Two weeks after she moved to the Washington area in January, Ari Waschler attended her first event, a Shabbat dinner, at Moishe House Arlington. Less than two months later, she says she’s developed “a solid group of Jewish friends.”
With only relatives in town, Waschler was looking for a social circle. At Moishe House, she met its residents, Avi Fainchtein, Will Cubbison and Orly Halpern, and immediately found her new community.
“As soon as I found them, they embraced me, took me in and made me feel welcome and loved,” she said. “Each person living in the Moishe House has a unique personality and together they complement each other very well.”
Tucked away in a cluster of townhouses a few blocks from the Clarendon Metro and the heart of Arlington’s liveliest neighborhood, Moishe House Arlington is one of an international network of centers for Jews in their 20s, offering a schedule of events in a home-like atmosphere. The Arlington house opened last fall, joining locations on the other side of the Potomac River in Rockville and Adams Morgan; a house in the Capitol Hill area is in the works.
At the Arlington center’s monthly Pizza and Parsha event, Cubbison makes the pizza. It’s one of Waschler’s favorites.
“Will’s pizza is amazing,” she said. “Too good for words.”
She also appreciates the setting, in which it’s possible to have deep conversations with peers, “which doesn’t often happen with our age group in large social gatherings,” she said.
Moishe House, she continued, is a great opportunity to fulfill the important need of any young Jew to “find, develop and grow their own Jewish identity … in a safe, fun environment.”
“It’s a place to come hang out and eat a lot of good food,” offered Cubbison, a Raleigh, N.C., native, “and it’s a place to make friends who happen to be Jewish, instead of meeting other young professional Jews in a stuffy event situation.”
“It’s a lot of work at times” living in the Moishe House, said Cubbison, “but mostly just fun. You get to host any type of event you want and hang out with other Jews your age.”
Fainchtein said the house is “a way to get a homey flavor without going to your buddy’s parents’ house who live in the area for Shabbat dinner. … There is no other place in D.C. [other than Moishe House] where you can really get a chill night at someone’s home to make hamantashen as gifts for your friends or for the poor.”
Adam Yefet, another recent D.C. transplant, went to his first Moishe House event in late December. Yefet’s experience “breaking in” to the Moishe House social circle “turned out to be not difficult at all,” he said. Despite his initial nervousness, he now feels like a regular.
He said “how great it was to meet some smart young professional Jews … and how convenient it is … and the easy sense of community they will form with a group of genuinely good people.”
For Yefet, there is no downside to attending the events. At the very least, he said, “your bubbe would be proud.” n
Moishe House Arlington will hold a Purim costume contest, Saturday at 6 p.m. Visit their Facebook page, facebook.com/arlingtonmoishehouse.