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.

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