Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mauro - MH Buenos Aires

A few times a month, when I look back at my time with MH I realize the huge impact it had in my life. What would it be of me now? Where would I live? In what city? In what country? Who would be my friends? What about my professional life? Would I still care about having a Jewish life? Would I still be interested in studying and learning about Judaism? Every aspect of my life has been changed (for the best) with my involvement in MH, even my eating habits! The picture would certainly look very very different, and would probably look less colorful than it does now, after having lived this time at the MH.

Perhaps, the thing I value the most is that MH gave me the place to meet so many people and expand my personal and professional contacts. I've made friends with people I could never have met, I've been part of different projects that came about thanks to MH. Programs and activities I created around our MH coumminity give me so much joy. I know many people take for granted that Jewish organizations create programming for them. It's not about the credit or recognition for doing this, it's really about knowing that just as my life has been changed, it makes a difference in their lives too. I can remember at least 5 couples formed through the Moishe House Buenos Aires (and so much more that I have no idea of). Some got married, and it was thanks to the MH, to us, to me. How big is that???
I've had more Shabat dinners and Havdallot at the Moishe House than I have had in my entire life! Also, being able to facilitate that for other people is incredibly satisfying.

I believe that the only things one can accumulate is what one gives. In the end, what you think you have can go away, money can go away, friends get lost, things will deteriorate, all but the things you gave. Your good deeds, that's something nobody can take away from you. I'll certainly take this on the rest of my life thanks to the practice I'm getting at Moishe House.

Mauro Hoijemberg
MH Buenos Aires

Monday, July 30, 2012

Adam Schrodl - MH Budapest

I moved to Moishe House Budapest approximately half year ago. First I thought, it won’t be a big change, because I was there almost every week in the last two years, I knew all the faces and I helped with the programs sometimes for the residents.

But it was. To describe why, it is important to know more about our house. We are in the centre of the city, at the heart of the Jewish quarter.  It’s a big difference, if I not only go to a Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday evenings, not only go to the house for a movie screening, or studying, but I wake up every day in the quarter, see the Haredi people go to their synagogue to the morning prayer under our balcony, while I have a cup of tea. Go to buy challa and wine at the kosher shop and bakery, that are just a few streets far from our apartment. To see the rabbis of the closest synagogues every day on the street, to know the latest news and gossip about the Jewish community(ies) of Budapest. Sometimes at night I just need to take my bike, go down to some places and talk with the others about politics, culture and Jewish life.

Now I’m not only helping organize the programs, I also organize the life of the House, I can also make the decisions as to what programs we want in the next month, to what direction we want to go. Being a resident in a Moishe House I feel much more that I’m part of an international Jewish community, that supports and helps me, and I appreciate my work for the community. I believe that our Moishe House is a great forum, where Jews can meet each other and also with non-Jews. It is a space that everybody can form to her/his image and everybody can be a part of. In here I’m never alone, and it really means a lot.

Brett Leboff - London

My time in Moishe House has been an amazing few years of transformation.
When I first moved into the house, I was single, never had a Jewish Girlfriend, had just started keeping shabbat and wasn't really sure where I stood in what community.

Well, the MoHoLo spirit is amazing. The community was growing all the time and it has been a fascinating time to be right in the heart of the Jewish grassroots community in London.

The combination of fun that we have through organising creative events, meeting new people and working as a team within a community is just amazing. The things I have learnt about living and working within a vibrant community like this is also great.

I have now been a resident of Moishe House for over 3 years and have met an amazing bunch of people who I can well imagine I will grow with through various community and social activities. A place where I have been able to openly express my Judaism, and who I am as a person.

A testament to my time in the house, is the fact that only last Sunday, I had my engagement party at the house. From older family members to friends from the community and beyond, the atmosphere was magic and breathtaking. As a reflection it is truly mindblowing what MoHoLo has achieved over the last few years.  I met my future wife many times at the house but we had not spoken much. It was during a sharing group, I heard her speaking about inner thoughts and various things that resonated. After chatting with her for hours after that group it became clear that we had a lot in common. Well, she is now my fiance and we are to be married next February.

Long may Moishe House continue!

XBrett Leboff

Friday, July 27, 2012

End of an Era - Jen P. from MH Baltimore

My name is Jen Posner and I have been living in Moishe House Baltimore since May of 2011. I've had such a great experience touching the lives of young Jewish people in the Baltimore area. It makes me feel so proud that the events we've planned and hosted have created and maintained friendships that still remain today. I've grown so much as a person by living with 2 (lovely) guys and essentially working with them too. Being a resident of the Moishe House has taught me a lot about time management- with regards to my full-time job, moishe events, and my social life. Living with Max and Mickey is an experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. They've taught me a lot about Moishe house, and life in general, and are both truly genuinely great friends and roommates. I want to thank all of the staff with Moishe House for allowing me to have such a great experience and I hope to be able to continue attending the events that the new residents will be hosting. Thanks again!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

MH San Francisco

My name is Jay Wolfberg and I am a current resident of the Moishe House San Francisco. What a long strange trip it has been out here! I grew up around the suburbs of Philadelphia - born and raised. In my teenage years I was part of the Jewish Youth group B'nai Brith Youth Organization. Although i grew up semi religious, attending a conservative congregational synagogue until I had my Bar Mitzvah, it was not really until i joined BBYO that i felt a sense of communal experience with peers and like minded individuals. BBYO also gave me a glimpse into the world of program planning through social engagement. The time between that decade past in high school and this recent year I had not been involved much in the Jewish community but when given the opportunity to live in a Moishe House all that changed once again. The experience i have been lucky enough to have living here has been a priceless time in my life in which I have learned so much and connected once again with my Jewish roots. For example, Zvi's weekly Parsha is always full of wonderful stories and thoughtful commentaries on how to apply tradition in our contemporary lifestyle and teaches me about holidays i did not even know of! This house and community has taught me how to be more cohesive and communicative with the people around me in order to plan events accordingly and keep communication between house mates open, honest, and productive. I am so very grateful for the blessing of living here and thankful for the people who turned an idea of twenty-something Jewish social community into a reality where young adults can make something bigger than themselves alone and change the lives of so many surrounding them in an educational and meaningful way. L'Chaim! Sincerely grateful, Jay O. Wolfberg

When the time comes to raise funds from community members - Meir MH Palo Alto

We all know the amazing opportunities Moishe House brings to young Jewish people around the world: you enjoy activities with your pals, new friends, have impromptu Shabbat dinners, and even make connections that might help you professionally! Above all, you share meaningful, special and fun times with others with whom you have a common heritage. Setting the mood for all of these to happen involves having a place, time, materials and, of course food! It's no surprise that funds are needed to run these events happening several times a month in all the houses around the world. The model of Moishe House relies on local sources of funding and one of these sources is actually community members. There comes a time in the life of Moishe House residents when they have to tell the community that it is their turn to give back, if they are financially able, of course. This might sound easy to do, but it is far from it. At least it wasn't for me. First, I have never been a fan of public speaking, but I have learned and improved the skill during my residency at the house. Secondly, while I live in a Moishe House in the US, English is not my mother tongue. These two things, paired together with the fact that I have a funny accent (which sometimes takes a conversation in a different way than you expect) mean that I had to be careful when talking about an already delicate subject as it also deals with money. Also, asking for monetary support from a mixed crowd of people, ranging from some whom you know closely to some you've never met (yet), can go in many different ways. Lastly, I had never openly asked people to donate money and had zero experience on it. Since I've learned a lot from having to do it, and that this is a situation other Moishe House residents will likely go through, I wanted to share tips that helped me successfully transmit the message and inspire the Palo Alto Moishe House community members to come together in the amazing and kind way they did to help: When preparing beforehand: - Identify and get a very clear idea of the message you want to transmit: boil the message down to very simple and short talking points e.g: "we need your help to keep this house going", "no pressure- help if you feel connected and have the ability." - Make sure you understand these points, they make total sense to you, and you believe in them. This will make your speech better as a whole since you will be talking almost intuitively about the subject - Be humble but say what is needed to be said - Prepare the relevant detailed information the community will need to actually help: how to do it, timeframe, etc. - Have an order for the ideas you are going to present so it makes sense e.g: 1) describe what Moishe House does 2) state the funding situation 3) present possible solution 4) invite the community to help 5) give details about the mechanics of how and when, etc. - Practice! Not only in your head, but by talking out loud as you are going to actually do it. My roommates were very helpful in listening and suggesting improvements. When addressing: - Follow the order of ideas you prepared, of course. - Talk at a pace that will allow others to understand and process the information. For me this usually means to consciously make an effort to slow down. - Talk with confidence: you have prepared and you know what you are saying. Transmit this to the audience, not only through the words themselves but also in your way of presenting them. - Be yourself. You want to look and feel real as you actually are. People connect to this! - Don't forget the detailed follow-up information! Hope this informal guide can be useful to others out there, Meir

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tomek - MH Warsaw

My name is Tomek and I live in Moishe House Warsaw. It has been almost a year since I moved into Moishe and I’m writing on this blog for the first time. It was very hard for me to write this post and I’m posting it so late that Joel wants to kill me. I’m really sorry. My only excuse (and surely not a very convincing one) is that I somehow always return my writings after deadlines. That’s me...

Frankly, it took me so much time to get to write this post because I don’t realy know what to write in it. One thing is sure: this year, my first year in Moishe house was probably the most interesting year of my life. Most interesting of all were the people I have met living here. Not only guests at our events, but also those who come to visit Warsaw from other Moishe Houses. I have met wonderful people and have made fantastic friends. That certainly is the most precious thing I could ever get.
Celebrating holidays and having inspiring discussions and last but not least thinking over identity - those are things I owe to Moishe House Warsaw, and I look forward to experiencing more and more of it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ben Kiss - Budapest

I'm the youngest and newest resident of MH Budapest. What I love about my community, and the whole spirit of the Moishe House, is its openness and liberal attitude toward all. I had never expected to meet so many interesting and different kind of people before the MH became a part of my life. In my subjective map of Budapest, it is in the center. 

I moved to the capital two years ago when I started university. I went on a study trip to the Czech Republic where I met Dora, who later became one of my best friends, who took me to the usual Kabbalat Shabbat upon returning to the country. Since then, I had very few missed programs here. 

I spent the first half of the year in Israel, and on my first days back in Hungary I bumped into Anna, one of the funding members of the House here. She just asked me if I wanted to move in because there was a vacant place and I immediately said yes! I was waiting for this for such a long time but I never thought I would actually become a resident one day. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of free time at the moment but when I do, I love dealing with the things of the community. And in case I need to work until late on Friday, even though I'm deadly tired, I'm always enormously grateful for where I live and for the faces I see at the end of the day and at the beginning of Shabbat. 

I'm saying without exaggeration that having found this hidden spot in the heart of the city was the best thing that happened to me in the past years. The people I met here, my community, all the visitors that we have from all around the world, the thought that there's something that binds us together, these are all very precious to me. Had there been more places like Moishe House, the world would be a much relaxed place.

Gabi Altamirano - Johannesburg

Moishe House has always been an open one for the Jewish twenty-something’s in Johannesburg. Pairing Moishe House and Habonim creates a bustling, dynamic and interesting house that has a constant stream of fascinating and diverse people constantly running in and out. A Friday and Saturday night hardly go by without a take-away and some wine, before going out or enjoying each others' company in the house. The house is not just host to social events but educational ones too - with a strong focus on Jewish learning and Israeli current affairs.

This year Roxanne, Browde and I decided to provide a more cultural experience and try to accommodate everyone. So we’ve had a fun, jammed packed year, filled with unique events, such as a girls night which involved 18 girls coming together over cocktails and dinner to listen to a sexologist help us regain our “power”. We have hosted a delegation from Israel coming out against Israel Apartheid week. We have done regular dinners, had amazing guest speakers (from lawyers working at the constitutional court, to heads of the Jewish community speaking on the role of youth within the community). We have celebrated in true Moishe House style, all chagim through elaborate dinners, late night text discussions, and parties.

I think this year we have managed to cater better for everyone and at some point during every month there has definitely been something appealing for a wide variety of people.

I think Moishe is definitely one of the most challenging but exciting things I’ve done. It’s taught me to branch out, engage with people I wouldn’t otherwise engage with, and challenge my thoughts and opinions. And it's ensured that I cater for my desire to help my community, by attending weekly tutoring sessions.

Moishe House Williamsburg - Luanna's Post

For many years I often joked that one day I was going to move to New York, live in some crappy neighborhood in Brooklyn, and have the perfect job in a Jewish Non- Profit. This is definitely what I got, so I recommend being careful what you wish for. I was lucky that this was a good wish. From the neighborhood, I learned to be more humble, from the job I learned to put all my heart and soul into it. All was great, but being in New York for almost a year, I began to feel that there was something lacking. I began to realize that I spent so much time building community for others, that I had no community myself. Being in a city where over a million people are Jewish, one may think finding community may be very simple, but truly it was not. A lot of events targeted at my age group were very impersonal and not continuous. It was then that a friend who lived in a Moishe House in Buenos Aires let me know about the houses that were about to open in New York. Everything Moishe House stood for was exactly what I was looking for. Building community for people in their 20s and 30s that were post-college did not have a place to explore their own Jewish identities. I had the luck of being selected to be part of a house in December of 2011. Since then I have truly learned a lot about myself, others, been able to truly build a community around my house. Our community members all with their different personalities have truly become friends I cherish, and look forward to seeing them both inside and outside the house. Being part of Moishe House has definitely given me the tools to build a community for myself and young Jews like me, helped me grow as an individual, and a Jewish leader.