Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Omer Kalderon - Moishe House Cape Town - Being Israeli in Moishe House

For the past 6 months, Moishe House Cape Town has been my home away from home. I am currently functioning as the Cape Town community Shaliach, dealing with Issues of Jewish identity, Aliyah, Jewish education and building relationships between the Jewish community of Cape Town and Israel. I have the great privilege of living in such a vibrant city and an amazing house, with great housemates and incredible activities filled with so much passion.

The Idea of Moishe House is to maintain a Jewish life wherever you are in the world, and it has been a great place for me to fit in. Besides the fact that I'm here to deal with these issues, it has also helped me connect with a much wider circle of people by getting to know all those who come to the Moishe House. At the beginning of my year in SA I had a fear that I would not have a close group of friends – friends who I could really talk to and with whom I could share things that were on my mind. When I joined the House it was like a miracle! I fitted in right away and within seconds I got the warm feeling of home.

I never knew how hard it is to maintain a Jewish life outside of Israel. I've always been to an Israeli (Jewish/Hebrew) day school and 99.9% of my friends are Jewish. Living in Israel is living in a place where you don't really need to practice your Jewish life. It's there 100% of the time - Kosher restaurants, synagogues, Jewish culture, Hebrew and more. I knew it would be harder outside of Israel, but I didn't know how much harder it would be.

Our main goal of Moishe House Cape Town is to expand on the number of people attending our activities, mainly because we believe in what we are doing. I find it so inspiring working with people who are proudly building their own Jewish Zionist identity. As an Israeli who knew nothing, as I said, about struggling to preserve Jewish identity, I now know I can contribute a great deal. My personal experience and my "Israeli" attitude towards things are helping us, in the house, come up with some new, exciting and creative Ideas.

I am enjoying adding to the vibe in the house, deciding together what our goals are, debating what events we should run and getting to know my own friends and housemates opinions in regard to a variety of ideas. Bringing my own point of view to the table and trying to create this special connection between Jewish people in the Diaspora and Israel are just a couple of the things I'm doing, and will continue to do in my Moishe House.

I'm extremely happy that I have this opportunity to be a part of Moishe House Cape Town.

Omer Kalderon,

Moishe House CT and Cape Town Community Shaliach

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