Friday, February 5, 2010

Moishe House OC: Social Justice, Smores, and Sing-Alongs

Being the newest member to the Moishe House OC, I get to write the Monthly blog.

The other night our house had a wonderful evening with Rabbi Scott exploring the ways Moishe House can integrate tzedakah into our events. Helping the world, social action, giving back; I think the ideas are admirable, but at times the words can feel tiresome and well-worn. Oy Vay!

Does it have to be a chore to lend a hand? We need to ask ourselves what our responsibility is to give back to the members of the community: especially when many of us are so fortunate to have such a range of opportunities available to us.

Sometimes social justice and responsibility can take the form of a clothing swap, bring your old clothes to the house, trade, barter, bargain, find a pair of jeans you always wanted; take whatever is left over, donate it! Food for thought, small cover charges for big events: bring a non-perishable item of food get a price break. These are two simple ideas that we have tossed around that allow us to incorporate Jewish philosophy into our programming.

What brought most of my house mates to Moishe House is summer camp. I remember being a counselor at Temple Beth Sholom’s Day Camp, and a youth retreat leader for a synagogue in Palo Alto. The corner stone of camp was the fire-side sing along. I found comfort about huddling around a fire, the sky above ablaze with an unidentifiable mist of constellations, munching smores, playing songs, and singing along together. We realized that many of our events have already descended into 1am sing along jam sessions; so we came up with a summer camp night, with grilling, smores, guitars, drums, and of course singing.

Our house is lucky enough to be close to the beach. Havdalah on the sand is a great way to bring everyone together and say ‘adios’ to Shabbat, or an excuse to spend a day at the beach and run the party to the evening and have a cookout. In the same vein of the outdoors, our house loves to get physical. We are trying out tennis days, road rides, mountain bike rides, surfing classes/beach days; Rae the founding member of Moishe House OC, does triathlons, and I bet there are members of the community that would love do a MHOC Sprint Tri.

Getting creative is the best part of living here, anybody can organize a great party; but the challenge is taking it to the next level, bringing a level of self-awareness and world awareness along with the chips and dip. Since we aren’t going at this alone, tell me what ideas you have for cool, socially aware, programming.

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