Since I moved into Moishe House West LA in December, I've received weekly emails from Zvi offering up his take on the weekly Torah portion and some learnings to help make the ancient texts relatable. To completely come clean, I tried to read them a few times but would get distracted by something else and never went back. Then I just started to ignore them since they'd pop into my inbox during work, I'd save them to read for a few weeks and they'd pile up until I'd admit to myself that I probably wouldn't get to them. In general, I don't really consider myself a "torah studier" and liked the idea of giving it a try once in awhile, but wasn't making the time.
This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Zvi at the Moishe House National Conference and quickly realized that I'd been missing out on his weekly nuggets of Torah gold. He presented teachings to our group in a way that paid tribute to the words that have been studied for ages but boiled it down to relatable, modern ideas and ways to bring these lessons into our daily lives, however we see fit. It was really refreshing.
So yesterday, Zvi sent another email and I marked it unread. But this afternoon I read it and I'm so glad I did. It was about the counting of the Omer which is something I'd never heard of before. I read the article he attached and then put his webinar on in the background while I updated my production schedule. I was really inspired by the conversation that he led and decided to pitch an idea to my roommates that we incorporate the counting of the omer into our events between Passover and Shavuot by collecting food items in our SOVA bin, with the goal to collect 49 lbs of food to donate. And at the end we can deliver the food and have a celebratory dinner with food we've grown on our rooftop garden (planted on Tu B'Shevat!) as a symbol of our own harvest.
The greatest thing about Moishe House that I took away from the National Conference is that the organization gives its residents access to a plethora of valuable resources and our job is to take advantage of them however we see fit. I heard it several times this weekend, but the Conference did sincerely make me feel like part of a huge, tight-knit network. I love the community that we've started to create in Moishe House West LA, and even more the community that the three LA houses have created by bringing their communities together, but this weekend took that feeling to a whole new level! I realized that our West LA house has just scratched the surface and that the resources that Moishe House offers us are ours for the taking. Rent subsidies and monthly budgets are just the beginning. It's really the knowledge and ideas and passion for the work that the Moishe House staff does that makes this organization so special and unique. But the most amazing part, as a resident, is that they're encouraging us to take all of their resources and gifts and make them our own, however we see fit.