Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shoshana - Moishe House Murray Hill

It’s the end of March and that means I’ve been living in NYC for just shy of 4 months now.  I’m certainly no stranger to the city, being from New Jersey and living within easy driving distance, but the experience of truly becoming a New Yorker is unlike any other.  For a city so full of people and constant motion and activity, it can be a fairly lonely place.  That’s why I think Moishe House is such an imperative part of the New York City landscape.  There is certainly no shortage of opportunities and communities for Jewish people, but not every community or program is right for everyone.  Even despite the huge number of options out there, out Moishe House has still found a place and managed to fill a void, providing the exact community and vibe that local twenty-somethings have been looking for.



Our Moishe House is unique, in that my fellow residents and I all have known each other for several years.  Rachel, Ariel and I all went to Rutgers University together, lived in the same dorm together for two years (Ariel was actually my roommate during sophomore year), and were very active in Rutgers  Hillel together.  Starting this new adventure together and pursuing this endeavor has not only brought us closer but also gives such a homey, comfortable feeling to our community.  We’re all students but some of us also work so we have a great dynamic and understanding.  We have some similar networks of friends but a very far reach of other ones that have helped us to bring in people for all over the city, make connections, and start new friendships that are all grounded in our Moishe House.  As much as I enjoy creating opportunities for others to meet new people, Moishe House has also been a great resource for me personally to make sure I spend some time relaxing, engaging others, and enjoying the company of those in my community.  Being a law student, setting aside time to socialize or just hang out with friends and especially engage my Judaism does not always take top priority, but Moishe House has ensured that I take the time to slow down and do just those things and for that I am truly grateful.



After our 3rd month of operation, I am tremendously proud of the programs we have put on, the people we have met and gotten active in the community, and the huge amount of promise I see for our Moishe House in the future.  We have Moishe House National Convention this weekend, which we cannot wait for – it will be such a great chance to meet other residents and learn from their experiences and ideas!  We all have tons of ideas, excitement, and energy and I know that in the coming months, there will be all the more exciting things coming from Moishe House Murray Hill.

~Shoshana, Moishe House Murray Hill

Monday, March 26, 2012

Portland

I've been in Portland for a little over a year and it is the perfect size for me as a community member, young professional, and Moishe House resident. My house - as the center of my life - has been the incubator for my involvement in the community. My roommates include a musician, a life skills coach, a chef, and a puppy...home life has never been better. They are all talented community builders and I'm blessed to live and work with them.

In our Jewish community of about 40k, there really isn't much going on for young Jewish adults. Most of the young adult groups that exist are affiliated with an organization or they have a political agenda. They largely aren't agile, they don't have their own space, or any national support. In fact, the one thing they all have in common is their use of our Moishe House. We have taken on a new role in this community as a connector, a venue, and a support group for the other young adult seed programs around town. Portland is unique because we don't keep track of membership and thus we aren't plagued by the "turf-battle" that cripples the majority of our community. Many people here are worried about flat or declining membership rates at synagogues or the JCC, people are tired of hitting up the same donors and attending the same benefit dinners, but young adults in this town don't have to worry about consequences of collaboration. We all seem to work very well together and often times Moishe House is making the most significant moves.

The four of us are proud to be community builders and I'm excited to see how we continue to impact this community. We've gone through a serious process of rebranding and we've gained significant traction. Now with the upcoming re-energizing forces of Tribefest + National Convention we're going to bring some fresh material to P-Town.

-Jonathan Morgan

Moishe House San Francisco RSJ

This is my first blog and I would like to take the time to talk a little about my background and the reasons behind why I decided to become a resident of Moishe House and why I along with my roommates founded the Russian Moishe House in San Francisco. I was born in the former USSR and grew up there until I was 8 years old when my family and I immigrated to the Bay Area. I grew up here identifying more with being Russian than Jewish since I spoke Russian with my family and many of my friends I related my culture to that with which I grew up with in the former Soviet Union.
I went to a university that had a very large percentage of Jewish students on campus. I started going to the campus Hillel and even started volunteering to help with many different Jewish events around campus. I wanted so badly to learn about my Jewish culture, about my people’s history, our traditions and holidays, and just to learn why; why I don’t completely fit in with Russian or Latvian people.
Getting out of college, I got the opportunity to start a Russian Jewish Moishe house in San Francisco. I usually am very cautious with making decisions regarding my personal time, as I work full time as an HR manager and bartend on the weekends, but this felt like an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. Maybe god was looking over my decision because everything really came together. We found a great place which ended up being very convenient for me, we came up with some great events, it gave me the opportunity to meet great people, learn about Jewish customs, more about the situation in Israel, began observing Jewish Holidays and traditions, and now looking back on it I believe it was one of the best decisions for me.
I had one particular experience at an event that we hosted. A couple of speakers from Israel came to our house and talked about the current living conditions and the political environment there today. They were both from the former Soviet Union like me. This one meeting answered so many of the questions I had been wondering about, and gave me a whole new perspective on my culture. It left me wondering what if my family would have immigrated to Israel, or anywhere else for that matter? Would I have the same values, ideas, want to surround myself with like minded people?
I am just starting this journey, but starting Moishe house 5 months ago, has led me to become a young Jewish leader already, and I think of it as a great positive experience in all aspects, I have also become the coordinator for Jewish service events for my house. I believe that this is foretelling of things to come for me in my Jewish community!

-Anya