Cousins relaunch west side Moishe Pod

PHOTO: Cousins and Moishe Pod West PDX co-leaders David Stein, left, and Sam Greene, pictured at the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland's office in Tigard Thursday, Jan. 11. The two have kicked off their programming with monthly Shabbat dinners and Havdalah services and have more in store. (Rockne Roll/The Jewish Review)

The Jewish Review
For those who were missing Moishe Pod West PDX after the departure of Owen Broder and Shelly Zeiser last summer, the Pod is back!
Cousins David Stein and Sam Greene have taken over the Pod, located in West Portland, and are already making their mark with monthly Shabbat dinners and more. 
“It kind of seemed like it was too good to be true because the timing of when we were considering wanting to do this,” Stein said.
Stein has previously lived at the Moishe House in Southeast Portland. His sister recommended the experience when he came to the area to pursue his career as an arborist. Greene, who was living in Florida, came to visit during that time, getting a taste of the Moishe house experience as well. Stein left after 18 months for an around-the-world travel experience but remained in contact with Greene. When Stein returned to Portland, the opportunity was there for the taking.
We were talking about it and when the opportunity to actually do this together presented itself, we just kind of jumped,” Greene explained.
Stein recently established his own arborist firm, Tranquility Tree Care, while Greene works as a jet engineer with Cyient, where he had been working in Florida.
“When I moved, my company was willing to pay to keep me,” Greene said. “So, I was very fortunate.”
The pair has started their programming with a monthly Shabbat dinner, with support from OneTable. Even with 30 or more attendees, they’ve ensured that everyone is able to sit at a single, large table to foster a sense of connection and give attendees an opportunity to share the highlight of their week, a practice Stein borrows from Shabbat dinners he attended at Chabad on the campus of Western Washington University as a student.
“[OneTable’s support] has been huge because food is expensive and when you’re cooking for 30 people, it can add up,” Stein said. “I really don’t know if we would be able to pull off the Shabbat dinners the way we do if it weren’t for OneTable.”
“I think we’ve done a really good job creating that type of environment where people feel open to actually talk about themselves and just be who they are,” Greene said. “I think that sometimes can be hard to find.”
The pair grew up together in Florida until Stein’s family relocated to Spokane, Wash. when he was nine. 
“I’d say Judaism has always played a very big role in my life,” Stein said.
Greene experienced a different journey – he became a bar mitzvah in Florida, but a speech impediment that he said made speaking Hebrew “nearly impossible” made him feel alienated from his Jewish heritage. As he’s aged, however, Green has found ways to reconnect with Judaism and make it a part of his identity.
“I’ve realized the importance of the tradition and culture,” he said, “and I’ve tried to make it more a part of my life.”
The cousins are excited to share this part of their lives with others – at their monthly Shabbats, monthly Havdalah services and other events they’re putting together. They’ve taken over the Pod’s social media accounts – @moishepodwestpdx on Instagram – and have a Google calendar on their website,
“We are also always looking at other opportunities to connect with the greater community and forms of volunteering to come along,” Stein added. “So if there’s someone out there and they have an organization that is open to taking a group of volunteers, we also would be thrilled if they were to reach out to us and we can work on collaborating down the road.”


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