Saturday, November 27, 2010

What does it mean to be a real community?

Over the past two weeks, I've been thinking about what an honor it is to serve as a Moishe House resident, to have the chance to be there for people for key momemnts in their lives and to watch our community support each other in times of joy and of need.

Last week, Moishe House Boston experienced a major first - our first baby. When Moishe/Kavod House member Katie went into labor, Evan, the soon-to-be-dad and former community board president, sent Moishe House Boston's key leadership an email telling us to root for them. Within minutes, a flurry of emails started racing back and forth - our chesed team sprung to action, planning who would coordinate meals for the new parents. I got email updates during the labor, in which Evan shared how grateful he was to be going through this experience supported by friends and community. Now that baby Gavi has entered the world, the whole community is celebrating her as our own, bringing meals, laughing with the parents, and working to create a baby naming/blessing ritual.

Then, in sad news, on Thursday, the father of one of our members passed away. I'll call this member Josh, for privacy's sake. During Thanksgiving dinner, I received an email from Josh to share the bad news. A few hours later, I found myself sitting in his family's living room in Westchester, on a detour on the way home from visiting family in CT. Though I love Josh, if it weren't for Moishe House and my leadership role there, I never would have been to his home. But as soon as I heard, I knew that this is what I needed to do, because that is what it means for me to be in community - to be there for people through joyous and painful times. And I wasn't the only one - two of our other leaders contacted me right away to figure out how they could get to the shiva. Even though of course I wish I didn't need to go and I wish Josh wasn't in pain, I felt immensely blessed to be invited in as a friend and comfort during this painful time. I also felt blessed to have something to do - letting our chesed/caring team know that Josh needed meals when he returned from shiva, and thinking about a way to welcome him back into community and give space to honor his father's memory.

Everyone knows that Moishe House is worthwhile because of the interesting programs we throw and the dynamic young people we attract. But it is in weeks like these, when we comes together to witness joy and pain, to support each other and give space for whatever people are going through -- that is when I know we are really a community.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thanks for all the good times and memories, Moishe House Cleveland! House closing/ Raychel's (October) exit blog

My Moishe House experience was unforgettable, in so many ways. It began when Moishe House Cleveland opened in September 2008, as a place I'd go to spend time with my friends and make new ones. It grew to be and include the majority of my social circle and a place I'd spend time at, even when there wasn't an event going on. It was a place that brought me naches. Eventually, in January of this year it became my residence.

Over the summer we realized that we’d need at least two new housemates for September as three of the housemates were moving on. I would be the only constant in the house, and would continue to hold down the fort. This search began in late June and ended in mid-October, when it became clear that the house would have to close after attracting only one new housemate. The house was full of upheaval in September and it was distressingly difficult to be the only one staying put! By the end of October we had to say goodbye to our dearly beloved community house.

In memory of Moishe House Cleveland I’d like to share some of my favorite memories and most memorable events. Seeing Matisyahu in concert- we did this twice and both times I managed to meet him and get a picture with him. One time I prayed with him. He is so humble and low key, it was really nice to be in his presence. Election watch party 2008- completely unforgettable, in part due to the fact that we were watching The Daily Show/Colbert Report Indecision Special on Comedy Central at the time the election was called and we weren't sure whether to believe the results or not until we had checked some other stations. Post confirmation the rejoicing commenced! Jewish Christmas- We would gather around the projector in the living room and put on 12-hour movie marathons, complete with Chinese take-out ordered twice throughout the day. My favorite Jewish Christmas celebration was the year we had a Tarantino marathon. The clothing swap- there was an over abundance of clothes at that event, and from just a handful of participants to boot! Everyone got to take some “new” stuff home and we donated bags upon bags to the needy. The now infamous wine and painting socials- so much beautiful art came out of those and turned our house into a communal art gallery. Some took their art home or gave it away. Most painted, even if they didn’t see themselves as talented in that way and there was just enough wine to inspire them. Magnet Making Party- another event in which some surprising talents shined and everyone got to take home a mini work of art, with many being left behind to decorate our refrigerator. Multi-Moishe House camping trip- there are few better times than camping with good friends! I really just wish that Hoboken, Silver Spring and Cleveland were geographically closer to each other so we could have done more joint events.

Honorable mentions include: the article about our house in The Plain Dealer (; hamantaschen baking nights; a plethora of karaoke sessions; multiple Rock Band nights; Shabbat dinners, especially those cooked by Shiah, those in the back yard or on the back deck, those that were themed and those that were sponsored by Birthright NEXT; card nights, specifically Spades; regional director Jeremy’s visits; game nights, especially Blokus; Ti's vegan water challah; meteor shower watching, or at least trying; painting Talya & Jeremy’s new apartment; volunteering at The Cleveland Food Bank; chalk related events; various seders; Moishe House Cleveland’s kitchen at the National Rainbow Gathering in Pennsylvania; and my Mexican birthday celebration Shabbat dinner. I can’t forget, the National Moishe House Retreat this past Spring and the Eastern Regional Moishe House Retreat this Fall.

I am quite saddened over the closing of our house, but am really excited to begin this new chapter in my life and see what lies ahead! I am so incredibly grateful for the community that I was able to build and participate in and all the things that I learned along the way! L’hit raot, Moishe House Cleveland. You will live on in all of our memories and hopefully be restored through the need and will of Cleveland’s young Jewish community. To the rest of the Moishe House communities globally, chazak, chazak, v'nit chazek!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

my blog

i am pleased to see another shomer shabbos/shomer kashrus house in the moishe house system. i feel like our house paved the way as the first and only shomer/shomer house for a while. our house prides itself on its accessibility to all jews, religious or not, because every jew can eat kosher and not every jew can eat non kosher. setting an example to other houses on ways to be more inclusive has been a primary role when we come to conferences. other houses see the value. i am particularly happy to finally have another house nearby in california that also values the same jewish principles we feel are important to have present in the house. it's great to understand what their challenges are and it's great that some things are easier for them, nationally, because our house has worked hard to up to judaic standards at national programming. of 34 houses, i wish more had stircter adherence to jewish law, given that we are a jewish organization, but i do understand that not all jews have the same education, exposure, or desire to affiliate or practice in that way. that's one of the reasons why i think MH is such a cool jewish organization....because they let each jew do jewish in their own way.

Friday, November 5, 2010

MoHo Dallas Happenings

Moishe House Dallas Quarterly Blog
A New Year, A New MoHo…The first six months of MoHo Dallas laid the foundation for a unique and versatile network of young Jews in the DFW area. Although MoHo is based out of Uptown, many come from all over the metroplex to participate in MoHo events, whether its coming from Mesquite for a Shabbat Dinner or coming from Fort Worth to BBQ and watch polo match, MoHo is attempting and succeeding in creating a diverse community. Yoni’s departure from MoHo definitely left an impact on the MoHo D experience, with Yoni’s keen sense of humor there was never a dull moment at the MoHo. However, Yoni had to leave MoHo to begin putting that talent to work at NYU Film School. Yoni is missed, but Austin has added a great dynamic to the MoHo trifecta, a childhood friend like Yoni, transition was really a non-issue. Austin has brought with him tremendous culinary skills, which has vastly upgraded our Shabbat menu. We have also incorporated more food based events such as the Ironman Chulent contest after services on Saturday. MoHo as a whole has also evolved over the past quarter incorporating different types of events into its lineup. We had an extremely successful Human Rights Benefit which attracted a substantial crowd and also partnered with AIPAC in a Middle East briefing for young professionals in Dallas. Shabbats have been and continue to be a great success at MoHo. MoHo Charity Poker is beginning to catch on and the more participants, and the larger the pot the more money that goes to charity, the winner gets to choose the charity. The retreat in San Francisco was a great time, and informative. Meeting other fellow Moishe House participants gave great insight and ideas into how to make MoHo Dallas an even better Moishe House.
Shabbat Shalom y’all

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baruch Hashem I live at Moishe House Great Neck

Recently, a few regulars at our events have unfortunately been going through a tough time in their lives, and they all felt comfortable to come to us for support; the fact that they came to us really validates what we have been able to do at Moishe House Great Neck. Through the house, we have been able to develop deep friendships and bonds with fellow Young Professional Jews in our community; everyone knows that they are always welcome at our house and feel comfortable enough to just walk in hang out. It's truly amazing.

I am so blessed to be a resident at Moishe House Great Neck. Being a resident has given me the opportunity to help make a difference in other peoples lives, and I'm very thankful for that. I am also blessed to live with unbelievable roommates; they constantly inspire me, and I know that I have become a much stronger Jew because of them.

Rabbi Vaknin from our Moishe House Monthly always teaches that our generation is unique compared to the generations before us. Unfortunately, our generation is not as knowledgeable in Judaism compared to our previous generations; however, our generation excels in the Mitzva of "Gemilut Chasadim;" We are a generation that truly cares about others; whether it's giving to charity, hosting people at our house, or performing other great acts of kindness to our fellow Jews. Gemilut Chasadim is essential for uniting the Jewish people, and there has never been a more essential time for us to be united. Through Moishe House, we have all been given the amazing opportunity to unite.

Shabbat Shalom,

Joey Yadgar
Moishe House Great Neck


Hi all,

We've realised that the monthly message was sent out earlier with people's email addresses showing. Sorry that this happened - we'll be trying very hard to make sure it doesn't again.


Fwd: November Mailout MoHoLo

Hello Moishe Crew,

Hope you have all been appreciating these last weeks of summer time at list clockwise.. Last month We had our third year anniversary party and this is a good opportunity to thank Dr Clive , Sarah Bennetto, Filthy Kicks, our DJs and you lot for a mind-blowing night.

So no need for extra words have a look at our events this month:

04 November

Rabbi Yedidya Julian Sinclair

Where:Moishe House London (message us for the address)
When: 04 November from 20:00 to 21:30
What: "Choni, the righteous man, was journeying on the road and he saw a man planting a carob tree. He asked him, "how long does it take for this tree to bear fruit?" "In about 70 years," answered the man. "But you are so old, you will never taste its fruit." "You are right, but I have eaten the fruit of trees that have been planted before I was born. I plant for my daughters and sons, granddaughters and grandsons."

Moishe House London is delighted to welcome Rabbi Yedidya Julian Sinclair for an evening of learning on what Jewish texts have to say about our responsibility towards the environment, and a chance to hear more about his own activist work in the field.

11 November


When: 11 November from 19:00 to 21:00
What: Do you own a hand drum (Djembe, Darbuka) or the like? Do you get angry with people that pick up hand drums at parties and can't play them? Have you always wondered how you can actually make one of these things sound good? Do you have a tambourine, wood block or Guiro? We want you to bring your hand drums and percussion and we will be holding a session where you can learn some basic rudiments of these instruments, to tuirn them from noise, into music.

13 November

What Does It Mean to be Pro Israel Today?

Where:New North London Synagogue
When: 13 November from 15:30 to 17:30
What: "For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism's door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead."

New North London Synagogue, New Routes and Moishe House London present a special seudah shlishit with American lecturer, author and journalist Peter Beinart and Hagai El-Ad, Executive Director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

Tel: 020 8346 8560 Email:

15 November

An Introduction to Tantra

Where:MoHoLo (Moishe House London)
When: 15 November from 19:00 to 21:30
What: Tantra is an ancient pragmatic method to dissolve our sense of separation and isolation, and to enhance connectedness, harmony, compassion within intimacy and in all relationships. It develops integrity, naturalness and joy. Tantra is an approach that recognises the beauty and sacredness of all life, including sexuality, from which all life is born.
For those in the MoHoLo community who are concerned or unsure, Tantra is compatible with Judaism, as it does not require any particular faith of set of beliefs, just curiosity and the desire to investigate more deeply the inner experience of life and relating. 
A talk about what Tantra is and how it can help you.
Some simple, discreet, practical exercises in using breath and awareness to harmonise sexual energy with love and meditation.
Time for Q+A

As Tantra values choice, safety and respect, Diamond Light workshops are easily accessible, and allow for individual choices in relation to boundaries and intimacy. 
Direct sexual contact is not involved.
You can carry out the workshop exercises with a partner or as an individual. 
The privacy, integrity and personal choices of each couple and individual are honoured. 
The workshop space can be a confidential and accepting environment in which to communicate and share about marital, sexual and intimate matters, but you will not be expected to share anything about yourself unless you wish to. 

21 November

Mitzvah Day a la MoHoLo - World Peace Garden Camden

    in partnership with Brondesbury Park Synagogue    

Where: Next to Hampstead Heath Station
When: 21 November from 14:00 to 15:00

Mitzvah Day is a nation-wide event focused on actions not funds. Teams of people of all ages will be involved in projects across the country, helping to relieve hardship and poverty, contributing to environmental conservation, and bringing a little joy where it is needed. 

This year we have taken on one of the JCC's Mitzvah Day projects, to work on the World Peace Garden Camden, next to Hampstead Heath Station.
In order for this to happen you need to sign yourself up at: Register yourself for 'World Peace Garden' at the bottom. It's a popular project, so if it's full, make sure you sign up for another project. If you're into your gardening, sign up for 'Guerilla Gardeners', where we'll be working at Fitzjohns Primary School to turn their overgrown vegetable garden into a useable growing space. See you on the day

23 November

Book Discussion- "Foreskin's Lament"

Where: Moishe House
When: 23 November from 19:00 to 21:00
What: Come together to discuss modern Jewish fiction! "Foreskin's Lament", by Shalom Auslander, is an edgy, funny book which depicts the author's struggle with orthodox Judaism and leaving the fold... 

Find this book at your local library (they have many copies!), read it (or even just some of it) and come along to a heated and fun discussion on the book, orthodoxy within Jewish practice, and other issues which come up! 

If you cannot find the book, message me (Alli).
RSVPCancel this Event

28 November

Swap Day + Sustainability Sessions!

Where:Moishe House (email us for the address)
When: 28 November from 01:30 to 05:00

andddd finally a few words about what we are up to this month.. Joel is planning checking out the feasibility of AVODAH UK ( and practicing fitting three jobs into one working week! Brett is in 'Planet Japan' with Gabby Young - Kon-ichi-wa from this strange land! Rachel is rehearsing for Pins and Needles at the Cock Tavern and plotting the 2011 Willesden Green Wassail! Alli has started a new job as a teacher down in Brixton and Aviad is still zapping brains down the lab. 

Have a good month and see you very soon

MH crew (Joel, Brett, Aviad, Rachel and Alli)