Moishe House follows young adults to Eastside
Residents plan mix of fun, inviting activities
By GABRIEL ERBS, Jewish Review Intern
article created on: 2011-07-15T00:00:00
On July 1, Portland’s Moishe House relocated to the Eastside, joining a growing number of young Portland Jews living on the other side of the river.
Moishe House is an international organization that promotes Jewish experiences for local 21-30 year-olds. Twenty-two houses serve Jews in the United States, and another 14 houses dot the world map.
Jodi Berris, 31, started Portland’s first Moishe House in 2008.
Residents plan to hold at least seven events every month, at least two of which include Shabbat dinners. In exchange, residents receive a rent subsidy and a generous program budget.
The move coincides with the recent demographic study commissioned by the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland.
The study highlighted that many Portland Jews identify culturally with Judaism, tend to have a mix of Jewish and non-Jewish friends, and live more and more outside of the traditional service area of most Jewish organizations (on the Eastside especially).
Moishe House’s original location was a split-level home near most of Portland’s Jewish institutions in Southwest Portland.
The new house is a two-story craftsman-style bungalow at 3322 SE Brooklyn Street, several blocks south of Division Street—and its renowned eateries and late-night haunts.
An increasing number of young Portlanders are making their homes across the river seeking lower rents and proximity to the Eastside’s collection of theatres, art studios and cafés.
The move was spearheaded by resident Jonathan Morgan, 24, the only current resident to occupy the old Moishe House location. A UC Santa Barbara graduate, Morgan started the Moishe House in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles. Feeling caught up in the LA lifestyle, Morgan applied for a transfer to Portland in March.
“Portland is young and friendly, has great bars and cafes, and I love the weather,” said Morgan.
Morgan hopes that the new location will be even more inviting to young Jews in the area.
On the property are several raised vegetable gardens as well as a number of fig, apple and cherry trees. The residents hope to make a sustainable practice out of the crop as part of living in a “green” Moishe House. The home also sports a wrap-around porch, wooden floors, and is capped by a traditional gable roof, characteristic of many inner Southeast Portland homes.
“I feel that the layout and location of the new house is conducive to attracting young adults,” said Morgan.
Joining Morgan in the house are fellow SoCal migrants Emly Oren, 26, and Yossi Shallman, 24. Northwest native Amy Randel, 22, and Robyn Gottlieb, 22, of Albuquerque, complete the Moishe House roster.
The change of pace between Southern California and Portland resonated with Shallman. “Los Angeles can get crowded and although the Moishe House out in LA is wonderful…I think we will be able to reach a greater number of Jewish young adults,” said Shallman.
Oren, who recently received her M.A. in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University, was attracted to the prospect of a community of Jews at Moishe House.
“We have the ability to create a family filled with warmth, openness, growth and a spirited connectedness,” said Oren.
Moishe House Portland is a place of many different viewpoints. Currently, pursing a B.S. in environmental studies at Portland State University, Gottlieb believes her outgoing personality and background may be of benefit. “[I] bring a different view to the house. I grew up Reform and I have a different perspective than some others,” said Gottlieb.
Randel, a Portland State graduate and PDX Hillel officer, is a temporary resident until her trip to Kiev, Ukraine in the fall. For Randel, the fact that Moishe House plays host to a number of monthly activities was key: “I love getting people together and having people over, it was a great fit.”
Current residents hope to use an already successful programming rotation to revamp interest in the new Moishe House. Events like “Torah on Tap,” a combination of Torah learning and local microbrews will remain, while the future calendar will integrate a greater variety of experiences.
“The fact that it is being attended by Jews makes the event Jewish, we can go to places like the Helium [comedy club] and that’s a successful event,” said Morgan.
For coming events, visit www.moishehouse.org or the Moishe House Portland Facebook page.
Moishe House Coming Events
July 21—Torah on Tap with Rabbi Cahana We’re going to restart our Torah on Taps where we learn about specific Torah topics according to current interests or areas of expertise. This will be your chance to schmooze and meet Portland’s various rabbis (this time with Beth Israel’s Rabbi Michael Cahana). Come tap Rabbi Cahana’s knowledge and enjoy some free beer and free knowledge.
July 22—Shabbat Dinner 7-10pm Come join us for our first Shabbat dinner in our new house. Food and drinks will be kosher.
July 28—Oregon Brewer’s Festival Join us for the annual Oregon beerfest! You can meet us at our house at 5pm or find us at the festival around 6pm. We will be taking public transit to Waterfront Park.
July 31—Hike! Details to be determined according to trail conditions and Amy’s mood.
RSVP for all events to email@example.com