Friday, November 2, 2012

Allison Zionts - MoHo London


The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (now home to MoHoPitt!), then moved to Montreal, Canada, I have now lived in London, England – and in MoHo London – for two and a half years. I came to London knowing absolutely no one; it was an experiment to see whether I could make a life for myself away from family and friends. I never imagined that the life and family I would make would fit so perfectly with what I need.

Rosh Hashana 5771: three weeks into my London experiment and unsure how to celebrate one of my favourite chaggim without the support and traditions of my family. Grassroots Jews set up a giant marquee (tent) with close to three hundred committed young adults who wanted to celebrate the beginning of the year with each other and exploring spirituality of the year. Not only did it allow me to explore and meet the community, but it showed me a different side of my own religion: experiential Judaism. There was not a moment during the 48 hours where I felt passive, but rather I actively engaged and explored my own religious beliefs.

It was during Rosh Hashana, the time to remember the promises and deeds done within the year, that I set myself the goal to welcome newcomers into MoHoLo in a way that they will feel engaged, welcome, and like it is their own community. Sukkot, a time to remember our history as wandering Jews, became a holiday where I opened up our home to the nomadic among us. I have organised events to explore London, especially its Jewish roots, and have introduced both native Londoners and newcomers to the multifaceted history of this city.

I am now preparing, mentally and emotionally, for my eventual departure from the House. There is a large part of me that can’t imagine London without being in the epicentre for alternative and spiritual young Jewish life – where people seem to know me before meeting me. In thinking where to move, I am reflecting on the number of couples and individuals who have moved closer to Moishe House throughout the last two or three years because they wanted to be more within the Moishe House community. I feel like I have been a part of something big, important, and worthwhile, and have made a difference within my new community. I will miss Moishe House, and am cherishing my last few months here. 

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