Sangria, hookah and hula hoops make for a fun Sunday

Alyssa Silva, left, of Moishe House Columbia Heights and Yoni Razin of Moishe House Arlington chat at a joint event on Sunday. Photos by Dan Schere.

As he alternated between sipping sangria and taking puffs from a hookah, Derrik Marow held forth on what it’s like to live in a Moishe House.

Marow, 23, lives in the Moishe House in Arlington with his girlfriend, Emily Mathae, but only she is an official resident with responsibilities toward Moishe House.

“I like to joke and say I get the benefit of the events without the responsibility of it,” he said, relaxing on the back porch of the Bethesda Moishe House.

That’s where the four area Moishe Houses (the others are in Columbia Heights and Capitol Hill) held a joint party on Aug. 20, attracting 70 people. Moishe Houses serve as gathering places for Jews in their 20s and 30s.

Marow said the event gave him exposure to other young Jews from the Washington area.

Terry Wunder perches on Michele Freed to welcome guests.

“My girlfriend has been to all of the Moishe Houses” (in the Washington area), he said. “This is actually my first time at any of them other than the one that I live in. It’s nice because I see a lot of the people that come to our events in Arlington that also come to events here in Bethesda. I’ve met a lot of new people. It’s nice.”

New Moishe House Columbia Heights resident Joe Levin-Manning, 27, said that he, too, was pleased with the turnout.

“I think it’s so great that we have a space to just bring people together and to hang out and relax and to not have to worry about structured Jewish traditional environments,” he said. “I love getting together with my Moishe House siblings.”

“This kind of collaboration is so amazing,” said Terry Wunder, senior program director at the Moishe House

headquarters in Encinitas, Calif., who made the trip east for the event. “It’s about, who are the other great interesting Jews out there and how can we bring them in?”

Jill Maxwell balances a cup of sangria while hula hooping and talking to Josh Finer.

Washington resident Lianna Louie, 28, said Moishe House helps her make Jewish connections. As she took a break from hula hooping in the parking lot, Louie said that Moishe House has helped her build a community of friends.

“I think the biggest problem with young Jewish professionals is that we tend to lose track of Jewish connections because we don’t necessarily go to synagogue or we’ve recently moved and don’t have connections to the community,” she said. “So I like that there are places these connections can be made.”

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