Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Moishe House Hoboken - Samantha Vinokor

For over twenty years, from the time that I was born, until the day that I graduated from college, I found that I had a spot carved for me within the Jewish community. Many of the various positions that I found myself in were handed to me, as well as many others: student, bat mitzvah. Others I created for myself, many of these being leadership positions that I worked for: youth group president, Hillel leader, Israel
advocate. Still, all of the roles that I had up until the time that I graduated from college existed within a pre-established environment, one that had a structure, a leadership, and a clearly defined place in the greater Jewish community.

Upon graduation, I was thrust into the role of young professional, an arena of the Jewish community that has not yet been fully defined. My involvement in the Jewish community at this stage of my life has been twofold, as I have chosen to pursue a career as a Jewish professional, and continue to participate in the Jewish community on a personal level as well. Given these dual roles, I have had to figure out how to create a Jewish identity that includes my personal and professional pursuits, and allows me to find fulfillment in both arenas. Key to this goal has been my search for a community that I can relate to and share my Jewish experiences with.

Becoming a part of the Moishe House community in Hoboken, and particularly becoming a resident of the house, has provided me with the opportunity to be a key member of the development of a Jewish community that provides a place of comfort and familiarity for people to explore their Judaism and connect with it in a positive way. My involvement with Moishe House has given me the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of people, each of whom comes from a different background, and for who Judaism and the Jewish people has a different meaning and significance. Moishe House gives all of us the opportunity to come together in a pluralistic, open way, as Jews, for the shared goal of creating a community in which we can all be comfortable to explore ourselves, our beliefs, and our bonds to Judaism.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jews Contributing to Music NOW, From Moishe House Philly's Mira Treatman

Jews Contributing to Music NOW and in a BIG way, From Moishe House Philly's Mira Treatman  

As a show promoter and booker in Philadelphia, I am constantly hunting for artists to work with. Along the way, I've come across musicians who also happen to be Jewish. The following are my picks for Moishe House residents and community members to support potentially because they are not only creating cutting edge recordings and performances, but also stand for more than just entertainment value. Across the board, they're single-handedly defining contemporary Judaism for themselves as they see fit. They may not all be particularly Jewish artists in their work, however they're certainly not hiding this part of their identity per se. For one, I do not personally know any of these artists and yet I can confirm that they're all at least Jewish-identifying in some way. Many of the people on this list manifest their Jewish backgrounds in very subtle, almost sexy ways, for example Amy Klein has casually written a song called "Jacob's Ladder" just because she can. This list represents DIY Judaism at its finest.

Judd Greenstein, one of the three co-directors of New Amsterdam Records, is an award-winning, self-described indie-classical composer based in Brooklyn. Not only the creator of contemporary, relevant composed music, Greenstein also promotes his comrades such as Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), Annie Clark (St. Vincent), and Merrill Garbus (Tune-Yards), among others. He is curator of the Ecstatic Music Festival, an annual event which brings together seemingly disparate artists to create incredible, moving collaborations. Most Jewish in his list of accomplishments is Greenstein's Six Points Fellowship where he spent a year composing the full-length work, Solomon, which was performed by a group he assembled called Yehudim. To learn more about this fellowship, check out

Amy Klein, also known as Amy Rebecca Klein, also known as the front woman of Leda and Hilly Eye, also known as the unofficial founder of Permanent Wave, also known as the former guitarist of Titus Andronicus, is a goddess in Jewish feminism today. Educated, brilliant, talented, literary, and loud, Amy has accomplished so much in her twenty-seven years, including the unofficial founding of Permanent Wave. This non-wave feminist arts collective seeks to "challenge gender inequality as it manifests itself in art, politics, and personal lives." It was inspired in part by violence against women in Amy's immediate environment, in addition to the inequality between men and women in the music industry. Since its founding in late 2010, Permanent Wave has spread from New York to the San Francisco Bay, Philadelphia, Boston, Minneapolis, and even Omaha, Nebraska. A hallmark of Permanent Wave is the organization of music shows featuring all female-identifying, queer, people of color, and youth performers.

Mirah, born Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn in Philadelphia, is a singer-songwriter known for writing classic works on K Records in the Pacific Northwest during the golden age of lady rock. While at Evergreen State, Mirah began a fruitful collaboration with Phil Elvrum of Mt. Eerie/The Microphones releasing early solo albums with songs such as "The Garden", "Nobody Has to Stay", "Jerusalem", and "Don't Die in Me". More recently, Mirah has released an incredible collaborative music effort with Thao Nguyen of the insanely popular WNYC Radiolab national tour. An icon in the making known for rocking short Betty Page bangs and kimono tops, Mirah will certainly be remembered for being a cult musical diva as well as the Leonard Cohen of her generation. She was definitely born with the Jewish, eloquent literati gene. 

 Alicia Jo Rabins is a musician, poet, Torah scholar, mother, and slightly obscure folk-rock star based in Brooklyn and Portland. I first heard of her music in the form of her masters thesis (in Jewish Womens Studies at JTS no less) turned band Girls in Trouble. That same year her all-Jewish record label, JDub, unsurprisingly went under. This record label really had no chance at succeeding unfortunately, but at least their artists are still chugging along and releasing work. As a poet, Rabins has been published in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, 6x6, Court Green, anthologies from NYU Press and Knopf, and Artscape Press. Like Judd Greenstein, Alicia Jo is also a recent Six Points Fellow who created "an experimental rock opera about the spiritual implications of the current financial crisis, examining the figure of Bernard Madoff (and the system he represents) through the lens of rabbinic Jewish texts about financial ethics, the meaning of wealth, and the inevitability of cycles." 

              Schmekel is now not only Yiddish for "tiny penis", but also is the name of the first queer Jewcore band ever. Based in Brooklyn, Nogga Schwartz, Ricky Riot, Lucian Kahn, and Simcha Halpert-Hanson are a quartet of transgendered Jews who pen songs about their experiences in a very borscht belt, bathroom humor sort of way. Their songs celebrate their bar mitzvahs, which has been a major marketing tool in their journey (you can buy a t-shirt that says "I survived Schmekel's Bar Mitzvah"), which I find hilarious and really poignant. When the musicians in Schmekel were thirteen, they had Bat Mitzvot, which was not the correct prefix for any of their Mitzvot, then or now. The reason this band is on this list is because of the grace with which Schmekel unapologetically owns their trans and Jewish identities with a strong sense of humor. Schmekel shows are never a pity party or an angst-ridden fest, they always capture the authentic, loud, jubilant personalities of the band mates. 

Are you an amazing Jewish contributor to music today too? Are you not on this very short list? Please holler at me, or challah at me if that's easier, and I'll gladly book you in Philly! In a perfect world, my Moishe House would, can, and has definitely doubled as a welcoming yet cutting edge house show venue.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Moishe House Pittsburgh - Naomi Fireman

Moving to Pittsburgh has been a new experience, starting graduate school has been a new experience, and starting a new experience with Moishe House Pittsburgh has been the experience that has granted me with the most comfort, warmth and amity.

Everyone knows that being a newbie is as tiring as it is exhilarating, but in the Moishe House I have only felt feelings of kinship and companionability. The Moishe House of Pittsburgh has an interesting mélange of a community that includes determined graduate, medical, business and law students, passionate young Jewish professionals, and brilliant professionals in all fields. Our home has become a space for all young Jews to come, hang out, step out of their everyday routine and meet like-minded individuals.

‘Shabbrunch’, Shabbat Brunch, has become a regular event in Moishe House Pittsburgh that is my personal favorite and offers a micro view of what community the Moishe House of Pittsburgh is creating. The preparation of Shabbrunch, bustling around the kitchen with my housemates, baking, cooking and preparing the bagels and lox is a huge portion of the Shabbrunch enjoyment. There is a uniqueness in putting in the planning and logistics for an event that brings the house together. However the uniqueness of Moishe House can be seen during Shabbrunch. We gather for Kiddush, acknowledging Shabbat, and then begin our lazy Shabbrunch. The den will most likely have a football game playing, the dining room full of schmoozing, the kitchen supplying more nourishment and the conversations in constant flow. This is in many ways my ideal Shabbat – relaxing and conversing with new friends. I am thankful to Moishe House for granting me this opportunity, and grateful that we have the opportunity to open up the House to the community and welcome people in for Shabbrunch!

MHP - Cody Greenes - Community

Moishe House residency is awesome. I love it. We, as a house, create our ideal Jewish community.  And that means it's fluid. It's the residents' own personalities that feed each house.

Residency isn't easy, no. But where else can four very different (or, very similar, for that matter- depends on the house) young people collaborate on, create and support their ideal anything? If there's a job like that, please, let me know. For now, I'll take my career with a side of Moishe.

As I started my third year here in MHP, I thought I was fairly settled in. I've been able to create, plan and host events that were meaningful to me (tikkun olam, rec league sports, sukkah-building), and supported our more 'mainstream' events- holiday meals, shabbat potlucks, Torah study and game or movie nights. But we started Fall 2012 a little different. 3 new roomies, and each pretty new to the Philly Jewish community.

I made the mistake- from which I have taken valuable lessons- to push on and assume it was Moishe-as-usual. Oops. What'd I say earlier? Fluid. Why weren't we working together as well? Why did some feel lost or disconnected with the mission and, really, where was that family feeling I'd grown to love? I won't drag this out, especially because it's probably obvious. You can't fit people into pre-existing models. Moishe House residents can share their individual passions with the community, but it really should start with each other. Then you get that big a-ha moment. Plus, honestly, that warm fuzzy feeling moment, too. I love watching a fellow resident introduce an evening's event, share their interest and glow as the event comes together.

We hosted an arts salon a few months ago. It took awhile to explain the idea to me, because I had no idea what that was. And honestly, I was hesitant- yes, excitedly curious, too- until the artists came a couple hours prior to the start of the event. I knew immediately that these were my type of people. Sure, uninvolved in the Jewish community, but friendly, giving, full of love and ready to share their passions with others. And that's an awesome part of our community- willingness and desire to share one's passion with others.

Friday, November 30, 2012

MHDC - Sarah Waxman

From Russia with Nothing but Thanks and a Vision

Every morning for the past several months I have diligently written down something for which I am grateful. Without a doubt, my most common theme is appreciation for my freedom. One glance at a Jewish history book, or one conversation with my grandparents reminds me that I enjoy a greater degree of freedom than any of my ancestors. I have had more education, opportunities, and expressions of religious freedom in my 26 years than almost any Jewish person in history. Most recently, in Moscow, I was reminded what that freedom truly looks like, and what responsibilities and necessary actions come with the privilege.

On July 1st as I embarked for my trip to Russia my morning gratitude note read: “I am grateful for Moishe House for helping to fund my upcoming adventure with the American Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) young professional trip to Moscow. I was one of 13 20-somethings headed to Moscow to learn about Jewish life in Russia and the work the JDC does there. The JDC is the largest international Jewish humanitarian aid service. Established in 1914, it has saved Jews around the world and provided essential aid to ensure their survival. As a group, we spent a little over a week exploring the city, making home visits to the elderly, visiting summer camps, and most importantly engaging with our Russian peers. (It was a total blast! This is my plug to check out other Entwine trips (add link), and knock on Moishe House’s door when you have Jewish learning you want to do!)

Some important background on modern Russian Jewry: During the Soviet era, the practice of Judaism was completely forbidden. For centuries before that, Jews had been subject to often-violent repression: ghettos were created, pogroms periodically swept Jewish areas, and Jews had few rights. Under the Soviets, repression became smothering. Jews were not allowed to congregate or engage in religious practice, and in the wake of the Holocaust many Soviet Jews decided it was far safer to bury any tie to Judaism. Other than a special note on your passport declaring you Jewish, no Shabbat candles were light, no Passover seders observed, and no Jewish summer camps were created. (What, no summer camp?! I am completely grateful for my Jewish summer camp.)

One afternoon, we broke into small groups and made home visits to elderly Jews receiving JDC’s care. We visited Elena in her 75-square-foot apartment – an apartment she had shared with her parents before they passed away. Elena’s parents were from Hungry and had escaped the Nazis by finding refuge in Russia. After a lovely conversation about her life, Elena mentioned it was her birthday. We immediately broke into a warm “yom huledit sameach” song. This was the first time Elena had ever heard the Hebrew language, and she had us sing it twice more. As we were leaving she said: “I hope the authorities don’t arrest me for this visit, but it was worth it to meet you.” Of course, she was recalling a darker time not so long ago, but nonetheless, my note the following morning read: I am grateful for my ancestors’ courage to leave their families and homes here in the hope of finding a better and freer life in the United States. Their bravery allowed me to be free.

Over the course of our trip, many experiences reminded me of my gratitude for my freedoms as an American. Quite surprisingly, I also found myself questioning my role and my own dedication to my Jewish community. I was struck by the realization that the young people I met were the very first Russian Jews to be free. They now consume Jewish knowledge like sponges, and are more educated than their parents and grandparents in Judaism. They are truly leaders in their communities -- not just for their peers, but also for their parents, and future generations. It was fascinating to talk with people at the Moishe House Moscow’s gathering (woot, woot, Moishe House Moscow!), or at the many dinners we shared with others our age. They are doing groundbreaking work and giving back to their communities -- what my ancestors did for me when they left the region. I was left with the question, “What am I doing now, to help my future generations live freely and expressively?”

We were able to witness and help lead 25 students in their first Shabbat as they embarked for their Birthright trip. It was astonishing and inspiring to see these young people take an interest in their lost heritage and traditions. My morning note on July 6th read: “I am grateful I was able to be a positive role model as somebody who is comfortable in her skin as a Jew and in her spiritual self. Many times in my
life, I have looked to other people as role models, and today I was able to be one.”

Another fascinating and very real discovery is that in a post-Communist society like Russia, the notion of “volunteering” is rather complicated. As an American Jew, the practice of Tikkun Olam, or service work, is one of the core ways in which I express my Judaism. But in a society in which until recently
all “volunteering” was actually mandated and any other “community service work” was banned, the notion of the voluntary repairing of the world is novel. But it is important that it become embedded as a value in Jewish consciousness. “We were slaves once, and now we are free.” It is the duty of all Jews who have reached that place of freedom to learn to give back, both to the global Jewish community (as the JDC does) and to our Jewish and non-Jewish neighbors.

It is my hope that as Moishe House expands it will create more of a platform for international  communication and community building within the houses and the communities we serve. I hope many residents can be energized and inspired (as I was) by experiencing the work being done in Russia by our peers to cultivate Jewish life in their own communities, so that Judaism can exist the way we want it to for our future generations. Lastly, I hope that as inheritors of the freedoms and privileges that American Jews enjoy, we can be active role models and lead by our actions in religious communities as well as in our dedication to Tikkun Olam.

Moishe House Great Neck - Joey Yadgar

"When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world."
It's no coincidence that our organization is called Moishe House. The Torah teaches us about the greatest Jewish leader in our history, Moshe Rabenu. When Moshe was given the task of leading the Jewish nation to go out of Egypt, Moshe asks Hashem, "Who am I?" By asking "Who am I" is Moshe showing a lack of self confidence, and if Moshe lacks self confidence, why would Hashem choose a person with no self confidence to lead us out of Egypt. Our Rabbis teach us that Moshe did not lack self confidence; Moshe was known for his unmatched humility, and because of his humility, Hashem chose him to be the one to lead us out of Egypt. True leadership comes from humility, and true humility comes from personal change and growth.

As Moishe House residents, we are given the challenge of creating and leading a strong Young Professional Jewish community. To be effective leaders, we have to be humble and focus on our personal growth. What good qualities do we have? What qualities do we lack and need to develop? As leaders, we must not aspire to greatness as perceived by others, but rather develop our inner greatness and inspire others. 

I can confidently say that as a Moishe House resident, I have learned about this important lesson about leadership. The Moishe House staff, residents, and members have inspired me to constantly develop myself and change myself for the better, and through my personal growth, I can only hope that I was able to inspire others and be an effective leader.

Shabbat Shalom,
Joey Yadgar

Friday, November 2, 2012

Allison Zionts - MoHo London

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (now home to MoHoPitt!), then moved to Montreal, Canada, I have now lived in London, England – and in MoHo London – for two and a half years. I came to London knowing absolutely no one; it was an experiment to see whether I could make a life for myself away from family and friends. I never imagined that the life and family I would make would fit so perfectly with what I need.

Rosh Hashana 5771: three weeks into my London experiment and unsure how to celebrate one of my favourite chaggim without the support and traditions of my family. Grassroots Jews set up a giant marquee (tent) with close to three hundred committed young adults who wanted to celebrate the beginning of the year with each other and exploring spirituality of the year. Not only did it allow me to explore and meet the community, but it showed me a different side of my own religion: experiential Judaism. There was not a moment during the 48 hours where I felt passive, but rather I actively engaged and explored my own religious beliefs.

It was during Rosh Hashana, the time to remember the promises and deeds done within the year, that I set myself the goal to welcome newcomers into MoHoLo in a way that they will feel engaged, welcome, and like it is their own community. Sukkot, a time to remember our history as wandering Jews, became a holiday where I opened up our home to the nomadic among us. I have organised events to explore London, especially its Jewish roots, and have introduced both native Londoners and newcomers to the multifaceted history of this city.

I am now preparing, mentally and emotionally, for my eventual departure from the House. There is a large part of me that can’t imagine London without being in the epicentre for alternative and spiritual young Jewish life – where people seem to know me before meeting me. In thinking where to move, I am reflecting on the number of couples and individuals who have moved closer to Moishe House throughout the last two or three years because they wanted to be more within the Moishe House community. I feel like I have been a part of something big, important, and worthwhile, and have made a difference within my new community. I will miss Moishe House, and am cherishing my last few months here. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Blog series by Lacko - MH Budapest

Sitz im Leben[1] of Moishe House

How does Moishe House fit into the everyday life of a local community? What is the historical and cultural context, and how can Moishe House relate to it, add to it? In a series of blog posts over the coming months I will be looking for answers to questions such as these.

It’s worth pointing out that at the moment I would have trouble giving in-depth answers to these questions. However, it is my hope that meaningful answers will emerge by the time we get to the last piece of the series. I hope so because I believe that these are the questions that leaders of every community (and every Moishe House community) have to continuously keep in mind, and one should never be satisfied with partial solutions.

Every Moishe House community is in some way part of the local Jewish community and the local community in general. To be a succesful organisation, all Moishe House residents must be aware of the potential that active communication with the wider community holds, as well as the rules and limitations involved. People don’t simply appear on the doorstep of Moishe House out of thin air. Most of them are already members of other communities, or at the very least, they’re all determined by the cultural context of the city and country they live in. If our aim is to make Moishe House into a place where visitors can take part in a variety of creative and colorful programs, and embrace their own (jewish) identity in a stress-free environment, then we must have a clear knowledge of the needs and expectations of current and potential members of the community.

These needs and expectations can be quite varied, some more easily defined and expressed than others. The more tangible expectations (good food, quality films, etc.) are relatively easy to assess, even if at times they may be difficult to satisfy. The more profound needs pose a greater challenge. Few people can pinpoint what they are in need of as Jews, as members of a Jewish community, or just as individuals with an interest in Judaism. What exactly helps them develop and express their own relationship with Judaism. Our job is to help bring these internal proccesses to the surface, gather our shared stories which then can foster the sort of atmosphere and mentality that Moishe House is built upon.

I myself have begun this work starting a bit far back, with the story of our grandparents. I hope my findings will help shed some light on some of these important issues, and maybe inspire other young Moishe House leaders to begin their own research.

To get closer to an understanding of the contemporary Jewish community of Budapest, we first have to reach a couple of generations back. Therefore, the next post will tell the story of our grandparents, the World War and the long era of silence that followed.

[1] (German, “setting in life”)
In biblical hermeneutics (methods of interpretation) or biblical criticism, this refers to the “situation in life” that gave rise to the various genres or literary forms used to communicate the message of Scripture in a particular sociological context.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Elazar - Moishe House Vienna

It´s been already more than two years since I got into Moishe House.
Crazy how fast time passes. I am sitting here now with my notebook and remembering some things I have been through. Ups and downs, lows and highs. It was a lifetime experience. It made understand certain things in life and also understand myself a bit more. Through many events I got to know many people and made many new friendships. 

When I look back at these 2 years of Moishe House Vienna I just can say that I am so proud of the whole experience here. It was and is still a great time hosting so many people over the years. A special thanks for all the people who support this great community of Moishe House.

This is it, now I have to get back to plan new events :) looking forward ...

Elazar, Moishe House Vienna

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sukot in the (semi)Desert - Joel MHSD

The sun rises peeks through the palm fronds, illuminating the white cotton sheets as they wave in the breeze. The air, dry and warm, fills the Sukah and wafts over the chillies and avocados hanging from its beams. Our table sits at the center, its surface decorated with bread crumbs and wine glasses from the previous evening's Shabos get-together.

At the western end of the Sukah one sheet hangs loosely, its corner flapping in the breeze to reveal the sunlit mountains on the horizon. Over the last two years, the founders of Moishe House San Diego have devoted themselves to the construction of not just a Sukah, but a community. Their continual efforts and sacrifices have led us through times both jubilant and dry - many a Moishenik who surprises us with their presence, and one Moishenik who passed away just as suddenly; goodbyes to friends moving on to other cities, and greetings to the interesting experiences that newcomers bring; late nights of disharmony and sunny mornings full of gratitude for having one another.

As the new year comes, that sheet flaps in the breeze and we lose two of our founding members: Dovi and Natalie. Gabi and I feel the growing pains. We are excited to broaden what Moishe House means to San Diego and to add our own dash of spice to the mix. We have tsores, of course as any Jew must always have, but tsores about losing the leadership, consul and warm presence of our companions. But as they move on, a new community member steps into the Sukah, makes this semi-desert experience a little cooler, a little more brave.

I remember happening upon Moishe House two Yom Kipurim ago. It was by chance. Surfing the web, I learned about and then attended my first Surf-dalah, catching some waves before praying around the Havdalah candle. I had never heard of such a cool idea before. As I attended more events and got to know Moishe House better, my involvement grew. As we put out the call for new residents this season, we met people in the wider community that we thought we might never connect to. Our new residents enter our lives just as surprisingly, and we are excited they have brought with them.

Despite the harshness of the San Diego semidesert, the aridity loneliness and the heat of responsibility, we gain shelter in our community.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Filip - MH Warsaw

It's already 3 years here, but it feels like one. As times go by many things happen but you don't actually feel it, it's just inside you. Through this time there have been four changes in residents, dozens of guests, some for one night, some for more. Girl- and boyfriends came and went. It's just a good lively place, that's what I can say.

More and more people are coming, getting to know what MH in Warsaw is. Some stay, some go. But for all, I hope it is an open house. I feel we're hosts, warmly welcoming any guest who wishes to drop by. And that is an idea for what I would like MH to be – an open house. That is for me a real challenge.

Thanks to more visits from MH staff we know now that it's a thing we do along with the people the same as we are. David, Joel, Zvi, thanks for your work! And all the rest, keep it up guys!

Anyway MH Warsaw has been a guesthouse so far. More and more people getting to know about it and more and more guests. Which is really great and works as it should.
People – more and more people. That's what I recall after 3 years.
But my room didn't change much...

PS we still can't believe what David told us about beginning of Moishe House. It was worth it to live here for these years just to hear that story David!!! :-))


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sukkah Portland - Ancient Tradition, Contemporary Design

Emly Oren
Moishe House Portland

On October 5th, 2012 Moishe House Portland had the privilege of partnering with Oregon Jewish Museum and Portland Young Adult Shabbat for a spectacular event that featured six beautiful sukkah's created from artists around the country. The sukkah is a temporary communal dwelling place, traditionally created each fall in the observance of Sukkot. These shelters are created for protection and allow us to observe nature, joy, harvest, and the prayer for rain. As we head into the Fall and Winter, we hope rain will come to replenish our planet. We ask for actual rain but we all ask for all of forms of blessing to be showered upon us for the coming year.
The sukkahs held for this event were put in competition with many other sukkahs around the country; however, only six creative and original sukkahs were chosen to best symbolize and provide contemporary responses to the traditional challenges of sukkah design. Once these six sukkahs were chosen, they were put on display in the parking lot of Oregon Jewish Museum  for a week-long series of events that seek to place this ancient holiday within a modern context. One such event took place on this special Shabbat evening where we came together as a community for a yummy vegetarian potluck dinner, featuring a live band, and the display of the winners of this year's sukkah competition. Participants were given the opportunity to stroll, schoomze, and nosh their way through the sukkahs with family and friends.
Coming together as a community during this time of year reminded me of many things -Dwelling in a sukkah forces us to remove ourselves from the materialistic things that normally fill our environment. We surround ourselves day to day with our materialistic accomplishments but Sukkot forces us to leave those behind and return to a much simpler existence where our priorities refocuses onto affirmations of nationhood, spirituality, and the importance of communal living. Moishe House Portland was given the special opportunity to bring our community together, inviting others to dwell in our sukkahs and share a meal together. This Sukkah event reminded me of how lucky we are to be given the commandment of creating a peaceful and important dwelling place where participants have the privilege of learning, growing, and come together in the time of rejoicing. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Schnitz and Giggles

Rodrigo R. Rodarte
Moishe House LA

I recently came up with a new schnitzel recipe off the cuff that I thought came out nicely and I wanted to share it. As part of our own take on celebrating the high holidays, we were all in a cabin in the woods (not like the movie) for the Saturday night in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for some reflecting and rejuvenation. The four of us and ten of our community members were having an amazing and very relaxing time just talking, joking, smoking hookah, thinking back on the previous year and just being away from the city for a night. As evening approached, dinner became the only thing we were able to reflect on, so in keeping with tradition in our house, the boys laced up our aprons and got to work. Jon wore the main chef hat, prepping a London broil and some sides, and I took on chicken duty for the non-red-meat-eaters. With only the chicken breasts, the limited spice rack of the cabin and the snacks we brought for our hike the next day, my options were limited and I had nothing planned. There were some requests for schnitzel but no breadcrumbs. I decided to make it anyway. We had some chips and pretzels open from snack time, so I took them both, smashed them into a million pieces, toasted up a piece of wheat bread, crumbled it in the mix, and threw in some spices and garlic. Using the traditional egg coating and a super hot oiled up pan, I breaded and fried the chicken like normal. As we sat to enjoy the tremendous meal before us in the surreally tranquil atmosphere of the cabin and the woods, we all shared words of appreciation for the great food, for the opportunity to be up there and for the time to get away from life for 24 hours. We chowed hard, laughed, drank and I felt truly blessed to be a part of all of it. To my surprise, the schnitzel played a starring role in the meal, the reviews were rave and bellies were filled. The next day as part of our plan for the weekend, we hiked up a mountain and separated from one another for individual reflection. Sitting by myself on top of a rock it occurred to me that despite all our efforts to plan the perfect program, the perfect retreat, the perfect meal, and many other things, it is often the unexpected that turns out best, the unplanned that we truly remember and appreciate. As I enter another Jewish year with more events and Moishe House memories to come, I am more than ever thankful for the opportunity to share the surprises and happy accidents of life with my wonderful roommates, friends, family and community. 


1 cup crushed pretzels
1 cup crushed, flavored chips of choice
1 super toasted, crumbled up slice of bread
1tsp Salt
1tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, ultra minced
2 lbs thin sliced chicken boobs
2 eggs
1/4 cup soy milk or almond milk

Mix thoroughly the crushed ingredients, salt, pepper and garlic in a wide, shallow bowl or dish.

Beat eggs with soy milk.

Pound chicken nice and flat (or slice thin).

heat generous serving of oil in large skillet to medium-high eat.

Dip chicken in egg mix, roll in dry mix, fry thoroughly on each side until both sides are crispy and brown

Moishe House SFV

Being a resident of Moishe House for just over a year now has not only showed me new things but taught me many things as well. Becoming a Jewish Leader in my community all began as a camp counselor at a Jewish sleep-away camp. As a camp counselor, I learned to be a responsible and independent individual as well as being aware of my surroundings. By this I mean, there is someone always paying attention to your actions, whether it was the camp director or the kids in your cabin. Through the camp I was elected to participate in a Birthright trip experience to Israel that was mostly made up of camp staff. I bring this topic up because as most of you know, Birthright NEXT assists in funding our Shabbat Programs each month. I became aware of Moishe House after attending my Birthright trip and hosting my own NEXT meals post Birthright. Through a friend that worked for the Birthright NEXT Los Angeles Chapter, he had mentioned Moishe House and how fitting it would be for me, as he was a former camp staff member as well. All the basics learned at a summer camp can be transferred to being a resident of Moishe House starting with program. We all have a program quota that needs to be fulfilled monthly and different program types that need to be fulfilled quarterly. I have the ability to organize and execute these programs without any issues and that makes me a strong Jewish Leader with the community I have built with my fellow residents. Programming has become second nature to me and Moishe House has allowed to me to exercise my horizons with various programs I can host for my community. We constantly take feedback from our participants and community members and we take this feedback and apply it to better our events and program, which also shows that every leader has room for improvement.

Jason Zide