Tuesday, May 1, 2012

MH Williamsburg - DeJohn

Wow, it’s amazing how time flies. It seems like just yesterday we were searching for an apartment to start our brand new Moishe House here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I guess the saying rings true, “time flies when you’re having fun” because these last four and a half months have flown by. Let me take a moment to introduce myself. My name is DeJohn, and I make up one third of the amazing trio that is Moishe House Williamsburg. Just like the “Real World,” we were three strangers picked to live and work in a house together, and it is amazing what we have accomplished in a short time. When we moved in two out of the three of us knew almost no one in the city, and now we have 15-20 guests for each of our Shabbat dinners while attracting regular crowds to events such as challah baking and happy hours. In this post I want to focus on one particularly meaningful event for our house and myself, our second night Passover Seder. Passover is probably my favorite Jewish holiday. I love reflecting on the journey our ancestors made to make our current existence possible, sharing the holiday with friends and family, and enjoying some of my favorite foods. One of my favorite parts of it seems every Seder I have attended is the community aspect. Whether it was my parents inviting in college students and non-Jewish friends, or being invited myself into friends’ family’s homes in Israel or at school in Arizona, Passover always seems to bring new friendships and family into my life, and so I thought it would make the perfect Moishe House event. Armed with my mom’s recipes and guidance, I went about preparing to host my very first Passover Seder. For attendees I reached out to our regular Moishe House community, my friends, the other NYC Moishe Houses, and Facebook, inviting anyone and everyone to join me in celebrating our exodus from Egypt. At the same time I finalized a menu, my mother’s brisket recipe, roasted potatoes and salad, to go along with Passover staples gefilte fish, charoset, matzo and of course lots of wine. For haggadot I went to my trusty friend Google and found a great (and relatively short) Haggadah to help guide us in recounting our ancestors journey out of Egypt. After hours of cooking and cleaning, I finally welcomed 12 guests into our home for the second night of Passover. We had a wide variety of guests, Jews and non-Jews, first time Moishe House attendees and regular attendees, Israelis and Americans. To say the Seder was a great experience would be an understatement. We each took turns reading passages from the Haggadah, enjoyed four glasses of wine, and got to know each other over stimulating dinner conversation. Like all Passovers it seems, I enjoyed my favorite foods, made new friends, and renewed my appreciation for the struggles of the Jewish people. The experience I had hosting a Passover Seder is the perfect example of what an amazing organization and opportunity Moishe House is. Without Moishe House my dozen guests and myself would have had to go to an unfamiliar Seder that may not have felt like home. Instead we were able to gather together and feel like a family celebrating an important Jewish holiday. Like NFTY in high school and AEPi in college, Moishe House has given me a new Jewish family where I can grow and develop with amazing friends, and I can’t wait to continue seizing this amazing opportunity. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in getting involved in Moishe House Williamsburg or is interested in more information send me an email at dmrose14@gmail.com and I can tell you more about our house and invite you to our next event!

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