Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Ideas for Moishe House Boston

Here at Moishe House Boston, we've been thinking about how we can grow in the areas of spirituality, music, and fun. In particular, we were interested in how to help people experience enjoy Shabbat as a whole, not just Friday night. We also have been trying to figure out how to get broad community feedback on the vision and direction of our community, to help our community board develop a vision statement, short and long term goals, and a strategic plan.

So, three new program ideas. First, the fabrangen (means "bring-along" in yiddish), a program on one or two Saturday afternoons a month where people bring food, mashke (whiskey), Torah teachings, and niggunim (melodies) to share, and we just jam together until Shabbat ends, at which point we will do havalah together. Fabrangens were a big thing back in the ghetto in Eastern Europe, especially among chassidim, and we are bringing them back. We are going to do it on weeks when we also have Shabbat dinner, so that people in our community can get the feel of a holistic Shabbat experience.

Second, on off weeks where we don't have Shabbat, once a month we are going to have a group sing/jam session, where people bring their instruments, voices, and song books and we just sing and jam together. We sit in a big circle, and go around so that each person gets to pick a song. Two of our community board members did this as the "Pajammy Jam" session where people jammed while wearing pajamas, so we may incorporate that too as we make this more regular. At least while the time works, we are going to open these sessions with Havdalah, to help with the holistic Shabbat goal.

Finally, we are holding a big membership meeting on March 7th, and we just brainstormed a program that is designed to get everyone thinking about the vision of our community, and give our community board direction to move forward. It is also designed to include everyone, not just people who like/feel comfortable talking at meetings.:)

Here's how it works: we write 10 key questions on the wall, in the form of spectra, and people will be asked to put a red sticker dot on where they think we are now, and a green sticker dot on where they want us to be. For example, we are trying to figure out whether our social justice work should be more focused on local or national or international issues. So we have a spectrum with "Boston" on one side and "The whole world" on the other, and "National politics" somewhere in the middle. We assume most people will agree that we are now focused on Boston, but we are curious whether people will say - with their green sticker dots - that they want us to stay Boston focused or be more in the middle.

We look forward to reading your brainstorms and getting ideas from you!

Margie, Moishe House Boston

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