Moishe House, an organization creating grassroots Jewish communities for college graduates in their 20s, opened its first house in Montevideo, Uruguay in June as part of efforts to broaden its reach.
The Jewish community of Uruguay is currently 20,000 to 25,000 members strong, concentrated mostly in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, the Jewish Agency reported in a press release. Moishe House Montevideo will provide housing for 22-year-olds, in addition to creating/hosting events, gatherings, and programs as part of an outreach initiative to more than 300 Montevideo millennials throughout 2017.
The Moishe House Montevideo will be open to the community five to six times a month, and will receive a partial rent stipend, a programming budget, and training and staff support in exchange. Moishe House Montevideo is supported by Moishe House’s Global Community Fund, Ben and Esther Rosenbloom, Foundation Inc., and an anonymous donor.
Sabrina Merage Naim, a Moishe House board of directors member and founder of the Sabrina Merage Foundation, said supporting the first Moishe House in Uruguay “was an easy decision for us.”
“Bringing the incredibly effective Moishe House model of peer-led, home-based programming to Montevideo is a source of pride for our organization,” Naim added.
This Montevideo house is part of Moishe House’s efforts at international expansion in South America and other countries.
Launched in 2006, Moishe House currently has 86 houses in 20 countries, including a South American house in Buenos Aires. The organization intends to expand to Brazil and Chile as well.
The organization was created when four Jews in their 20s began hosting Shabbat dinners for their friends in Oakland, California. The organization was founded by the late Morris Bear Squire, an American psychologist, hospital administrator, and philanthropist, with the latter focusing primarily on Jewish causes. Other organizations founded by Squire include the Forest Foundation, a non-profit organization funding psychology research, and the Morris B. Squire Art Foundation.
(This story update includes corrections to the spelling of Rosenbloom and the number of houses in operation.)