Young adult prepares meal while conversing with other young adults

Moishe House Identity Statements

Our Beliefs


Introduction
 

Moishe House provides young adults in their 20s and early 30s the opportunity to build their ideal Jewish community through programs and experiences they determine to be most meaningful to them. Because each person finds Jewish connection and community in a unique way, we are structured as a platform that offers a broad range of programs, including houses, retreats, and camps. We make tools, resources, and staff available to our residents, hosts and retreat leaders as they work to develop programming that resonates for them, and the experiences they create are their own and reflect the unique ways they each choose to live out the mission and vision of Moishe House.  
 
Because our programming is peer driven, a Shabbat dinner at a Moishe House in Los Angeles might feel markedly different than a Shabbat dinner in Buenos Aires, and a program on Israeli current events at Moishe House Warsaw might delve into topics that the residents of Moishe House Barcelona choose not to address. This diversity of experience is the beauty of the Moishe House network. Rather than prescribing a single way to be Jewish or build Jewish community, young adults are empowered and supported with the tools to explore their own identities and cultures, and consequently, find deeper and more relevant paths to build their own Jewish lives. 
 
Moishe House’s programming platform is built on a wider organization with a clear mission and vision, and a strong culture. As an organization, Moishe House is guided by Jewish values and, through that lens, has established a set of foundational principles to help all constituents and stakeholders understand our organizational identity. These principles reflect what Moishe House is, how Moishe House conducts itself, and the high standards we hope to maintain—now and long into the future. We recognize this is a starting point and fully intend to continue building upon or adding additional areas as the environment of which we operate evolves.Please take the opportunity to read through them. We encourage input and feedback as we work to support the most vibrant Jewish communities. 

Moishe House Identity Statements

+ - The Whys and Hows of Moishe House  

Why: Our Purpose
To make young adulthood one of the most meaningful and vibrant stages of Jewish life. 

 Our shared beliefs about why our purpose matters:  

  • We live in a world where traditional religious structures have a diminishing influence on younger generations, and feelings of isolation and loneliness are on the rise. Jewish community, life, and traditions, made available in a way that resonates with young adults, have the power to greatly improve the lives of young Jewish adults and to strengthen Jewish communal connectedness.  
  • Young adulthood is often the time when major life decisions about careers, community, and future families are made. People who actively engage in Jewish life and community as young adults are more likely to continue to do so in future life stages.  
  • A vibrant Jewish future depends on meaningfully engaging and empowering young adults to be creators and facilitators as well as participants. This work should not be limited to Jewish communal professionals or those with strong Jewish educational backgrounds. There is ample space for all Jewish young adults to build the kind of communities they want and need. Moishe House will support these young adults with professional resources and the tools to engage meaningfully with their culture and each other, even across differing Jewish movements, geographies, or political divides.    
  • We envision a world where all Jewish young adults have the access and resources needed to build their own place within Jewish community, find friends, and move along in their Jewish journey. With positive, fun, and meaningful experiences, young adults can embrace a trajectory for lifelong involvement in the Jewish community.  

How: Our Mission and Strategy Values
Our organizational mission is to provide vibrant Jewish community for young adults by supporting leaders in their 20s and early 30s as they create meaningful Jewish experiences for themselves and their peers. 

 While much of our programming is home-based, we have broadened our reach to extend to other environments as well. We were built on and continue to hone the following key ingredients we believe are essential for engaging young adults in Jewish life:  

  • Peer-To-Peer Engagement: Give agency and ownership to young adults to create compelling and attractive programming while recruiting and engaging their friends and social networks.  
  • Frequency of Attendance and/or Relationship with a Jewish Educator/Clergy: In order to have a measurable and lasting impact on attitudes and behaviors, research shows that it is necessary for participants to engage in at least one of the following kinds of Jewish experiences or connections: (i) taking part regularly (a minimum of four times annually) in a Jewish community or activity, (ii) participating in at least one multi-day experience, or (iii) forging a personal relationship with a Jewish educator or clergy member.  
  • Vetted, Trained and Committed Leaders: Investing in our community builders and providing them with inspiration, encouragement, training and resources to experiment in their programming will ensure the quality and multiplying impact for the present and future.  
  • Global Network and Peoplehood: In this connected world, there is great value in being part of a global community and investing in and maintaining international networks. We serve young adults in approximately 30 countries, and our shared peoplehood transcends national boundaries.  

As we work to advance our purpose and enhance our unique value proposition, we look to the following guiding principles to inspire all elements of programming, inform our decision making and prioritization, and navigate tradeoffs:  

  • Community Builders First: Moishe House exists to inspire and support young adults (whom we refer to as “community builders”) to create Jewish experiences and communities for their peers. We make every decision and measure every outcome based on how well we serve and honor our community builders. We strive to make the community builder experience as positive and straightforward as possible so that their energy and passion can be poured into enthusiastically building and growing their communities.   
  • Say “Yes” to More Young Adults: Even though we have grown quickly, demand still greatly exceeds supply, and there is even more opportunity to generate additional demand. Our professionals, lay leaders and community builders work from a place of possibility and our passion for our mission drives us to work with great urgency and to place our overall goals and mission in front of personal priorities. We are committed to inspiring more young adults to view themselves as impactful Jewish leaders and we elevate multiple pathways to Jewish leadership, emphasizing that leadership is not just reserved for professionals.   
  • Broad Definition of Jewish Practice and Identity: Moishe House is welcoming and open to all young adults who wish to connect to Jewish community and life, whether the Jewish connection they seek is primarily religious, cultural or social. We do not define what makes someone Jewish or put titles on someone’s Jewish identity. We are open to and value a diversity of backgrounds, denominations, personal and religious beliefs, and practices and we take pride in each Moishe House community’s unique identity, programming, and culture. We value and prioritize our commitment to being a global and diverse Jewish people.  
  • Bringing Judaism to Life: We are focused on transforming how young adults engage with Judaism and strive to be a place where they can discover, practice, and explore traditions, ritual, and learning. We create opportunities for young adults to develop relationships with Jewish educators and clergy, and to build confidence and find meaning in Jewish practice that they can put to practical use as they create inspiring Jewish homes for today and the future.  

How: Our Professional Culture
As a professional team, the Moishe Mindset codifies our professional standards and expectations:  

  • Be the Difference: We are all leaders, committed to driving change and innovation, taking initiative, growing, and achieving results.  
  • Connect and Listen: We embrace and encourage the collaborative nature of our work through responsive and clear communication.  
  • Embrace the Unknown: We are flexible. We demonstrate a can-do attitude and adapt quickly and effectively to the continuously changing community of young adults and a maturing organization.  
  • Invest Wisely: Our work is made possible by the generosity and passion of our donors. We are mindful of their investment and are intentional in our spending decisions.  
  • Own It!: We take ownership of our work and behavior. We hold ourselves and others accountable for following through on commitments, managing expectations, tracking goals and outcomes, and respecting each other’s time.  
  • Value People: Our spirit of hospitality permeates every part of the Moishe House universe.  
  • Work Well, Live Well, and Have Fun!: We find joy and meaning in what we do, take care of ourselves and others, demonstrate a strong work ethic, and commit to professional and personal development. 

+ - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Work and in Our Communities 

Moishe House was founded on the idea that we could create welcoming homes where a broad spectrum of Jewish life and backgrounds could find belonging and thrive in community. Our mission is to provide vibrant Jewish community for young adults by supporting leaders to create meaningful home-based Jewish experiences for themselves and their peers. While we have spent more than a decade growing Moishe House through innovative and experiential programs, we recognize that we still have work to do to include all members of our community, so that no one ever feels like an outsider. For Moishe House to reach its full potential, we must put resources, strategy, and goals into how we better serve the full spectrum of Jewish life and backgrounds. 

Since our founding, Moishe House has expanded to reach nearly 30 different countries with a wide range of cultural identities represented throughout our staff and community builders. We’ve become a global organization open to anyone with an interest in building meaningful Jewish communities, no matter their past experiences or current fluency with Jewish traditions. 

That is why we are committing to diversity, equity, and inclusion at Moishe House through DEI training for staff and community builders, as well as regularly checking in on and updating our policies and procedures—in our work and our community-building culture. This commitment is integral to our future. We believe it will lead to stronger and more authentic peer-led engagement, to a group of community builders and community members that reflects the diversity of our Jewish community and ultimately a strong, thriving Moishe House prepared to meet the needs of Jewish young adults. 

This work is not new to us in the Jewish community. The Sages of our Jewish tradition stressed that Adam, the first human being, was created alone to remind us that no one group of people could claim their ancestors were greater than those of another group. The Sages went on to celebrate and declare that through one common mold (Adam), endless human diversity emerged — “not one of them similar to another. Therefore, each and every person is obligated to say: The world was created for me” (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a). To take this idea seriously is to recognize not only that others are just as important as we are, but that diversity is, in fact, core to our work in building Jewish community. 

We recognize that we all have a part to play in building this diverse, equitable, and inclusive future. The work and goals of DEI cannot be just for those who are most interested in active participation, it has to be across all facets of the organization, including staff, programs, and our board of directors. We are aware that our professional and personal perspectives are limited by our own experiences, which is why investing in training and continued learning to expand our perspectives is an important part of the process. Through the framework of the Moishe Mindset and months of training with external consultants, Moishe House has created a set of principles that will grow into strategies and new initiatives for the board, executive leadership team (ELT), and the entire organization to guide us on our path in this important work. 

Moishe House is Committed to Being a Place: 

  • Where Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and historically marginalized individuals thrive in all dimensions of the organization—from the board and employees to our community builders and participants.  
  • Where the organization provides pathways to joining the organization, intentional onboarding, integration support, and professional development for traditionally marginalized groups within Moishe House’s professional staff, community builders, and board of directors.  
  • Where our board, staff and leadership reflect the communities we serve, and actively work to ensure that diversity of thought, experience and personal background is needed, valued and encouraged.  
  • Where everyone engaged in the organization is provided training and education on DEI and on constructive dialogue across differences of opinion, experiences, and viewpoints.  
  • Where accountability is in place to support diversity and inclusion as well as racial and cultural equity.  
  • Where policies, practices, and plans are designed and reviewed with an equity lens, ensuring our work continues to uphold these guiding principles and the Moishe Mindset by utilizing the internal DEI committee and, when necessary, outside experts.  
  • Committed to ongoing and frequent evaluation of our work across all aspects of the organization. 

+ - A Commitment to Israel Engagement 

Our Work in Building Relationships Between Young Adults and Israel

As an organization focused on inspiring Jewish young adults to proudly explore and express their Jewish identity, one vital component of this process is engaging with the land and people of Israel. We are therefore deeply committed to building positive relationships between Israel and the young adult population we serve. In fact, Moishe House is the largest provider of Birthright follow-up, allowing organizational programming to build upon the lessons learned through that immersive experience. Our goal is to give every Moishe House employee and community builder the resources necessary to foster a meaningful and enduring relationship to Israel and to Israelis. 


Moishe House, and our extended network of peer led Homes, Bases, Pods, MHWOW hosts, immersive retreats, and learning opportunities, employs and reaches a diverse array of Jewish young adults across the globe. In a life stage marked by exploration and ongoing learning, we aim to cultivate environments and relationships that allow young adults to engage in respectful discussion and dialogue around Israel, honoring a diversity of viewpoints and life experiences, all the while supporting Israel’s right to exist and thrive as a secure democratic Jewish state. To live out this vision, Moishe House has clearly defined programmatic policies that we share with all community builders and staff as a part of their on-boarding to ensure we are living up to our goals and mission. You can see these program policies here. 

We welcome constructive disagreement and do not shy away from hard conversations. We know that conversations around Israel are inextricably linked to politics and a broad political spectrum. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Moishe House does not take political positions, but we do work to actively provide educational resources and immersive experiences that help young adults as they navigate their relationship with Israel, Jewish peoplehood, and our vibrant global community. 

Moishe House’s Israel engagement efforts include, but are not limited to:  

  • Supporting Connections and Relationships between Israelis and the Diaspora  
  • Support community builders in Moishe Houses and Pods throughout Israel   
  • Serving Moishe House Without Walls Hosts across Israel    
  • 4HQ: 4HQ is a yearlong fellowship for Moishe House community builders that aims to give emerging leaders an immersive opportunity to deepen their understanding of, and relationship to, Israel. Through ongoing in-person gatherings, webinars, and a week-long cohort experience in Israel, 4HQ participants gain invaluable insights into the politics, places, passions, and culture of Israel from multiple viewpoints, while considering the lives and experiences of many groups of people living in Israel.   
  • Moishe House employees and community builders can use professional development or scholarship funds to participate in an array of learning opportunities about Israel (e.g. Resetting the Table, AIPAC Policy Conference, iCenter) or attend programs in Israel (e.g. Pardes, JDC Entwine)

Creating a Culture of Civility

Moishe House is committed to ongoing learning on the history and politics surrounding the state of Israel. As part of this commitment, we bring in expertise, including the Open Mind Platform and those on our own team to work with our staff and community builders to provide support for these important conversations. We strive to foster intellectual humility and give all community builders the tools to engage in constructive dialogue.   

These statements represent organizational beliefs and will continue to evolve and be updated as Moishe House grows and the environment in which we operate changes. Questions about these statements can be directed to comm@moishehouse.org