Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hannah G.'s Reflection on the Retreat

Back at home in the MH Chicago, I am exhausted and yet more excited than ever about being a part of Moishe House. We've just returned from our first MH National Retreat, this year near Austin, TX. It was a great weekend, full of meaningful programming, reflection, ritual, schmoozing, and of course, lots of eating.

It was incredible to meet all the other residents of MHs across the country. It often feels like here in Chicago we operate in a vacuum, but this weekend afforded us all the opportunity to get to know one another. I realized that I am part of something much bigger than just the community we've built here in Chicago. It was exciting to hear models from other cities (a special shout out to MH Boston!!), talk about programs that work and those that don't, and also to commiserate together on striking the balance between work, personal life, family, other commitments, and Moishe House, not to mention other struggles many of us share.

I feel inspired to develop new lines of programming around Jewish learning and to bring more ritual to some of our events. I also would like to be more intentional about reaching out to other Jews in the Chicago area and building our community. I think a first goal for our house will be to develop a strong sense of mission and purpose.

Before I close, I want to reiterate what we acknowledged at the retreat. First a big thanks to Jeremy and Aviva for putting together a great schedule. The sessions were all meaningful, I felt our input was valued, and it created lots of great prompts and opportunities for us to share with each other. I also want to give a huge thanks to David Cygielman for all of his sessions with us, but especially the session going through the MH budget, and of course his incredible dedication to the organization and his vision. It is rare and incredible to be a part of such an open and honest organization. I feel that, we, the residents, are truly valued and respected as major stakeholders and partners in the organization, in a way that I've never felt with any other organization.

To close, I feel grateful and humbled to be part of such an incredible organization. It really is a privilege to live in a Moishe House. We have the responsibility and the opportunity to make Judaism meaningful and pertinent for other Jews our age. And we are given incredible resources to build a strong community. Here we go!

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