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.