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 (http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/05/kibbutz-style_living_fills_a_v.html); 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!