Ben Groberman outside of Moishe House’s new location in the 41st and Granville neighborhood. (photo from Ben Groberman)
The Vancouver chapter of Moishe House has found a new home. It will be the third location since the local branch started here three and a half years ago.
Vancouver Moishe House is part of an international nonprofit organization. Originally started in Oakland, Calif., in 2006, the organization’s mission is to provide a gathering place for young Jewish students and professionals who are looking to engage with their peers in a non-formal setting. The houses are run by three to five local students – in Vancouver, it’s generally been four students – who get rent subsidies in exchange for planning and organizing weekly events. Currently, there are 77 chapters of Moishe House around the world. While more than 50 of them are in the United States, there are houses in 16 other countries, including two in Israel (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv) and two in Canada, the other house nationally being in Toronto.
The Vancouver house started in 2011 in East Vancouver, where it was active for two years, then it moved to Point Grey, gaining popularity with nearby University of British Columbia students. It’s now located in the Granville Street and 41st Avenue area.
One of the current residents, Ben Groberman, believes that the new location will offer opportunities to the house and its residents.
“We are very happy with our move,” said Groberman over the phone while unpacking boxes in his new room. “Most of our community members live along the Granville and Oak corridor; it will be convenient for them to join in.
“It also provides us with great opportunity to work with our community partners on some new ideas and programs that will draw new people to our events. We had a wonderful time at Point Grey, we had good connection with Hillel and the UBC students; now we hope to reach new people and engage with some new crowd.”
The new house also will allow the addition of another member to the core group and, in the coming weeks, there will be a change in residents. Two incoming members from Ontario will replace current residents returning to that province and the fifth member, who will join the house from California, will move in next month.
After settling in, Groberman promises to be in full action for the summer and beyond.
“The best way to join the events is to contact one of the house members over Facebook or join our email list,” he said. “We have events for all kinds of people, from Shabbat dinner, Sunday brunch, movie nights, feeding the hungry; we have Havdala parties on Saturday nights, BBQs, going to museums, galleries, watching sports together. It’s always changing, and you get to meet so many people, it’s an amazing experience. I feel very privileged to take part in it and love to share the experience with others.”
Moishe House is designed for Jewish people in their 20s and 30s but others are invited to join their activities by emailing [email protected].
Shahar Ben Halevi is a writer and filmmaker living in Vancouver.