Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Portlandia by Jonathan Morgan MH Portland

Portlandia has become an attraction for young adults. I've been here for a month and about half the young adults I meet are in similar shoes. This city is filled with transplants like myself who were attracted to green living, youth culture, night life, Powell's City of Books, and so on. It's actually a totally awesome city and so far it's been a wonderful move. Aside from my exodus from Los Angeles, I also came here to become involved in a growing and relatively underdeveloped Jewish community personally and professionally (part-time at least). I think it is important to grow our presence and unite as a community wherever there is a critical mass of Jewish people. Having spent time in the Bay Area, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles, it is empowering to know that I'm a bigger fish in a community that isn't perceived as a developed hub of Jewish life even though there at 40,000 Jews among 2,000,000.

As a resident of Moishe House, I have had a unique advantage as a new Portlandite for a few reasons and I completely credit my current roommates Becca Cigan, Julia Gazdag, Rachel House and (unofficially) Freddy McSteady and previous residents like Jeremy Rogers and Jodi Berris for building a vibrant presence and following. Anyone who is even remotely involved in Portland Jewry knows about Moishe House. We are spotlighted as the thing for young Jewish adults to seek out. Upon my move, I was instantly introduced to many established Jewish organizations in town and invited to several people's homes who had heard about me. What a crazy concept! There was even an article published in the Jewish Review about us http://www.jewishreview.org/local/Moishe-Houses-fresh-faces-expand-young-adult-options.

For those of you who don't know, Portland has an unemployment situation that is more depressed than most major US cities because of the influx of young people in search of higher quality of living without a job in mind. I am certainly in this category, but because of Moishe House connections I have an advantage that exemplifies the welcoming experience I've had so far.

The air here is crisp, there is no sales tax, and the beer flows like the Willamette. There is a lot of work to be done because most Jewish people here are uninvolved, but Moishe House is here to fill that void. Until I am outside of the target audience for Moishe House programming, I know it will continue to be an integral part of my social and Jewish life and I am proud to further its mission.

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