Friday, September 30, 2011

A new year, a new crew

Well, MH Chicago has gone through many transitions. September marked the departure of 3 of our treasured residents, Kelly, Wendy and Emma, and the arrival of three new residents, Benjamin, Elli and Danny, who are eager to take on the mission of living in a Moishe House. September, of course, also marked the beginning of 5772.

I've had many reflections on what it means to be a Moishe House resident. It was wonderful to live in MH Chicago, the past 2 years with 4 of my best friends. We developed a rhythm and a clear set of expectations for our responsibilities and came to function like a well-oiled machine when it came to hosting programs and dinners for over 40 people. Using the principles of community organizing as a foundation for our community, we watched as many of our community members became invested in the broader MH community and developed as strong leaders. Many of our programming initiatives came from requests of what people wanted to see from MH Chicago. Then we worked with them to make their visions a reality.

Now, our three new members, all of whom were community members before, have taken over the reigns. They bring a new energy and excitement to the table. They come with fresh ideas and a passion to see MH grow. It is great to see. As we grow, I wonder how we do it in a sustainable way and how we grow in a way that does not ostracize the original community.

In this season of self reflection, I am taking time to step back and think about what I like most about MH Chicago. While there is a wealth of synagogue based initiatives for Jews in their 20s and 30s, I think we have filled a niche for people who are seeking a less institutionalized form of Judaism. A community that is member driven. A Jewish community that is pertinent to our members' lives and that is attuned to their interests. I am reminded what an honor and privilege it is to live in a Moishe House. And I am inspired by the new-comers energy to reignite my own passion for building a strong, progressive, egalitarian Jewish community.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall transitions at Moishe House San Francisco

This fall (this upcoming Halloween actually) marks my 3rd year of living in Moishe House San Francisco. When I moved in, sight unseen, straight from Brooklyn 3 years ago, I never thought I'd live in the house for as long as I have. I moved in looking for connections with other Jews, looking for a social life, and looking for a network. I knew I loved planning events, hosting dinner parties, and participating in social justice. I also knew that the roommates I'd be moving in with were kind, passionate, and really welcoming. I didn't know how long I'd stay, and I didn't know where life would take me in the next few years. I didn't have a plan, but I had concieved of it as an interim move while I got settled in SF, maybe for a year or so before finding my own place.

Now, it's hard to imagine anything else. Moishe House is my home and a huge part of my life. My boyfriend moved in with us about 8 months ago, and now we are both completely involved in the workings of the house. It's my 'hobby,' my 'second job' and a lot of my social life. I've been in the house now long enough to see so many people come and go. Resident changes, guests, etc.

It's fall and it seems apt that there are some more changes in progress. First, we had to say goodbye to Kiki Fabian, who had been a great roommate, but had to follow her heart and started med school in Israel at Ben Gurion. Then, we got a new roommate - Monique Arar. Just as she is settling in, I'm starting to think about moving along. I don't know how I'll know that I'm absolutely 'ready' because how would anyone ever feel ready to leave such a gorgeous house, such great friendships, and such a great project?

I do know though that I've grown and learned a lot in my time at moishe house, and whenever it is that Jordan and I decide to move on, I'll take all that with me. Moishe House has changed me. It's pushed my schmooze skills to their absolute limits, it's taught me a lot about Jewish ritual that I never learned growing up in a very reform, hippy synagogue, and has connected me with hundreds of young San Francisco Jews and Jewish organizations. It has taught me about collaboration, team work, communication, and how not to be passive-agressive with routine roommate issues like dirty dishes or loud noises. I know that I'll keep hosting shabbat dinner, keep volunteering, and keep connected once I leave. My Jewish identity has grown stronger over the past few years, and really all I've done in that time that's 'Jewish' is everything moishe.
Thanks to moishe house I build a sukkah once a year, and now I frequently get to light candles, say kiddish, and eat challah; all things that really mean a lot to me. Once I leave I know I'll find a way to keep this aspect of my life in my identity and in my social plans.

We've got a lot of great September events coming up, so definitely check the moishe house website and our calendar if you'd like to join us. It's a fun filled and busy high holiday season for sure!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bye bye MoHo-Fo now :)

It's that time we all know exists, but have no idea when it will happen. It's my time to spread my wings, and move on out of the wonderful, beautifully, loving Moishe House LA.

I moved to LA a year and a half ago, and my transition into my new life would have been far more difficult had I not had the Moishe House Community. Over the past 15 months I have built some of the most loving, strong friendships which I know will continue to flourish, post-moho.

I could go on thanking the moishe house for providing me this amazing opportunity, however I feel it would be more entertaining to leave you with a couple lessons I have learned from living in a communal house.

(1) Men don't do dishes. This may be an exaggeration, because sure, occasionally, the sink will be clean. HOWEVER, for the most part, I am prepared for the sink responsibilities for my future relationships.

(2) Communication, respect and love are the most important factors in creating positive, beneficial relationships.

(3) The moishe house is not just a non-profit organization, but it is a home dedicated to providing a safe and warm space to the lost community of wandering Jews.

I am sad to say farewell, but am excited to move on with my life. I look forward to being a part of the "attending" moho community, and cannot wait to see the wonderful events mohola will throw in the future.

If you miss me and are hungry, come visit me at Whole Foods in Venice, Ca.

I love you all,
Julie Auerbach