Moishe House Jews: Center Raising Shekels to Keep Running

For about three years, a home-based outreach to Orange County's Jewish 20-somethings has been going strong.

Now, the Costa Mesa-based Moishe House is looking for a little help from its friends. A center for young Jews in the area, and visitors from around the world, Moishe House needs to raise roughly $33,000 for a year's worth of programming.

Jordan Fruchtman, chief program officer for Moishe House International, which has 46 houses in 14 countries, said the local Moishe House just hit its most recent fundraising goals, but is already looking ahead to upcoming programs, which will include social events, Jewish learning and housing young Jews visiting the area.

"They're able to engage about 2,000 attendees a year," Fruchtman said.

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With about 175 programs annually, Moishe House has become a haven for what Fruchtman said is a young Jewish community coming into its own in Orange County. Three people live in the home and work full time, then open the space to the 20-something Jewish population, he said.

"They are so passionate and dedicated..." Fruchtman said. "They love building communities."

The model works, Fruchtman said, because it's based on peer-to-peer relationships rather than having someone come from outside the generation to try to engage young Jews.

Part of the funding goes to subsidize the home's rent, as well as providing scholarships and paying for learning retreats. According to ocjewishlife.com, Moishe House International has been partly funded by grants from the Jim Joseph Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, while also working with the Righteous Persons Foundation and Avi Chai

But the Moishe House model requires funding to come from local donors, to the tune of 25 to 33 percent, after a three-year period.

Donations can be made through moishehouse.org.


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