Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Moishe House East Bay: A Time of Transition

We used to have a dining room table, until about two hours ago. That table had seen a lot of memories: Had us holding a lot of hands, supported a Challah or two and some of our amazing dinners together. With the exit of our Captain and beloved roommate, Glenn Howe, our sturdy steed of a table sailed with him. He wasn’t the first to go and wont be the last to leave. In December, Jack Cohen made his grand exit from Moishe House and took with him a real genuineness and love for his community. He’s not far, and as a Moishe resident, created a program that gained so much following, he has no choice but continue it. The people have spoken; they want Torah the Explorah!

There seems to be a trend forming for me, as I watch furniture disappear and new “stuff” emerge. It was clear our home is entering a major transitional phase, and having only been a Moishe for seven months, I knew I wouldn’t be the new kid on the block much longer. As any group forms, storms and norms, our roles become better defined. We start to get a feel for what we are as individuals and who we are within the group. As one member leaves, the roles shift and a new dynamic take shape. We teach one another without even knowing that a larger lesson in life enters the foreground of your existence.

The beauty of Moishe House isn’t just the community currently being cultivated; it’s an awareness and honor of all that has come and gone before you. Although Oakland is now on the NYTimes top 45 Places to go IN THE WORLD, , Moishe House Oakland left something to be desired in a past life. Senior Moishinik, Joshua Walters, sat me down one night and told me how they struggled to keep the project afloat just two years ago. They held an open house and only two people showed up and ended up being our roommates, Eli Zaturanski and Jack Cohen. Now, in Berkeley, we’ve got emails, calls and drop bys of people from all over the East Bay wanting to join as a resident.

We’ve got a good thing going on over here, and it wouldn’t be without those that came before us, and the promise of new energy from those yet to come. Moishe House’s decentralized leadership gives us the power of our process as a home, to create the community we love. The more of us out there that can come in and leave a little goodness behind, the better for the vision and reach of our community as a whole.

So, let this be an homage to my Moishemen: the guys who brought me in, who taught and fed me well—with knowledge, acceptance and a leg of lamb. I feel confident moving forward with your spirit and support behind us.

-Katherine Bruce

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