Parker: This month marks the 1 year anniversary for Moishe House
Orange County. It has seen the transition of 2 members, and now is
home to a stable group of three awesome Jews determined to prove that
just maybe, there are a bunch of Jews hiding in the OC. I wanted to
interview Rae my roommate and the founding member of MoHOC for our
house's anniversary. What I'd love to know is what are some of your
favorite moments this year at the house?
Rae: I think my favorite moments in the Moishe House have been the
really simple things. Seeing people make friends, and later seeing
them post pictures on Facebook of them going out. That is the purpose
of Moishe House, to create community, and I feel like we have really
accomplished that in the last year. I also have loved our Tikkun Olam
events, our Black and Pink Chanukah party (which was a labor of love
for me) and some of the goofy game nights we have had
Parker: I know that I have only been around for a few months, now
but the concept of "labor of love" is very evident in all of the
events we put on. You especially pour yourself into the act of
planning and running an event.
When you took on the Moishe House, you were already running your own
Jewish Organization, JewC, and since the inception of the Orange
County house, you have obviously gown as a person, and a Jew. Where
are you now compared to last year when the doors first opened.
Rae: I am a lot saner! JewC was a wonderful experience, but
running an organization that has over 500 members with no budget and
just your ideas can be exhausting and overwhelming. I have to confess
I cried myself to sleep a few times when that organization was growing. For me
Moishe House allows me to do all the fun and interesting things I
wanted to do with JewC but never had the space, funds, or support of
As a Jew, I think the thing I have learned the most is
that a lot of people aren't interested in connecting with being
Jewish. They are content to have friends, and date and then think
about the fact that they are Jewish again. Or, if they are interested,
they think that there isn't a place for them because they aren't
Jewish enough. We get questions from people asking if it is ok if they
come since they are only half Jewish. I have to laugh when I get asked that
because I am a convert, and my roomie is half, and my other roomie is
Judaism comes not only in all shapes and sizes, but
also in all levels of practice. We aren't a "Jewish" house for Jews,
we are a house where most of the time we all happen to be Jewish.
Parker: I really love the sentiment, "we all happen to be Jews"
there are few religious spaces out there that are open to all beliefs.
I for one am proud that we bring people in that aren't necessarily
Jewish, the fact that our members are able to bring their non-Jew
friends to events without hesitation is really neat. We are part of
movement that lets people practice Judaism on their own time an in
their own ways.
Our house is a work in progress, and I know where I want to take it,
but Rae..our dear leader...Heh, has her own dreams and aspirations and
this blog is a spot light on her. So where do you want to take the
house in its second year?
Rae: I hear (quite often) from Jews and non-Jews alike that there are
"no Jews" in Orange County. I quickly counter that statement, and tell
them that in fact, quite the opposite is true, and there are lots and lots of Jews in OC!
But some days I wake up and I wonder if we have found all the Jews that are interested
in coming to something like the Moishe House.
My goal for the next year is continue to grow awareness about Moishe House in our local community.
Our last Shabbat we had seven new people and they said that they
couldn't believe something like this existed and they loved it. I want
to hear that over and over again, as new people move to the area and
maybe someJews realize that they want to be more connected to their
Judaism, I want them to know about Moishe House.
A few months ago I just started randomly emailing fans on our Facebook
page asking them to join us (they were after all, already fans) and we have
several new members from those emails. It is about persistence and
making people feel welcome. Our problem isn't getting people to come
to the house again, it is about getting them past that initial
shyness, and just come to the house to see how rad it is.
I also want to go bigger and badder for our Chanukah party, finish our organic
garden, and set up a board of members to advice us so we can continue to offer
great events for the next year