You Are Invited to
Natty Con 2018!

What is Natty Con?

“Natty Con” is our once-annual, all-in, go-big-or-go-home, three-day immersive experience that brings together Moishe House residents and MHWOW hosts from across North America. Short for “North American Training Conference,” Natty Con is the one time each year where we put all our other responsibilities aside and dig deep into what it means to be a part of Moishe House and how we can all be better at creating peer-led communities for Jewish young adults. Check out some highlights from Natty Con 2017:

In 2018, Natty Con will take place October 5-7 at Tamarack Camps in Ortonville, MI, outside of Detroit. We’re expecting about 250 residents and MHWOW hosts from across North America, as well as plenty of Moishe House staff, board members and partners.

NEW IN 2018:

Michael H. K. Cohen Award

We are honored to announce and open nominations for the very first Michael H. K. Cohen Award and Travel Fellowship, to be given to two Moishe House residents and/or Moishe House Without Walls hosts, one at Natty Con 2018 and another at Internatty Con 2018, who combine a passion for adventure and travel with warmth, kindness, curiosity, intelligence, and a love of Judaism – the special qualities Michael brought to the world during his 28 years. The award provides the recipient with an opportunity to travel to any Moishe House International location around the world [that the recipient has not previously visited] to absorb the local culture and share in the Jewish expatriate experience. The award was created and endowed by Michael’s family and friends as a memorial after his death at age 28.

Applications must be received by 8PM Eastern time on Wednesday, September 26th.

Michael Cohen was born in Boston, Massachusetts and attended Pomona College, where he studied math and Chinese. He was a leader of the Jewish community, serving as Head Jewish Mentor for the Claremont Colleges and Treasurer of Claremont Hillel. After graduation, Michael traveled through Europe before settling in Beijing, where he used his fluency in Mandarin to work for early-stage Chinese companies for three and a half years. Combining a natural curiosity about people and places with a warmth and openness that made others feel their best, Michael liked nothing more than traveling, and he took every opportunity to explore the most remote regions of Asia, seeing the sights and meeting new people. While in Beijing, Michael built close connections with Chinese and expat friends, and found a home away from home in the Beijing Moishe House and the Kehillat Beijing Congregation. When he returned to Boston in late 2016, not having lived there for the past eight years, he connected with the Cambridge Moishe House, and began to build a new community for himself. His premature death in 2018 shocked and saddened everyone who knew him. This award honors the spirit Michael brought to everything he did and his legacy of caring deeply for others, building bridges to new cultures, appreciating our Jewish heritage and bringing happiness to everyone around him.

The Award committee (consisting of two Moishe House staff members, one alum and one board member) is currently accepting nominations of Moishe House residents and MHWOW hosts attending Natty Con 2018 or Internatty Con 2018, with a different winner presented at each of the two conferences. Moishe House residents may be nominated by other residents, and MHWOW hosts may be nominated by Moishe House MHWOW staff. The nominations should be for residents or hosts who embody the following qualities and values, especially through their involvement in Moishe House:

  • Warmth – showing a warm spirit, making others feel welcome, especially in new and unfamiliar circumstances
  • Kindness – being mindful of and acting for the good of others
  • Curiosity – an inquisitive spirit towards other cultures, places, ideas and experiences
  • Intelligence – the application of intelligence towards altruistic and beneficial ends
  • Love of Judaism – a demonstrated desire to nurture and enhance Jewish life, community and culture

Detroit Day

You can start your Natty Con experience a day early and get your tikkun olam on with Detroit Day! Detroit Day is an overnight immersive experience for participants to learn about current affairs in Detroit and throughout the region. Participants will connect with and build relationships with local leaders from Detroit’s Jewish community and beyond and perform direct service.

Can’t arrive a full 24 hours early, but still want to experience Detroit Day? No worries, we’ve got you covered with Detroit Day Express! Detroit Day Express will join up with the group Friday morning for brunch and an activity to learn about Detroit’s social entrepreneur scene with the people changing the face of Detroit.

RSVP & Apply

Are you a resident? Let us know you’re coming! We can’t wait to see you there. Please fill out this form as soon as possible. You can RSVP for Detroit Day on this form, too.

Are you an MHWOW host? We would love to one day be able to invite all our awesome hosts, but due to the size of our huge host community and a limited number of spaces at camp, Natty Con is currently invite-only. This year’s MHWOW Retreat is in Baltimore, MD, from November 2 – 4, 2018. Any and all MHWOW hosts are welcome to apply here. Questions? Please ask your MHWOW staff member or email us at!


Peer Led Sessions

One of the things that makes Natty Con so special is that over half of the training sessions are led or co-led by a resident or MHWOW host. You all are the experts at what you do, and we want you to share what you know with your peers.

Sessions in 2017 led or co-led by a resident or host included:

  • Generating Creative and Engaging Program Ideas with Design Thinking
  • Exceptional Resident Transitions
  • Non-Violent Communication
  • Houses That Work: Creating a Board + Division of Responsibilities
  • To Infinity and Beyond: Moishe House and Long-Term Programming
  • And so much more!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I pay to attend Natty Con?

A: Nope. Natty Con is an all-inclusive experience. We will pay for your travel to and from Tamarack Camps in Michigan, your food, accommodations and supplies AND a few surprises.


Q: Is this a Jewish learning conference?

A: Yes AND it is so much more! Natty Con includes large sessions about Moishe House and small sessions about every topic you can imagine related to your role as a resident or host. The weekend also includes Shabbat experiences (we’ve got options to suit your observance level) and opportunities for text study, free time, a celebration of all your hard work and plenty of time to bond with residents and hosts from across the continent.


Q: Do I have to go?

A: If you are a resident in a house in North America, you are expected to attend, as described in your resident handbook. If you have a conflict, please contact your Resident Support team member ASAP. If you are a MHWOW host, you must apply to attend, as there are a limited number of spaces available.


Q: Is this exclusive to North American residents and hosts?

A: Natty Con is just for North America, but Moishe House residents outside of North America have other training conferences they are invited to, that are similar to Natty Con. If you live outside of North America, keep an eye out for information about the conference that you are invited to attend.


Q: I have food restrictions. How can I be sure I’ll have something that I can eat?

A:  All of the meals at Natty Con will be kosher and we will have plenty of options to accommodate dietary restrictions. When you fill out your RSVP form, you’ll be able to specify what restrictions you have.


Q: I keep Shabbat. Can I do that at Natty Con?

A: We make every effort to honor everyone’s Shabbat practices at Moishe House gatherings. We offer a variety of service options on Friday evening and Sunday morning, have Shabbat-observant cabins and our “Shabbos Yo” policy, which basically means that if an activity interferes with your Shabbat practice, you don’t have to participate. Due to the nature of some of our spaces and sessions, some electronics, like projectors and microphones will be used occasionally. If you have concerns about Shabbat observance at Natty Con, please reach out to Rabbi Brad Greenstein.


Still have questions?
Please email and we’ll answer as soon as we can!
The North American Training Conference is generously underwritten by the
William Davidson Foundation.