Yoad Merin, 23, lives full-time in Moishe House Baltimore. Moishe Houses serve as a community hubs across the country for Jewish adults in their 20s and 30s. The aim is to provide its residents with a home where they can organize a micro Jewish community within its walls that will in turn engage the community outside of them, hosting events and programming that give local Jews a space to engage with their religion and culture in their adulthood.
Merin grew up in Rockville and attended the University of Maryland College Park, where he studied economics and marketing. A year after moving to Baltimore, he joined Moishe House and has been helping them plan events and welcome new members ever since. He now serves as logistics specialist, working to provide a Jewish community for other young adults like him.
How did your Jewish identity influence your childhood?
My childhood was very culturally Jewish. Later on in life, it actually urged me to seek out a Jewish community; so that’s what I’ve done with Moishe House. I joined first as a member to attend events, meet new people, and learn a little bit more about the Jewish community in Baltimore. Later on, I wanted to move in because I wanted to really help make sure that these events can keep happening and help create a community.
Do you see Moishe House as an alternative for young Jews less interested in socializing through synagogue involvement or other traditional institutions, or do you see Moishe House as a new part of that institutional ecosystem?
I think Moishe House is able to provide a space that can be whatever anybody needs it to be. Our events really do range from Jewish cultural events; to Jewish High Holidays, on the more religious side of things; to purely social events that sometimes don’t necessarily have anything to do with Judaism.
We do seven events a month based on what the community needs at the moment, so I think it’s a really cool part about Moishe House — it’s all of the above.
What’s it like living in the house full-time?
It’s a lot of fun. Definitely a lot of stuff going on all the time, so we don’t really have too much quiet time; but we each have our own space, so we have time to kind of recharge between events. We plan, we have meetings every week or bi-weekly, and really have a lot of fun planning and running all these events.
What is your role at Moishe House Baltimore?
Helping put on events, helping with outreach and getting more people to come to events, and even kind of putting my own twist on things and coming up with some really fundamental ideas are my responsibilities.
We work together and all the events are really a “takes a village” kind of thing. It’s a group effort every time.
Which Moishe House events have you enjoyed the most?
I like the bagel brunches that we like to do about once a month. Usually we get a really high turnout — Jews are suckers for bagels, so they always come out.
I really like the really social [events]. We have Baltimore Oriole games that we get a big group to go out to, or sometimes we’ll do happy hours on Fridays and stuff like that.
How do you get people to join Moishe House?
We heavily rely on word-of-mouth, and our Jewish partners in the city helped us out a lot with outreach as well.
What programming does Moishe House Baltimore have in store for the High Holidays?
We have a Rosh Hashanah potluck on Sept. 26. Future events can be found on our Linktree at linktr.ee/moishehouse.