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Shore house mixes Shabbat, sun, service
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Shore house mixes Shabbat, sun, service

What could be better for a 20-something than an inexpensive co-ed weekend at a Jersey shore house — with at least two meals included and free beach passes?

But a formula for fun in the sun is also an opportunity for tzedaka: Weekend participants at the Shore House for Sandy Relief will volunteer to aid Sandy victims while also enjoying a social and Shabbat experience with fellow Jews.

Running from June 21 through Labor Day, the project is being funded by Jewish Federation of Monmouth County and the Jim Joseph Foundation, with programming assistance from Moishe House, of Oakland, Calif., and supported by Jewish Federations of North America.

Since 2006, Moishe House has opened 56 houses and apartments where young Jews get subsidized rents in return for organizing Jewish programming

Located in Long Branch, the Jersey shore summer house will be managed by three full-time coordinators, who are responsible for recruiting weekend participants, planning programs, organizing Sandy recovery work details, doing light housecleaning, and preparing food for the group meals, which will include Shabbat dinner and a Sunday afternoon barbecue each week.

Israeli-born Roey Wieser, 28, one of the three coordinators, said having fun and giving back are the guiding principles for this year’s house in Long Branch. At the same time, he said in an e-mail, “participating weekend visitors will gain social and networking opportunities, an immersion in Jewish atmosphere, and this year, because of the Sandy relief work, a sense of fulfillment through community service.”

And although the house is “pluralistic,” with no agenda of promoting religion, Wieser said, “We will incorporate Jewish traditions that the guests will be able to enjoy while socializing with other Jews.”

Co-coordinator Lindsay Konell, 31, of Southampton, Pa., said a typical weekend will include a Shabbat dinner on Friday night, Saturday spent on the beach, and conversation over Shabbat lunch. Residents who wish to can attend Shabbat morning services.

“The Long Branch location was chosen for its easy reach to a wide range of synagogues — Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Ashkenazi, and Sephardi — so that all traditions could be satisfied,” said Ariella Raviv, federation’s director of community impact, who is overseeing the shore house effort.

Sunday mornings will be devoted to community service.

“Although the volunteering events are not yet finalized, I’ve spoken with people who want us to help them organize the varied goods that have been donated, people who want us to help put up new buildings, and others who want us to help destroy old ones,” said co-coordinator Howard Levi, 23, of Ocean Township.

Levi said he expects the weekend visitors to grow spiritually as well as physically. “We are giving them the chance to help people and have an amazing weekend on the beach at the same time,” he said.

The target audience for participants in the shore house program is Jews in their 20s to early 30s, said Wieser. The minimum age is 21.

The fee is $99 per person for each of the two-overnight weekends, $150 for the four-day July 4 weekend (Thursday-Sunday), and $125 for the three-day Labor Day weekend (Friday-Monday), said Raviv.

With six bedrooms and, according to Levi, “a ton of beds,” the house can accommodate about 15 residents each weekend. Additional visitors also are being welcomed for social activities, both on Saturday evening, beginning with Havdala, and Sunday barbecues.

For more information, or to register, contact sandyreliefhouse@gmail.com or visit sites.google.com/site/sandyreliefshorehouse/home/signup.

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