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Meet Alyssa: Jewish Moishe House Resident of the Week

Want to nominate your amazing Jewish friend to be featured on GatherDC? Send his/her name, brief blurb, and contact info to info@gatherdc.org.

Alyssa Silva is a woman of many talents. She can plan a 300 person Jewish event, sell kosher meats to farmer’s market samplers, and dominate on the softball field. This is why we’re pretty bummed she’s leaving us this summer 🙁 Before she goes, we wanted to make sure all of our readers have the chance to get to know her, and both meet and say goodbye in person at her going away party this coming Sunday. Alyssa – thanks for all you have done and continue to do to make Jewish DC so incredible! We will miss you.

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Alyssa: I was coming from Tucson, Arizona. When I decided I wanted to move to DC, I reached out to my friend Tiffany Harris  – who I met at a Moishe House retreat in Arizona – to see if she knew of any housing or job opportunities. She told me there was a resident opening at Moishe House Columbia Heights. One thing led to another, and I moved into that house with Tiffany soon after!

When the Moishe House Columbia Heights accepted me, I drove cross-country to move into the house and figured I would find a job later.

Allie: What is it like living in a Moishe House?

Alyssa: It’s been a whirlwind. I’ve lived here for two years and have seen four different people move in and out as residents. I’ve seen our community change a lot in two years, everything from people who just want to party and meet Jewish singles, to people who want to pursue Jewish learning. I’ve hosted over 168 programs since being here! Overall, I’ve made some really good friends, and met hundreds of people who I’ve connected with in some way.

Allie: What Moishe House program stands out the most?

Alyssa: The Syrian Sweets Soiree. This event went viral. We released the event and overnight there were over 3,000 people said they were interested on Facebook. The event tickets were donation-based and would go to the Syrian American Council, and we had a speaker who was speaking about Syrian refugees and the crisis there. We had sold over 500 tickets and raised over $5,000 to help Syrian families trying to resettle in the U.S. Since we couldn’t fit 500 people in the Moishe House, we held it at Hawthorne, which gave us their rooftop space for free.

Allie: I hear that you’re soon going to be leaving us to live in Israel. Tell me about that!

Alyssa: I’ve decided that it’s time to continue my education and am going to be doing a Jewish Experiential Educators program at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem! I’ll be moving out of Moishe House at the end of May, and you’re all invited to my going away party this coming Sunday!

Allie: What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?

Alyssa: With people that I love, having a beautiful song-led Kabbalat Shabbat where everyone is singing followed by a delicious dinner with lots of wine and talking.

Allie: I hear you keep pretty busy in DC, tell me about that.

Alyssa: I have four jobs! My main job is at Maryland Hillel where i am the Programming and Operations Associate. I’m also a peer-led retreat mentor with Moishe House, and a Moishe House resident so I plan programs programs [as a part of this role]. I also work at the Bethesda Central Farm Market for a kosher meat distributor called CWS where I help him sell kosher sandwiches and ribs.

Allie: Wow! How did wind up working at the Bethesda Central Farm Market?

Alyssa: I was on JSwipe one day and swiped right on a guy named Hillel. He then messaged me and asked if I wanted to help him sell meat on Sundays. I didn’t totally get what he meant, but he explained that his brother owns a meat business and wanted someone to help with sales. This was before I found my job at Maryland Hillel, so I said “sure”! It was a way I could make some easy cash on Sundays. It’s super fun and the guys are awesome.

Allie: What’s your favorite way to de-stress?

Alyssa: I play softball every week with DC Fray (just like Alissa!). Finding this team was one of the first things I did when I moved to DC. I played softball in high school, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I didn’t know anyone on the team, and now I’ve been on the same team for two years! I also wind down by being a the farmer’s market on Sundays. It’s super calm and just fun. I’m your typical extrovert – so sitting in my room not talking to anyone would make me stressed out.

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model and why?

Alyssa: My mom. Growing up, it was really important to my mom that I learn about my Jewish heritage, because she didn’t grow up with that. My mom and I learned about Judaism together. When I was in middle school, my mom taught a class called Social Action Sunday at my Hebrew School. Instead of sitting in a classroom, she had us go to a men or women’s shelter or animal rescue and actually do tikkun olam together. My mom has always pushed me to be the ultimate kind person and be a Jewish role model to my peers.

Allie: What’s at the top of your bucket list?

Alyssa: Portugal. My last name is Portuguese, and there’s all of this history we don’t know about my father’s side of the family. I’d love to do some digging on that.

Allie: if you could eat only 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

Alyssa: Sushi, specifically salmon sashimi. Gefilte fish. And brisket.

Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…

Alyssa: We make noise.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

See DC Like Never Before!

Camp Nai Nai Nai and Sixth & I are teaming up for an ‘Uncover DC Scavenger Hunt.’ Clues and ridiculous tasks await all daring individuals as you uncover DC treasures. Using a mobile app, teams will traverse Chinatown and explore Jewish history, art, and culture in our beloved metro scene. Come with your friends and a ready-made team or be adventurous and join a team of new friends when you arrive. P.S. This scavenger hunt uses a super cool app developed in Berlin, no pieces of paper and markers needed!

Expect the Unexpected!

via GIPHY

Random acts of kindness? Yup! Food from a country you’ve never visited? Yup! Jewish Deli in DC? YUM and most definitely yup!

Wrestle with clues, discover historical sites, and compete in absurd team challenges!

Ever invented an odd job and tried to get paid for it? How about cheering on strangers for simply crossing the street? As you venture through Chinatown, we promise to show you a side of DC rarely explored!

What will YOU find?

Do you like puzzles and logic games? Do you like to dance in the streets like nobody’s watching? Synagogues become churches…and back again? Uhhh, yup! Several synagogues in DC have become churches over the decades and some have even come back to the tribe. We promise you will see the same streets you walk every day in a brand new light.

Camp Nai Nai Nai & Sixth & I believe that Jewish ritual and culture should be vibrant, relevant, and exciting. We don’t know how many clues you’ll solve, but we do know that you’ll find  a group of people who enjoy spending time together in this beautiful city of ours. “Uncover DC” is an opportunity to meet fun new people and become a part of a brand new community.

via GIPHY

$$$, SWAG for the Winners

Why do this? First of all, everyone that shows up will get a Sixth & I tote bag, and we ALL need more tote bags for walks home from Trader Joe’s! Second, it will be a guaranteed raucous good time. Third, the winners will get exclusive and fabulous Camp Nai Nai Nai swag and 50% off registration for Camp Nai Nai Nai.

 

Camp Nai Nai Nai is a Jewish Summer camp for adults, taking place over Memorial Day weekend, May 25 – 28, 2018, in Waynesboro, PA (1.5 hours from DC). Camp Nai Nai Nai gives you a chance to relive the curious and courageous days of youth through spirited song sessions, creative play-shops (there’s no work at camp), color wars, festive meals, and more. This inclusive and pluralistic weekend getaway is your canvas to connect with new and old friends and recharge your city-worn spirit. Camp busses will be leaving from DC, and we would love to see you all there!

 

RSVP and Invite Friends on Facebook

Sign up for the Uncover DC Scavenger Hunt

Sign up for Camp Nai Nai Nai

Check out Sixth & I

 

The above is a sponsored blog post. The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Be part of the new Moishe House in Capitol Hill!

Moishe-Logo-HorizonMiddleMoishe House is seeking a group of 3–5 dynamic young professionals and/or graduate students between the ages of 22–30 to live together and create their ideal Jewish community in Capitol Hill!

The Moishe House Capitol HIll residents will host 5–6 diverse programs each month and create a welcoming space for a greater young adult network in Capitol Hill.  Program examples include Shabbat dinners, holiday celebrations, book clubs, arts outings, movie nights and much more.  The residents will ultimately choose the location of Moishe House Capitol HIll, in a central location, close to hot spots for young adults.  Qualified residents may come from a wide range of Jewish backgrounds and all should be passionate about creating a unique Jewish community in return for a rent subsidy, programming budget, educational resources, and training.

We encourage groups of potential residents to apply together.  For more details about Moishe House Capitol Hill, please contact: Rebecca Bar, Senior Regional Director, at rebecca@moishehouse.org

Moishe house is an international organization with 60 houses in 13 countries around the world.  Our innovative peer-to-peer, home-based model successfully engaged more than 79,600 participants in 2013 alone.  We are thrilled to bring Moishe House to Capitol Hill and want you to be a part of this exciting growth!  You can find out more about Moishe House and our role in supporting Jewish community for young adults at www.moishehouse.org.

Moishe House featured in The Economist

Like Moishe House?  Like British accents?  Like The Economist?  If you answered “YES” to at least two of the three of these, then you should check out this video report on Moishe House from The Economist.

The brief video explains how Moishe House has grown rapidly since its genesis in Oakland, California in 2006.  Moishe House brings together Jews of different religious stripes, challenging denominational notions and simply encouraging young adults to connect with Judaism in whatever manner feels comfortable to them.

Although the Washington, DC area is home to two Moishe Houses (Adams Morgan and Montgomery County), the British-based Economist perhaps understandably ignored the awesomness of the houses run by our peers and intead focused on the Moishe House in London.

This video is part of a larger series that The Economist is for some reason running on Judaism and Jews.  Here are some of the articles/reports they’ve recently run:

Be sure to look for Moishe House (DC and MoCo) events on our new calendar!

 

 

Jewish Guy of the Week – Eli

How long have you been in DC?
I’ve lived in DC for three years. I moved here from Israel, where I was on a fellowship at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I’m a Chicago native — West Rogers Park represent.

Why did you move here and why are you moving to Texas?
I moved here to work for the American Jewish Committee, where I most recently served as Assistant Legislative Director — the organization’s lobbyist responsible for foreign affairs issues. I’m moving to Texas next week to begin my next adventure, as AIPAC’s Area Director for Houston, Austin, South Texas, and Louisiana.

Will you miss DC?
I will miss DC tremendously. This is a phenomenal city, especially if you venture outside of the confines of Dupont and check out the myriad of fascinating people, places, foods, and other gems around town.

I’ll miss the energy of the Sunday drum circle at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park. I’ll miss exhausting, fulfilling days on Capitol Hill. I’ll miss the many people with whom I’ve built relationships over the past three years — I’m humbled to have worked with and learned from undoubtedly some of the most passionate, intelligent and eloquent individuals in the country.

 

Where do you currently live, and who is your favorite roommate?
I’ve lived at Moishe House DC for the past thirty-four months, working to build an eclectic, vibrant Jewish community based in Adams Morgan. And in that time, I’ve shared the house with 13 people, so it’s hard to choose — everyone with whom I lived brought something special and unique to the house. I suppose the safest answer is Potus, our 2-year old Husky mix. Appetite-wise, I’d say my favorites were Emi and MP, the Japanese electropop duo who fled Japan after the earthquake and stayed with us for a few months.  They are incredible chefs.

What has been your favorite thing about being Jewish in DC?
I’ve been inordinately fortunate to be part of the Moishe House movement – an organization that grants unparalleled resources and autonomy to the residents of its nearly 40 houses around the world allowing them to build welcoming Jewish communities as they see fit. Along with my housemates, I’ve been proud to offer creative and unique programming — whether slam poetry, home beer brewing, art gallery openings, text study about ethical kashrut, outdoor havdallahs, movie screenings about the punk rock community in Israel, Kenyan and Haitian Shabbat dinners, basil gardening, and more — that, for the most part, wasn’t being offered elsewhere, and for many young Jews in the area who, for a variety of reasons didn’t participate in “mainstream” Jewish offerings.

 

What does being Jewish mean to you?
Being Jewish to me has always meant, to paraphrase Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “praying with your feet.” I owe it to my parents — my mother, a social worker who helps children with autism, and my father, a ketubah artist — who immersed me in an environment rich in Judaism, community volunteerism, and a commitment to social, economic, and racial justice. I began my involvement with the Labor Zionist movement Habonim Dror at age 11, and began to lead Jewish and advocacy groups in high school, during which I travelled twice to Eastern Europe to trace my roots — and bear witness to the death camps and mass graves where my family was exterminated. I made a commitment then to devote myself to combating injustice and to work to safeguard Israel and the Jewish people.

Where will we find you during your last Shabbat in DC?
At my farewell party, from 10pm-3am this Friday, September 23rd , featuring one of DC’s most talented DJs – Danny Harris of Fatback DC and People’s District . All of you GTJ enthusiasts should stop by.

If you could live with any six Jews, who would they be?
While I don’t necessarily endorse their political or personal inclinations, I think it would be interesting to live with Theodor Herzl, Abbie Hoffman, Ernestine Rose, Arthur Szyk, Abba Eban, Ari Gold, and, to teach me how to be a true “Texas Jewboy”, Kinky Friedman. That would be a hell of a Moishe House.