It's pretty incredible. I have been living in the Moishe House (Boston) for almost 8 months now, and the time has flown by. During this past year, I have had the distinct privilege of experiencing Moishe House Boston from the "inner workings." While, at times exhausting, this roller-coaster ride has proven incredibly gratifying. I have witnessed the establishment of our remarkable Board, the development of new faces into strong leaders in our community, and the expansion of our programs to include such diverse programs as sex education, privilege, and shabbat tishes.
But one of the more unexpected benefits of my living in the house is that my social life comes to my doorstep, literally. There is ALWAYS something going on my place, on any given night. If I am ever lonely or just want to chat, all I have to do is come home, and sure enough, someone from the community is there to share a cup of tea with or cook up a meal. I live in the center of a community, and because of that, the vibrancy is felt daily.
Of course, this poses some downsides. If I ever want to escape, or if I ever don't want to talk to anyone, it is arguably more difficult to slip away into my room. Or if I want alone time with a friend, I tend to always arrange for it to be at his/her home, so I know we won't be interrupted. But, in all honestly, I am happy to trade that bit of privacy for the sense of constant community--that microcosm of a neighborhood-- which is my home.
It is striking, in this age of Bowling Alone, where isolation and individualism are the default states for the modern American, that there even exists a place where people can be neighborly, can drop by to borrow some sugar, or simply to say hi. In my early childhood, I used to play with all my neighbors after school. I lived in a neighborhood. In high school, I moved to a Boston suburb--to this day, many many years later, my parents barely know all their neighbors, and rarely socialize with them. This sadly had also been my experience since college, whether living in a student ghetto in Cambridge or in an urban DC neighborhood, until I moved into Moishe House Boston.
I have found community, neighborliness, interdependence once again--and it's right in my kitchen!!!