Thursday, April 29, 2010

Looking Back, looking forward: Moishe House Boston Goals

In September, we wrote about our newly elected community board, whose role is to create short- and long-term goals and to make sure that our programming serves our mission/goals. As we noted, the housemates serve on the board, but we are in the minority, so that the community itself is empowered to set our direction.

Our general goal at that time was to start to set up a functioning board, meet several times throughout the year, and switch our role as housemates from "programmers" to "organizers". We also were thinking about about “building power” in the wider Boston Jewish community, so that when people at the federation think of either “young Jews” or “social justice,” they think of us, and think to include us in the conversation. We had a vision of becoming part of the mainstream Jewish conversation, and help shift it towards our values of youth empowerment, leadership development, and social justice orientation.

Looking back, we have, I believe humbly, achieved our goals:

We met several times with our board, who really came into their own. In these meetings, we talked about the vision/goals/strategy for our community, and we also set up a development team that successful procured grants. We also began to put in place stronger membership, communications, and finance structures (check out our website at A major highlight was our second annual membership meeting, where we had a community conversation around our collective vision of the Moishe House.

Finally, we have certainly begun to build power in the Boston area. We recently joined the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) and played an active role in an interfaith action with Treasurer Tim Cahill. We have also visited state senators a number of times to voice our concerns as a constituency and voting block--- talk about building power!

These goals will continue over the next three months, but in addition to working on them, we also have a few more concrete goals:

1. Successful community retreat: We are planning a retreat for the Moishe House Boston community in June. At the last retreat, we really hashed out the transition to a board structure, so we are excited about the prospect of really getting input from the community on what excites them. We are going to be leading some "community conversations" following up from the membership meeting to talk about issues like development, scope and size of our community, as well as have a community-wide art project. We are super excited about this! A quantitative goal for this is to get at least 50 people, but perhaps more important, will be to get time to have fun and continue to gel as a community.

2. More housemate bonding/meetings: We had originally intended a weekly meeting for the housemates, but in the last few weeks, these had been very difficult to schedule. We are recommitting ourselves to setting aside time each week to discuss business and to bond. Specifically, we want to have weekly meetings.

3. Successful transition of new housemate: I, Michelle, will be leaving to move to DC in mid-August, so the other three housemates, plus the board and, if it happens, a housemate selection team, will be in the process of identifying a new housemate. This process is always challenging, because we want it to be as transparent and equitable as possible, while still recognizing that the housemates need to "gel."

These are just a few of the goals that we have for the next 3 months. Stay tuned to see how they turn out!

1 comment:

Jeremy Moskowitz said...

I think re-inserting house bonding/us time activities is just what Moishe House Boston needs! Everyone there works so hard and it's good for you to take time for yourselves.

We wish the best of luck to Michelle on her future endeavors!