by Amanda Snow, MH Toronto Alum, MHWOW Host, Retreats Alum, 4HQ Cohort 2 Participant, and Director of Graduate Students at Columbia/Barnard Hillel
Thanksgiving is coming up in the United States: a day that encourages us to pause and reflect on what we are most thankful for in our lives. It is a time for families and friends to come together and everyone to share appreciation for those who have given gifts of generosity, support, and compassion. I can say without any hesitation that I would not be where I am today without Moishe House and for that I am so grateful.
As I try to unpack the many components that make me thankful for Moishe House, it becomes evident to me that the impact this organization has had on my life is not exactly quantifiable. Each program that I have participated in through Moishe House has added value to my life and to my Jewish identity. While the layers of impact have certainly contributed to my personal growth and my transition from a community member to a Jewish professional, each gift Moishe House has given me would have been enough on their own. It reminds me of the song “Dayenu” that appears in the Passover Haggadah. Dayenu roughly translates to “it would have been enough”. It is a song about gratitude for each and every gift that God gives to the Jewish people, though even just one would have been enough.
If I had started Moishe House Toronto and not been given the tools to build the first Jewish community that I ever really felt part of, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
If I had been blessed with this amazing community and not met incredibly kind and passionate people along the way, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
If I had met my closest friends but had not spent time immersed in Jewish learning at Moishe House retreats with them, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
If I had fallen in love with Jewish learning but not continued my learning in Israel for a year, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
If I had continued my learning in Israel but not been able to attend an international learning retreat in Budapest, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
If I had been to an international learning retreat and not had deep conversations with Jews my age from all across Europe, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
If I had met a diverse group of young European Jews and not been invited to visit them all and see the rich Jewish communities that they have built, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
If I had explored flourishing Jewish communities abroad and not been inspired to continue on my journey to becoming a Jewish professional, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
If I had become a Jewish professional and not continued hosting Jewish experiences for my community with MHWOW, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
If I had continued hosting with MHWOW and not deeply explored Israel through different narratives 4HQ, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
If I had a profound experience in Israel and did not bring back what I had learned to my work at Hillel, Dayenu, it would have been enough.
Moishe House kept investing in me and kept trusting that I would use these opportunities to explore my Judaism and become the best version of myself—and I have. Moishe House has given me the tools to build Jewish communities that are welcoming and inclusive, something that I try to do every day in my work at Hillel.
To all of the Moishe Houses who have hosted me in one way or another—from Toronto to Phoenix to New York to Chicago to San Francisco to Los Angeles, and from New Orleans to DC to Brussels to Budapest to Prague to Vienna to Tel Aviv—thank you. I am incredibly lucky to have a Moishe House family living all across the globe, from Munich, Germany, to Boise, Idaho. For your friendship I am forever grateful.
To the staff who work hard every day to keep this massive machine running, we see you and we appreciate you. To the donors who believe in the power of young people creating Jewish community and who trust the Jewish future to us—”Thank you” will never be enough.