Sunday, May 30, 2010

Moishe and Marley

I've lived in Moishe House for a few years now, and there have been innumerable experiences that I would describe as meaningful. But in recent memory, there's one that stands out pretty high above the rest. About a month or so after the earthquake in Haiti we hosted a Shabbat both to raise money for relief efforts and to come together as a community to think and express our feelings about one of the more tragic events to occur in our lifetimes.

It was a wonderful crowd, and Sarah, who was leading the Shabbat, brought in a couple amazing speakers. A friend of hers spoke of his experience both before and after the earthquake (he does international development work and had spent quite a bit of time in a Haitian orphanage before the earthquake). In addition to walking us through his experiences, he brought pictures of the orphanage before and after the earthquake, which put things in perspective in a way that photos on the news really couldn't.

But the highlight of the evening for everyone, and probably my most memorable Moishe moment ever, came when a young Haitian singer - 18 years old, I think - spoke to us and sang a few songs. He barely spoke English, so my roomate Maura translated for him. He won a singing contest in Haiti and was traveling around the US raising money for an organization focused on access to clean water. As is typical with our Shabbats, people were sitting on any available surface - chairs, couches, the floor, stairs, window sills, etc. He started to sing, and I was surprised that the song was familiar - Bob Marley's Redemption Song. He encouraged us to sing along, and from all corners of the room we did just that.

It was the kind of touching experience that's difficult to explain, but it was one of those rare times when you realize just how interconnected we all are. Here's this young man from Haiti, he's grown up in a completely different culture, speaks a completely different language and has experienced a tragedy that most of us really couldn't even imagine. And yet we had a common purpose that night - to stand in solidarity and bring support to all affected by the earthquake - and we also had a common language - the language of Marley... Pretty amazing.


Monday, May 24, 2010

The test of a real community

What makes a community a real community? Surely it includes meaningful events and strong relationships. Surely it matters that people feel a sense of belonging. But I think the real test of a community is how it goes through hard times, or helps its members go through hard times.

Here at Moishe House Boston, we have recently faced a difficult situation that continues to test our fiber. One of our members, call her Anna, was diagnosed with a rare and serious form of lymphona. Anna is an incredibly sweet person and was active in our environmental work and our Shabbat gatherings, and is a grad student. When we heard she was sick, we asked ourselves, "What are we supposed to do? What does a community do in these situations? Does Anna even want people to visit her in the hospital?" It was hard to hear that someone our own age could face this situation, and made us all consider our own mortality.

With the support of my housemates, I emailed Anna letting her know that we wanted to be there for her, and wanted to know what was the best way to support her. I said we were happy to bring her food, visit her in the hospital or at home, or whatever else she needed. When Anna let us know that she needed help with meals and wanted visits when she was getting chemo, Alix recruited two leaders to create a new chesed/lovingkindness team, who in turn set up a system for community members to sign up to make weekly meals and visit in the hospital. The arts team set up a card-making station in our dining room, complete with all sorts of fancy paper, markers, glitter glue, and feathers. At every non-Shabbat event at the house, people are encouraged to make Anna a card, which are brought to Anna when people go to visit her in the hospital. All sorts of people have helped out, including many people who don't even know Anna that well, but have made food or brought games to keep Anna from getting bored.

What made our member Andy take the time to make Anna food and visit her, when he didn't even really know her? I think he went in part because we told our community that that is what we do, what Jewish community does, is to take care of each other and to visit the sick.

To some, it might seem like bringing food to one person is nothing in comparison to making Shabbat for a big group or pulling off a successful social justice campaign. But as passionate as I am about Shabbat and social justice campaigns, nothing could be more important than knowing I am in a community where people are there for each other. It means that we are more than our campaigns, more than our good days, and also makes those campaigns and good days more meaningful, because we are doing them with people we know we can rely on.

I am proud of the Moishe House Boston community for the way we have stepped up, even though I wish to God we didn't have to. I believe that through our work, we are not only caring for Anna, but we are teaching our members how they can make a difference, and what caring community means. This feels like a blessing.


Meaningful Moments in Silver Spring:

Use this month's blog to share a meaningful story or experience from your Moishe House Community. Feel free to be as specific as you would like when writing this blog.

For us, as a house, the most meaningful experiences that happen through our Moishe House Community are when people come together to share aspects of themselves that one might not see immediately through casual encounters, and when we create organic Jewish experiences that appeal to people.

An example of the first can be found in our monthly coffee houses. Coffee houses are an opportunity for people to come together and share their talents in the intimate environment of our living room. It is special to see community members - or people who are coming to us for the first time - come to our house and share their talents. The community that is created when an individual gets up and plays a song she has written on her guitar, getting everyone in the room to clap and sway along, is extremely special.

Another meaningful experience comes whenever we have Shabbat or holiday observances in our house. The transformation of space that occurs when our living room becomes a sanctuary and prayer space or a dining room for a festival meal, is very special and very meaningful. We think that this is true for all our attendees and community members, but it is all the moreso for us, as residents. We get to see our house and our space transformed through the contributions of our community members, through the invocation of prayers, or through ritual observances. Seeing the way we can transform our space through community is meaningful.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Missing Piece of the Puzzle - RRR, London

It's so odd, being part of an extended family I barely know: I look at the gorgeous pictures of Moishe House Orange County, recently published online. I look at the smiling faces when I breeze through the MoHo homepage to take a glance at what incredible events are occurring worldwide. And I can tell by the look on your faces, you other residents, that regardless of your interpretation of the Moishe House brief, you experience many of the same challenges and joys as we do here at MoHoLo. And no doubt the same delight at facilitating this shift out of conventional communal shapes and patterns and making a space where more is possible. It would make sense that we would have so much to share, and delight in each other.
But I do not know you. Those of you in the USA are lucky to have a retreat where you can know each other. To me, you are the missing piece of the puzzle. I know the shape of what is around you, I know roughly what the picture on the missing piece should look like, but how satisfying and fulfilling it would be to have you here, behold you and complete my picture.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

my favorite-blogging

so, all who might read this....i'm not sure what i'm supposed to be blogging about, so i'll go with topic of my choice. i've been learning with a partner in torah the last few weeks, in addition to my weekly class via the portland kollel. we're learning the mitzvahs in that class and i am learning hilchos shabbos with my partner in torah. it's quite interesting...did you know, it's not about not doing work on's about not doing creative labor on shabbos. many things that we think are violations aren't really and things we may not think are violations, truly are. i highly recommend people to take a look at and do a little learning, about shabbos. i even gave a short d'var torah at shabbos lunch the other day about my learnings.


Monday, May 10, 2010

MAY is Masssssssssssssive!!!

Hey Hey Hey Moishe House People!!

Wow what a month May has been already!!

1st May House-warming, Lag B'Omer Massive Mash Up was AMA-ZZZING!!  

Thank you soooooooo much for helping us warm our house up so well - it's definitely nice and toasty now!!

Before we get on with the events, we have a special call out for artists:

In June we'll be turning Moishe House London into an art gallery, with a special launch evening to kick off the exhibition. We are currently looking for artists who would like their work to be featured or might want to create new work for the exhibition. Please drop Joel an email or FB message - or contact or curator Daniel Heyman - if you're interested.

Moishe House fruit and veg boxes are now available (at no profit to us!) from £10/ £15 per week or fortnight. Delivered thursday afternoon. Contact us with 'veg box' in the title at 
Events coming up in this beautiful spring month - click through to find out more:

Inter-faith Speaker Training

Type:Education - Workshop
When:Tomorrow from 19:30 to 22:30

19 May

2nd Night Tikkun and Dinner

Type:Party - Dinner Party
Where:Moishe House London, Willesden Green (message us for the full address)
When:19 May from 20:00 to 23:00

24 May

Jelly: Casual Co-working at MoHoLo

When:24 May from 07:00 to 17:00

Urban Bee-Keeping Meeting 2

Type:Meetings - Club/Group Meeting
When:24 May from 19:30 to 21:30

26 May

Hang Out at the House

Type:Party - Club Party
When:26 May from 19:30 to 21:30

Other exciting moish-nik news Aviad is coming back from his travels -Yay!
Daniel is heading off for fun adventures in far-flung shores - boo
Brett is looking forward to a festival-packed summer
Natalia is running drop-in sessions every week day at 7am, email the house for more 
Joel is loving working on his play Engineer of Chelm - watch this space for more details
Rachel is appreciating her friends and family and delving into the world of Hans Christian Andersen for professional purposes..

Finally.. feeling guilty about playing your ipod on a massive sound system whilst running the washing machine and using a hair dryer??? worry no more - Sign up to Good Energy, save money and ease your conscience.. email us about that one..

Very much love until next month.. 

Moholo Crew (in the new pimp palace..)

Moishe House London, in Willesden Green, is part of Moishe House, a worldwide network of houses that are centres for grassroots Jewish community. From our own home, we aim to bring exciting, creative, post-denominational Jewish community to London.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Russian Moishe House is approaching its 1 year anniversary!!

Almost a year flew by...that's incredible, time flies fast! And what a year it's been...Last July we set out to create a more unified local Russian-Jewish community. Our first goal was to get our name out there and make Russian Moishe House a recognizable name in the community. We have definitely achieved that goal - I am proud to say that not only every major Jewish and Russian Jewish organization in the Chicagoland area knows us, most of the people in the community are at least aware of our existence. We provide interesting, fun programming in the comfort of our home and that is appealing. Sometimes it amazes me that our members travel for an hour just to come our to events, especially in bad weather. We have also succeeded in introducing Jewish content to our community. Our Shabbat dinners are definitely a success and we often have to turn people down because we can only accommodate a certain number. However, this area still needs improvement - as Dima mentioned in his October post, Russian-Jewish community is skeptical and careful about Jewish content. Some of our more Jewish events have not been as successful as we would have liked, so this is something we are still working on. Right now we are going through a transition as two of our roommates moving out in the less than two months. So for the next three months or so our goal is find the right candidates and smoothly transition into our second year without having the quality of our events suffer. I feel we are definitely moving towards a more tight-knit community. I think our next step would be to work on creating a core group of people passionate about the project who can help us take Russian Moishe House to the next level. I'm very excited...


Goals, Like Foals Also Grow Up: An Orange County Tale

As the newest member of MoHOC, I don't know how qualified I feel to speak about our house's communal goals, so I am building on the dreams and aspirations of my fellow members. As I've written before our house is born out of the founding resident's dream of creating a more cohesive Jewish community where prior there was none. She started her own organization growing it more that 400+ members. Her efforts translated, easily, over to the creation of MoHOC. She was able to start a house with a robust membership base and take it from there, but in the 10 months since the inception of the house, what's changed?

Needless to say, we started off, per Rae, as a sort of party house. We have a great location and it is a big draw to bring people in from all parts of the urban sprawl that is the OC. Problem with that model is that it isn't sustainable; there is an inherent level of "shallowness" to the experience. It is only possible to have 2 minute interaction with the myriad of people present; we created for ourselves, a community of fast food friends. Now the time has come to change that model. Rae put it very well when I asked her how her goals and dreams for the house have changed, "I realized that while big parties may be fun, real relationships are started in smaller more intimate groups, so I have shifted away from always throwing big parties and instead tried to bring smaller groups together to facilitate new relationships…".

Our house's growth does have consequences, small drops in attendance, and a need to become much more creative in our programming. The attendance issues, Mitch our other roommate says, "People get used to having these massive parties, but not have to really interact with everyone else; as we get more intimate in the level of our interactions people are forced to actually get to know each other for better or for worse. It's like getting started on a new healthier diet; it can be a pain but when you see how good it makes you feel you keep coming back for more…".

Couldn't agree more with both Mitch and Rae, as our programming shift to a more focused "narrative" our job is to teach our members just how nice it can be to kick back with a small group of friends as it is to live it up for a night. We need to facilitate more conversations, help those that are shyer bust into groups; we are working harder to create the community that we always wanted. Of course it is more work for us, but in the long run we too are making closer friends, allowing us to be more that hosts, cooks, and cleaners. Inserting ourselves into the community allows us to not only help bring others together, but bring us closer to them as well.


Moishe House New Orleans

September 2009 Blog Summary

The three components of our mission as laid out by the September 2009 post:

Innovative and Comfortable Space: Create events and programs that reflect the diverse interests of our peers ranging from urban planning to cooking to guest lecturers.

Pluralism: Welcome people of all ages, religions and denominations and let them decide their level of involvement in our functions.

Commitment to New Orleans Community: Resolve to reside in Broadmoor and support the flood-damaged neighborhood’s recovery.

Other important themes: the role of our Moishe House and the mission of MHnola as the city of New Orleans transitions from recovery to revitalization, the value of empowering local Jewish groups to utilize MHnola as a partner and space for the cultivation of ideas and action, and the need for our house to be sustainable and remain relevant in a changing New Orleans and a changing Broadmoor community - the neighborhood where MHnola is located.

Have you achieved goals that you initially set for your house?

In many ways MHnola has achieved the goals we set forth for ourselves in September. Our home is indeed an Innovative and Comfortable Space. This is evident by considering some of the in-house events our calendar has featured: yoga, Passover Seder, minion at the Moishe house, meditation workshop, kugel cook-off, etc…

In respect to Pluralism, MHnola has always worked to engender an accepting space for all religions while offering events that are accessible to a wide range of individuals with varying interests of involvement. We hosted an East-Over brunch – an Easter brunch with a kosher for Passover menu – and we also have an interfaith night planed in the coming weeks. Another incredibly successful event we held was our MHnola Visioning. At the Visioning the MHnola network was invited to two nights of brainstorming and collaboration to draw up future event ideas. The greatest value of the Visioning was that participants took a true sense of ownership in future events both in participation and preparation.

Our Commitment to New Orleans Community is a core component of our mission that has taken many forms and must continue to be strengthened. Many MHnola events focus on New Orleans and its culture. Richard Campanella is a renowned social-geologist who has lectured for MHnola events twice - once with Moishe House members and once for a volunteer group from Harvard College who came to help in the rebuilding of Broadmoor. The Moishe House Ice Cream Truck has been a fun way to interface with the larger Broadmoor/New Orleans community. The ice cream truck has made appearances at Broadmoor community events such as the Night Out Against Crime and at regular monthly community meetings.

Evaluate your goals for the next three months…

The members of MHnola believe that the creation of a Moishe House in New Orleans has had an important role in the recovery of the New Orleans Jewish community and in strengthening the recovery of the Broadmoor community. Looking ahead it is important that we continue to solidify our role as actors in both and continue to offer engaging events and opportunities for members of both communities to take leadership roles in designing programs to enhance their communities.

MHnola will have a changing face in the coming months. We’ll be adding two new roommates in September – two current members of the New Orleans Avodah. As the house transitions it becomes increasingly important that the next three months are used to establish a model of sustainability so that MHnola can exist for many years with an ever-evolving group of housemates and locations. It is of the utmost importance to the current members of MHnola that our house continue to thrive and grow under any resident structure or location.

MHP Evaluation and Future Goals

Looking back on our goals and plans from September, MHP has done a great job at following through with our blueprints. With the NYTimes article in February, we are comfortable saying we are now one of the premiere Jewish organizations in the city. We have had more requests for partnerships, more contacts about people coming here from other cities looking to get involved and our existing constituency is thriving.

We have strengthened our existing partnerships from years past, and also forged strong new affiliations. In March, we worked with the JCRC to do a Child Nutrition Seder and hope to work with them in the future. We organized a Kosher wine tasting with Etz Chaim, a learning center in Philadelphia and the suburbs, and have been invited to work with them again. For Hanukkah, we rocked out to Moshav, a concert that never would have happened, or drawn in more than 200 people from the community, without our strong alliances to other groups. We have also built up our connections in West Philadelphia, a thriving Jewish community just over the bridge, by spending multiple Shabbatot there and recently hosting an open mic.

As we look back, we must also look forward. The next three months will bring a lot of change to MHP. Alissa is leaving us in June, for a summer in Israel and then a move to Seattle to start her Ph.D. We wish her the best of luck, but are going to miss her enthusiasm and open heart very much. Brian will also be leaving us at the end of July to focus on co-chairing next year’s LimmudPhilly (you should all come!) – but he will stay actively involved. With these pending transitions, we hope to bring in some great new people and plan out our fall quarter, building on the success of the past year and looking to do even more.

We are partnering with a few other groups for a summer learning series in a local park called Topics on Turf and already have some great speakers/sessions lined up. We hope to expand our networks even more and have talked about working in the outlying suburbs – areas where we know there are a lot of young Jews who don’t often make it into Center City but would love the community programming we do as well. It is very important for us to have a smooth transition as we accept new residents so that we are a strong, cohesive house moving forward. It is also a goal of our house to do more Social Justice programming and we will be looking to the other houses who have had success in those events for guidance. As we continue to further our partnerships, we hope to continue building our constituency base and increase our presence in the city. We are really excited about the next three months and want to keep growing!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Moishe House Great Neck

Back in September our main We felt that the best way to create that was by hosting Jewish learning programs. I'm glad to say that we have been cery successful in creating a community. We have been especially successful the past few months with our newest roommates. Our new roommates already had strong ties to the Great Neck community, and our events the past few months have been extremely successful; enabling the list of regulars that attend our events to grow, and helping create a larger and stronger community.

We have also been very successful in building our community through programs with our partnerships. We have truly formed a strong partnership with the Bet Torah V'Ahava
(BTA) organization. We have done many programs with them, and as we thought, the Jewish learning programs with the BTA have helped create a tight community at Moishe House Great Neck. We are looking forward to as great summer with some great programs planned.

Wishing the Moishe House community all the best,

Moishe House Great Neck

MH Oakland: Goals Met, Goals Desired

It's funny, but in September of 2009, I was setting the exact same goals as I am now: Roommate interconnectedness. In September, as a relatively new member of the house, and with two fellows I had just begun to get to know, my sights were set on making the transition as smooth as possible. Yet again, the house is in the same situation, new roommate, new ideas, new ways of making it work. Fortunately, the new roomie couldn't be more easy-going and eager. This makes the two older-generations residents job a lot easier. We still have our weekly meetings to talk about whatever is on our minds. We talk about past events and how they went, how they can change, upcoming events and our visions of them. We talk about the silly people that come to our events, and the fun we have with them. We talk about who's gonna take out the trash, whose gonna write the blog. Sometimes life gets in the way of weekly meetings, but we try to make them work because we know they are key to our house running smoothly. And key to us enjoying each other.

Goals, both short and long term. MH Cleveland

Since September, when our "goals" blog was written by a now-former roommate, it became clear that one of our main goals was to transition into a different house dynamic, with some new blood in the mix. We did accomplish this.

In the past few months we have accomplished:

Having new and different types of events and empowering community members to lead events

Having regular weekly house meetings (before they were more infrequent)

Dividing tasks among participants differently

Establishing stable events that happen every month

Deciding to move and looking at a number of new locations

Incorporating ideas for events from other Moishe Houses and different organizational and administrative strategies designed and used by other houses

Being in contact with residents from other houses in order to discuss events, organizational tasks, and problem solve

Having all events posted at least three weeks in advance in the living area of our house on a white board so that anyone who comes over can see them

Coming up with lots of awesome blog prompts for the future!

Our goals for the future 3-5 months are:

Branching further outside of our social circles and engaging even more of the Cleveland Jewish Community

Publicizing over the summer by having a Moishe House information table in the non-profit section of street fairs and other cultural events in Cleveland

Partnering/co-sponsoring at least one or two events with other Moishe Houses.
We have a camping trip coming up at the end of May with MH Hoboken and MH Silver Spring!!!!

Having an event/concert at local Jewish-owned venue that is either a fundraiser for MH

Moving MH Cleveland, hopefully in June, to a larger house with more bedrooms (allowing for more MH residents) and a larger living room and dining area, and starting the interview process for new resident(s)

Making bumper stickers, MH t-shirts, and business cards

Increasing our number of monthly events, and moving towards the higher rent subsidy and programing budget

Goals re-visited - Moishe House Chisinau

Taking all this into account, please evaluate your goals for the next three months for your Moishe House. Please give concrete examples of both qualitative and quantitative goals.

If your house was not active in September, please use this blog as an opportunity to discuss your goals for your Moishe House for the next year. three years and five years.

Quantitative goals - We want to invite every month not less then 20 new guests.
Our goal is to make more than 6 programs monthly. We want to increase the number of organizations we collaborate with. Our goal is to make more regular programs (special guest, movie night etc.)
We have in plans realization of one social project per 3 months.

Qualitative goals - In future we have a plan to open a Jewish library in Moishe House. In plans we want new types of programs as sport games, picnic or going to Jewish places in Moldova. We are looking forward collaborating with other MH in FSU.

We want our MH to become a place uniting Jews with different points of view and life positions.

Portland Revisiting Goals

In all honesty, we're in an interesting predicament seeing as I cannot seem to locate our September goals blog. However, I do remember discussing our goals a year from now and in 5 years, even if I cannot find it in the sea of blogs, so I'll go from that!

I think I can say with confidence that as residents we meet regularly and we discuss a myriad of things that are going on. House events, budgets, house maintenance, roommate relationships, future of the house. We've been meeting almost once a week for the past several months! This has been great for the functionality of our house. So even though it's just me writing this, I feel like I can speak for the whole house since we talk about all things Portland Moishe House so regularly.

When we talked about Moishe House in August/September and thought about our goals for a year from now, a lot of them had to do with transitions. Our founder and elder, Jodi, will be leaving us in not too long, so the transition of her departing with her legacy and finding a replacement is important. At the time, I think our goals were to have Jodi transition out effectively, find a good replacement, and continue the house mission. Portland has a unique mission, seeing as Jodi founded us as a Shomer Shabbat, Shomer Kashrut, Shomer Chag house. Because it's been so successful, and Jodi has brought into creation this wonderful model of inclusion, we all feel its important to keep on this mission over time, even after we are gone. So a year from now, we hope the mission is still in place, and also again in 5 years from now. We'd also like to see more involvement from participants. It would be great to have folks other than residents leading events. It would be great to have even more people involved in our events and on our listservs, and to have the house functioning well as an independent organization. I honestly cannot remember if we discussed fundraising in our conversation or not!

Sooo now fast forwarding to present moment, we can talk about how we've addressed these goals. I think we've definitely made some headway. Jodi's been gradually transitioning out, which is the way to go since she's so majorly involved in so many programs. Making the transition gradual allows her to appoint leaders to her projects and discuss changes with us. We've identified a potential future roommate and we're really excited about her, we think she'll be a really great fit! In addition to keeping to the integrity of the mission of the house, we also talk about gender balance within the house and at programs. We hope to keep some balance of men and women in the house to continue to attract diverse participants. So this means we also have to keep an eye out for future male candidates and consider the gender and personality balance of any resident combination.

As a house we've spoken about our mission statement a lot. We're all on board and I think we've identified how future potential housemates could or could not be a good fit. We've also talked about how to sustain our model with external parties, like a board, a "house mom" or "house dad" or a representative from the synagogue we go to. We haven't quite gotten a move on this one yet, but it's an ongoing conversation.

I think recruiting more folks to do events has been a natural part of our growth over the last few months and it's been going well!

We have had some pressing issues come up in the meantime. We are hitting a bit of a low in participation. So I think I can safely speak for my housemates when I mention some goals for the next few months:

1) Come up with a housemate support system for when events fall through or when life happens
2) Brainstorm exciting new events to pull in new people and to serve as "marquee" main big exciting events
3) Increase participation, reach out to groups we haven't before.

We actually discussed a lot of these goals in greater detail for a grant we worked on, so thankfully we've even sketched out some concrete ways to reach these goals.

1) Continue our weekly meetings so we have the time together to discuss all these things. We also try to make some of our weekly meetings out at bars or restaraunts so it can be a fun thing to do together and bond.
2) In terms of reaching out and advertising: using news resources like the Willamette Weekly, Portland Mercury, Jewish Review, Southwest newspaper, etc. Going into coffee shops in neighborhoods and putting up flyers. Doing phone-banking. Being consistent on our newsletter. Planning out our calendar 2 months in advance.

We met last week and we know we've got a lot on our plate. I think we're all dedicating to setting aside the time and chipping away at our goals.

MHDC Goals: Looking Forward and Back

As MHDC is plowing through 2010, we want to take a look back on the goals that we set out at the beginning of the year. One of our biggest goals was to incorporate more Jewish content into our programming and to bring more prayers and songs to our Shabbats. In the past few months, we have started an initiative of having people over to just light candles, say prayers and eat some challah on the nights we don’t have large Shabbats. It’s a way to create community in a smaller environment, bring more intention and focus to the prayers and to spend just an hour or so with community members before doing our own thing for the rest of the night. This has become something that really has made Shabbat a weekly practice at MHDC, regardless of there being a massive group or not.

Another goal we had was to do more partnerships. We are lucky to have strong ties with the progressive Jewish community here in DC and we have partnered with Jews United for Justice, Avodah and Theater J in the past several months. One challenge to these partnerships is that Shabbat really seems to be a natural place to co-sponsor. But our community is very used to the MHDC Shabbat, straight no chaser. They enjoy the way we run things and though we have had a lot of praise for our co-sponsored Shabbats, there certainly is a call in the community for the more standard style. This is a challenge we will be working with as we look to our goals in the future.

Finally, we had a goal of doing more programming out of the house. Through the Snowpocolypse and general dreariness of DC winters, we were doing a lot of events that were some form of “come over, sit on couch, eat.” While the weather is getting nicer, we have branched out to the park, local bars, rock climbing gyms and museums to meet this goal.

As a house, we still find these goals incredibly relevant and will continue to work towards them over the next three months. I would say at this point, given our excitement coming off the retreat and the way we are inspired by Rabbi Scott’s learning sessions, bringing in more Jewish content and a space for group learning is certainly at the top of list. We are constantly thinking of new ways to make Shabbat special and spiritual and also hope to contact local rabbis for a learning session with our community.

Only good things ahead for the the MHDC!

Goals re-visited - Moishe House Johannesburg

None of us were active residents of our Moishe House in September last year so we will write about what our goals will be for the next year, 3 years, and 5 years. We think our primary goal should be to continue to expand our group of members, and try and involve some of the 'fringe' guests more. In other words, we have quite a lot of people who come to our big events, but a smaller group who we would consider our 'core' members. I think it is important to continue to grow that core group of people in order to run bigger events more often. This can hopefully be achieved in the next few years and will take time to build up a solid base of people.

We also think one of our other big goals is to carry on with some of our regular events. Our members enjoy consistency, so events like the Documentary of the Month, and the Book Club would be very valuable to continue. Establishing some kind of routine with those types of events will also help us to achieve our first goal because as more people attend those regular events, they begin to form part of our core group of members.

Another goal for perhaps the next year to three years is to fix up the house a little. We have a very big space which we are fortunate to be able to use for our larger events but it is not in the best condition. We would like to fix a few things up, and make it a little more homely and user-friendly. We think we can have a few fun events involving our members in the process so that they feel a part of the change that they will see, and that they will feel that the Moishe House is just as much theirs as it is ours.

Lastly, a goal for the next five years is to pass on the tradition of running a Moishe House in Johannesburg. We hope that the community continues to thrive from it and appreciate the work that we do here. Bringing in more people, and continuing the connection we have with those who already attend so that when the residents of the house change, we still have a solid connection with our members. We feel the presence of Moishe House is very important here, and we hope that our current members will consider being residents themselves one day to continue the work that we do.

Goals re-visited - Moishe House Vienna

When looking backwards and trying objectively to evaluate our progress in the past few months, we clearly see that there are fields that we have fully accomplished our goals and we are progressing towards the right direction and there are some fields, obviously, that we still need to improve.

#In a respective to all the things that concern to Judaism, we are following our targets: we have weekls lectures and Shabat every two weeks, we make special events for the holidays and many people from the community automatically contact us before a holiday or a Shabat cause they know that Mishe House is usually organazing something, the future goal in that direction would be to preserve that.

another goal was corporate with other organizations and it is something that we are starting to see the outcome as we just had a great Lag-Baomer BBQ for (!!!) 150

people with 2 more organizations from Vienna, and there many events ideas for the future

Where we need some improvement:

We did not really advance with the internet (we have a Facebook page but that can use some more work and planning)

Not so relevant anymore:

We see that our 'market share' within Vienna is more valuable right now, so we prefer on focusing on our own community for the time being, and with the current resources that we have, we realize now that doing the next step of expanding our activities, is something that needs some time , and should be done on a later stage.

We thought of subscribing Moishe House Vienna as a host to to an internet site that offer Jewish people who are traveling the opportunity to eat a Shabat dinner, however, on a second thought we have many people from our own community that are on a first priory and we have to provide them the chance to spend a Shabat (hopefully on a regular basis) with us. The idea of hosting people is still very important but as a vision we would like first to make sure we give 100% to our own community.

That is more or less all the targets for the long run are still the same, we hope to write again in a few months and talk about a similar progress as we had in the past 5 months!

Warm Regards from the not so warm Vienna,

Danny, Michi and Tal

Short and Long Term Goals for Moishe House Silver Spring

Moishe House Silver Spring has had a very interesting past few months. Since last year this time, 4 out of the 5 house members have changed. With the new group having soaked our feet, we are well on our way to jump in to Moishe! New residents have brought some new and exciting energy along with an opportunity to revisit how exactly and who we should be appealing to. We have also been making new and exciting changes within the house itself. We want to keep a clean and inviting space and have rearranged some furniture and new housemate Uri has given us some great furniture and sound system.

Looking back to the fall, some of the long term goals have definitely been achieved and we're still working toward others. For instance, we brought back the Capitol Boogie, a no shoes, no alcohol dance party held once a month for Tikkun Olam and where we raise money for a local nonprofit. This event has been wildly successfull and is growing every time. This will definitely be a staple of Moishe House Silver Spring.

Some of our future qualitative goals include creating both more regular programming to reach out to a broader base in our community and upholding our commitment to them in terms of program quality and diversity. We want to create events that interest us but also represent the desires of our community- thingslike movie night series and science/Judaism lectures. In addition, with some new housemates that we wish to work together cohesively to collaborate with partenring organizations, to create a rosh hodesh group and a discussion group. We will continue to look toward making our location more accessible and available as well whether this be by hosting events in different locations or moving closer to a metro. We will continue to examine this goal and to plan strategically both internally and with our community members. We will be reaching out to the ever changing world of DC metro area organizations to build partnerships and changing groups of young professionals to invite them to be a part of our growing community.

We are excited about additional communal meals within the house, and the new residents. It is going to be a great Spring!

Goals of the Moishe House Warsaw part II

Hey , I was a person who was wrting thos blog in september and that what I wrote then:

"I think In one year our Moishe house is still going to be a vivid center o Jewish young adults in Warsaw. We are getting better in organizing diffrent events so in one year I guess thinks will be still getting better I hope we will be cooperating with even more diffrent people and organizations to give young people more opotunieties to do something jewish in their lives.
In three years our Moishe house will be located somewhere else probably, in a biger apartament with more space. We will be still active members of Jewish comunity in Warsaw so probably todays tennagers will be old enough to visit our events and have fun with us
I cant tell if we will be still running our Moishe House in five years maybe there will be some younger people taking it over from us when some of us will be to old to be a Moishe house resident. 5 years is really long time but Im sure that even if Im not going to be a resident anymore for sure there is going to be a cool Moishe House in Warsaw"

Im not sure wether member of a Moishe House is a good person to juge if it achived it goals but I think we are dooing weel. We where maiking shabbat dinner, letures, jewish hollidays, swap partes, picniks and more. We are aslo getting more known in Polish Jewish comunity. There are people from other cites who are comming to moishe house to celebrate hollydays with us so it is a plece from young people from whole Poland not only from Warsaw and I find it cool that we are aible to sosialize with people not only from Warsaw.

What are our goals for the next tree mounths? I hope Moishe House its going to benefit a lot from a good wether and finaly we will make evwents in parks again! I really love playing fresbee in a Park and Im really happy that it is going to be pissible soon for example for Jom Ha-Acmaut! And ofcourse dooing our best like always.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

MH Hoboken, no joke'n


Several months ago I wrote to you about my goals. Introspection is a rare but important quality and surprise I have it! So several months ago I stated that I wanted to grow on two levels. First I wanted to grow and expand the community. Second I wanted to empower and challenge leaders in the community. I am proud to say that overall we have had "great success". We have both expanded the type of programing that we engage in as well as have started a Planning Committee. Both of these endeavours have played into each other - our diversity of programing has enriched the community but it has been our Planning Committee which has really been the clincher. I asked 3 persons who represent different aspects of our community to join us in programing, planning the calender, and in general leadership roles. They had suggested programs, created ideas to promote our Moishe House and have added a much needed and different perspective.

In the next 3 months I hope to challenge the community to think outside of the box. This is a dual edged goal - first to think in terms of how we conceptualize ourselves and also to think of how we act in our local community. Tachlis wise I am inviting more speakers for every Shabbat Dinner (JUST EAT IT!) from all different walks of thinking Jewish life. I have also taken inspiration from Moishe House Boston in terms of community involvement. I have decided to get our Moishe House community involved with the larger local struggle for community issues in Hoboken. This means issues which affect all people in Hoboken, from our lack of parking, to our unaffordable rents, to our lack of community parks etc...

Thats all for now
MH Hoboken No Joke'n

MHSF - Goals

In developing community goals and objectives, it is important to analyze existing community
characteristics, such as: social and economic features, environmental resources, available
services and facilities, and existing land use. In addition to examining existing characteristics,
another important tool in the development of community goals and objectives is to identify
community assets,

Each month MHSF sits down to plan the next month's events, and I'm sure many houses around the world share this practice. However, I'm not sure how much our conversations mirror those of other houses. We're all very busy and it's difficult for us to find a time when the 5 of us can sit down and meet, much less a time that's not late in the evening where we're all thinking about sleeping or watching the newest South Park episode (by the way, the last one where they stage an intervention for Towelie was amazing). Our conversations focus exclusively on the events for the next month, and we don't ever discuss how we're doing as a house besides the events themselves. What I mean is that we're not tossing around who is doing what, and more importantly who feels comfortable doing what.

I think having everyone understand their capabilities and what it takes to successfully run a Moishe House is critical to the sustainability of the project, and I think we're lacking a little in that respect. Obviously not everyone will remain in a Moishe House forever, and eventually each house will be turned over to less experienced people. That's not a bad thing at all, and in fact the organization requires that model to succeed. However, certain houses may be exposed to quite a hitch following a roommate or two moving out if they're not made aware of their responsibilities and capabilities during their time as a resident.

I'd love to see our house discuss more issues relating to sharing of work and responsibilities so that our house can remain productive and a model for Moishe House prosperity.


Goals re-visited - Moishe House Buenos Aires


As we planned in our last September blog some point were achieved and some of them are still not reached. Moishe House Buenos Aires is a well know place to have fun and come to activities, but when it comes to Jewish learning or tzedaka events, numbers show that people don’t commit as much as they do when it comes to having fun. We do reach the goal of having a Pesaj Seder in our house, and also a Pizza party when pesaj was over. We try to have one shabbat dinner every month and we plan to keep with that and get new people involve with it.

Regarding the next three months, we plan to have shabbat dinner as usual, more Jewish learning events (like a tikun in shabbuot) and since a few weeks we are going to a charitable dinner space and more and more people are joining us. Evaluating our goals in numbers is pretty hard, we prefer to take our energies on the idea of opening the spaces for people to come and not putting the goals in numbers.

In the past the best activities where the ones that we organized with more organizations, like Hillel or Cool Am or Hacoaj, cause it brings us the opportunity to reach new young jewish people and explain them what is Moishe House about. Continuing with this we are planning many events together with other communities or institutions.

MoHo Beginnings

We have been running Moishe House Dallas for 2 months now, a short amount of time but long enough for us to have an understanding of what the Moishe House Organization stands for and to formulate an idea of how we at MoHo Dallas plan to carry out this shared vision.

In our brief time at the helm of MoHo Dallas we have already achieved two goals we set to accomplish from the start. We have spread the word throughout the community about Moishe House Dallas, punctuated by a feature news article in the Texas Jewish Post and have helped to secure our continued existence as a flagship city, made possible by the generous financial contributions of area philanthropists.

We will build on these early successes by continuing to provide a variety of interesting and exciting events in a welcoming and inviting atmosphere to promote a sense of community among the area's young Jewish adults.

At the end of our first year we fully expect MoHo Dallas to be a household name within the Dallas Jewish community, but more importantly, a household sought out by the flourishing young adult population.

In the next three years we are certain that the roots being established now will continue to bear fruit, either by original MoHo Dallas members or by those who will have taken the torch from us. In the next five years we will be too old to run a Moishe House of our own and will perhaps be at a life stage where MoHo Dallas no longer fulfills a direct personal need. However, we will continue to support and take tremendous pride in the continued successes of Moishe House Dallas and the Moishe House Organization.

Yoni Sallmander - MoHo Dallas

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Goals re-visited - Moishe House Cape Town

Wow… to think of us, having a Moishe house for the next 5 years is absolutely amazing! I can only think of great things coming out of it. It's isn't easy to have 7 successful events every month, but we are really trying.

We need to think of ways in which we can progress for the next couple of years. In the past 2 years a lot of our guests for events are people who have been attending our activities regularly. I'm sure having a series of events, with a continuity every month (beside our successful book club) would be awesome and could attract more and more people. We are, as Moishe House Cape Town can have a few events with the different Moishe Houses around the world. Although South Africa can be problematic with Internet connections, I'm sure a house meeting with one of the other houses around the world would contribute to us and the other houses.

The year so far has been amazing. We’ve had really great and interesting programs; we kept in touch with most of our friends throughout our activities. This is something we need to continue with, integrate fun and Jewish education into our programs and keep it young and vibrant.

The question of the next 3 to 5 years is much more difficult! When we had our Moishe house meeting the other day discussing our goals we couldn't really think of a really better goal rather than keep Moishe House Cape Town as it is.

Every day we are thinking of new topics, new methods to upgrade our programs. We believe our programs as they have been should be centred on and related to Judaism, Zionism, Jewish life in South Africa that is both relevant to young adults and contemporary.

We are 100% sure we can fulfil our goals within the next year… 3… and 5…

Monday, May 3, 2010

MH Chicago's Goals

I have now spent an hour combing through the Moishe House blog, to find the goals we laid out in September, one month after moving into MH. But alas, I'm beginning to recall that technical difficulties prevented us from posting. So I'll use this time to reflect on goals that arose from a recent internal retreat we had to formally debrief our experience at the national retreat. Many of us were newly reinspired about the potential our house has in Chicago to build community and engage Jews in the city based on shared values.

We came out of the retreat with a desire to develop a mission statement for our house. We're still in the process of hammering out the exact wording, but here's what we have so far: MH Chicago aims to build a diverse, progressive, and inclusive community in an egalitarian Jewish context and is committed to working towards a more just society. The MH Chicago community organizes at least eight programs a month that focus on social justice, Jewish learning, Jewish community, and enjoying the beautiful city of Chicago.

Looking toward the future with our new articulated vision for MH Chicago, we want our programs to reflect the interests of our community and we want them to be rooted in a greater context and mission of social justice. We are hoping to implement an organizing model (heeeeey Boston!).

So for the next three months, we are planning to have one-on-one meetings with members of our community, as well as people we think might be more involved if they knew more or if the programming was different. We want to get a sense of what young Jews in Chicago expect from Moishe House.

Additionally, we want to develop strong partnerships with other organizations in the city, ranging from groups like Young Chicago Authors to the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs to 20s and 30s groups at synagogues. Our goal is to co-host/sponsor events with them.

We are meeting more regularly as a house to devise specific goals -- how many one-on-ones should each house member have each month, how many co-sponsored events do we want to have per month, etc. We are also committing ourselves to doing more specific outreach -- personal invitations to members of the community in order to increase participation. The general e-mail to the listserv just doesn't do it! We are also now on twitter and facebook -- we are embracing the cultural revolution of social networking and using it to improve our communications.

That's all for now. To sum up -- we want to deepen our relationship with our community members and work with them, and other organizations in the city, to develop programming that is meaningful and that works to bring about a more just society and that also strengthens young Jews connection to their community.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

MH Providence - Version 3.0?

Last September MHPVD set the following three goals: 1) to expand our programming to include Jewish and Tikkun Olam events, and 2) to grow our community, which currently includes primarily students and alumni of Brown University. By all measures, both goals have been achieved. Our house made progress towards both goals by seeking external partnerships and collaborations. Many of our partnerships were conducted with other Jewish organizations in the community, which helped increase the percentage of Jewish and Tikkun Olam events in our portfolio. Additionally, by seeking new partnerships, we were able to expand the Moishe community to include new people.

In the next three months we have three specific goals. Firstly, we will identify community members to take on the privileges and responsibilities of being MHPVD residents. We will also facilitate the transition of residents to ensure that MHPVD programming is not interrupted. Secondly, we will make extra efforts to increase attendance at mid-week programs by 100%, effectively doubling participation. Thirdly, we will solicit more co-planners and partners in our regular program offerings. The events lined up for May, June and July will require an extra level of community participation which will enrich the diversity and appeal of MHPVD programs.