Moishe House Australia says thank you

July 4, 2013 by Ayal Tusia
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The first Moishe House in Australia has said thank you to its backers.

Settling in to Moishe House

Yosl Cylich, Galit Klas and Brett Nathan

Moishe House, a not-for-profit pluralistic organisation founded in the US in 2006 and now in 13 countries, opened its doors in North Caulfield, Melbourne in April and last week hosted a function to thank their funders and supporters.

Moishe House’s mission is to “provide meaningful Jewish experiences to young adults in their 20s as they create vibrant home-based Jewish communities.”

Their innovative and scalable model has seen it grow to 58 houses worldwide, engaging with over 65,000 young Jewish people per year. The houses take on a style and form as diverse as the residents who live within them. Some houses are kosher, others not. Some are based on religious practices while others are centred on social action. The common thread amongst all houses around the world is that the Moishe House residents ultimately decide how to run their house.

In Melbourne, Australian Jewish Funders and Jewish Care Victoria have partnered to help facilitate the establishment and operation of Moishe House Melbourne. David Werdiger, Director of Australian Jewish Funders says, “There is immense power in peer-driven programs like Moishe House. When we create the space for them, magic happens, and this is only the beginning.”

The basic premise is that local community members sponsor and fund the house which subsidises the rent and cost of activities, as long as the residents organise and host five Jewish activities and programs each month for their peers. Because the house is not owned by Moishe House it is the responsibility of the residents to source a property to rent.

Brett Nathan, Yosl Cylich and Galit Klas are amongst the first residents of Moishe House Melbourne. All of them in their 20’s view this program as a positive way to nourish and connect with young Jewish adults, locally, and internationally. From hosting Shabbat dinners to games nights, learning retreats to an intimate performance by singer Debra Conway, residents find ways to connect their peers with community.

“It’s a privilege to be living in Moishe House Melbourne,” Klas said. “The response to our programs has been overwhelming. I’ve seen the effect Moishe House is having on people; new friendships formed, leaders coming forward and young people feeling free to express their Judaism in an open space.”

Fellow housemate, Brett Nathan concurs that the program is a space for young Jews to connect in a way that’s relevant to them. “We are so grateful to the Melbourne Jewish community who have been incredibly receptive to the Melbourne Moishe House and its activities. We have had so many opportunities for community participation and to provide a platform for young leadership within the community.”

Bill Appleby, CEO of Jewish Care believes, “These young adults are uniquely placed at Moishe house to not only shape their own futures, but help their peers positively shape what type of life they want to lead.”

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