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October 10, 2013 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-10-10

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metro >> on the cover

Jordan Rosenbaum,

Josh Fishman, Josh

Stewart and Ben

Goutkovitch outside

'their new home in

On The

Royal Oak

Moishe House heads from Detroit
to Royal Oak; Ramah Fellows
settle in Ferndale.

Robin Schwartz I Contributing Writer

Ramah Fellows:


open for about a year, closed in favor of a
new Repair the World residential fellowship;
five participants will work on different ser-
vice projects with local providers. The group
will live together in a house in Detroit with a
shared workspace.
Now, there's another move afoot.
Four young men — Josh Stewart, Ben
Goutkovitch, Jordan Rosenbaum and Josh
Fishman — are settling into a brand new
Moishe House on North Washington Avenue
in Royal Oak
"Part of the model and part of what makes
Moishe House successful is that people in the
house transition out about a year and a half
after living there," said Jordan Fruchtman,
chief program officer at the group's head-
quarters in Oakland, Calif. "What we want
is for the young adults who are creating the
space to decide the best location:'

Location, Location, Location

Moishe House has 59 communal houses in
13 countries — so why not Detroit? One
former resident of the East Ferry Street
house who declined to be identified says
participants, including graduate students and
young professionals, simply got "burned out"
hosting and organizing four to six events
each month.
"It was a lot of hard work, but it was a
positive experience the former house mem-
ber said. "We had wonderful events. I wish
there were three to five people who wanted
to continue a house in Detroit. It's just kind
of circumstantial, I guess:'
Erik Wodowski, 24, who grew up in West
Bloomfield, still lives at the East Ferry Street
address. He's a full-time student at Wayne
State University and aspires to become a
rabbi someday. He helped run the Moishe
House for a year. Wodowski is also an active
member and volunteer at Detroit's Isaac
Agree Downtown Synagogue.
"What's sad is there's no more Moishe
House in Detroit for now:' he said. "I really
believe there will be another one soon. I


October 10 • 2013

think ifs necessary. The Jewish community
in the city is growing one by one, and Moishe
House was a vital part of that:'
Wodowski couldn't put his finger on
exactly why Moishe House Detroit Midtown
closed except to say, "Living with people you
may not know and moving to a new city has
its difficulties:'
He says the experience was meaningful
and helped mold him into a strong com-
munity leader. He still plans to host future
events in Detroit with fellow alumni as part
of Moishe Houses' "Without Walls" program.
Former house members simply submit an
idea, have the program approved, host it and
get reimbursed $100-$175 for expenses.
"I don't think the Detroit location had
anything to do with the fact that it closed:'
he said. "I think there are still some people
who are nervous about living in the city. But,
the Jewish community in the area has really
grown exponentially. I definitely think it was
a success. It's a gorgeous house. I love the
street, and I've made so many friends:'

Impressive Guest List
During its two-year run, Moishe House
Detroit Midtown hosted an impressive list
of leaders. Dinners were held with Detroit
Mayor Dave Bing, U.S. Sen. Carl and
Barbara Levin, real estate developer and
philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman, reggae/
alternative rock musician Matisyahu and
Teddy Abrams, the new 24-year-old assis-
tant conductor with the Detroit Symphony
There also was an artists' showcase and
a Chanukah program held in conjunc-
tion with a menorah lighting at Campus
Martius Park. A "how to do Shabbat" learn-
ing retreat was one of the bigger events at
the Repair the World Moishe House. Josh
Kanter, 27, of Huntington Woods, a com-
munity outreach associate for the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, lived in
the house and took part in the retreat.
"It was a full Shabbat experience with 20
other young adults and a handful of edu-

Eli Jacober,

Darrien Sherman

and Hillel

Buechler will live

in a communal

house in


cators from around the country:' Kanter
said. "It gave us the skills, confidence and
resources to create a meaningful, warm
and inspiring Shabbat experience:'
All told, both houses collectively hosted
196 programs and engaged more than
4,000 attendees, including 1,904 first-time
participants, according to Adam Finkel,
27, of Bloomfield Hills. He single-handedly
raised $80,000 to bring the first Moishe
House to Detroit.
"Many metrics showcase this was a posi-
tive investment:' Finkel said. "The move
from Detroit to Royal Oak can continue
to expand Moishe House's presence in the
Miryam Rosenweig agrees. She's the
director of NEXTGen Detroit, a division
of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit focused on creating a vibrant young
Jewish community for people ages 21-45.
"It's not an emigration away from
Detroit:' she said. "A huge number of
young Jewish people have moved to
Detroit compared to where they were two
years ago. The Downtown Synagogue now
has a full-time staff person, so they've
become the hub of activity. The new
[Moishe House] residents want to live in

Royal Oak. There isn't as much of a pres-
ence right now in Royal Oak, and a lot of
young Jews live there. It's an opportunity
to reach more people in a new area:'

Hello, Fellows!

Just down Woodward Avenue in Ferndale,
another group of young Jewish leaders is
settling into a communal house of a differ-
ent kind. Three Ramah Fellows — one from
New York, one from Los Angeles and one
from West Bloomfield — were selected as
the first-ever Ramah Service Corps fellows as
part of another pilot program.
It's a full-time job, supervised and
mentored by veteran Detroit educator
Rebecca Starr and paid for with funding
from the William Davidson Foundation.
The Ramah-affiliated college graduates
were selected following an application
and interview process; they receive an
undisclosed salary, free housing and a car
to share.
The fellows will be working in local
Conservative congregations, with
Federation, the Jewish Community
Centers and other agencies to engage fami-

On The Move on page 10



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