Picture it: Wimberley, Texas, late May. I’m sitting under an oak tree outside a dining hall in a group circle getting sunburned. Just like when I was a kid at camp. Except now, I’m 26 and am back at Camp Young Judaea for yet another Jewish life experience but this time, it’s with Moishe House. I guess once you get involved in Chosen People activities, you can check out any time you like but you can’t leave. Especially when you’re in Wimberley. Anyways. In this particular activity, Social Justice Sarah lead a program where we discussed what it would mean to create a Moishe House ketubah, a contract traditionally drafted for Jewish marriages. But instead of the ketubah being between a bride and groom, it would be between the residents, their communities and their houses.
I was inspired by this concept, so much so that I decided to take on the semi-masochistic task of crafting a ketubah and a fancy frame to properly showcase this important piece of literature. Many months and several creative sessions later, the Palo Alto Moishe House ketubah masterpiece now hangs by the entrance to our house for all to see. The wording was a collaborative effort between residents and community members, as was the art, which was done by two regulars and me. We achieved this by painstakingly cutting different colored paper with X-Acto knives, turning squares of purples, reds, blues and glittery greens into a whole Moses-Exodus-Jerusalem-Heeb extravaganza. Some community members got the chance to sign the ketubah, Constitutional Convention-style except with Jews this time around. In case you don’t have bionic vision to see the wording, it reads as follows:
The Palo Alto Moishe House will be upheld by grad students, techies & normal people alike. The following tenets will help us form a more perfect union:
*Cultivate respectful person to person relationships through meaningful programming
*Respect the house & it will respect you (clean up like your mama told ya!)
*A bountiful community consists of extraordinary individuals who, with their powers combined, make…MOISHE HOUSE! *KAPOW!*
So, it doesn’t actually say KAPOW! but you get the notion. Making our very own ketubah gave us the chance to utilize an ancient Jewish religious concept with a playful twist. What better way to express the special, nerdy identity of the Palo Alto Moishe House and share the communal artwork with all that enter our start-up working, Ph.D. having, Semitic lovin’ house?