That’s right: there is a kibbutz in Philadelphia…and Cape Town and Boston and Los Angeles and Warsaw (I know – a weird mix of cities). And this kibbutz defies those stereotypes of living off the land and dinners by the fireplace. This kibbutz can be best described by the NYT as the “‘Real World’ – the MTV series – with challah.” And, especially because Moishe House (the name of this unique chain of kibbutzim), thrives off of pluralism and diversity (not to mention that all rent is subsidized and includes a stipend for food and other household needs), I’m down.
The article in today’s Home section, Fred A. Bernstein writes,
Residents agreed that the house is something like “Real World,” except that there are no hidden cameras or communal showers. And “we have real jobs, not some job that we all do together,” said Ms. Karp, who is an executive of the American Jewish Committee in Philadelphia and a freelance graphic designer.
In the world of Orthodox Jews, unmarried men and women don’t live together, which is a reason that residents tend to be from Reform and Conservative families, although Mr. Cygielman said that some Moishe House regulars do identify themselves as Orthodox. A few houses keep kosher; those that don’t have come up with creative ways to satisfy the needs of visitors who do.
Many of the denominational issues the house may face can be related back to Dina’s post on privacy and kibbutzim. There is also the whole notion that this is like a supposed mission Hillel in the sense that young Jews are given the opportunity to meet in order to form relations to prevent inter-faith marriages…which seems kind of like a life in a Jewish bubble, but who am I to judge what is not my personal preference? This whole house seems like an interesting test tube for Judaism in reality and for Jewish ideals to permeate in modern ways amongst today’s young women and men.