Tuesday, August 31, 2010

my one year reflection of MHOC

Three months before my one year anniversary of living in a Moishe House, I sit in front of my computer and ask myself…what has the last year of my life been to me? What have I accomplished, what have I done for my community and do I enjoy what I’m doing with limited time on this planet? I seem to ask myself these very questions on a constant basis. I find this thought process to be a time of self realization where I can make the necessary changes in my life to achieve my goals.

To start with I recently obtained my series 7 general securities license which puts me one step closer to starting a career where I will hopefully obtain a sense of financial freedom and the ability to one day provide for a family. I have also been part of Moishe House OC in Laguna Beach where we host between 7-10 events a month that cater to our local Jewish community. From my conversations with our guests I would claim that they primarily come for four different reasons including: 1) meeting new friends 2) networking for business contacts 3) entertainment 4) finding that special someone.

I have had the fortune of all 4 of these reasons happening to me over the past year. I have meet hundreds of great individuals and been reacquainted with some old friends from temple that I haven’t seen in roughly 15 years. I have become close with my housemates who have helped build our community and host some amazing events if I may be so obliged to say. And I have met an amazing girl that makes me extremely happy and that I can only hope I bring her the same happiness.

I guess I have come to the realization of looking at Moishe House in a new way... After my first few months of living in the house I would say to myself, look at all the good you have done for MH and the community but now I realize it is Moishe House which has done so much for me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Year, New Roommates

Lee'at and Ben have moved in and Moishe is growing already! Our events have been more diverse and we've added a recurring Discussion Group to our repertoire where we discuss relevent topics related to us--young Jews!

With my new roommates settled and helping me steer this endeavor, I have a newfound passion for Moishe House. The STL branch is more organized, energetic, and it's looking to grow with leaps and bounds! Lee'at, Ben, and I have such different personalities, ideas, and perspectives that we're able to combine all 3 to create unique and interesting programs and keep visitors wanting more, and bringing more visitors with them.

One initiative we'd like to instill is to partner with other organizations more, both locally and nationally, to branch out and make Moishe House STL a household name. I'm excited for the upcoming year with my new roomies and to unveil all that MHSTL has to offer!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010



Hope you have been enjoying the crazy summer season. We have been taking full advantage of the weather having many days of reggae garden sessions, late night jams and general summer warmth.

We have an exciting month of bringing a fresh slant to the festival season. We are supplying an alternative way to experience and connect to the high holidays and beyond. Come and reflect in a way that you never have before, come and enjoy services that are inclusive, fresh, colourful and dare I say, exciting! Then come and party in our Succah, which will be bigger and better than it has ever been....Now there's a challenge!

So, we would firstly like to welcome Alli Zionts our new house mate who has come all the way from Pittsburgh, USA. It has only been a few days and we have already found out she bakes incredible Challah. She has come in as we have said goodbye to Tali, who is now parading the deserts of Nevada, and after saving lives in South America.

We also have Jess Lenza with us for a month while Rachel is spinning yarns in Edinburgh and Jess has already been getting down on the guitar and livening up the last few events with her tunes and singing.

So, onwards with the events....

    Ellul Bootcamp

Sunday, September 5 from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm
"EllulFest" AKA "Ellul Boot Camp" for Grassroots Jews, is a day of learning, creativity, singing, meditating and reflecting in preparation for the High Holy Days. It will be between 1-7pm at MoHoLo. The themes include, but are not restricted to, new beginnings, repentence, resolutions, reflection and renewal. There will be art spaces, workshops, taster sessions, a silent meditation area, and the day will culminate with song-teaching, singing and the blowing of the Shofar. With the combined energy of the Ellul Art Warriors (not unlike the Planeteers combining to summon Captain Planet), We think this will be an unmissable day.


Pizza and Politics with NIF New Gen

Moishe House London, Willesden Green

Join us on Sunday 5 September at 7pm at Moishe House, for an evening in (we hope) the garden. We'll be discussing Israel – how we feel about what it's doing, how we in the Diaspora are affected by its actions, and how we, as a result, choose to defend or critique it.

It's going to be very much a safe space where we can openly discuss an often emotive and divisive subject. Bring along articles you've read, thoughts that will prov...oke debate, insights you've picked up that have affected your current views on Israel… and come with an open mind.

RSVP to NIFNewGen@gmail.com by Friday 27 August, and let us know of any dietary requirements for the pizza-ordering! We'll then let you know the address of Moishe House.

A £7 door charge will go to covering the cost of the event.

Grassroots Jews Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

:Moishe House London

Wednesday, September 8 at 7:30 pm until
Saturday, September 18 at 8:00 pm


So if you want to be part of an avowedly inclusive community. If you ever sat in Shul and thought "there must be more to it than this". If you want to be part of a huge, and potentially risky social experiment. If you know in your heart of hearts and the very depths of your soul that one of the best times you had in a minyan in London was with WJ, Carlebach Minyan or MoHoLo. Even just the once. Then please come and join us.

We are delighted that Yossi Chajes, our wonderful chazan, will be back again this year.

… looking forward to your heartfelt support, your homebaked cakes, your leyning skills, your organisational spreadsheets and your friendly faces, babies and grandparents and any one who wants to make sure shul on RH is warm and vibrant and makes you want to learn more, get in touch with your traditions and your tunes and your ways of doing things differently


And the booking section of the blog:




Sunday, September 19 from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Well, in order to have our week long Sukkah party we need a Sukkah. WE WANT YOU...To join in and help build the Sukkah. We have some skilled hands who have helped before. But not only do we have to build it, but also decorate it. We will start the day by going out and finding materials. If anyone has useful Sukkah articles to bring, then we invite you to! Then the building will commence and finally the decorations will be set. We invite ANY Jews that are actually good at DIY, plus all the arty folk, you know who you are. Come join and help make an amazing structure for people to party in all week.

A WEEK LONG SUKKAH PARTY! in association with Grassroots Jews

Wednesday, September 22 at 8:00 pm until
Wednesday, September 29 at 10:00 pm

We will be holding various events every night of the week for Sukkot. We haven't got them all planned yet, so, if you have an idea and would like to 'host' one of the nights do email with your ideas to thelondonhouse@gmail.com and copy in carlebach7@gmail.com. We can't wait to hear from you!



Monday, August 23, 2010

MHSF - Sarah Curtin (personal blog?): Costco rules, or... does it?

Transitions are rough. Especially roommate transitions. Kiki and I found ourselves in just that sort of transition in June... looking for new roommates, saying goodbye to our old ones... watching furniture, decorations, and personalities leave our home. One of the biggest hits we took was we lost our connection to Costco. Now, I know you think that's sort of silly and trivial, but trust me, it's not. I've lived in the house almost 2 years, and it seemed to me as if without our highly-important, highly-used costco membership (and obviously, the members), Shabbat just wouldn't be feasible. How else do we buy enough food to feed an army of 25 hungry Jews, within our $100 monthly Shabbat budget? It seemed an impossible dilemma.

While I'd never been a card-carrying Costco member myself, the enthusiasm my former room mates held for the store was completely contagious. By the time they moved out I LOVED the place. But alas, I'm not on top of my game enough to get my act together and go just sign up for my own membership. July rolled around, and Dan, Ariel (the two newest MHSF additions!), Kiki and myself found ourselves lacking, and figuring out how to plan for Shabbat. Just in time -- I swear, literally the exact requisite 9 days in advance to sign up online -- the Birthright Israel NEXT partnership launched. We signed up our Shabbat, and boom, in a second, we had basically tripled our shabbat allowance. Whew. We could buy food!!!

We still could not, however, buy our trusted, well loved, Costco whole rotiserie chickens that had become a quick, easy, cheap Shabbat staple at our house. What to do? I'm excited to say that we took the opportunity to get cooking. We went big. We went huge. Not only did we cook a feast of both veggie and non-veggie options, but we were able to buy wine (thank you Moishe House and Birthright Israel NEXT for enabling our 2-buck-chuck habit!!), and most importantly, COOK OUR VERY OWN ROAST CHICKEN! I know it sounds silly, but it was a work of art. We got creative. We made a beer-butt chicken, with garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and PBR. It was gorgeous, and delicious, and a team effort that was really a lot of fun. And it only happened, if you follow the string of events back to the very start, because of the roommate transition. Everyone loved it, and we celebrated Shabbat with our new roommates in style. Needless to say we didn't have any left over chicken. Change is hard, but great things can come of it. Especially if you like poultry.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Joel, London - Personal Blog

Well, it's been almost three years of living in Moishe House London, since we started it up in October 2007. Back then, when a few of us were phoning each other about this crazy idea of creating a Jewish community house, we couldn't have envisaged how far we'd come and the way this community has blossomed.

A couple weeks ago we played host to Moishe House's very own David Cygielman, who had a few days in London on his way to Israel. I got to accompany him to a few meetings with local funders and spend some quality time getting to know him and what goes on behind the scenes at Moishe House. It was very interesting to see how impressed the funders were by the Mintranet, and I was relieved when David clicked on Moishe House London and all our photos and numbers were in place! It did make me realise why we're asked to monitor what we do here.

David arrived at a good time - he was able to meet a host of young Jewish movers and shakers at a '40 under 40' lunch, come to great communal Shabbat held by people who are very important in our Moishe House community, and experience a uniquely English MoHoLo event. We've been partnering with the JCC for some time now, hosting a monthly 'Hang Out at the House' evening for Darfuri refugees and our regular community. On David's visit we decided to make the event a 'sock-wrestling' tournament. Basically two people get on hands and knees on the carpet and have to steal the sock off their opponents foot. David ended the evening undefeated, 2-0, but retired with a nasty set of carpet burns!

Now we're gearing up for the high holidays when we're hosting Grassroots Jews, independent Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services - 150 people expected in a marquee in our garden. David said one of our strengths as a house is our level of integration with the local community, and Grassroots Jews promises to be another such example.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Friday Night Lights

The biggest Jewish scene in Texas on a friday night has nothing to do with football. Candle light replaces bleacher blare as Jewish twenty-somethings fill Moishe House Dallas to capacity. They stir, and mingle, and drink wine in anticipation for the Shabbat meal. The MoHost's gather everyone around three full-length tables to sing the traditional Friday night blessings, followed by Kiddush and Ha'Motzi. Each time new faces mix in with the ever-increasing number of “regulars” at MoHo Shabbat dinner. Jews from all over the Dallas Metroplex walk over from down the block or drive-in 45 minutes to be at MoHo, beer or wine in hand. It is the singular event that speaks to every one who comes to MoHo Dallas seeking a true Jewish community of their peers.

This past Shabbat, a now-regular occurrence happened that made me think of the extraordinary affect MoHo Shabbat dinner is having on people's lives. Hillary, a 24 year old post-Communications major now living in Dallas walked through the MoHo doors. This was her second Shabbat and her smile revealed her instant comfortability. By her side was her friend Brian, an import from Miami. While at first a bit anxious, Hillary introduced Brian to friends she met at the previous Shabbat. By the end of the night Brian was mingling through the crowd on his own.

Raymond - Moishe House Dallas

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thoughts on Community in Chi Town (by Kelly V.)

Two weeks ago the age range at our Shabbat varied much more than normal. Five year olds and twenty sometimes; thirties, fourties, fifties, sixties…maybe seventies (i'm an awful judge of age). It is safe to say that most ages were present. Why, you ask? It was Moishe House Chicago's Intergenerational Shabbat!People sat according to different questions that defined their generations. A "I used a typewriter regularly" was sitting next to a "I was a huge fan of 'Nsync" and not next to a, "I remember what I was doing when JFK was shot." (see above) It seemed that perhaps Moishe House Chicago, a community for those post college and pre-adult/synagogue life, was straying off mission a little bit…or was it? I would argue, not at all. The conversations happening around the room as generations mixed was among some of the most interesting and diverse that we had ever had. I talked about healthcare, about the difference between being young and jewish today and being young and jewish thirty years ago, and about the changes that the city of Chicago has gone through. I felt inspired by the different perspectives. The Moishe House community had opened its doors to outside of our typical age range and for this evening, all ages were better because of it.

As proof, look at all these smiling faces:

For me personally, Moishe House is most powerful because it is a welcoming community. And in this community is energy, contagious energy, that people (even adults with families who mostly find their jewish communities in synagogues) want to be a part of for a night every once and a while. I felt lucky to be able to take part in this event and to know that I was a part of this unique community.

Even better follow up to this event was running into one of the Shabbat attendees, Dr. Anne, at a labor rally downtown. We were able to reconnect over our interest in worker justice. This was a further solidification of the way that Moishe House can bring people together. If we had not held the intergenerational Shabbat, Dr. Anne would just have been another face in a crowd.

I'll end this blog with another feel good story. It's also about community. You might even say that I'm developing a theme here. Last friday evening before Shabbat I got a wonderful phone call. It was from Karin, a moist house regular who had moved out of the Chicagoland area calling from her summer post as a camp counselor. She was wrestling with the possibility of moving back to Chicago, and wanted to know if there were any spots in the Moishe House that were open. "If there were, I'd move back in a heartbeat, it would make the decision so easy," she said. She continued by saying that Moishe House was her community in Chicago, and a community that she hope to recreate if she stayed on the East Coast. It felt amazing to hear feedback about the positive impacts of the community; the fact that Moishe House was a marker for her about feeling settled in a city speaks to the power and importance of Moishe House.

Rachael - MHSS - July 2010 - Personal Blog

I wrote the following for June's Moishe Monthly about a multi-MH camping trip, the power of the "outdoors", and the coolness of Judaism when it comes to nature appreciation.

But before I share that, I'd like to share something else -- also, it turns out, involving Jews, the woods, and MH Cleveland.

I just returned from my first Rainbow Gathering, held this year in the Hearts Content (of course! :) ) section of the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. I had an idea what to expect, knew people who had been before, knew a few people who were supposed to be there the same time as me (-- not that we'd necessarily find each other, with no mobile service and 20,000 people spread out over an entire national park)...and I had done the whole camping / potty-in-the-woods thing...yet I was still a little apprehensive, not entirely sure I'd feel fully "there" or part of the community.
There were so many people and so many cars, we had to park at least a mile from the "front gate", and then walk over a mile and a half to the main center of activity. As I lugged my gear closer, I saw and heard signs of the Gathering: friendly greetings and "Welcome Home"s, offers of assistance and refreshment, some already packing out, latecomers like me on their way in, distant drums...and, then, a Moishe House sign! Cardboard, tied to a tree, a rainbow of colors decorating the Moishe House logo -- and I thought right away I'd be OK.
I immediately sought my fellow MHers. Turns out Raychel of MH Cleveland + friends had established a vegan kitchen Moishe House camp. I had a safe home base, a connection, a family, and a Moishe House-style Jew Crew (open, welcoming, inclusive, casual) to enjoy the Gathering by. It was excellent to have a "family" at the Gathering already...immediately reassuring. I also got to tell people about Moishe House and connected with a few Jews over this very clearly Jewish-affiliated camp.
(P.S., the two blessings I mention at the end of the article, I said over bioluminescent fungus a friendly Rainbow-er pointed out to me glowing on my way back to Moishe House camp. Seeing something glow in the dark in the woods is very, very cool. :) )
Moishe Monthly - June 2010

Nature. Jews. Community. Turtles?

Back when spring weather was still a hopeful glimmer, Josh Einstein of MH Hoboken asked me and MHSS [Moishe House Silver Spring] if we'd be up for another MH East Coast camping trip. (Einstein's previous multi-Moishe feats span the seasons and the mid-Atlantic, combining Judaism and Jewish community in peer-led, outdoors-centered gatherings.) When the dust had cleared and the scores were tallied, MHs Hoboken (NJ), Silver Spring (MD), and Cleveland (OH) (yes, Cleveland -- hadn't you heard? Cleveland's been relocated to the coast!) had signed up for Einstein's next multi-MH event.

Again at French Creek State Park, again waking at 6:30am courtesy of our neighborly Boy Scouts, again celebrating Shabbat in the Great Outdoors -- but this time we were both greeted AND sent on our way by shell-dwelling reptiles. On Friday afternoon we encountered a box turtle (spotted by Taliesin of MH Cleveland) which was clearly thrilled with our tactile adoration ("ooo, I want to pet it!" "Someone take a picture! Quick! Gather 'round the turtle and smile!" "Can we take it home?"); Sunday morning, we awoke to the following incrementally awesome immersed-in-nature experience:
- a snapping turtle
- making her nest and laying her eggs
- on our campsite!

Herbal / botany nature walks (and the resulting tea), cross-MH bonding, storytelling (and cooking) by the campfire -- constructing an eruv around trees with rope, and performing the mitzvot of hamotzi and kiddush under the canopy of dark -- were all wonderful to experience and fulfilled my vision of how our second East Coast Moishe House camping trip would play out; yet I was struck most by this turtle choosing our campsite to lay her eggs. For me it was an exciting, amazement-infused first -- almost surprising, given my life-long infatuation with turtles; and, though I endorse self-explorative expression and personal concoction of blessings of gratitude and wonder, I am proud to have in my heritage both an offering of thanks for reaching a certain moment, and a declaration of wonder for encountering or experiencing an element of our natural world that strikes the heart or spirit.
Shehechiyanu, V'kiymanu, V'higiyanu, Lazman Ha'zeh -- may you continue to reach miraculous, joyous moments, and recognize and experience them as such;
Oseh ma'aseh b'reishit -- and may you continue to enjoy the works and the process of Creation.

And, may I express a blessing of life for our little turtle friends: may all the eggs remain intact, and hatch healthy, and may all the little ones find their ways safely to water, and grow up living happy turtle lives -- perhaps inspiring awe or wonder in others along the way.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August at Moishe House London

It's a relatively quiet month events-wise but there's still a lot brewing and we're building up for the big one, Grassroots Jews Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, this year to be hosted at none other than the Moishe House. Read on for details and get those tickets booked before it sells out like last year...

GRASSROOTS JEWS, 8-10 & 17-18 September: This year Moishe House London is the venue for Grassroots Jews, independent High Holiday services from the people who bring you some of London's best loved grassroots groups - Carlebach Minyan, Wandering Jews and Moishe House London.

Our services will be traditional (and perhaps not so traditional in parts) and halachic. There will be some seating separated by a mechitza and there will also be an area of seating where anyone can sit where you like. Women will be called up to the Torah in accordance with halacha. At the same time – free wheeling, open, free to come and go, chill out spaces, cushions, tents, friendly, space for mothers and babies.

Tickets are on sale now. Grassroots totally sold out last year and will probably sell out quicker this year, so visit the Grassroots blog, get more info and book your tickets now: http://grassrootsjewishnewyearproject.wordpress.com/


08 August

LIVE jam LIVE AUDIENCE Parliament Hill

Where:Meet top of Parliament Hill
When:08 August from 16:00 to 23:30

A jam session, simple as that. Bring music instruments, juggling balls, poi and paintings.

We are looking for musicians in particular, so if you play, that means you!

22 August

Art Warrior Play Day

Where:Moishe House London, Willesden Green (message us for the full address)
When:22 August at 10:00 until 
23 August at 00:30

On Aug 22 as part of Ellul Boot Camp (preparation for the High Holy Days) we will have a massive PLAY DAY at MoHoLo.

Please bring your toys, gadgets, art materials, cameras, teddy bears and fancy dress for a day of pure creativity. 

A showing in the evening and LIVE MUSIC, DRUM CIRCLE and bonfire to finish off. 

The play day will cost £10 to cover art and craft materials and snacks. Please feel free to bring veggie snacks and main dishes if you would like. 

If you would like to take part, please email joanna@jlccoaching.com as we have a limited number of spaces!

26 August

Isaac in America

Where:Moishe House London, Willesden Green (message us for the full address)
When:26 August from 19:30 to 22:00

MoHoLo has got its hands on the rare documentary 'Isaac in America: A Journey With Isaac Bashevis Singer' and will be showing it on the Moishe House big screen.

The film presents a unique and close characterisation of the celebrated writer and Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer. Filmed only a few short years before he died, it depicts the author looking back on his professional and life experiences.

RESIDENT NEWS: Tali is off on a sabbatical work project in South America, which means Alli Zionts will be joining us as resident for four months. We'll also have rabbinical student Jess Lenza with us while Rachel is in Edinburgh doing her new show and hitting the American desert again for Burning Man.

Joel is creating costumes and readying himself for That Thing In the Desert
RRR is up for her second run at Edinburgh Festival. Book tickets here (http://tinyurl.com/2uz2cfr) and get in touch for a Hebridean MoHoLo gathering, or book to see it at Soho Theatre in October!
Natalia is loving our gorgeous home grown veg!
Brett is conquering Japan for the UK music industry 
Aviad is holding down the fort

HELP SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY: Contrary to popular belief, Moishe House is no longer financially supported by Morris Squire and his foundation. Nowadays Moishe House is made possible thanks to the generosity of many groups and individuals. Please consider making a donation to Moishe House by clicking here, where you can specify that you would like to help sustain community life in Moishe House London in particular.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Russian Moishe House is now into its second year. The time flew by incredibly fast, but nevertheless we have achieved a great deal in our first year. Not only did we host many, many great events, we were successful in spreading the word about the project to the Russian Jewish community of Chicagoland and beyond. Russian Moishe House became a well-known hub for the Russian-Jewish young adult life. The end of the first year brought some changes to our Moishe House. Two of our residents, Vitaly and Dimitry have decided to pursue other endeavors and left the Moishe House. Before the new year began, we spent a couple of months interviewing potential candidates and finally decided on Roman and Vicky, two wonderful people who have since become not only our friends, but invaluable assests to our house. This kind of a transition, however, always takes time, because learning to live together is a process. Everyone has their unique personalities, values, habits, and approaches to things. And also it simply takes time to get used to having a new person in your intimate personal space we call home. It's been a little over a month now and I feel like the adaptation process is well underway and we are becoming really good friends in the meanwhile. Our goal as the second generation is to continue providing a social space for our members, building awareness, and creating a closely-knit Russian-Jewish community.

-Rostik, MH-RSJ

What new in Moishe?

Hi everyone

Its sunday and I am so excited about my trip to Israel, only two days left. I am going there to be a madricha on taglit birthright so I hope to meet many new potential Moishe House Warsaw visitors! Reaching out for new participant is very important to us, and now (its almost two years of our MH) is even more important. Since last two years we gathered a big community, or I can say family of people that are involved in our projects. But its always refreshing to see some new facec right? In August we have scheduled many interresting things, for example we orgnized screening of movie and a party for those taglit newcomers in warsaw famous cafe.
Yesterday we spend almost whole day searching for a nice place to fix up Rosh Hashana celebrations! Oh, another thing I meer very nice girl, her name is Marysia and she and her friends are thinking about etsablishing MH in Łodz!
So Rosh haShana is just around the corner and I'm wishing everyone really sweet year with Moishe House!