Recently, myself and fellow Moishe House housemate Josh Einstein were shootin' the breeze on a cool but pleasant evening outside our apartment in Hoboken when we stumbled upon a pretty interesting realization. It's something I had never thought about before, but once it was brought up, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense (or at least we thought so). Our realization was this: Over the past 2 years at least, we have seen our community at Moishe House Hoboken grow dramatically with new people coming to practically every event. Over this time, we have also noticed an increase in Jewish life and awareness in Hoboken, and while there may be some other contributing factors, we both agreed that Moishe House has played a large role in this occurance.
But how can this be possible? How can a house of 3 people with cultural and pluralistic views of Judaism, contribute to an increase in Jewish observance and awareness in a metroplolitan town. The answer may be more complex than I believe, but I think it's pretty simple. Judaism has a little something for everyone. Some people like the ritualistic factor, some people like the educational and value aspects that our religion provides, and some people prefer to take the route of doing social justice. Whatever people in our town might fancy, the fact is, once people are exposed to Moishe House, and buy into idea of what Moishe House and what it provides, they see a different side to Judaism that what they may have been brought up with. They find a community of people who are proud to be Jewish, whatever that might mean, and that leading a Jewish life doesnt have to mean observing every single commandment that is in the Torah. It means being a part of a community with similar interests and goals. And once they are part of that community, all it takes is one experience to light a fire and a yearning to learn more about the people you are apart of and the history that binds us all together. The conversation of what it means to be Jewish is one that could fill a whole months worth of Moishe House events. But the fact there is so much to it, is what makes Moishe House a succesful endeavor. We get to provide people with a multitude of options and experiences of what it means to be part of a Jewish community. And those positive experiences are what make people wonder what else there is to be discovered about the religion/culture that has been with us and evolved for thousands of years.