Monday, October 29, 2012

Blog series by Lacko - MH Budapest

Sitz im Leben[1] of Moishe House

How does Moishe House fit into the everyday life of a local community? What is the historical and cultural context, and how can Moishe House relate to it, add to it? In a series of blog posts over the coming months I will be looking for answers to questions such as these.

It’s worth pointing out that at the moment I would have trouble giving in-depth answers to these questions. However, it is my hope that meaningful answers will emerge by the time we get to the last piece of the series. I hope so because I believe that these are the questions that leaders of every community (and every Moishe House community) have to continuously keep in mind, and one should never be satisfied with partial solutions.

Every Moishe House community is in some way part of the local Jewish community and the local community in general. To be a succesful organisation, all Moishe House residents must be aware of the potential that active communication with the wider community holds, as well as the rules and limitations involved. People don’t simply appear on the doorstep of Moishe House out of thin air. Most of them are already members of other communities, or at the very least, they’re all determined by the cultural context of the city and country they live in. If our aim is to make Moishe House into a place where visitors can take part in a variety of creative and colorful programs, and embrace their own (jewish) identity in a stress-free environment, then we must have a clear knowledge of the needs and expectations of current and potential members of the community.

These needs and expectations can be quite varied, some more easily defined and expressed than others. The more tangible expectations (good food, quality films, etc.) are relatively easy to assess, even if at times they may be difficult to satisfy. The more profound needs pose a greater challenge. Few people can pinpoint what they are in need of as Jews, as members of a Jewish community, or just as individuals with an interest in Judaism. What exactly helps them develop and express their own relationship with Judaism. Our job is to help bring these internal proccesses to the surface, gather our shared stories which then can foster the sort of atmosphere and mentality that Moishe House is built upon.

I myself have begun this work starting a bit far back, with the story of our grandparents. I hope my findings will help shed some light on some of these important issues, and maybe inspire other young Moishe House leaders to begin their own research.

To get closer to an understanding of the contemporary Jewish community of Budapest, we first have to reach a couple of generations back. Therefore, the next post will tell the story of our grandparents, the World War and the long era of silence that followed.

[1] (German, “setting in life”)
In biblical hermeneutics (methods of interpretation) or biblical criticism, this refers to the “situation in life” that gave rise to the various genres or literary forms used to communicate the message of Scripture in a particular sociological context.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Elazar - Moishe House Vienna

It´s been already more than two years since I got into Moishe House.
Crazy how fast time passes. I am sitting here now with my notebook and remembering some things I have been through. Ups and downs, lows and highs. It was a lifetime experience. It made understand certain things in life and also understand myself a bit more. Through many events I got to know many people and made many new friendships. 

When I look back at these 2 years of Moishe House Vienna I just can say that I am so proud of the whole experience here. It was and is still a great time hosting so many people over the years. A special thanks for all the people who support this great community of Moishe House.

This is it, now I have to get back to plan new events :) looking forward ...

Elazar, Moishe House Vienna

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sukot in the (semi)Desert - Joel MHSD

The sun rises peeks through the palm fronds, illuminating the white cotton sheets as they wave in the breeze. The air, dry and warm, fills the Sukah and wafts over the chillies and avocados hanging from its beams. Our table sits at the center, its surface decorated with bread crumbs and wine glasses from the previous evening's Shabos get-together.

At the western end of the Sukah one sheet hangs loosely, its corner flapping in the breeze to reveal the sunlit mountains on the horizon. Over the last two years, the founders of Moishe House San Diego have devoted themselves to the construction of not just a Sukah, but a community. Their continual efforts and sacrifices have led us through times both jubilant and dry - many a Moishenik who surprises us with their presence, and one Moishenik who passed away just as suddenly; goodbyes to friends moving on to other cities, and greetings to the interesting experiences that newcomers bring; late nights of disharmony and sunny mornings full of gratitude for having one another.

As the new year comes, that sheet flaps in the breeze and we lose two of our founding members: Dovi and Natalie. Gabi and I feel the growing pains. We are excited to broaden what Moishe House means to San Diego and to add our own dash of spice to the mix. We have tsores, of course as any Jew must always have, but tsores about losing the leadership, consul and warm presence of our companions. But as they move on, a new community member steps into the Sukah, makes this semi-desert experience a little cooler, a little more brave.

I remember happening upon Moishe House two Yom Kipurim ago. It was by chance. Surfing the web, I learned about and then attended my first Surf-dalah, catching some waves before praying around the Havdalah candle. I had never heard of such a cool idea before. As I attended more events and got to know Moishe House better, my involvement grew. As we put out the call for new residents this season, we met people in the wider community that we thought we might never connect to. Our new residents enter our lives just as surprisingly, and we are excited they have brought with them.

Despite the harshness of the San Diego semidesert, the aridity loneliness and the heat of responsibility, we gain shelter in our community.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Filip - MH Warsaw

It's already 3 years here, but it feels like one. As times go by many things happen but you don't actually feel it, it's just inside you. Through this time there have been four changes in residents, dozens of guests, some for one night, some for more. Girl- and boyfriends came and went. It's just a good lively place, that's what I can say.

More and more people are coming, getting to know what MH in Warsaw is. Some stay, some go. But for all, I hope it is an open house. I feel we're hosts, warmly welcoming any guest who wishes to drop by. And that is an idea for what I would like MH to be – an open house. That is for me a real challenge.

Thanks to more visits from MH staff we know now that it's a thing we do along with the people the same as we are. David, Joel, Zvi, thanks for your work! And all the rest, keep it up guys!

Anyway MH Warsaw has been a guesthouse so far. More and more people getting to know about it and more and more guests. Which is really great and works as it should.
People – more and more people. That's what I recall after 3 years.
But my room didn't change much...

PS we still can't believe what David told us about beginning of Moishe House. It was worth it to live here for these years just to hear that story David!!! :-))


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sukkah Portland - Ancient Tradition, Contemporary Design

Emly Oren
Moishe House Portland

On October 5th, 2012 Moishe House Portland had the privilege of partnering with Oregon Jewish Museum and Portland Young Adult Shabbat for a spectacular event that featured six beautiful sukkah's created from artists around the country. The sukkah is a temporary communal dwelling place, traditionally created each fall in the observance of Sukkot. These shelters are created for protection and allow us to observe nature, joy, harvest, and the prayer for rain. As we head into the Fall and Winter, we hope rain will come to replenish our planet. We ask for actual rain but we all ask for all of forms of blessing to be showered upon us for the coming year.
The sukkahs held for this event were put in competition with many other sukkahs around the country; however, only six creative and original sukkahs were chosen to best symbolize and provide contemporary responses to the traditional challenges of sukkah design. Once these six sukkahs were chosen, they were put on display in the parking lot of Oregon Jewish Museum  for a week-long series of events that seek to place this ancient holiday within a modern context. One such event took place on this special Shabbat evening where we came together as a community for a yummy vegetarian potluck dinner, featuring a live band, and the display of the winners of this year's sukkah competition. Participants were given the opportunity to stroll, schoomze, and nosh their way through the sukkahs with family and friends.
Coming together as a community during this time of year reminded me of many things -Dwelling in a sukkah forces us to remove ourselves from the materialistic things that normally fill our environment. We surround ourselves day to day with our materialistic accomplishments but Sukkot forces us to leave those behind and return to a much simpler existence where our priorities refocuses onto affirmations of nationhood, spirituality, and the importance of communal living. Moishe House Portland was given the special opportunity to bring our community together, inviting others to dwell in our sukkahs and share a meal together. This Sukkah event reminded me of how lucky we are to be given the commandment of creating a peaceful and important dwelling place where participants have the privilege of learning, growing, and come together in the time of rejoicing. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Schnitz and Giggles

Rodrigo R. Rodarte
Moishe House LA

I recently came up with a new schnitzel recipe off the cuff that I thought came out nicely and I wanted to share it. As part of our own take on celebrating the high holidays, we were all in a cabin in the woods (not like the movie) for the Saturday night in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for some reflecting and rejuvenation. The four of us and ten of our community members were having an amazing and very relaxing time just talking, joking, smoking hookah, thinking back on the previous year and just being away from the city for a night. As evening approached, dinner became the only thing we were able to reflect on, so in keeping with tradition in our house, the boys laced up our aprons and got to work. Jon wore the main chef hat, prepping a London broil and some sides, and I took on chicken duty for the non-red-meat-eaters. With only the chicken breasts, the limited spice rack of the cabin and the snacks we brought for our hike the next day, my options were limited and I had nothing planned. There were some requests for schnitzel but no breadcrumbs. I decided to make it anyway. We had some chips and pretzels open from snack time, so I took them both, smashed them into a million pieces, toasted up a piece of wheat bread, crumbled it in the mix, and threw in some spices and garlic. Using the traditional egg coating and a super hot oiled up pan, I breaded and fried the chicken like normal. As we sat to enjoy the tremendous meal before us in the surreally tranquil atmosphere of the cabin and the woods, we all shared words of appreciation for the great food, for the opportunity to be up there and for the time to get away from life for 24 hours. We chowed hard, laughed, drank and I felt truly blessed to be a part of all of it. To my surprise, the schnitzel played a starring role in the meal, the reviews were rave and bellies were filled. The next day as part of our plan for the weekend, we hiked up a mountain and separated from one another for individual reflection. Sitting by myself on top of a rock it occurred to me that despite all our efforts to plan the perfect program, the perfect retreat, the perfect meal, and many other things, it is often the unexpected that turns out best, the unplanned that we truly remember and appreciate. As I enter another Jewish year with more events and Moishe House memories to come, I am more than ever thankful for the opportunity to share the surprises and happy accidents of life with my wonderful roommates, friends, family and community. 


1 cup crushed pretzels
1 cup crushed, flavored chips of choice
1 super toasted, crumbled up slice of bread
1tsp Salt
1tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, ultra minced
2 lbs thin sliced chicken boobs
2 eggs
1/4 cup soy milk or almond milk

Mix thoroughly the crushed ingredients, salt, pepper and garlic in a wide, shallow bowl or dish.

Beat eggs with soy milk.

Pound chicken nice and flat (or slice thin).

heat generous serving of oil in large skillet to medium-high eat.

Dip chicken in egg mix, roll in dry mix, fry thoroughly on each side until both sides are crispy and brown

Moishe House SFV

Being a resident of Moishe House for just over a year now has not only showed me new things but taught me many things as well. Becoming a Jewish Leader in my community all began as a camp counselor at a Jewish sleep-away camp. As a camp counselor, I learned to be a responsible and independent individual as well as being aware of my surroundings. By this I mean, there is someone always paying attention to your actions, whether it was the camp director or the kids in your cabin. Through the camp I was elected to participate in a Birthright trip experience to Israel that was mostly made up of camp staff. I bring this topic up because as most of you know, Birthright NEXT assists in funding our Shabbat Programs each month. I became aware of Moishe House after attending my Birthright trip and hosting my own NEXT meals post Birthright. Through a friend that worked for the Birthright NEXT Los Angeles Chapter, he had mentioned Moishe House and how fitting it would be for me, as he was a former camp staff member as well. All the basics learned at a summer camp can be transferred to being a resident of Moishe House starting with program. We all have a program quota that needs to be fulfilled monthly and different program types that need to be fulfilled quarterly. I have the ability to organize and execute these programs without any issues and that makes me a strong Jewish Leader with the community I have built with my fellow residents. Programming has become second nature to me and Moishe House has allowed to me to exercise my horizons with various programs I can host for my community. We constantly take feedback from our participants and community members and we take this feedback and apply it to better our events and program, which also shows that every leader has room for improvement.

Jason Zide