Lauren Keiles

Moishe House London, Hackney - Resident

What is your Jewish background?

I grew up in the Liberal Jewish Community, so my Judaism has always been broader than the walls of my Synagogue. From going to Cheida each week to learn for my Bat Mitzvah, becoming a Cheida teacher, and then going on Israel Tour with LJY-Netzer when I was 16, it is clear that these early Jewish experiences allowed me to feel ownership over my faith and that this intentionality furthered my personal growth. When I accidentally got put into kosher accomodation at University, I did not realise how much this technical error would postively shape my experience. Interfaith and Intra-faith work became a key part of my time as a student. I developed relationships with other faith groups to run the University Interfaith Week and to represent all students of faith at the University Policy Forum. I also worked to develop cross-communal Jewish Student spaces, which took me to many different countries to learn with Jewish Student leaders and activists from around the world. A highlight of this was being a fellow for The Bronfmann and World Union of Jewish Students Global Programme. Since graduating last year, I have been working as the Community Engagement Officer at the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the 260-year-old representative body for the UK Jewish Community. This involves me working with the religious, political, and geographical breadth of British Jewry.

What is your Moishe House Journey?

Before attending the AJC Global Forum in Washington DC, I went to a local Moishe House for Friday Night Dinner and had a really positive experience being hosted by and meeting other young people. On returning to the UK, I was so happy to discover applications were open for a new Moishe House in East London. My friends and I submitted our application and managed to move in just three days before the first lockdown began in the UK. As the only Moishe House to have never run an in-person event after eight months of living in our house, we couldn’t be more excited to have guests over to eat all these new dishes we have perfected and to sit on our new sofas to watch Fiddler on the Roof with us. It has been a truly unique and special experience discovering our new area while building our new community online.


What is your favorite program you’ve been part of thus far?

After meeting so many Moishe House residents at Couch Con, our global virtual community builder training conference, we partnered with eight Moishe Houses from all over the world to hear from Rahima Mahmut, Vice President of the World Uyghur Congress. Rahima told us her personal story of her family’s persecution in Xinjiang and what is currently happening to the Uyghur community. Following the Holocaust, our community rightly says ‘Never Again’ and it was an inspiring evening where young Jews from across the world, virtually came together to learn and to stand in solidarity with the Uyghur community.