Thursday, June 3, 2010

Meaningful Story from Moishe House Portland

There's clearly a lot that's meaningful about experiencing Moishe House.

Here we realize that we, as residents, are sometimes out of touch with our participants, which is why we strive to ask them what they're interested in doing for events, and what their Jewish/social needs are. So first of all, I think it's necessary to acknowledge that when we (residents) are at events and notice two people we know introducing each other for the first time, it's kind of a weird feeling. We realize that we are in a position of responsibility, to bring people together for these events. We become aware of our centrality to Moishe House. We see everyone who comes to events, but sometimes we forget that if they don't come to the same event, these participants don't see each other. It's a cool feeling to realize that you're helping people make connections, and that others are benefiting from Moishe House's services. Chance meetings can turn into job opportunities, relationships, friendships, or just a more cohesive Jewish community. It's also rewarding because we as programmers can get our blinders on and get really focused on what it takes to make an event happen. It's good to see that ultimately, people other than ourselves reap benefits from these efforts.

As a microcosm of a team of roommates and professional programmers, I think our bonding experiences together are most memorable. The memories of house meetings, house retreats, and sitting around talking and joking late at night will be what I sit back and remember years from now. I still remember when Rachel and I first moved in last year. Jeremy was here but Jodi was still out of town. I think everyone was excited about the new changes in roommates, and we fed off that energy. One night, the three of us went to some stupid bar close by and played pool and darts. Then we found out that Rachel was really good at darts. Which is funny because Jeremy didn't know her previously, but I knew her growing up, and it was good to reconnect. She did go to college in NY after all--and she must have picked up darts at some point! Haha.

There are other memories too: our first in-house retreat with our old "House Dad" where we led each other through silly home-made obstacle courses on the floor and enjoyed a Shabbat together. There's the retreat we took to Whistler, where we spent 7 hours in the car together each way in addition to enjoying a new part of the world and experiencing the local Jewish communities in Vancouver and Whistler. And then there's all our meetings. We've made meeting on a weekly basis a huge priority. Half of those meetings are all business at home. Some of them fizzle out because some of us are tired or have something else going on. Then a good portion of them are spent out somewhere getting drinks, so that we enjoy the time together in addition to getting through some business stuff. Since we've been doing this weekly, we've been getting a lot done. It also gives us the opportunity to check in with each other, know what's going on in each others' lives, and have fun.

A learning experience from living in Moishe House is that it's important to put in the effort to maintain great relationships with other housemates, and also to take the opportunity to step back, get some perspective, and see what kind of affect the work you are doing is--or isn't!--having on the surrounding community.

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