Friday, January 7, 2011

Sex Ed! Judaism! Young Adults!

Greetings from Boston! We have had an exciting Autumn full of wonderful events, powerful social justice and lots of new guests and members of our community!

Here in the Boston Moishe House our community is organized into a series of programmatic and structural teams - We have a Shabbat and holidays team, a membership team and a housing justice team, just to name a few. This Fall our teams had great events, made a difference in the local community and gained many new members. And even though I was always taught that it is wrong to pick favorites, today I'd like to share the work and goals of one of our most exciting and dynamic teams - the Sex Ed team.

Our Sex Ed team was created at the end of last Spring out of a series of Sex Ed classes taught by community member and sexuality educator, Mimi Arbeit. (For more information on the history of sexual education and a chance to bask in her unbelievable awesomeness, check out her blog). Mimi's vision was to carve out a space at the Boston Moishe House where young adults can come together to learn about sex, sexuality and gender and create meaningful dialogue. Mimi's passion and vision was an amazing success with over 40 participants throughout the 14 session course. Harnessing the energy of the class, Mimi began building a team of people and with the help of housemate Margie Klein applied for and won a grant to create sex ed curriculum for young adults in the Boston Jewish community. (Again - check out Mimi's blog... she tells it better than I do! :) )

Currently the Sex Ed team has about 18 active members and our goal is to create five different curricular modules that we can bring to different Jewish young adult groups in the Spring. In preparation for our workshops we successfully trained 18 new sex ed facilitators and we have organized ourselves into five curricular groups - Sexual Orientation, Gender Diversity, Sexual Ethics and Judaism, Communication and Relationships and Boundaries and Consent. Each group has two to three members and they are working to create several different activities and lesson plans per curricular area. Once our lesson planning is complete, we will take our curriculum on the road, tailoring our sessions to fit the needs of each community we are visiting.

This is exciting for so many reasons! First - we are receiving very positive responses from local communities. It is clear that sexuality education should not end after high school -- Young adults want to talk about sex and sexuality in their communities but often do not have safe spaces to do so. This is also giving Moishe House members the chance to learn about sex, sexuality (etc) and have meaningful dialogue in our community. Also, it is amazing to have these conversations in a Jewish context and give others the chance to engage with Jewish text in a meaningful way - We believe that Judaism touches all aspects of our lives, including sexuality, and we should not separate our lives into "secular" and "religious." We are bringing our whole selves to our community - it is important to understand these issues in a Jewish lens, and where this is difficult, it is important to challenge ourselves to struggle with our tradition.

Lastly, what we are accomplishing is a radical and exciting approach to lesson planning and curriculum building. As an educator, I usually plan and teach my lessons on my own. I do what works for me, what I think is best but this is perhaps limiting. Instead of having one or even a handful of people deciding what works best, we have approximately 18 people writing, editing, and making decisions. This kind of democracy is rare in curriculum development and I think will lead to unbelievably creativity and possibility.

As of now we are still building all five areas of our curriculum and we are looking forward to workshopping them in our Moishe house community and bringing them to our partner communities this Spring! I'll keep you posted :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January at MoHoLo!

Hello beautiful Moishies! 

Hope you had a wonderful and exciting 2010 and have started off 2011 with smiles and love! 

So much going on in January! Wandering Jews are invading our House! Tu B'Shvat Seder! Willesden Green's Wassail (still needing and would love volunteers to help out on the day, please contact us/Rachel-- including preparation work, helping out the artists, and making food!)! Storytellers galore! And so much more! 

Please also remember the survey we emailed out to you earlier today-- if you gained anything from MoHoLo in the last three years, please share it. 

So without further ado...
14 January

Wandering Jews at MohoLo!

Where:MoHoLo (email Alli for the address)
When: 14 January from 19:00 to 22:00

Please make sure you bring a vegetarian (or vegan!) item of food to share with the group, and the theme for this week is "travels", so bring a story that inspired you to travel, inspired you on a travel, or tales of a far away place you can only dream of....
RSVPRemove from my eventsCancel this Event
17 January

Buffet and European Jewish focus group

Where:Moishe House London, Willesden Green (message us for full address)
When: 17 January from 19:30 to 22:30

RSVPRemove from my eventsCancel this Event
19 January

Tu b'Shevat Seder (Ceremony for the New Year of Trees)

Where: MoHoLo (Moishe House London)
When: 19 January from 19:00 to 22:00

RSVPRemove from my eventsCancel this Event
23 January

Willesden Green Wassail

Where:Willesden Green High Street
When: 23 January from 14:30 to 17:00

RSVPRemove from my eventsCancel this Event
26 January

Hang out at the House

Where:MoHoLo (Message us for the address)
When: 26 January from 19:00 to 21:30

RSVPRemove from my eventsCancel this Event
30 January


When:30 January from 18:00 to 21:00

RSVPRemove from my eventsCancel this Event
01 February

Free: Adventures on the Margins of a Wasteful Society

Where: MoHoLo
When: 01 February from 19:00 to 21:00

RSVPCancel this Event
03 February

Nick Hennessey: Tales from the Kalevala

When: 03 February from 19:00 to 22:00

RSVPCancel this Event

Keep warm and keep on loving, 

Aviad, Brett, Rachel, Joel, and Alli 

Please help us with some Moishe House research

Dear MoHoLo community, friends and visitors -

As many of you know, MoHoLo are able to build creative, open, non-denominational Jewish community, partly through the help of the larger international Moishe House organisation.

Moishe House are currently conducting a major external evaluation and would like MoHoLo participants to help out by filling in an online survey.

If you have benefitted at all from what we do at Moishe House London, please do share your thoughts and opinions via the survey. It will take about 20 minutes to complete. The findings will help Moishe House evaluate the organisation's impact for our funders and partners, which is crucial to our future.

The survey is anonymous. No one will be able to associate your responses with your identity. Only aggregate results will be analysed and possibly be used by Moishe House in future publications.
To access the survey, please use:
Please complete the survey in one sitting. Responses are due 21st January 2011.

If you have any questions about this survey or have any difficulties accessing it, please contact PeiYao Chen at

Thank you so much!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Welcome Welcome Welcome!

Imagine you're home. You're at a surreal comfort level. You have your family around you. You feel loved. You love those around you. Everything is pure joy and all you feel is happiness. Now picture yourself at Moishe House LA. Welcome to my life.

Having now lived at Moishe House for 4 months I've experienced a new type of joy. I've moved around a lot and lived with many people before, forming different communities...but never one that's felt quite this homey. Our Moishe House in LA is truly turning into a home and each member and new person who comes in through our doors becomes a family member. Over the past few months we've grown so much and members of our community are beginning to be our friends not only on a MoHo level...but a more personal one. This feeling of comfort and community is one that makes planning events, living with my roommates, and building our community so simple.

A few weeks back, I called a Moishe House participant/member who has become one of our friends and we made plans. Hanging out with her and spending the day together made me really see the impact Moishe House makes in each city it's in. Not only would I have never met this girl, but she might not have had friends like my roommates and I who are in this city excited and ready to form new friendships and grow as individuals with the people around them.

The beauty of the Moishe House community, in which ever city you live in, is the need and excitement for meeting new people. Who ever enters into a Moishe House is ready for something new, something exciting, something inspiring. Moishe House inspires me to work hard and make our home a fun environment and one that is welcoming to our future friends!!

I'm excited for where this adventure will take me. I feel so much potential and so much growth in a house and community that grows each week. There's never a dull moment and I look forward to exploring.

Moishe House San Diego - Noah's Blog

Moishe House Blog: Dec. 2010

Noah Ben-Aderet

Hey, this is Noah writing the first blog for the San Diego Moishe House. Our 3rd full month as MHSD was BUSY! Hanukkah coincided with Finals Week for Jonathan (Yoni fat tony) and me. With 3 house events that week, plus the rest of the Hanukkah festivities meant that by the end of the week, we were exhausted. With Hanukkah out of the way, we were lucky to have Zvi come visit for the weekend of the 17th. While the usual San Diego sun failed to show (it rained the whole weekend), it was great having him in our house for Shabbat and getting to know him better.

As a new house, every event we do (besides Shabbat dinners) is a new experience and we are constantly figuring out better ways to reach the community or tailor events to people who are interested. This being said, we have been really fortunate to develop great connections and collaborations with Hillel’s graduate student group at UCSD, San Diego Birthright NEXT as well as the San Diego Young Adult Coalition. Our partnership’s with these groups has made our entry into the community really successful and the support has been amazing. We at MHSD are looking forward to a great 2011, and to many more delicious meals and good friends. Shana Tova and Tzom Kal.

MH Hoboken

       Things are going well in MH Hoboken. We have recently returned from our yearly Winter Development Mountain Retreat and it was awesome. We took 35 people - Planning Committee Members, super involved community members, a MH alum formerly of Silver Spring, a current MH Silver Spring member, and 2 people from different Jewish organizations that we have partnered with in the past - and we had a fantastic weekend of development and bonding. From Social Barometer, to leadership quotes from historical leaders, to a modified game of memory with the cards being things in our world today that are shaping our present and future we learned alot about how we perceive the world, how others have made it a better place, and how we can continue to do the same.  Moreover it was important to create a sense of espri d'corp for the inner most circle of active people in the community. With over 1/3 of the participants having a history, whether current or past, of community building even the topic of informal conversation was programs we can do in Hoboken to expand the community.
        On another note we are working on an exciting project to bring together the Jewish groups from the NJ and NYC region together for a meet. Being a part of the Moishe House has allowed me some really good opportunities to discuss with others doing the same sort of community building, its allowed me to be part of a network of people who I've chatted with, discusses issues with, and who've helped me think through problems. Now its time to build that support network for the independent Jewish groups in NJ and NYC. These groups exist because their leaders took initiative and built them on their own and their communities have their own unique identities so we won't do anything top-down. Rather we are creating a creative meet up, a common space, for the leaders of these groups to learn about one another and their groups, talk about their trials and tribulations, issues they have dealt with, and programs they have done.

Thank you,
Joshua Einstein
MH Hoboken
Greater Hoboken Area

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Joining up with Russian Moishe House - Chicago

I first attended a Moishe House event in April of 2010. I have heard of this organization for some time but was never able to make it out for a collection of reasons. Finally one Friday, as I sat at work pondering my Friday evening plans, I decided I wanted to shake things up - branch out, do something different, and meet new people. I noticed the invite to a shabbat dinner and immediately jumped on the opportunity.

My first reaction to walking in was the same as anyone who has been to the Russian Moishe House - Chicago. Amazed at the size, location, and the views of the apartment. I was also slightly surprised that I did not know anyone there except for Rostik, the housenik that introduced me to the organization. I always thought of the Russian Jewish community as being a small group of people in which I already had met most of them.

After enjoying the shabbat (an experience I've only had once before), I began talking to the roommates who expressed their interest in attaining new roommates. Resistant at first, I slowly began to realize that not only was this opportunity at reach, it was the perfect set-up for what I wanted to do - become a community leader and host various events where networking and a thriving social circle was inherent.

Just 3 months later, after a few more meetings with the houseniks and several more events, I moved into the Russian Moishe House. So far its been over 6 months and I can say thats its one of the best decisions I have made. I learned so much about Judaism as well as what it takes to create a community of like-minded people. My transition into this project was smooth. It did not take long for me to take the lead of events and help set up and brain-storm for future events. Some of my favorite and most memorable events have been our little field trips to see the sites around Chicago, the shabbat dinners, the yoga classes, and of course our socials. It seems like every single time we host an event, there is always someone that attends for the first time, and some of those first timers are now my close friends. A lot of our attendees have little to no Jewish involvement and its always a pleasure to re-introduce them to their roots.

As the year continues and we begin to understand better what drives our community, our programming develops and our participants are gaining that much more from our events. I am excited for what the rest of the year has in store for the Russian Moishe House and how we can grow our community.