Moishe House Bringing Community to Budapest Jews

March 4, 2010

Source: JTA 


Ruth Ellen Gruber wites in the JTA about three young women who have founded a Moishe House in a century-old building in the heart of the Budapest's downtown old Jewish quarter, bringing Jewish activity to the city's Jewish young adults. There are parties at Jewish holidays, movie nights, lectures on Jewish topics, social action meetings and a Kabbalat Shabbat service followed by a potluck dinner that attracts dozens of people each Friday night.


Since 2006, Moishe House has grown from a California experiment in Jewish-style communal living to an award-winning movement that encompasses 29 houses on five continents.
The idea is to engage Jews in their 20s -- that is, the post-student, pre-marriage and family generation -- in Jewish life and foster their sense of Jewish communal belonging.


Each Moishe House is shared by three to five young people in their 20s. They are obliged to host an agreed number of Jewish-themed programs each month, and then to share their experiences online with blog posts and photographs -- as well as regular Skype sessions with Moishe House directors. All told, each month sees more than 200 programs attracting about 4,000 people.


Budapest is one of 10 Moishe Houses outside the United States -- the others are in London, Vienna, Warsaw, Mexico City, Beijing, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires and Chisinau.


The Budapest Moishe House serves as a home for a local minyan – a true "shtiebel" in the apartment's living room, where about 30 – 40 young people meet every week for Kabalat Shabbat often followed by a communal dinner and sometimes a lecture or other presentation.


Colorful posters and other pictures decorate the walls, and a tall set of shelves, crammed with books in English, Hungarian and Hebrew, dominates the entry hall.


The Budapest Moishe House has become a home for young Jews looking to connect to Jewish community.

Updated: Mar. 15, 2010