Monday, October 25, 2010

Michael from Vienna - MH Blog Post

Before I get to some interesting points about my life in Moishe House Vienna, I wanna give a very special thank to all the people who made this whole thing possible, who established lots of houses around the globe, where jewish people can find themselves and make the jewish community all around the world some more stronger. Thank you Moishe House.

As I moved into Moishe House some time ago, a new chapter of life started. I didnt´t have this kind of experience before in my life. Moving out from somewhere to a place where you live with some other guys or girls together and organizing events to lots of others; it`s actually a pleasure. My whole lifestyle has changed since i ´ve been living here. Just differences like waking up in the morning, having breakfast with cool mates, having discussions about upcoming events, talking about life and its sides... as I said, a big pleasure.

Also a new experience was the responsibility, which increased from moment to moment. Living in Moishe House has actually increased my responsibility by factors... you have to get along with the guys you live with, which worked and still works out almost perfectly. You get to known more and more people by each event and change the phone numbers. It`s not seldom that people call you and ask for next events.. and every time I am happy to say: “ yes next Monday or Tuesday , movie night, oriental night, discussion evenings, or next Friday big holy shabbes meal..."

And you know, it´s not done by saying those things to people; YOU have to make those events happen, and every time it turns out to get a challenge. I don´t like things to get to fixed procedures . Actually I have to say WE, cause we are always looking for improvement, trying to get events to a perfection... as I said TRYING, 'cause as you know it says: nobody´s perfect ;-)

Living in Moishe house is the best that could happen to me, I don´t think that I´ll be living again together with such nice guys having great times and events... and Moishe House is a kind of procedue in life, which lets you grow out of yourself.

It is a lot of giving and giving, and I have to admit, sometimes it crosses through your own privacy, but the price you get for it is actually one of the best experiences you can have. It is a part in my life where i can definetly say: it gets me farther, it developes me, it changes some point of views in my life, you just see things in another way , it increases you peronal horizon.

Well guys, let me tell you one thing, I could write a romance bout` Moishe House. What I mean is, if you may have the opportunity once, just try living somtime at moishe house anywhere around the globe und you´ll see, cause as you know it says:

“ A picture says more than 1000 words” ;-)



Annie Jonas’ MH Blog Post

I scrambled down the dimly lit stairs and squeezed into an overly packed Beijing subway – it was already 6:47pm, aka still in the rush “hour” that lasts from 4-8pm in this congested city, and we had guests coming over in just over an hour for our very first Shabbat in the 2010 Moishe House Beijing. My co-M.H.’er Alison and I had hand-picked a unique set of 10 people in the community that we either didn’t know that well or were new to Beijing, and hoped for the best. Would everybody get along? Would there be enough to talk about? Were we in way over our heads?

As I raced out of the office, I continued ticking off boxes in my head – did we have the candles ready? (We ended up having candles, but… no candleholders, so we had to improvise with a very unique melted-wax-and-anchored-by-frozen-peas contraption.) Did we have enough plates and silverware? (Plates yes, but somehow we only had 8 knives… but we shared those.) Did we have a good enough music playlist prepared? (A mix of jazz to start off, followed by some more upbeat jams, and finally some pop hits for an impromptu mini dance party on our way out to a bar.) The questions scrolled through my mind at a mile a minute, alternating with panicked thoughts of work projects I still had to finish and emails I had to send. I hustled off the subway, raced on my bike through honking taxis and dangerously weaving motorbikes, and ran into the apartment door in a crazy huff of anxiety and babbling off last-minute things that needed to be handled. And there was Alison, who calmly assured me that everything was under control, told me to go send that work email, and then, reminded to get into Shabbat mode.

As soon as I pressed send on that email, I threw my Blackberry into a drawer, took a deep breath, and let the calm wash over me. It was Shabbat. A day of rest. A night of fun still ahead of me. A chance to press pause on our busy lives – to slow down and learn about new people, start forging new foundations, find connections that will hopefully evolve into friendships in which we can barely remember a time that we weren’t integral parts of each other’s lives.

I changed my clothes and went to the kitchen to set the table and throw some last-minute garnishes on the hearty food that our amazingly talented friends helped us cook. Soon our guests started streaming in, and we soon settled into stories and laughter and knowing smiles of cultural recognition, even among a group of people from incredibly different backgrounds, nationalities, careers, and levels of religious belief. As I sat looking around the table at the interesting mix of individuals we were able to welcome into our home, at the candles melting down among the gradually emptying bowls of food, at the warmth we were able to foster among people who had largely been strangers only a few hours before, it struck me that this is what the Moishe House is for. This feeling of comfort and of growth, the strength of these bonds – and not the hundreds of boxes to be ticked off in my head – is what defines the Moishe House, and what I hope we can continue to build for the Beijing community throughout the coming year.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Danielle Friedman - Moishe House Mexico City

I am a new Moishe House Mexico City resident and I couldn't be more excited. I first moved to Mexico City about a year ago on a visual arts fellowship. The first few weeks in the city I was searching for a young, welcoming community that would feel familiar and warm. I knew I didn't have to look farther than the latest email in my inbox. It was a JTA article my uncle had sent me- headline: "In Mexico City, insular community begins to reach out." In five minutes I learned of one perspective on the Mexican Jewish Community (a very common one) and I was intrigued. It was that easy, and I got the emails of three great guys who had just opened Moishe House Mexico City.

We met up for coffee and there was an instant connection. I was so excited to have somewhere to go for Shabbat and just have a place to hang out, especially being new to such a humongous city. The three boys were great company and I already felt like I knew them. Now, a year later, the opportunity had come up for me to move into the Moishe House and it just felt right...

So, I did it! A few weeks here and I absolutely love it. The apartment is beautiful and so are my roommates. The house just has an incredible vibe- really chill, welcoming and homey. We are going to create such great memories here.

So far we have planned the months of October and November. There are so many great occasions to celebrate like the one year anniversary of the Mexico City Moishe House, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving (my personal favorite) and the list goes on. We will keep everyone updated! I feel so lucky to be a part of such a unique and important local and global community!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Max Pollak-Moishe House Baltimore

"Greetings from the newly formed Moishe House Baltimore. We are just finishing up our 2nd month here in Baltimore and I can say that I have enjoyed every moment of it. We already have a great core group of people who come over to our house, watch football on Sundays, come to our BBQ’s and our Shabbat dinners. The Baltimore Community really has embraced us and we are off to a great start. The one event that has really blown my mind was our first Shabbat dinner.

Not knowing exactly what to expect we held our first Shabbat dinner. The date happened to coincide with our roommate Mickey’s birthday. As the night went on people filtered in, all different ages backgrounds and everything came over and enjoyed the company, food and all around good times at our house. Overall about 30 people came out for our inaugural Shabbat and we shared lots of laughs and good times. After a few hours the party moved from our house to our rooftop decks where we hung out and relaxed under the stars gazing out at the Baltimore City skyline.

To me what makes a community and an “event” isn’t as much about the programming, as it is about the people. The group of people that came out and attended immediately had a connection and people were feeding off of each other’s energy and excitement. There were friends that I have known for years, friends I just met, and people we had just met, and everyone immediately mingled together and I saw people exchanging phone numbers and contact info. I had a saying in college when I was an orientation leader that I told all of my incoming freshman on their first day, “if you can make one new friend, get one new phone number or find one person that you can go to lunch with, your community has grown,” and I think that applies to our community here in Baltimore.

Our community here in Baltimore is growing and I am so proud of the work that has been going on here and I am so excited to keep this momentum going that we have started. Each event has been strong and the people that have attended I’m sure can agree, they are most importantly, FUN! If your ever in town please feel free to stop by and say hello, even if there nothing planned!"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

change & progress in dc.

Rapid change is afoot at Moishe House DC! As the newly-coronated senior resident, I wish Steven and Rivka all the best in their post-Moishe endeavors, as I and the remaining housefolk eagerly await two new housemates, who are sure to alter the tone and personality of our house—a jarring, albeit healthy and reinvigorating permutation. And, though it’s quite hard for me to believe, I’m nearing my second anniversary as a resident of the Moishe House in Washington, DC.

It’s been an exceptional experience thus far, which has allowed me not only to grow in numerous personal capacities, but has afforded me a laboratory in which to experiment and contribute to the creation of an unparalleled, vibrant young Jewish community in Washington, DC. After approximately four years of existence, the unique impact of MHDC is widely-recognized, and we’ve done well differentiating ourselves from the many, many institutional Jewish community offerings in the District. In fact, the level of notoriety which we’ve attained is now proving to be a new challenge; we're determining how to retain the essence that has characterized MHDC since its inception and set us apart—fresh, alternative and eminently comfortable—while we simultaneously embrace new partnerships with organizations and friends who wish to see us grow and prosper, effectively bringing us above the radar we once intentionally hid below. I look forward to helping MHDC navigate these new waters. Year three, here I come…

Monday, October 4, 2010

Home for the Holidays at Moishe House Chicago

September. It was a month full of new beginnings. 5771 -- the new year. 722 -- our new street address.

It was a busy month too. We desperately tried to unpack our boxes, or at least hide them in closets and corners, before the marathon of Jewish holidays began. We kicked the month off with Shabbat Shuvah, and followed it with a program on the Jewish Art of Reconciliation with our guest Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb. For Rosh Hashanah, our friend, Jake Adler, led a discussion on Tashlich and self-transformation. Yom Kippur found us hosting nearly 30 people for a break-fast meal.

We didn't stop with the high holidays. Next was Sukkot. We partnered with The Gan Project to build a sukkah from found objects. I raided my parents' garage, others searched in alleys. In the end, we had a beautiful, unique, sacred space right here in the middle of Chicago. Then, many people joined us for a Shabbat dinner in our sukkah. To top the month off, we retreated to Black Oaks Center where we slept in a yurt and spent 24 hours off the grid. There was no electricity or running water. While the goal had been to camp for Sukkot and volunteer our services on a farm harvesting vegetables, this experience made me, at least, much more aware of, and grateful for, all the amenities I have living in the city. (And the yurt provided welcome protection from the droplets that rained down all night.) Without heat and electricity, I was reminded of how vulnerable we are to the elements, perhaps a glimpse of the Israelites' experience in the desert. Most of all, the trip provided a break from our daily habits. We also had a song circle to sing the Havdalah prayers and other Jewish and American tunes we knew.

One other program we had was a planning meeting for a discussion series we're hosting to explore privilege and oppression in the Jewish community. I was unable to attend because of a work obligation that night, but as I approached our house on the sidewalk, I passed several friends on the sidewalk; I knew they were coming from our house. And when I came in the door, I was greeted by the smell of good home cooking, sounds of laughter, and many familiar faces. Our walls were covered with butcher paper filled from edge to edge with notes from the planning meeting. Another friend, Julia, stayed after the dinner session to work with me on planning our Sukkot camping trip. It finally felt as though we hit our groove.

I know anyone can get a list of our events by looking at our calendar, but I summarized them here because I felt incredibly proud of the programs we created in September. Inspired by our friends in Boston, we've been trying to implement more of an organizing model for programming. We are meeting one on one with our community members and bringing them into the process of designing and executing programs. And while it's much more energy intensive and overwhelming (especially when you have 3 major Jewish holidays all in one month), it is much more rewarding. For me, it was also an opportunity to explore holidays in a new way. I've never had my own sukkah, let alone built one from found objects (a practice in line with my values). It was special to be able to break bread in it and sleep in it too. This month, we saw a big increase in the number of new people attending too, a sign that we're doing something right. September reminded me of the privilege it is to live in Moishe House and to have the opportunity to help build a vibrant, young, meaningful Jewish community. I'm excited to continue forward with the momentum we built last month.

Happenings in MH Great Neck

As the holiday season just ended we had many opportunities to throw some amazing events. We have been hosted events from singles dating events, to Jewish learning classes and our famous "Haflot" (From the Arabic word "hafla" meaning party) Additionally, we make an effort to team up with other local organizations to help market our name to a plethora of people that we otherwise would not have been able to reach. Among the recent ones outstanding were the succah building event. We managed to get a van and go to Home Depot and build an entire succah from scratch. Considering no member of our home or community has done such in the past it was as much a learning process as it was a fun one. You'd think with over 10 people participating someone would have had some experience? But still we managed to successfully build a kosher 8x12 ft succah and hosted meals there as well as after party munch fests. Now the only task remaining is to take it down...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October at MoHoLo: Happy Birthday to you!

Hello MoHoLo lovers everywhere

Happy Birthday to you!
"What?" you say "But it isn't my birthday!"
"Ah ha!" we say, "but it is the birthday of the House".
Yes, we have reached our THIRD birthday!  

And of course, the House is formed not simply by bricks, mortar and residents:
We five work full-time in our own jobs, and run the House in our spare time, so we couldn't possibly have got here without you.  So Happy Birthday to you!
Increasingly we are seeing you step forwards to use the House to actualise ideas that you have for your lives, your neighbourhood and the Jewish world you want to make for yourselves, instead of waiting for someone else to make them happen.  There's also a tangible difference in your relationship with the House, in the love, care and creativity you put into it.
Keep going. 
And be brave.
You may as well: This is the place to push the boundaries of what community can be and do.
Get in touch.  
And if you are interested in living with us, remember we have a rolling application process, so email us back and we will send you the magical three questions!  
Be the change you wish to see in the World. 
Or in Willesden Green for starters.
And did we mention you can get your tickets for our birthday party here?

Here's the rest of October's events.
See you in our dreams,

RRR, Aviad, Brett, Joel and Alli (Tali is in Colombia!)
P.S. Thanks to Jess Lenza, who took care of the house during in the Summer, along with new resident Alli!

Firstly, congratulations to Michael Leventhal for co-ordinating the awe-inspiring GefilteFest today, raising over  £2000 for Bet Shean Foodbank and Leket, as well as supporting local women's collective Spice Caravan who fed us delicious food all day long. 

Saturday, October 9

MoHoLo 3rd Year Anniversary Party!

Where:MoHoLo, Willesden Green - if you don't know, get to know... 
When:Saturday, October 9 from 8:00 pm to late 

Happy Birthday to us. This October Moishe House London will be celebrating its 3rd massive year!!
We've come a long way baby. From our opening party in Chatsworth Road, October '07 - immortalised by Sara Cox, who broadcast news of our Drum and Bass saxophone antics to her nationwide listeners on Radio1 - to the epic Moishe Fest of July '09; from Lag B'Omer bonfires to the amazing Grassroots services that took place here this Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur...
The memories are too many to list, so celebrate with us in our now much loved home.
For the first time, we'll have FILTHY KICKS playing live for us - fusing Eastern European folk with Drum and Bass, Hip Hop and Breaks and all live and direct! We'll have a fat sound system and you know the club space is great. The event is ticketed at £10, raising money to pay off the remaining costs of damages to our old place. We will supply a little bit of food and drink, but we still ask you to come with some of your own to consume and share (veggie food only please). If MoHoLo has been good to you at any point in the last three years, bring something that reminds you of the good times. As always, our space is your space, with room for you to contribute to the creativity. Get in touch with Joel, Brett, Alli or Aviad if you'd like to help lift this one high above your average house party - it's what we do here!

Monday, October 11

Jelly: Casual Co-working at MoHoLo

Where:Moishe House London
When:Monday, October 11 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Jelly is a casual working event, particular useful for the freelance amongst us. It's taken place in over a hundred cities where people have come together (in a person's home, a coffee shop, or an office) to work for the day. We provide chairs and sofas, wireless internet, and interesting people to talk to, collaborate with, and bounce ideas off of.
You bring a laptop (or whatever you need to get your work done) and a friendly disposition.
Show up when you wish, but do let us know that you are planning to come so we can estimate numbers.
8am stretching and porridge for the wholesome amongst you! 
Any time between 9am-4pm for everyone else. 
Bring vegetarian things and curious teas to share if you wish. 
WiFi available, but please only for work that won't block the connection for everyone else. If possible, please bring your own music too, so that the bandwidth isn't taken up with lots of streaming activities! 
Contact us for address and any other details.

Saturday, October 16

Storytelling Melaveh Malkah with Sheikh Ghassan Mana'sra & Chana Yaffe

Where: MoHoLo
When: Saturday, October 16 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Sheikh Ghassan Manasra is a Palestinian Sufi Sheikh from Nazareth, a spiritual teacher, author, and scholar of Islamic writers.
Cana Jaffe is a Jewish storyteller and singer who lives in Jerusalem and performs internationally. She is the coordinator of Middle East Activities for Spirit of Peace and the founder of Stories4Peace. 
Together they are touring the UK during October, sharing their cultural traditions of storytelling, together with other participatory arts, to bring multifaith and cultural groups together around the important themes of peace and reconciliation.
We request a £5 donation which will go towards the work of Jerusalem Peacemakers and the Spirit of Peace.
For those who are joining us before the end of Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath), a donation in advance or afterward would be greatly appreciated.
Spirit of Peace is working alongside others to rise to the above challenge, in the field of peace building and social cohesion. Its purpose is to foster greater peace and equality, the main thrust of the work being in The UK, and also in The Middle East (through partnership with Jerusalem Peacemakers).

Tuesday, October 19

Laughter Yoga with Adam Oliver

Where:Moishe House London
When:Tuesday, October 19 from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul"  Yiddish proverb
Laughter Yoga is a unique technique which enables "Laughter for no reason". You don't even need a sense of humour, funny jokes or comedy programmes - just a willingness to laugh. It combines laughter exercises with Yogic breathing to increase the amount of oxygen in your body whilst being playful, resulting in you feeling more healthy, energised and alive. 
The session will run for just over an hour, ending with a laughter meditation and will be run by Adam Oliver.
SUGGESTED DONATION: £5 (please contact us if you feel you are unable to make a financial donation but would like to come. Do not be embarrassed!)
Adam has spent the last 10 years exploring ways of opening people up to their inner-selves, through performance, play and ritual. He has worked with some of the greatest theatrical practitioners of the age studying rogue, clown and fool. He currently lives in London on a boat where he works as a performer, comedian and workshop leader. He is fond of hats.

...and book now for this!
Sunday, December 5

Mental Health First Aid (Part 1 of 3)

Where:Moishe House London
When:Sunday, December 5 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

COST: EARLY BIRD PRICE: book by 14th Nov and pay £55, full price:
Did you know that 1 in 4 people will have at least one mental health problem at some point in their lives? 
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training will strengthen the support that you offer to an affected friend, family member, colleague or person in your community. It will enable you to recognise the signs and symptoms of those affected by mental health problems and offer initial help and guidance towards appropriate professional services.

This 12-hour national training programme is endorsed by the Department of Health and National Mental Health Development Unit, and is delivered by accredited MHFA trainers Claire Nacamuli, from JAMI (Jewish 
mental health charity) and Katrin Eichhorn.
Delegates will receive a certificate and manual upon completion of course.
Sunday 5th December 10am-5pm,  Tuesday 8th December 7pm-10pm & Thursday 10th December 7pm-10pm.

COST: EARLY BIRD PRICE: book by 14th Nov and pay £55, full price: £75