hobbies: from learning about Israel and the kibbutz movements, or about Palestinian media, or Israeli music and culture, to learning about NGO's in South Africa like Equal Education, TAC etc, to learning about genocides in African countries or about Zimbabwe and South African politics, to Judaism and it's different spheres, to engaging with people who practice different streams of Judaism.

This year has been a truly fulfilling and successful year for me, and a time that i can reflect on with happiness, sense of fun and great pride.

Thanx
Gabi

Personal Blog - Anna - MH Budapest

Even though I have regularly taken part in different activities of the Jewish youth movements for almost over 10 years (and got involved since being a schoolkid as attending a jewish school) , I never had a similar experience to what I lived in Moishe House.

For the first time it's not me doing a voluntary work in the name of an idea invented by someone else, but we do tikkun olam in the way we wish it to do. Meanwhile, as it is functioning in a framework I feel a very good type of responsibility when managing the diverse programs.
Surprisingly, I only realized in what way the existence of MH Budapest is very important when an interview with me about the house was published in one of Hungary's major,liberal weekly newspaper. It resulted lot of interest and questions raised by people I knew before or even those who recognized me in a café, by common friends,etc. It was interesting to see that by a simple page of few questions could create a clear picture about the meaning and the atmosphere of our house. For me it is essential that the people, regardless if they are coming here or not, know about what is going on here.

It is also interesting to experience that in these few months people got used to coming to us that some people were particularly upset that for the first time we didn't have any kind of event on the Friday before. Also they are becoming more and more involved- what is actually very important for us. Frankly , it is sg. We are really lacking it-as we can hardly fit in the budget and any kind of help is important for us.

Finally what the tendency concerns I hope that we can keep on creating various program on Jewish Learning as well. It is true that people seem to prefer gatherings and free chats but I still think that by inventing really interesting programs, that can bring people in.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beijing- January house blog

This blog prompt for January seemed really fitting for us here in Beijing, since we closed out 2009 trying to answer this very question of how to broaden our programming. We had a gathering of our core members who had expressed interest in expanding their Jewish/community/learning opportunities in Beijing, and we plotted out how best to meet everyone's needs. I think so far we have had some success- new weekly yoga classes, an excellent guest lecture on little-known aspect of Jewish history this past week, and our inaugural monthly text study is set to commence over brunch this Sunday. I think we could even continue to make our core members feel more ownership of our programming, maybe by treating them to a meal once a month to discuss and check-in. Also, I think planning for a big event, like a Friday night minyan at our house, or a fun trip, would bring people together even more. Plots plots plots....

Monday, January 11, 2010

MHC- naima

I am so excited for the events that we are doing this year in 2010. Here at Moishe House Cleveland we are working to form partnerships with other organizations and our goal is to start co-sponsoring events in this new year.
I would like to make a shoutout (can you even make shoutouts on blogs?) to Raychel Bone, our new MH resident! Welcome!!!
Lately I have been doing some reading on behavioral economics. Until I read this great book by Dan Arieley, I had no clue that the subject matter even existed.

Ti at MH Cleveland - Perosnal Blog

This past weekend we celebrated my birthday here. I turn 26. The previous years celebration was just a handful of really great, really intelligent people gathered together talking. This year featured upwards of a hundred people, with a live acoustic music jam, a Capoeira roda, and a DJ. I definitely see that we're successful at being a nexus for our community, and that me being here is forming stronger connections between these awesome individuals... my big question I guess is what to do now?
Yes, I have to finish undergraduate studies.
Yes, We will keep offering kickass social occasions for our peers to get involved in.
Yes, I still have to keep working and teaching all the time.
...But now that we have this much energy to work with, what's the next logical step to take? Bigger events? More community service? A stronger emphasis on spiritual teaching and practice?
There are many things we could do, and I feel like the vibe here in Cleveland is one of massive potential...
Time for action, then.

Twenty-Ten, not Two Thousand Ten

So a new year is here, and with it comes the obligatory new year's resolutions. I resolve to grow my Moishe House, to make it more successful. I resolve to continue developing my programming skills, to host new events, and to make sure they are all as successful as possible. I resolve to have fun with the community (not that I didn't have fun the past year, I totally did). I resolve to hold the kind of programming I would want to attend. I think this is a pretty good list so far, but it's not done yet.

Cleveland - January House Blog

Most of the people who show up to our events have attended before, or know someone who is already attending. Occasionally though we do have someone show up who doesn't know anyone. While some might view this as a challenge or difficulty, I think this is a fun opportunity to make someone's day. It's nice to talk to someone new, and it makes the events feel fresher. Introducing the new person to everyone in attendance is very fun. People start talking and realize how much they have in common. And a new person becomes a regular attendee because they had such a good time here in the first place.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Farewell to a leader

This past week our Iraqi Jewish community here in New York lost someone very special. Mr. Selim Mahlab A'H passed away at the age of 91. While I knew parts of his past, it was only after his passing that I was really able to grasp how much this man had accomplished in his lifetime. He was a man who gave everything he had to his country and his community. A veteran of the US Army, he was an intelligence officer in Post World War Two Europe. His brigade was in charge of hunting down Nazi criminals. Some of the stories I had the opportunity of reading in his memoir at the shiva were remarkable.
Later on in his lifetime, Mr. Mahlab saw that there was a problem within the Iraqi Jewish Community of New York. The problem was that there really was no center for the community to congregate. It was his efforts and leadership that led to the establishment of Congregation Bene Nahrayim in Jamaica Estates, New York. The very first Iraqi Synagogue of its kind. He saw that 2500 years of tradition were disappearing in just a matter of decades, and his visionary leadership led to the establishment of an official Iraqi community in New York.
It is within this community that he paved the way for, that I personally have been able to establish myself here in New York. Indeed, I owe him a lot for his work, and hope to continue to build on his vision of a strong community.
As I stood at this great mans funeral, saw the American Flag draped on his casket, and heard both he wonderful tune played by the marines present as well as the Hebrew liturgies praising his soul, I was truly at awe. I was in awe of how much this man accomplished, and how he left behind a proud country, proud community and most importantly a very proud family. I shall hope that through our work at the Moishe House, and our roles as leaders, that we too will be able to look back one day and be proud of our accomplishments. I hope that our experiences here prepares us all for a life of leadership and devotion to the Jewish people and all that is important to us.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Julia - Moishe House Chisinau - Personal Blog

My life can be divided by a moment. The moment when I became a part of Chisinau’s first Jewish communal living project, Moishe house, and the moment just before. I couldn’t live a |Jewish life when I was living with my parents. my parents are not religious. they do not practice the different traditions. It was difficult to keep kosher, because they didn’t. But Moishe house was the first place I could express my Jewish identity. It’s my first Jewish family because it’s a real Jewish family. Stas, Julia and I, we have similar ideas. We have something common in our worldviews. I’ve been living in the Moishe house for 3 months now. And I feel it. My generation lacks cultural education. We are the lost generation, the post-soviet children. We haven’t yet decided what is fundamental for us. The values in our world are always changing. We are like the blind looking for someone to show us the pathway. Moishe house is the possibility for many teenagers to fill these gaps. Moishe house is a chance to show another way of existence, that those who enter our doors can do /be/live more than they think they can. Life brought us together, Jews together. Sometimes friends of mine, after years of knowing will reveal Jewish roots. My grandfather was Jewish they will say. Its fate that brings us together. The first month we invited many people into our home, and now they come themselves and ask us for more events. They come now by their own will.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Joseph from Moishe House London - Personal Blog

I've been in Moishe House London (MOHOLO) since the very start, and its been a fascinating journey. Starting from nothing, just an idea, we grew extremely rapidly, due to our large circle of friends and acquaintances,and within months seemed to be an integral part of the London Jewish scene!

At the start there was a wonderful sense of making it up as we went along, of creating exactly the programmes we wanted. As we've grown, and become increasingly succesful we've had to balance repeating things that work with the desire to innovate and change.

Its a balance that can be seen in the community that comes to Moishe House too: we have a set of regulars, who make it familiar and fun, but also a regular stream of newcomers-some post-university and some slightly older, who have been somewhat distanced from Jewish life. When we hold shabbat events we try to get a mix of these 2 groups - representing continuity and change.

A fascinating element at the moment is other organisations imitating the model, which of course is the highest form of flattery. Noam, one of the youth movements, now has all their youth leaders living together and running events from their house, while some others, inspired by Moishe House, are planning to set up their own version in another part of London.

All very interesting developments-who knows what the future will bring!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

MH Budapest - December House Blog - Newcomers

In the Budapest Moishe house we are very happy to see new people and try to receive them in a warm manner. Most of the time they either know someone who was there or they contact us through email, so we are aware that we gonna have new guests.
We shortly explain to them the concept of the Moishe house, introduce them to our regular guests, friends and help them to participate in the program (e.g. show them where the Siddurim are, help them to find where we are at in the prayer, explane them what is going on, etc. ) and also to ask them wh they are and what they are looking for in the Moishe house.
Sometimes we have new guests who come not as participants of the programs but as lecturer or come to cook. We receive them with special attention, show them around the apartment, and introduce them to the guests. We had many people who have already came to cook for our guests for Friday evening, and we are planning to make a "wall" where we they can write their name, put their photo or maybe a guest book, where we can collect our memories, ideas - offline! We are also thinking about some small present that we can give them to show our appreciation, abottle of koshr wine or similar.
For the (newcomer) guests we also have put a paper on our billboard, where they can write their email addresses to be part of our mailing list and where they can see our next programs in the respective months. They can also place their advertisments if they think it is relevant. We are planning to make little cards, as well, for them to remember whre to find us online. For those who come on Friday evening and cannot write we announce where they can find us (facebook, official Moishe house website, etc.).
All in all we are always happy to receive new people and we try to expect them in the best way possible!

Personal Blog - Nati - MH Buenos Aires

This is just the beginning…Nati from Buenos Aires

The Moishe House experience in Buenos Aires works in every aspect as most of us Agentinians do: haphazard, spontaneous and with loads of energy. As simple as that statement appears to be, it took me a couple of months to understand that this is how people wants the Moishe House to be. I m Nati, the newest member of the Moishe family in Buenos Aires.

Being a Jew is belonging to a big family, and that s how our Moishe members feel once they come to one of the events on our calendar. They instantly realize that they re more than welcome to come back every time they re on the neighborhood, need to drown their sorrows, need company to watch a film or even company just to lay down and do nothing. Nowadays my friends became my housemates friends, and even their friends, and old friends from past moishe habitants are still coming on regular basis to visit us.

Since I moved, I have learned the importance of sharing and giving by living at the same house with a family that s not based on blood, but is now as important to me as my old one. I get advice from my housemates, I got to learn from their jewish backgrounds and got to take my Jewish identity to an amazing new level. Now I can t get to sleep until I talk with them about our usual late night topic: “what was the best thing that happened to you today?”.

Nati, Buenos Aires.

MH Mexico City - December House Blog - Newcomers

The feeling of being an outsider is almost never conductive to a
lasting or meaningful relationship with anyone. Imagine you attend a
party where everybody knows each other since high school, its going to
be extremely hard for you to integrate to such a close-knit group. If
there´s no binding experience from the start, something in common,
interaction might never occur. This is why we at Moishe House Mexico
City believe there are several key aspects that can allow outsiders to
relate to one another and feel right at home.

The first aspect we seek to foster at our events is diversity.
Diversity allows for more interesting conversations and restricts the
formation of closed clusters of people. By offering events that cater
to different interests we are able to appeal to very distinct
audiences. This also helps in keeping things interesting for us.

This is not to say we take the diversity matter as far as to
have a situation in which people are unable to relate with each other.
We always try to make events that appeal to a common interest of some
sort and thus promotes interaction between the participants. In order
to be more sensible about it, we are currently trying to get
participants more involved with event planning. This, we hope, will
give participants a greater sense of belonging.

When it boils down to breaking the ice, we at Moishe House
Mexico have an ample experience with it. Given our ample experience
with jewish youth groups we have a large stock of games designed to
get participants to get to know each other. Of course, even though we
are always sensible to newcomers, we know how "dorky" these activities
can seem. This is why these activities are our last resource to pull,
in case we sense somebody is being ostracized.

One could say that, in general, our approach too newcomers is
much more intimate and personal. Just asking newcomers
about themselves seems a fairly efficient technique to get a nice
conversation started, and one that provides the rest of the visitors
with a fair idea of our personalities as well . Whether we are dinning
at the table or smoking a shisha in the living room, just getting
people to open up is sufficient in Mexico, to get the ball rolling. We
have found that once somebody starts talking about his interests other
participants get involved and interested. After all, its more a matter
of getting the conversation started than leading the discussions.

For these reasons, we have found that we are, the
moishe-housenicks, a crucial part of getting people to interact and
feel comfortable. We always try to convey a sense of belonging to our
participants and often seek conversations with the shyest or quietest
integrants of our events. Approaching new-comers within a horizontal,
personal, and intimate framework of social interaction is the best
way to make them feel comfortable. After all, we are young and
restless, just as they are.

Cheers,
MHMC

Alan Grabinsky - MH Mexico City - December Personal Blog

Sitting down to write this post has been harder that I thought it would be. In a "tongue-in-cheek" way, I consider it an unjust and unfair requirement for any Moishehousnik to write something as short an concise as a blog post to express the whole range of experiences that convey living in a Moishe House. Most of the original ideas that I had for this blog post now lie now at the bottom of the Google Docs page, in the shape of unfinished sentences and quotes. This, in a sense, seems to be an expression of my general stance with Moishe House. Even now, as I try to write something, I have a mixture of feelings that block and hinder any possibility for self-expression. The reason for this seems to be the fact that that my involvement with the whole project has been more intimate and personal than I ever imagined it to would be.

My original intention was to write about the whole process that lead to the foundation of Moishe House Mexico City; however, as I started the long and inevitable process of putting together pieces of the story (it seems to be more of an odyssey to me now), my memory started playing tricks on me, acting completely indifferent to what I wanted to write about, and taking me places that I did not want to be in. All of a sudden, I was spiraled backwards towards the first moment I heard about the whole project. That moment, a weird explosion of feelings overtook me. I remembered, once again, the particularities of the circumstances surrounding my first encounter with the project. So, I wrote a little bit about it:

It was late 2008 and I was in Cancun,Mexico in a leadership conference organized by ROI. At the same time, my grandmother was dying in a hospital room in Houston, Texas. During that time, I was (and still am) exploring the possibilities of an alternative Judaism, one in which the personal, secular interests of our modern day society could coexist with the millenary traditions of our people. It was a bold venture, especially taking in mind the standards of Judaism in Mexico City at that time.

Now that I take more time to consider it, I think my whole involvement with Moishe House was even bolder than I consider it to be at a first glance. As the congress was taking place, the death of a family member would inevitably bring about a family crisis.

During that summit, a fellow ROI alumni and Moishe Housenik from Buenos Aires told me vaguely about the whole project, and it was during the Shiva of my grandmother that I wrote Moishe House the first mail from Mexico City. A week later, the first skype chat, and so on. During the year-long period of mourning i became obsessed by the whole idea of living in one, to the degree that I talked about it with everyone I could and programed, in my personal calendar, the dates that I would email them.

"He who perseveres, wins" they say in Mexico, and it just might be so. After nine months of ups and downs, I finally received the good news. Now,as I write this, we are in the phase of consolidating the Mexican Branch of Moishe House. Being convinced of the need we have, as local Jews, of an alternative community.

The period of mourning for my grandmother is now over, and with it, a new era of my life is opening for me. This is just one more aspect of Moishe House I could write about in the next blog post( and one that, with no doubt in my mind, will surely spark new trains of thoughts and feelings). As I said, it was a requirement from Moishe House International to write such a short reflection on the experiences that have marked us throughout the development of the whole project. It´s not enough, and I doubt that it will ever be.

Tyler Seeger - MH Beijing - Personal Blog

The past few months I have witnessed a lot of changes in both my own life and in that of Moishe House Beijing. The turning of the calendar year has provoked some introspection on my part and I have realized that my time in Beijing has been defined as much by China as it has by the extended Jewish world. Having grown up in largely non-Jewish environments, attending public schools and a formerly Episcopal Church-related liberal arts college, I never would have expected Beijing to be the flowering of my Jewish life. I have realized that the Jewish world has become my home away from home because it is everywhere Jews are. In Beijing, I consider myself to have three outlets for Jewish life: religious, communal, and social. All of these are intertwined with one another within their respective institutions.

MHBJ has been especially relevant to my evolving Jewish experience. Jewish communal life has long been something that I saw as something dictated to me, rather than something I actively created. MHBJ has afforded me the opportunity to see the roles that Jews of my generation have to develop and fill. At a recent MHBJ brunch discussing planning for the coming year, I was struck by the realization that the people sitting around me were not only the future of MHBJ but the future of Jewish life. It has been empowering to no longer simply enjoy the three aforementioned aspects of the Jewish world but to now be consciously establish their futures.

MH Beijing - December House Blog - Newcomers...

Perhaps one of the least troubling issues that faces MHBJ is that of newcomers who might not know anyone. Our community is substantially comprised of people who have come to Beijing knowing few, if any, people living here already. Many members of our community stumble through our doors within the first few weeks of arriving in this city far from their homes. New faces abound in our members’ everyday lives and breaking the ice is a way of life amongst Beijing’s expats.

Despite our members having usually familiarized themselves with constant introductions and re-introductions in their daily lives here, we do our best to facilitate a communal feeling in our house. We often try to invite newcomers to our smaller events, allowing them to develop more intimate contacts than they would at a larger celebration. Though other Moishe House’s surely foster close-knit Jewish communities, ours undoubtedly serves double duty as a surrogate family for many post-college Jews living far from home. We make an effort to not only include newcomers in specific Moishe House events but in our general social lives, as well. This might mean attending Shabbat services, grabbing a drink, or simply inviting them to hang out at our apartment on a weekend afternoon.

One of the greatest aspects about living amidst a tight group of expats is that there are never more than a few degrees of separation between people at MHBJ events. Frequently, established Beijingers will come for their first time to find that they not only have friends in common with other community members but occasionally know myself or Alison and had not realized that we lived in MHBJ.

MOISHE HOUSE - JANUARY EVENTS

Greetings to new and old Moishe House community. We welcome you and look forward to spending time with you this coming 2010.

I am writing this from the top of Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath, Where I am involved in a sledging competition. Ah, and now it is my turn. So I will leave you with this run down of the fantastic events we have on this month. See you at the great events this month.
 
Thursday, January 14

The Conversation

Type:Meetings - Convention
Where:Moishe House London does Open Space Technology
When:Thursday, January 14 from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm


Are there big issues you've been wanting to discuss? Have you got burning questions to debate or passions to share and explore?

It could be something philosophical, political, religious, social, psychological, personal, artistic... anything.

Moishe House London is giving you the opportunity to have that Conversation - WHATEVER it is - through the medium of Open Space Technology. The agenda is in the hands of the participants, all-comers invited to suggest issues for simultaneous mini-sessions on the night.

This is a gathering of the great and the good, as defined by YOU. Who knows what may come of it?

Moishe House London is grateful to ROI, the Center for Leadership Initiatives and Open Space Technology for the concept.

Friday, January 15

Moishe House goes to Brighton

    A Shabbaton by the sea    
Type:Other - Ceremony
Where:Lianna Etkind's house, Wyndham Street, Brighton
When:Friday, January 15 at 7:30 pm until
Saturday, January 16 at 5:45 pm

Please email us at thelondonhouse@gmail.com to put your name down for this event. It will be a Shabbat MoHolo style but in Brighton!

Sunday, January 17

Wassailing in Willesden Green

    Here's to thee, old apple tree, Whence thou may'st bud And whence thou may'st blow! And whence thou may'st bear     apples enow! Hats full! Caps Full! Bushel, bushel, sacks full! And my pockets full too! Hooray!    
Type:Sports - Pep Rally
Where:contact us for full details
When:Sunday, January 17 from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm


Be a part of the first (well...in recent history!), incredible London wassailing!
Moishe House London and the Brent Apple Pickers will be wandering from Chatsworth Road and through Willesden Green High Street.

WHAT IS WASSAILING?
If you are from the MoHoLo community, well, Wassailing is the ancient English equivalent of Tu b'Shevat.
Wassail means 'good health' in old, old English.
Help us to bless the local trees, and then join us walking, singing and listening to extraordinary entertainment as we stop every so often along our route, to hear our neighbours and friends read poetry, tell stories and sing songs on the subject of trees and of the hope of a good harvest in 2010 from the depths of January!
Then, IF YOU HAVE HELPED TO ORGANISE OR CONTRIBUTE YOUR SKILLS TO THE EVENT (we'll keep a list of names), you can join us back at MoHoLo for cups of hot chocolate and Wassail (mulled wine but better!)

WHO ARE BRENT APPLE PICKERS?

A lot of the apples, pears and plums that grow in local back gardens end up rotting on the ground. To reduce food waste, a new project that started in September 2009 has picked nearly a ton of fruit, to be given away free to local schools and sold to local restaurants. Overall, 40 volunteers and 15 garden-owners have contributed to 850 kg of fruit being saved, at the same time getting to know near-neighbours with common values and interests. The project is part of Transition Town Kensal to Kilburn in partnership with Brent Friends of the Earth. Plans for next year include pruning and pest management. For more details contact Michael.Stuart6@gmail.com

WHAT IS MOISHE HOUSE LONDON?
Moishe House London, in Willesden Green, was founded in October 2007. As a Moishe House it is part of a worldwide network of houses that double up as centres of grassroots Jewish community. From our own home, we bring exciting, creative, non-denominational Jewish community to London, also welcoming and supporting our local community. From Friday night dinners to film showings, impromptu concerts to study sessions, meditation to jam sessions to social action events - the possibilities are endless.

Monday, January 18

House of Learning

Type: Education - Study Group
Where: Moishe House London
When:Monday, January 18 from 8:00 pm to 10:30 pm


House of Learning, in association with Jeneration

The Moishe House Beit Midrash run in association with Jeneration
Serious, egalitarian, post-denominational learning in a informal and relaxed setting.

Guest speaker and choice of 3 study groups to be confirmed...

Thursday, January 21

Silent Meditation

Type:Other - Ceremony
Where:Moishe House London (message us for the address)
When:Thursday, January 21 from 7:15 pm to 9:30 pm


The seventh in our monthly opportunity to meditate in a group environment.

The evening will consist of two half-hour sittings, with a five-minute break between and a space to share experience afterwards.

NB: This group is most suitable for those with some experience of meditation as no instruction will be included during the session, though there will be an opportunity to ask questions before if you arrive early and some basic instructions can be given. You should be able to sit in meditation for at least 30 minutes.

If you are a complete beginner to meditation it is advisable for you to practice/attend introductory classes on meditation before coming to this group.

Please be on time, as we will start at 7.35pm

****

This will be an opportunity to sample the benefits of meditation in a group; experienced meditation teachers say it is most valuable to do so.

The group will not be method-specific, so whichever practice you engage in can be used, as long as it is silent. There is already some interest from a few people who practice Zazen and Vipassana Buddhist meditation techniques who would like to join the group.

This event is organised and facilitated by Daniel Gigi.

Sunday, January 31

MoHoLo & the Music Experience!

    A magical music session for 3-7 year olds and their grown ups!    
Type:Music/Arts - Jam Session
Where:Moishe House London
When:Sunday, January 31 from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm


MoHoLo Families! Come, meet each other, and join MoHoLo for a 45-minute magic carpet ride of music, song and story followed by tea and biscuits. (recommended donation: £5 per family, but don't let hardship keep you away!).

Pippa Reid has been inspiring the imaginations of children and adults with music and storytelling for over 20 years.
The Music Experience can now be found at festivals, schools and playgroups, museums, libraries, arts centres, special needs groups and teacher-training workshops across London and the UK all year round, bringing music learning through fun to children, parents and teachers. (Pippa has passed an Enhanced Police (CRB) Check)
www.pippareid.com

Please note: this session is aimed at 3-7 year olds and their grown ups. You are welcome to bring children of other age groups so long as you can keep them happy!
Please take care of your children's welfare at MoHoLo - we have nothing here of particular danger, but neither are we fully baby-proofed!

Sunday January 31

Tu B'Shevat Seder

    A Ceremony of Connection & Growth    
Type:Other - Ceremony
Where:Moishe House London (message us for the address)
When:Sunday, January 31 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm


The third annual Moishe House Tu B'Shevat Seder!

PLEASE BRING: some fruit and some white or red wine (marked veggie / kosher if possible) for use in the Seder. Juice will be provided for those who prefer it!

The Tu B'Shevat Seder was developed by scholars of Mystical Judaism and is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the natural world with which we are inextricably connected.

The ceremony will be interactive, so it will be possible for all guests to find a connection of their own within the experience, regardless of spiritual or religious affiliation.

R. Yochanan said: One day [Honi the Circle-maker] was journeying on the road and he saw a man planting a carob tree. He asked him: How long does it take for this tree to bear fruit? The man replied: Seventy years. He then further asked him: Are you sure you will live another seventy years? The man replied: I found [full-grown] carob trees in the world. As my ancestors planted them for me, so I will plant them for my children. — Babylonian Talmud, Taanit 23a

AND COMING UP IN EARLY FEBRUARY....


Monday, February 1

House of Learning

Type: Education - Study Group
Where: Willesden Green, London
When:Monday, February 1 from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm



Wednesday, February 3

Creative Writing with Naomi Soetendorp

Type:Education - Workshop
Where:Willesden Green, London
When:Wednesday, February 3 from 8:00 am to 11:00 am


Wednesday, February 10

Creative Writing with Naomi Soetendorp

Type:Education - Workshop
Where:Willesden Green, London
When:Wednesday, February 10 from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm


A NEW METHOD FOR MOISHE HOUSE RESIDENT APPLICATIONS


Rather than putting a shout out for new residents on an every-so-often basis, we have decided to accept your applications as and when you make them, and keep them on file.
Please send all applications to thelondonhouse@gmail.com
If you live in London, please make sure you have attended a number of MoHoLo events before applying for residency.
Please ensure you can spare 30 hours a month toward MoHoLo running and admin.
Please answer these questions in detail:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey (Jewish and otherwise).
What in particular do you think will you bring to Moishe House London?
What do you think Moishe House London should be?

YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE

You may have seen that some of our events are run or co-produced by community members who want to make our space theirs too.  If you have a skill or idea worth sharing, you can easily make it a high quality, thought-provoking, fun and, as much as possible, free MoHoLo event, whether secular or Jewish-related.  From maintenance skills to Maimonides: this house is your house. Let us know what you'd like to do.

Much love

AV,
BLB, JF, JS, RG, RRR

--
Moishe House London, in Willesden Green, is part of Moishe House, a worldwide network of houses that are centres for grassroots Jewish community. From our own home, we aim to bring exciting, creative, post-denominational Jewish community to London.

www.moishehouse.org

Brett from MoHoLo - Personal Blog - Reflections

Well, I have been a member of Moishe House London since March 2008. It has been a remarkable journey thus far. When I moved in, it was my mission to bring to the house a regular Shabbat experience, which had been in place previously by Dan S who was leaving as I joined and to also help bring music in.

It took me a few months to really start feeling comfortable and gain my confidence. I often organised Shabbats but would ask others to lead the service and do the participation parts. But, after a few months I started running meditations on Friday nights.

After I started becoming more comfortable we got to our big house meeting in April and I decided this would be the time to unleash my big suggestion. 'We are all creative people in this house, we should hold one big event that we can invest all our creativity into. My concept is a music and arts festival, done PROPERLY!' Everyone welcomed the idea and that's when we embarked on what was going to be huge event....MOISHE FEST! The whole house pulled together amazingly and we all used our skills and the people we knew to make an incredible event. We turned the lounge into a Morrocan Tea Tent and had storytellers and poets throughout the day. We had an interactive theatre space in the upstairs and the garden had a proper stage and sound system where we had live bands throughout the day. We were lucky with the weather it rained for a total of 10 minutes in between the band schedule. All in all we had over 200 people in attendance and several press reports on the event.

Since Moishe Fest, I have continued working on Shabbats, I was also involved in coordinating Mitzvah Day with the local synagogue collecting food for homeless shelters outside a nearby supermarket, which was an outstanding success.

All in all it has been an incredible experience and given me a lot more confidence in being comfortable with my Judaism and opening my eyes to a whole new community of like minded, creative and exceptional folk.

I am looking forward to this year in Moishe House and all the challenges and excitement ahead.

XB

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

my bloggity blog

so we just had a fabulous retreat to the nation of canada. it included skiing, dancing, and shabbosing-my favorite relaxing day. jeremy is quite the skier. i could barely keep up with him. i tried out some new used skis. there was a minyan in whistler. we didn't make it as it was 3 miles from our condo, but it's great to know there are frum jews who ski :). overall, it was great bonding with the house. now, we're into january. men's bball is about to start up. let's see who going to be ballin' this season.

jodi

Moishe House Denver: Elliot's reflections

By my calculations it’s been 3 months exactly since we opened up Moishe House Denver. At just three months it seems surprisingly both new and familiar—new faces at events, new p.r. tactics, getting used to writing these blogs, uploading receipts, remembering to take pictures at events, etc…, and familiar—the trusty ol’ regulars at our events, the house meetings, the emails, the Shabbat dinners, and everything else. This is an interesting experiment we have signed up for, and the results are still pending, but so far so good.

The past few weeks have been slow (with respect to Moishe House) with lots of people (including ourselves) out of town for the holidays, but I expect things to pick up soon as everyone returns to their post-Santa Baby lives. Colorado is calling us home with snow piling up on the Front Range and Western Slope, making for good snowshoeing and skiing (or boarding if you’re cool like that). The air is clean and crisp, the sun is still strong and the days are getting longer from here on out till summer! With all the things to do here in Colorado, it’s sometimes hard to get motivated to go to work—to click and clack on a computer all day while the great outdoors calls your name. This is my daily struggle. Balancing work and play, Moishe house and personal time, friends and family. But of course it’s better to have too many options than too few—and for this I’m thankful.

Tomorrow is still the weekend but will be a workday as well; a sign that reality awaits. But armed with a new book that I’m dying to read and a climbing trip right around the next bend, getting back to the daily grind for a while shouldn’t be too bad.

Until next time,

Elliot

MHP House Blog

In a big city like Philadelphia, there are new potential Moishe House members arriving all the time. We at Moishe House Philly have the good fortune to see many pass through our door. To help newcomers feel welcome we always try and do something simple to break the ice at every event, whether it be a simple go-around of names and interests or an interactive and silly ice-breaker. Sometimes we’ll say names and answer a question that sparks a full-fledged discussion, such as the one we had at an intimate challah-baking session at our house. We’ve found that these smaller events are especially wonderful for building relationships and encouraging newcomers to come back.

Since many newcomers come to us through friends of the house, we like to encourage these regulars to, “Tell/Bring so-and-so! We’d love to see them again.” Also, following up with new attendees through a personal email or phone call is a very effective way to bring them back again. In September we put a lot of effort into organizing a wine and cheese event specifically aimed at integrating newcomers into the house. We had cards out with descriptions explaining the various more “regular” events we have at MHP to fill newcomers to Moishe House in on what exactly we do here and also help those who are new to the city start making Philly feel like home.

Orange County House Blog

What does your house do when someone shows up to a program who doesn't know anyone? What processes do you have for integrating newcomers into your community and making them feel welcome?

I wouldn't say we have a general process for integrating newcomers into our community. Each person that visits our house is unique in their own way and because of this we take different routes to integrating newcomers into our home/community. What I mean by this is some people are extremly shy while others may be really outgoing. With some of the more outgoing people we really don't have a lot to do to integrate them with are other guests. They will walk in and start up a conversation with a person and make a new friend without the slighest challenge. People that are more timid do require more time to feel like they belong in the community. They may come in and go sit in an area on their own or just stand around a group of people who are conversing but not join the conversation. Me and my roomates do our best to welcome everyone into our house and we spend a little extra time with people that do not feel as comfortable around strangers. We do simple but effective things that make this "new person" feel more comfortable. Sometimes we go up to this person one at a time and strike up a conversation. Other times we will bring them over to a group of people if we feel they don't need a one on one conversation to feel more at ease. Something many sales people learn is to ask "open ended questions". This translates perfectly to starting a conversation with a new person. When you can engage them to talk more they will slowly feel more comfortable and will then hopefully wonder off on there own and start conversations with other guests in the house.

Kelly's Moishe House Personal Post!

Happy New Year! What a year 2009 has been and what great things to look forward to in the coming decade! I'd like to talk in my post about a really significant part of my life right now: communal living.
A friend visiting Chicago was talking with me about the family that we had created in Moishe House. She used the term family after hearing the way our house operated. She asked:
“So, you make a grocery list every week of things you all want and then one person goes every week to get the groceries? And then one person cooks every night?!” yes, I answered.
“So you guys eat together almost every night?!” Yes again.
“You have a joint bank account and trust each other to spend the money?” yes!
“You have people over to your house all the time and you organize events with the community?” yes.
Finally she came to this conclusion: “You guys depend on each other and struggle together, it is like a family here.”
I’ve been reflecting on this conversation for some time now. Intentional community is definitely not always easy. It takes time to make grocery lists and to have house meetings and to talk through hard issues that in other living situations might be ignored in passive aggressiveness. But, I feel that the community that we have been able to create for each other and within the larger Moishe house community has had a significant impact on me. The support, laughter, and routine we have built as a community has helped me to love beginning my adult life. I love that I have a family of people to come home to, and a larger community family to celebrate holidays and Shabbat every week with. I feel very lucky to be part of this and am looking forward to starting a new year in Moishe house!

Dmitry Mogilevsky Personal Blog

Battling complacency

As we celebrate 6 months of being a Moishe House, the every day grind and trying to balance Moishe House responsibilities with other responsibilities can lead to complacency. That's expressed in going for easier events, rather than more inventive events that require more work, trying to do things the easier way rather than in a way that would lead to more successful events. This is especially brutal around the holidays, since many people are on vacation, a lot of the people who come to our events are out of town, and no one really feels like focusing on anything serious. How does one deal with complacency? My solution is to remember the goal, remind oneself of past successes and do a little bit every day. What we're trying to accomplish is important, and it helps to remember that whenever you just don't feel like putting in the extra effort.

RSJ-Chicago House Blog

Welcoming newcomers.

Since we're still a new community, we spend a lot of time trying to find and integrate new people into our core of regulars at the house. Newcomers are still a fairly frequent event at our house, given the breadth of events we host, but a lot of them are one-off attendands who come for a specific event rather than to join the community. We still do not have a formal protocol for welcoming new comers (and we're not sure that having one is a great idea), so we apply the standard rules of Russian hospitality to the situation.

Our first step is to welcome the newcomer personally, introduce ourselves as the hosts and welcome him to the house. Showing the guest around the house is a tradition that we follow strictly to help the new person feel more at home. We then let them integrate into the event we're hosting organically. If the person knows none of the guests, we may introduce him or her to some new people, but in a lot of cases, we let people make their own introductions, if they look like they're comfortable doing so. In the course of the event, we'll check up on the person, but will not single them out for too much attention, as that might make people uncomfortable. At some point, we try to strike a conversation to get to know the person. The goal here is two-fold. We want to start a relationship that hopefully lasts beyond one event, make the person feel like they have friends in the house and make them want to come back. Secondly, we want to learn how they found out about our house, what specifically brought them to this event, and what they'd like to see in the future in terms of events.

When the guest is ready to leave, we make sure we personally bid goodbye to them and see them off. We then try to follow up with them, make sure they enjoyed their time, and personally invite them to future events. Sometimes people come to one event and we never see them again, but most of the time, people come back.

Portland House Blog

  • What does your house do when someone shows up to a program who doesn't know anyone? What processes do you have for integrating newcomers into your community and making them feel welcome?
The great thing about Moishe House is that it's pretty informal compared to alternative organized Jewish community events. Moishe House participants like that they can just walk into their friend's house and kick back for a movie night or a poker night. They also know that they can experience Judaism with a friendly community in an authentic and self-directed way.

If a newcomer is walking in our door, chances are that we've spoken briefly over email, phone, or facebook. This immediately gives us residents an opportunity to acknowledge our new friend and ask them questions about what we may already know about them from past communications, however breif, or what we'd still like to know.

Just as our mothers taught us, we also usually have the immediate opportunity to offer them food, drink, and a seat, since those are involved in pretty much all of our events. :) Because Portlanders tend to share interests, whether it's environmentalism, activism, Jewish pride, or just appreciating Portland for it's lovely greenness and fun atmosphere, we also appreciate the opportunity to make connections between our friends. For example, our new friend Bella walks in, and after we've greeted her and offered her a beverage or snack, we could say something like, "Bella, I've been wanting you to meet my friend, Mark, because he's really into sports marketing as well and has played hockey for 5 years." Introducing others to each other and adding a little bit about each of them when you introduce gives each person an opportunity to easily start a conversation themselves. Ie: "Bella, meet my friend Mark, who works for the Oregonian in the sports section. Mark, Bella is new to Portland and she's pursuing a career in journalism."

A couple weeks ago Portland Moishe House had a brain-storming session with some of our most involved participants. We came up with new programs and identified which programs and approaches had been successful. We also considered what being successful in terms of Moishe House means. It created a great dialogue among a dozen of our friends, and we learned a lot. We hope to hold these little brainstorming over dinner sessions once every couple months, so we can get continuous feedback from a diverse sample within our demographic.

After the event, us housemates were marveling to each other about how we couldn't believe so-and-so didn't already know so-and-so. Living in Moishe House, which really is a social hub for many Jewish young adults, puts us, the residents, in a position where we have a broad index of who comes here. Having this mental index of who comes and why gives us the opportunity to make connections. Jobs, dates, roommates, weddings, and all sorts of connections have come simply from Jews meeting each other at Moishe House in Portland, in cooperation with Portland Jewish Events, a group spear-headed by one of our housemates. It's great to see, and since we're growing all the time through our advertising and programming efforts, we're able to keep the ball rolling and the growth just keeps going and going!

We are fortunate to have been a part of a community that continues to inspire and motivate us. Having this wonderful community already in place and constantly in motion also helps newcomers naturally feel comfortable our house. Why not? It's comfortable for so many others!

We hope to continue listening and responding to feedback from our participants, so that we can strengthen our approaches and programming.

Personal Blog

So I just came back from my Birthright trip to Israel and to anyone who has not yet gone, I highly, highly recommend it. Not only did it give me a chance to see the Holy Land, but gave me so much more perspective on the history and culture of the Jewish people. You can learn it from afar, but actually experiencing it first hand was enlightening and fascinating. Israel seems like a small country and it is, relatively speaking, yet there's so much to see and experience. It's hard to convey the feeling of walking on streets and squares paved with stones that are thousands of years old. You're literally breathing history. The visits to the Golan Heights (the site of the Six Day War), the city of Tsfat (birthplace of Kabbalah) and tour of the Old Jerusalem were especially memorable. It made feel connected to my heritage and really see where it all came from. It gave me a new sense of spirituality that I didn't have before. It's almost as if you can feel G*d's presence in Israel, especially in the Old City.

This trip has strengthened my Jewish identity and at the same time raised my curiosity to explore further. It's interesting, but my return from Israel marks a 6-month point in the life of our House. So it's almost as if we begin a new era, with the first being more experimental. I would like to bring my zeal for Israel along with my new-found knowledge to our community here in Chicago and share with them the wonderful experience that I had. The long-term effects of this remain to be seen.

-Rostik
RSJ-Chicago

Alissa's Personal Blog- MHP

Brrrr...it's cold outside!! I am beginning to get a little jealous of the Moishe House staff who are probably wearing shorts and t-shirts today in bright and sunny California, while those of us in the Northeast are freeeezing!!! Luckily, we have had some great programs here at Moishe House Philly to help us and our community get through the winter. My favorite one was our holiday Shabbat dinner on the last night of Hanukkah. Unlike the potluck shabbat dinners that we typically have at our house, for the holiday dinner, we actually cooked everything ourselves (all pareve)...and I have to say, we had quite the feast. Honey rosemary tofu, stuffed chicken breasts, roasted vegetables, carrot soup, mixed mushroom and red pepper sautee, chocolate gingerbread, warm challah, green beans with almonds, etc., etc. Plus, it was a sit-down dinner for 25 people and it was a fun excuse to dress up. Simply put-- it was classy, delicious, and tons of fun. And to help us get through the rest of the winter, we have some great events in store for January-- including a wine swap and our second annual Fondue B'Shvat Seder/Shabbat dinner! For now though, I may go make myself a warm cup of tea:)

Brand New to Moishe--Emma's Personal Chicago Blog

Happy New Year, everyone!

This is my first quarter in the brand new MH Chicago 2.0. I think we did a great job hitting the ground running and making sure the transition from the last house was seamless. Everyone else started in September, but I joined in November, so I had a little catching up on that front as well.

I joined the Moishe House because I strongly believe in community organizing . I have lived in Chicago my whole life (except for five years of college and traveling). I understand a lot about the city's history and assets, but I also want to learn so much more. I think that Chicago has a unique history of strong communities and cultural segregation that I believe can be harnessed into a more interconnected Jewish community.

I was also interested in Moishe because I wanted to reconnect with my Jewish roots. My parents didn't raise me very religiously, partially because they came from two different religions, but I was eventually Bat Mitzvahed and attended Sunday school for a few years. I have always wanted a greater understanding of the Jewish community in Chicago, but I also want to explore what role Judaism can play in my life now that I am joining the adult world…kind of.

I am already learning so much about these two things, and I can't wait to explore them more in the coming months!

Julia Levy MH Buenos Aires - Personal Blog

I was inspired to live in Moishe House Buenos Aires by being part of Moishe House London.

MoHoLo does a truly amazing job and I feel so lucky to have been part of that and to have learned from them. Thank you, MoHoLo! Living in MHBA for the past 10 months has allowed me to meet loads of wonderful new people, allowed me to invite so many into our home, learn about Argentina, its culture and people and learn Spanish (gracias!). It has also had a big effect on my Jewish journey too... In realizing the privileged position I am in, that I have a Jewish house and that I am in a position of being able to put bring Jews together, I have been motivated to ensure that Jews become more involved in Judaism, that they meet other Jews, that Jewish events are commemorated, that Friday night dinners take place and that they includes lighting candles, making Kiddush, challah etc. (not a given). Because I feel responsible to create positive Jewish experiences for others, I am energized to ensure that the Jewish events take place. I find it so much easier to motivate myself to do something for others than for myself. So over the years, having made Judaism personal and void of obligations, it’s been easy to skip out traditions and rituals, because they’re ‘just for me’. But because I am aware that if we don’t put on a Friday night dinner, these people won’t have a Shabbat dinner, I feel that it is my responsibility and privilege to make that Shabbat dinner and facilitate others’ accessing a little bit of Judaism. So I am finding myself becoming closer to Judaism, but in my own way and in our own way. The Judaism we play out is not halachic Judaism, but it’s how we want to express it and it’s ours. We have ownership of it and whatever we do is because we want to do it. And what we want to do the most is have a Jewish community. We love having people over at our house and we love having fun with those people. So it’s a win-win situation. Thank you Moishe House for enabling these special spaces in time possible and for allowing me the privilege of being a part of it.

6 Months in the Russian Moishe House

I would like to reflect on our house reaching the six month
anniversary, and discuss what I have learned in the process. Six
months usually pass by quickly, but I feel like the adventure has
lasted years. This is perfectly understandable, considering that we
jam-packed a lot of milestones into this short time-frame. Each month
brings a new iteration of planning, budgeting, advertising, meeting,
and hosting a variety of events. All throughout, we had to
consistently pick up new skills and learn to deal with increasing
amounts of stress and time management issues. However, this learning
process would have taken me years if it were not for the Russian
Moishe House.

For starters, I was never much of an event planner prior to this
undertaking. The procedure felt like a chore consisting of tons of
steps and uncertainties, enough to lose any sense of motivation.
After a organizing a few dozen of these, the steps began resemble more
of a streamlined process - no longer the initial conception, followed
by the planning, then the delegation of responsibilities, then the
logistics, and lastly, the marketing and promoting.

Time management was always a major obstacle. I never viewed it as a
strength of mine, and would balk at anyone who claimed otherwise.
However, a few months of this lifestyle caused me to evolve in certain
respects. I knew that managing this project along with my full-time
job would demand a drastic overhaul in how I prioritize my time, how I
take notes, and how I multi-task. The most immediate step was to get
more sleep - at least something approaching the average for a human.
In my case, I started averaging seven. Before, I could function on 5
- 6, but this was no longer sufficient to energize the sheer amount of
multi-tasking I faced on a daily basis. I started dividing my tasks
into much more granular pieces then ever before. I know, this seems
like somewhat of a contradiction to how I think about events, but in
reality, these are two separate processes. One is used to ease the
way I conceptualize the event, and the other is used for the actual
processing of the different milestones. I keep a list of every little
task I must accomplish throughout a given day, or in the near future,
and constantly document new information that pops into my head. I
then work on these tasks throughout the day, in small increments. I
also take notes of any information relevant to discuss in our weekly
meetings, and incorporate it into the agenda the first chance I get.
By the time of the meeting, the agenda is for the most part complete,
and I no longer have to brainstorm and try to remember everything
relevant.

On a social scale, I now have an easier time managing the vast amount
of people that come through our doors. This is not easy by any means,
and I don't see myself ever getting fully accustomed to the constant
anxiety of expecting someone at the house, which is very often the
case, even when an event is not happening. For the first time, I
value time of solitude, and no longer feel the guilt of doing nothing
and simply staring into space! Every free moment is an opportunity to
relax, re-energize, and reflect on the day.

These are some of the highlights of what it means to live in the
Moishe House. I often feel like a machine that is consistently
running, and the stress occasionally becomes too much. However, if
time was reversed and I was faced with the choice of living this or a
more conventional lifestyle, I would without a doubt do this again.

MH Chisinau - December House Blog - Newcomers

Newcomers

We are always happy to see new people in our house. Therefor we do our best to give them warm welcome and integrate them into Moishe House. Newcomers are usually invited to programs rather than parties. During programs we are trying to create a friendly atmosphere that enables people to start discussing. We pay extra personal attention to newcomers and make sure that they don't fell forgotten or left out. Inviting newcomers for a Sabbath dinner is also a good way to introduce them to Moishe House. I think that when we all sit around a big table we all fell connected and barriers between us disappear.
Once we have had the first contact with newcomer we ask for feedback from them.
I thing the more energy and enthusiasm you devote to newcomer, the happier they will be to attend Moishe House in the future.

Moishe House Buenos Aires - December house blog - Newcomers

We often have newcomers in MHBA. Lots of American, Israeli, Brit and Aussie tourists and expats come to the House as well as Argentine locals who have only just heard about the House. We are always very warm and welcoming to newbies. When newcomers come for a Friday night meal we help to break the ice by encouraging them to help to prepare food / lay the table. In getting involved in team work, they have to talk to people and then immediately conversations are flowing and they have someone they have already spoken to before the meal starts. Between us we speak Spanish, English and Hebrew and so far every newcomer has been able to speak to us in their native language. We get lots of inquiries from newcomers to Buenos Aires by email, so we tell them about upcoming events and also give them advice and help them out in the move / visit to our city. Newcomers always seem to come back and become MHBA regulars, so we think we’re doing something right!

Personal Blog - MHP

Happy New Year everyone! It's been a whirlwind 3 months since my last personal post - regional retreat, Thanksgiving and the solid holiday programming MHP put on in December - all leading up to this moment! The regional retreat was a great day, it was amazing to see everyone from the East coast and meet our Rabbi in residence (some for the first time). I was (am actually) so inspired by all of the houses and the various personalities living within. One thing I find compelling is that, no matter what the make up of the house, everyone is working toward the common goal of bringing unique Jewish community to their larger communities and all have a real intention about it. I think that's grand and can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for us all!

First a big thanks for Moishe House Staff and Partners! that makes, all the great things happen.

So this is actually my first contribution to the Moishe Blog. My name is Danny so far life in the house has been pretty exciting, with our regular official events,

One of M.H. most active events in Vienna, is Shabbat, praying in our living room, kiddush, delicious dishes, talking and also about Jewish culture and history bringing knowledge and understanding about our tradition, singing & laughing & staying as long as you want -- even till the following evening, as some regularly do. (Eytan one of the housemate organized that lot of families from the Jewish community in Vienna cook for the dinner)….We are trying to make nice family atmosphere I'm very grateful for the opportunity that MH has provided us to build up, a young Jewish community.

Wish you all the best
Smile, introduce him/her to others, tell him/her about this wonderful project; but of course, we don't over look after them to much, we think they should get time to look around and chill out a little. The atmosphere is generally so nice anyway that they feel home very fast.

To integrate someone, we first have a formal meeting, with evaluation and test... no only joking, each newcomers is unique and will integrate in a unique way.

Shalom from Vienna

Michael, Eytan and Daniel
Eytan blog's

Shalom! Guten tag! Hello! Bonjour!

I hope everyone is doing well, and enjoying your programming!!
Normally, I write very looonng blog, so for a change, I will stop it here. (:

But! let me wish a wonderfull month!!

Eytan

Ps: be prepared to ready my "longer than usual" blog next month!
hey eytan how are you?

please post my blog, i cannot login, thx
cu tomorrow

Michael's blog:
I moved in MH in nov 2008.
MH changend my life and the lifes of the guests who take
part at the events.

Some guests were telling me that they feel being home at MH.
during the events i can forget about bad things and have
fun.

When i moved in the MH it was really hard organizing the events,

But now with my one year experience of planning events and hosting people
it is much easier and more fun.


During this year i have been able to meet
a lot of new people and learn more about Judaism.

The past year was amazing and i am looking forward to a much better
year 2010


Rachels Individual Blog-New Years Retreat/Shabbat

We just had an awesome ski trip retreat in Whistler Canada for New Years. It was great to have an event away from the house for an extended period of time. Although it was small and intimate, the people that came got to experience what it is like to be shomer shabbat. There were a couple people who had never had that experience and it was very rewarding to be able to share that joy. I remember when I moved into MH a year ago and had never kept shabbat fully. The first time was a definate struggle. It was hard not to want to check my cell phone or turn on the TV. At first I felt confined and restricted. But then I sat down and played cards with my roomate and had some drinks and I started to see how amazing a break like that can be. I am not the kind of person who normally sits by the window on a saturday afternoon with a good book or eats a long meal and naps for two hours. Normally that would stress me out because I would feel like I should be doing something "productive." But I must say it is an amazing feeling to be surrounded by a community of people eating good food, playing board games, napping and having enlightening discussions. I mean what could be better than that? Being shomer shabbat is not something you can do by yourself. If you do, it can be isolating and lonely. However if you have a community of like minded people that you can share that joy with I have found that it is one of the most amazing and recharging experiences. My boyfriend told me a few weeks ago that I was glowing on shabbat. At first I thought he was just trying to get browny points :) however I realized that I felt like I was glowing. If done right, Shabbat can truly be an amazing experience. I feel very fortunate that I get to try it out in such a great environment and I feel proud that we are able to share it with others, that otherwise would never get such an approachable experience.

Moishe House Lessons Learned From The NFL

Unfortunately my Denver Broncos will not be playing in this years playoffs. This is a big letdown because the Broncos started the year 6-0, and at that point we felt that there is no way we can miss the playoffs. But the Broncos went 2-8 in there next 10 games and finished the season at 8-8.

As Moishe House member how can I learn from the failure of the Broncos. I think that it serves as a lesson that no matter how successful we feel your programs are, we still have to be focused on the big picture, that we are hear to build a community amongst our peers. Although we have been extremely successful in the past, we can still become a lot stronger. We have to challenge ourselves to be creative in creating new programs and innovative in our strategies to build a community.

Alix's Personal Blog Jan '10 (MHBOS)

As I climbed onto the couch to make the post-service announcements at Newcomers Shabbat way back in September, I was beaming. At that point, I had been living at the Moishe/Kavod House for just several weeks, and I had not yet experienced what it is like to have 75 people crammed into your upstairs living room. I looked around the room, not only welcoming our guests to the community, but into my new home.

Prior to living at MHBOS, the Moishe/Kavod House was a home away from home and the Prayer Space was the room in which I felt most nourished and alive. These feelings have not vanished in the least, but the Prayer Space has also become home to jigsaw puzzles, mintranet madness, quality naps, and endless meetings. Likewise, Shabbat Services and Potlucks have somewhat transformed from spiritual getaways to business affairs. Fortunately, at this point in time, I have perfected an Erev Shabbat routine that allows me one-on-one time with myself, with "god", and with my close friends and that also allows me to welcome newcomers, support service leaders, and manage the mess of mismatched tupperware at the end of the night.

For me, a meaningful Shabbat is all about what happens in the hours leading up to services and the potluck. My roommates are respectful of the "rules" I've established for Friday afternoons. First off, there is no talk of Moishe/Kavod business and second, kitchen dwellers must be mellow. With all chaos left at the front door, the kitchen becomes a place of catching up with friends while cooking to the music of the Weepies and Girlyman. By the time Margie and I light candles, I have embodied a sense of calm that stays with me throughout the hecticness that exists for a housemate at a MHBOS Shabbat potluck, and I am able to enjoy our spirited services, greet new guests, hang out with friends, and go to bed with a smile on my face at the end of the night.

Moishe House Great Neck

What does your house do when someone shows up to a program who doesn't know anyone? What processes do you have for integrating newcomers into your community and making them feel welcome?

One of the things we are most successful at doing at Moishe House Great Neck is how integrate newcomers. There are couple of reasons for this. One reason is the Moishe House members of our house. We are really good at making people feel comfortable, One example is at our Shabbat dinners, we can tell when someone is kind of left out, and we integrate them into our conversations. Also our programs in general take place in a very laid back and social atmosphere.There is a lot of space for lounging, but at the same time no matter where you are at our house, it is almost impossible to feel secluded. It has happened many times, that whenever we have a newcomer by the end of the night they leave telling us that it felt like they were at a relative's or a close friend's house for Shabbat.

Another successful program in integrating newcomers is our Moishe House Monthly Program with Rabbi Vaknin. We constantly see newcomers and reglars become very close friends at this progam. We have found that Torah learning programs provide the opportunity for people to have a shared experience in spiritual growth ultimately creating very close bonds.

Wishing you all a happy new year,

Moishe House Great Neck

Winter Blog Post

It has been a busy 3 months, lots of new people moving in to our community and a couple goodbyes here and there. The holidays are always stressful because of how many places you can get pulled just for one day. Not only that, but trying to find places for those who are new to the community too is sometimes just as daunting. I am sometimes left wishing that I had just organized an event at my house until I leave whoever's house I went to and see the state of disrepair it is in after all the guests have rummaged.

Our community has definitely grown either through new faces moving in to the community or new people hearing about moishe house. The events we have been having have swayed more toward being outside of the house, either happy hours, dinners outside, or just seeing the usual sites. All of them have relieved a ton of pressure off of us and the desire to keep our house in working order. Surprisingly as we stopped having events inside our house, that's when our house stopped working, deposits in our water, our pond freezing, the heat going on the fritz, it's always a lovely time of the year.

Thanks for everything MH
Ross from MH St. Louis

Free Write Expression

As the new year moves through from day into night, know that you are just perfect and that all is just right. The time flies by as I live in this space, throwing events and sharing smiles with my guests as I look upon their face. We sit and deliberate on a weekly basis, and our time leaves picture and paper traces. But taking a step back and learning to reflect, this is a magical experience; one to remember and never forget. Who knows what the future may hold, the story is still growing and there is much to be told. Our lives are moving us in a universal direction. Although I do not claim absolute truth, I bare it somewhere within this reflection.
This idea has manifested in a powerful way. Take young Jewish adults, and allow them to pave the way. Somehow we continually express, rise to various occasions, and are able to progress. Progress is a word embedded in our genealogy our grandparents knew it, which is why they worked so hard for us to be. Although there will always be personalities and skill set traits. We are a collective one group and our families have never led us astray. Sure lessons will be learned and tests will be presented, but we are a group of young adult leaders, who will take any challenge and uplift it.
Our plans for the New Year are many and few. We want to grow our network, yet maintain a solid core group too. We balance between reaching out and looking in, sometimes we laugh and other times we are balancing on a pin. 51% of the time we share in positivity, light shinning bright in a sea shore of childish maturity. I personally enjoy the idea of making this project expand, but is it my call, or is it written in the Divine plan?
These are questions Jews have been asking for lifetimes, invoking ancient stories and fine wines. My connection to the past runs deep, I do not consider these my words, they are words from “Thee.” Thee expressive force that has moved us all over the world, spread our strengths and our resolve. So I just say “be in the flow.” Deeply understand that there is nowhere to go. In other words, move from a place within appreciation in the present know that life is truly a gift so unwrap it and see. Moishe House is a safe haven where we can all relax and simply breathe.
As I conclude this simple expression, the free write blog has become an uplifting confession. My heart says yes and my Jewish brain says “Why?” All is well as I travel around and embrace instead of deny my heritage and traditions too. My grandfather’s father father was a Rabbi who practiced his life through. I now move forward and toward my birthright seeking the next generation and bringing this whole song and dance to a higher light vibration.
Sit back relax, or maybe not, go out in the world and give it all you got. We are Moishe House and we stand with respect, this conclusion is becoming sentimental, but I enjoy that aspect. So thank you for taking the time to read these words. We will all see each other at our next fun and maybe absurd event. Be well and take care of your health, then give care and inspire true that is divine and devianre.

Personal Blog - Guido - MH Buenos Aires

My Moishe House Experience

Im very happy to be leaving in a Moishe house, to be part of a project that is world wide. Tomorrow i will be going to the Moishe house Philadelphia were they didn't ask me anything, i just told them i live in the Moishe house Buenos Aires, that i am a Moishe member and they were happy to receive me, happy to host me, and mostly happy to interact with me, to know what we do in a Moishe house in the other hemisphere of the world. I looking forward to have that awesome experience that sum up what is the meaning of belonging to a world wide proyect that makes a difference in the Jewish community around the globe.
I think the organization has a lot of potential for the future 2010, and i am personally proud of being part of it and make part of that potential become true.

Guido Werkcaig, 100% Moishe

Personal Blog - Axel - MH Buenos Aires

Hi everyone, this is Axel from MHBA,the best moishe house of South America (and the only one). This months were truly amazing here.At the beginning we had to learn how to live together,know each other and understand the way of working.Then,with the time, we learned how to use our personal positive points to generate the program and make them enjoyable for the four of us and the people who attend them. Now we are in a point we really enjoy planning, making and evaluating the events. Also during the week we receive every time people that maybe are close to our home and come to have a tea,talk and have a good time. Gradually we are being known on the young Jewish community, and every day we receive invitation in facebook about people who want to know about us.

One of the things i really love about being a Moishe member is that people from abroad come to Argentina,and because they knew others Moishe houses they want to come and visit us. As we are the only MH in South America,we dont have the opportunity to meet regularly others Moishe members,but will be amazing if we can join them sometime in the future.

Happy new year for everyone!!!!