Moishe Pod Detroit is steadily becoming a promising figure in the local young adult community.
When Moishe Pod Detroit opened in December 2021, there was one goal: to build upon Detroit’s already vibrant Jewish community. Geared for young adults and organized by couple Jeremy Rosenberg, 23, and Menuchah Bluth, 24, who goes by Chella, Moishe Pod Detroit puts on events, social gatherings and more to create a hub for Jewish Detroit.
Rosenberg and Bluth live in-house at Moishe Pod Detroit (or MoPo), located in Woodbridge. It slightly differs from a Moishe House, which operates as co-op housing with several young Jewish adults. Instead, a pod is run by two.
“The previous Detroit Moishe House was closing, and they weren’t going to refill it,” Rosenberg recalls. “Instead of trying to open a new house, they wanted to start a pod.”
For the Modern Orthodox couple, who recently got married, the opportunity felt like a great fit as a next step in their journey. When asked to be the pod’s residents, they were all in for the experience. “We welcome everyone [to the pod],” says Bluth, who explains that the pod can feel like a home to Jews of all levels of observance and interests.
Navigating the Pandemic
The December opening started off strong. “We had a great kickoff party,” Rosenberg recalls.
However, COVID-19 was surging at the same time, particularly with the highly contagious Omicron wave, so the ongoing pandemic slowed the pod’s plans down.
“It was harder to get people to come to events,” Rosenberg continues.
After three months, however, things began to look up. COVID-19 case numbers once again dropped and, by February and March of 2022, Moishe Pod Detroit was back in action.
Frequently partnering with a wide variety of Jewish organizations in the area, such as Chabad Detroit, Hebrew Free Loan and more, Moishe Pod Detroit is steadily becoming a promising figure in the local young adult community. Now, as summer rolls in and the weather turns warmer, they plan to up the ante on events, especially outdoor ones.
“We’re more looking forward than we are looking into the past,” Rosenberg says. “We’ve strengthened our partnerships with other organizations here because in the summer, everyone’s coming out of the woodwork, and everyone’s experienced the same challenges when it comes to COVID-19 and lack of engagement.”
Both Rosenberg and Bluth are in awe of the combined work being done across Detroit to boost engagement and continue to build upon the Downtown Jewish community.
“There are so many great organizations doing great things in the city,” Bluth says, “and only so big of an audience. As opposed to contributing to that overlap, we’re trying to create that overlap at the organizational level, to get people familiar with different offerings or industries.”
Events for All Interests
They’re also working on creating programming through Moishe Pod Detroit that caters to a variety of individuals. “We want to create programs that complement people’s interests,” Bluth continues. “People want to volunteer and also go to brunch.”
Rosenberg says Moishe Pod Detroit events have drawn a variety of ages, anywhere 18-year-olds to those in their mid- to late-30s. They’re not structured, but rather provide an opportunity for young adults to simply hang out and make new friends.
“There’s no one answer,” Rosenberg says of age requirements. “Whenever we come across someone new who’s Jewish and hasn’t found that sweet spot of how they want to be engaged [with the community], we try to make ourselves available to them.”
For Rosenberg and Bluth, who were hosting Shabbat dinners and other Jewish events long before becoming Moishe Pod Detroit residents, the pod was an excellent way to continue their mission with the support of the larger Jewish community. It also helps them share the beauty of greater Downtown Detroit and benefits of living in the city.
While there isn’t a long-term plan for Moishe Pod Detroit just yet, Rosenberg and Bluth say they’re taking the experience day-by-day and are excited about its possibilities. Over the next few weeks, they plan a lunch-and-learn, sports and snack morning, and a brunch and volunteer event. There are more events to come in the summer.
“We’re intentional about our events showing Detroit as a place to live and not just to work or go to Tigers games,” Bluth says.
“Let’s build friendships and let’s build a community — hopefully, that’s inspiring enough for people to stick around.”