One of the most useful activities we have done as Moishe House Nola thus far, was the December Moishe House Visioning Sessions. A two-part discussion with regular guests and friends to propose bold, crazy and fun new ideas for Moishe House events. Out of this evening we have been able to integrate many new ideas and interests that would have otherwise remained on the periphery. One example, was hosting a night on Halakkah of Dumpster Diving. Our brainstorming highlighted a growing interest in Jewish learning programs. Jeff brought in a Rabbinical student affiliated through Jewish Funds for Justice to lead the odd but surprisingly relevant discussion the the Halakkah of Dumpster Diving.
As we review our programming, it is clear that partnerships can provide significant value to our events. One event idea that I believe would provide a great benefit to the house and great community is a series of Jewish New Orleans tours/speaking engagements. Here's my ideal series:
- Tour of the Jewish cemeteries led by the proprietors or expert on Jewish immigration into New Orleans. These are OLLLDDDD cemeteries (e.g. Fanye Katz 1875 - 1942). Perhaps this would be led by a member of the Jewish Genealogical Society.
- Jewish Business Leaders and Philanthropists: Did you know that New Orleans, Jewish businessman (Samuel Zemurray ) assisted a deposed Honduran dictator re-assume power in order to compete in the fruit import business? Did you know that many of New Orleans greatest assets (Museum of Art, Delgado University, Touro Hospital, Pontchartrain Park) were supported by the philanthropy of Jewish businessmen? I'd like to delve deeper into this history.
- MO ESSHA House - Black-Jewish relations have always had a close and rich history. This is no different in New Orleans. Central City served as the working class neighborhood for Orthodox Jews in the 20's-60's. While black citizens could not frequent many of the shops on Canal Street, many of the Jewish merchants I'd be interested in learning about the dynamic of New Orleans Black-Jewish history.
Here's to more than wishing. I hope we can make this happen before the Summer begins.
- Moishe NOLA