Moishe House Houston Welcomes New Residents

Moishe House Houston Welcomes New Residents

Nicole Harris, Miriam Silberman, and Sarah Levine have moved in together, but they’re more than just roommates.

The three young women are the newest residents of Moishe House in Houston, which hosts Jewish programs for their friends and the community.

Now in its 18th year, Moishe House provides a space for young Jewish adults in their 20s and 30s—too old for Jewish life on campus and too young for traditional young adult and family programs.

Its mission is to build relationships within the Jewish community, provide a strong social and Jewish foundation in Houston, and provide a place where Jews can come together.

The programs offered at MoHo are eclectic, fun and educational. Events and housing are subsidized by MoHo, and residents are required to host five to seven events per month.

While Moishe House National divides program content into four areas – Jewish holidays and culture; Jewish learning; social; and Moishe House Repair the World, a center for Jewish youth engaged in tikkun olam – the activities reflect the varied interests and personalities of the residents.

Houston is home to two such homes.

Harris, Silberman and Levine didn’t know each other before joining MoHo, but they share a love of the Jewish community and miss their involvement in Jewish life at the university. Together, they bring to Moishe House the experience and ability to bridge that gap.

Deeply involved in Hillel, Harris, 22, was a Hillel intern for two years and went to every event she could. She heard about the opportunity to join MoHo through Carly Fleck, Jewston’s principal.

“Since graduating a few months ago, I’ve been looking for a way to fill that void and Moishe House is exactly what I was looking for,” Harris told JHV. “When I learned that I could organize programs and help bring the community together, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Harris was recently hired as a communications specialist for an aviation services company. Born in Northampton, England, she became a Texan at age 6 and loves going to concerts, visiting local museums, playing video games, trying new foods and reading a good book.

Levine, 24, is a Houston native. She grew up at Congregation Beth Israel and attended summer camp at URJ Greene Family Camp. While in college, she was involved in Hillel and Chabad. Until recently, she was involved with Kehillah High School through the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston as a part-time staff member. She now works as a development manager and fundraiser for an arts nonprofit.

“I immediately started attending Moishe House events when I moved back to Houston after college,” Levine told JHV, “and the people I met there helped me find my place in a rather strange transition.”

Levine brings to MoHo her love of reading, crafts and cooking.

“If I’m not at home, you can find me in the theater district, the museum district or at the (Houston) zoo. I’m a member of the Flock young professionals group at the Houston Zoo.”

Silberman, 23, is a Chicago native and a doctoral student at Rice University. For fun, she weightlifts, loves to read and takes long bike rides along the bayou. Her unusual background will bring something new to MoHo.

“As a Mexican-American, Chinese-American and Jewish-American, I also hope to connect my many identities in a way that is fun and productive for everyone involved, whether through new cuisines or parties and events that all groups can experience,” Silberman told JHV.

“We do something really special: My family takes a Mexican or Chinese approach to some classic dishes. For example, we add cilantro and lemon to a traditional matzo ball soup, ingredients common to the sopas we also have at home. We also replace chicken on certain holidays with a special Peking duck. That’s my brother’s specialty.

“My mother and I also wear special hamsas made by Mexican Jewish artists, engraved with Mexican and Jewish symbols,” Silberman said.

“My identity is important to me because in the United States, Jews are generally not people of color. It is important to share my identity to encourage others to ask questions and to change the way people think about what a “Jew” looks like in general, in order to have more inclusion, acceptance, vibrancy and diversity in Jewish daily life.”

Each of the new residents brings a different touch to Moishe House. It will be interesting to see what kind of events they come up with.

“Houston has welcomed me with open arms since I arrived here,” Harris said, “and that’s what I want this Moishe House to be: a place where everyone feels at home when they’re away from home, whether it’s in another state or just next door.”

Moishe House is generously supported by the Houston Jewish Community Foundation, the Robin and Bennett Greenspan Fund of the Houston Jewish Community Foundation, Ross Robin, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, Evan and Nicole Katz, Marshall and Doreen Lerner, and Russ and Leslie Robinson.

For a calendar of events, visit