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.

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