“What’s the most important thing in the world?”
My dad poses this question at every Shabbat dinner, every Rosh Hashanah, every seder that we celebrate together. Since we were toddlers, my three siblings and I always emphatically respond, “OUR FAMILY!”
For my entire life, my family has emphasized the importance of the family unit, working together as a team and taking care of one another whenever possible. When I moved to Atlanta two years ago, however, I feared that I would lose that close connection with my family members as we scattered across the country to pursue our individual dreams.
Thankfully, however, when I started my journey as a Moishe House Buckhead resident in the spring, I realized that I would remain close with my siblings and parents, but also that I could grow my definition of family to include the new relationships that I would make through Moishe House.
Last month, Moishe House residents from around the world gathered at our national convention in Wisconsin. During this action-packed weekend, I immediately realized that Moishe House, like my own family, recognizes the importance of family ties. In fact, Moishe House leaders organized us into “mishpacha,” or family groups.
In these groups of four to six people, we discussed topics ranging from how to plan Jewish learning activities to how to work through house conflicts.
Not only did I appreciate the dialogues initiated in my mishpacha group, but I also loved the fact that Moishe House, much like my family, values and emphasizes the importance of family ties, shared values and mutual support.
As Rosh Hashanah begins, I find myself drawn back to this concept of family.
Rosh Hashanah celebrates the new year, a time of new beginnings and opportunities to grow as a Jewish person; I reflect in gratitude.
I am grateful for my Moishe House roommates and their ability to foster an inclusive, welcoming environment for our community members.
I am grateful for the other Moishe House residents in Atlanta, who open their doors to our community and always offer sage advice on how to excel in our programming for the many young Jewish people who join us for Moishe House events.
I am grateful for all our community members, our friendships and the work we do together to improve our world.
I am grateful for the Moishe House organization as a whole, providing us the opportunity as twentysomethings to go out and make a difference.
Whether we’re hosting a Shabbat dinner at the house, donating to a local Jewish organization or participating in a Marcus Jewish Community Center sports league, we continue to grow together as a new family.
Every time I walk through our front door in Buckhead, I am greeted with cheerful grins from my three roommates. Every time we host an Israeli pool party, I am surrounded by enthusiastic, loving community members who value one another and the community we build together. Every time I receive an email from our Moishe House regional director, I feel elated that she, along with the rest of the Moishe House family, truly cares about our growth as young Jewish adults.
On this Rosh Hashanah, I challenge my fellow Jewish community members to branch out and discover more opportunities to grow their definitions of family. At Moishe House Buckhead, we invite the young Jewish professional of the greater Atlanta area to join us as we celebrate the new year and continue to make a difference in the Jewish world.
Find our group on Facebook. Attend a football watching party. Volunteer with us at a food bank.
Most important, however, allow your family to grow. Rely on others and appreciate that others may rely on you. Let this new year catalyze the start of a new friendship, and let your friendship grow.
As we dip apples into sweet honey to represent the sweet new year, immerse yourself into a new environment to find a sweet addition to your mishpacha. In the city of Atlanta, the Jewish community thrives and provides opportunities to truly forge meaningful connections. Appreciate these new connections because, at the end of the day and at the end of the year, we will always remember the most important thing in the world: family.