Congregation B'nai Maccabim: Guestbook
July 29, 2014
Barry was an old friend, teacher, and spiritual brother. His brilliance and intellect was matched by his wit, sense of humor, and kindness. May his family, friends, and all who knew and loved him be comforted among Israel. My children and I mourn his loss.
July 29, 2014
I had the pleasure of knowing this wonderful man and Rabbi. I am the owner of Rosenblums World of Judaica in Skokie. I vividly recall the big smile on the Rabbi's face when he left our store last year with 30 sets of esrogim and lulavim for the Sukkot Holiday. His memory should be for a blessing, and we look forward to continuing to be of service to your wonderful community.
July 27, 2014
I will miss my brother, my friend...
My hope is in that age yet to come my brother. I look forward to our re-uniting.
Elder Paul L. Davis
April 25, 2013
Rabbi, praise the Lord, I found your web page. Now Pat and I can continue on listen to your fantastic teaching through out the year.
Pastor Shirley Hudson
September 23, 2012
I have been so blessed attending the B'nai Temple with Jill and Allen Biffel. I love the teaching by the Rabbi and the 10 AM teaching on the Shabatt. I am trying to find the posting of the messages I enjoyed.
Victor Richard Veguilla
September 1, 2012
Keep going in Yeshua!!!
Carlos A. Garcia
August 26, 2012
My name is Carlos Garcia currently residing at St. Petersburg, Florida and member of Beth-Shalom sinagogue and will be in November visiting my family in Chicago and attend my brother's wedding. So, I'll be needing a place to worship and shabbat. So, hopefully will be seeing, and meeting you soon.
Frederick Woods in Kenosha, WI
April 6, 2012
Greetings to all, I just wanted to keep the guestbook flowin' along with some friendly 2012 (5772) entries...hey, me & my family are starting to regularly attend the heartwarming Shabbat sevices @ B'nai Maccabim where Rabbi Betzalel leads us & with Rabbi Mike to learn about LIFE with Yeshua & YHWH.
In the 1980's when I was in my 20's, I found out the rewarding TRUTH of worshipping G-d correctly in Yeshua's example on His 7th day, instead of how in childhood I thought Sunday was "the day", oh well live & learn. B'nai Maccabim is a MOST PLEASANT! place to spend one's weekly Sabbath.
I am not exaggerating when I describe how the lessons here, & the Oneg meals, & the warm fellowship of dear brethren, are giving us a (small) foretaste (kinda like a movie "pre-quel"?) of what life may be like in the soon coming Kingdom we watch & wait for to "land" on the Mt. Of Olives! (hey, the kids love it here too, bring em' & find out).........Shalom!
Sincerely, Fred Woods II.
August 17, 2011
I live in south central Wisconsin now, but visited you a few times 6 or so years ago when I lived in Waukegan. Just wanted to see if you were still around, as I am trying to talk a couple friends into making a road trip down there some Shabbat.
YHWH bless you and keep you....
Dr. Maurice and Karen B'inns
May 7, 2010
Congratulation to the Bnai Maccabim family, From Malik and family.
May 6, 2010
remember me and penny; how r u guys?? we got 4 kids and 2 grandkids.
March 8, 2010
Dear Brothers and sisters in Yahshua Messiah
Greetings to you your family in the blessed name of Yahshua Messiah.
I immense pleasure to introduce myself as an Elder, teaching the sacred truth for the last 18 years. By the grace of our almighty YAHWEH I built 3 assemblies in remote and slam areas. we have alos some socal service activities.Our assemblies believers we extremely poor and few. Hence we have not funds to uplift our Yahweh’s work. I have been maintaining a destitute children home and providing food clothing and education during Tsunami some of the fishermen believers drowned in the killer wave Tsunami. We moved with compassion towards them and admitted them into our home. We are keeping Sabbath in midst of orthodox Hindu idol worshippers and Sunday worshippers. We condemn their false deities and pagan worship.
We can teach the importance of Yahweh’s covenant law. The creator of the universe wants to enter into covenant relationship with the inhabitations of earth. Our Sabbath service starts from Friday sunset at 6.00 p.m. and finishes Saturday sunset of 6.00 p.m.
We believe in only ELOHIM (GEN 1:1) ours in the oneness group. We believe Baptism in the name of YAHSUA Messiah (with full immersion) ACTS 2:38, ROM 6:3, GAL 3:27. We believe in His sacred name according to ACTS 9:4-6 JOHN 19:19,12, EXO 1:19, we believe in His Holy calendar and His appointed Holy days, New moons LEV 23 Chap. ACTS 18:21, ISAIHA 29:1, COL 2:16, We worship on His Seventh Day Sabbath (Saturday) MARK 1:21, LUKE 4:16, JOHN 9:14, ACTS 9:20, 14:1, 18:4, 19:8.
We observe all the Biblical feasts and appointed Holy days which are Passover (Messiah’s death) Feast of unleavened Bread, Feasts of weeks / Pentecost Feast of Trumpet, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles.
We also teach the importance of righteous life and spirit of YAHWEH’S sublime Truth, we seek our heavenly fathers to help us pray from our hearts in spirit and in Truth.
Dear Beloved Brother and Sisters I need your good fellowship and encouragement. Please encourage us to spread of the great Truth to many distant places. If you want to share the love of our father YAHWEH with us please come down to India to discern all our Sacred Truth Services. Due to lack of funds we are unable to our reach distant pleaces.please extend your kind co-operation in order to praise YAHWEH if our abba YAHWEH inspires you.
Please pray for all of us, our Elders, Our Orphans and assemblies.
Here we are all constantly praying for you, your blessed family, your staff, your Elders and your Assemblies.
Prayerfully waiting for your favorable reply.
May YAHWEH bless you all.
My postal Address is: Your humble brother in
( PO )YELAMANCHILI-534268
February 26, 2010
Shalom from Mike. Le'hitraot!
Teri Chastain Swan
February 18, 2010
I've been studying my Jewish roots for the past 3 years & am overjoyed to have met your daughter, Chyah, who has been so kind to me. After I expressed an interest in learning more, she told me I could learn from your website!
I'm looking forward to learning from you in this way.
Your sister in Christ,
January 12, 2010
I am a believer in Yeshua the Jewish Messiah looking for a Messianic community of believers. Does you ministry except gentile believers? There are some Jewish believers that will not except gentiles, so I though I would ask first. I now relize that as a believer in Yeshua, I am grafted into the Covanant G-d made with Israel. Therefore, I must follow the teaching of the Torah.
I am alone in these Chistian congregations, because their teachings are far from the teachings of Torah. Yeshua said that: Man must not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out the mouth of G-d. Well, the Torah is the only part of scripture that preceeded out of the mouth of G-d. Therefore, Torah is the only foundation, and saying that Torah is Old Testiment and not relevant is error.
I live in Downers Grove, IL, and your ministry is the only one I have found in the Chicago area.
948 Lancaster PL
Downers Grove, IL 60516
P: (630) 971-0754
C: (312) 259-5371
Henry L. Allen
January 7, 2010
Where would you suggest that one could worship in authentic Messianic Judaism in Illinois, near Wheaton College?
November 7, 2009
I was wanting to attend a service but I see no listing on the website of when you meet.
October 29, 2009
Miss ya barry bud
October 27, 2009
When my two daughters were middle school aged, we visited occassionally. (circa 1997-1999)
We enjoyed fellowshipping there and learned a great deal.
If your young people haven't already had a chance to hear, there is an awesome cd called: Theophanies Hip-Hologetics, Vol.2 by Hazakim that I think you all would appreciate.
kristine rebecca griffith
October 15, 2009
what is the meaning of 1 corinthian 11:4-15 when it states that a woman is to cover her head when she prays or prophesies...but if a man covers his head it would be shameful?
if this is the case, why then do jewish men wear a yomika when they pray.
can you suggest a good jewish/messianic study bible
August 20, 2009
Bill Zibell Sr.
May 17, 2009
Thank you for all your good teaching. I have been studing the print-outs from Sabbath School. We also found the audio on the internet.
These things are just missing in my religious education.
May 5, 2009
It is rather unjustified that you make such an evaluation of my post. It is documented history, not innuendo like Chick Publications, and is a threat to Messianic and Christian believers. And yes, it is true that there is falsehood in all denominations. Shalom and be blessed.
April 24, 2009
I wish to know whot you think about Nabion the house of the Prophets of modern Israel Das he know that spiritof BAAL is operatin in Pentacostal,Charismatic movement Please comment Nadia Melbourne
R.jaakov, B Orbán
March 20, 2009
Shalom from Hungary
Shofar Messianic Jews Communithy
February 28, 2009
My son Jeremy and his jewish wife Laura have recently moved to Glencoe. Is your congregation close to this town? She is not a believer but has been open to hearing the truth about our Jewish Messiah. When she's ready, they'll need a congregation to attend.
February 24, 2009
Shalom Rabbi Barry, I am here in Gurnee, IL on business. I have visited your congregation on Yom Kippur 2007. Your congregation and services are wondeful. Hopefully I can stop by on Shabbat. Receive a big hello from my Rabbi's Renee and Robert Bloch. Warmest regards.
January 27, 2009
Thanks for your history of Messianic Jewish Movement, and defining Messianic Judaism.
December 19, 2008
Great to be a part of G-d work
Ms. Rhode Flores
December 17, 2008
Dear brothers & sisters in Messiah Yeshua:
As some of you know I was brought up with the Bible by my parents and worked 9 years in the Bible Society in Madrid, SPAIN with my father Dr. José Flores Espinosa (two very Jewish surnames) who was the General Secretary of the B.S. for 25 years coinciding with Franco's dictatorship, was also a Bible teacher, preacher, writer and spoke 8 languages.
I have been a freelance translator for over 40 years, translated a total of ONE HUNDRED & SEVENTEEN books, one from French and the rest from English into Spanish, done simultaneous translating in Campus Crusade for Christ conferences in Austria, France and Spain years ago, editing, proofreading, dubbing and transcribed 400 tapes. This is my MINISTRY and I would ask you to consider in prayer before our ABBA the need to offer Torah, Messiah and Yisrael materials.
I have recently had my second novel published, entitled "ABBA, LET ME SERVE YOU." It has been published by Publish America.
Abba, Let Me Serve You
Rhode Flores Barceló
Each one of the characters in this short story is part of my imagination, but at the same time the reality of life’s experiences; those things that touch us and make us what we become inevitably and in a very real way make up the main argument that is reflected in each of the pages not only of this book, but most importantly of our lives. Life grows, changes and colors the events that take place, touching the lives of others and molding the thoughts of the different characters because deep inside those of us who base our lives on the EMET, truth in Hebrew, of the Torah or Word of God and Messiah Yeshua, become the open book in which we make it possible for Messiah to write and to fashion our lives.
WHY WE STAND WITH ISRAEL
By Rhode Flores
According to a popular saying in my country, Spain “there is an emptiness in all human beings that only God can fill.” As we are born and live and learn most people reach the conclusion that being alive means much more than simply the need to make a living, often to struggle and survive and that there is, indeed, something much more profound and meaningful to life and we start our search.
I had the privilege of being born in a very special and unique home in Madrid, Spain in the year 1947, during the years of Franco’s dictatorship. I want to begin speaking about my father, Dr. José Flores Espinosa (2 very Jewish names) who for 25 very difficult and crucial years was the General Secretary of the Bible Society in Spain, Bible teacher, preacher, writer, gave conferences, spoke 8 languages and in his youth translated two whole collections of “British Authors” into Spanish (I worked 9 of those years with him). He was a man who dedicated his whole life to G-d in dangerous times. The Spanish Civil War found him as a young widower, who had two small children in the south of Spain, he had become ill and the doctors did not know how he could be healed, he was accused of being a spy and persecuted, both by the nationals and the reds, which he was not, but these mistakes are unfortunately common in wars. He could find no work and his life had no meaning in general, so he seriously thought that there really was no sense in going on living. He was staying at what would be like a very cheap family hotel in Palma de Mallorca (the Balearic Islands, off the east coast of Spain), and he tried to literally jump out the window, but as he was about to do so a hand rested on his shoulder and he heard a voice that asked: “José, what are you doing?” When he replied that he did not want to go on living, the young man, who happened to be British, answered him: “you evidently have plenty of time. Please read this book and if after reading it you still want to jump we will talk about it.” Yes, you guessed it, the book was a Bible.
My father had a brilliant mind, an unquenchable thirsty for knowledge and a profound and yet undiscovered spirituality that would become the most important aspect of his whole existence, which made him search for that God who, without him knowing it at the time, would completely fill the emptiness in his life. With a very real longing and having nothing else to do he decided to read the book his friend had loaned him, which was a Bible. No one had ever spoken to him about the existence of such a book, so he started reading it and the more he read the more it touched the innermost fibers of his soul and he could not put it down. He even took whole passages which he copied and sent to his family in the south of Spain so they too could discover what he was gratefully surprised to find out.
A few days later he fell on his knees and simply said: ‘God, if you exist, take my life, I want to serve you.” Because of the war he had been undernourished and had some serious health problems, to the point that doctors told him he had an incurable disease, but as he was on his knees he felt as though a ray of radiant light traveled through his whole body and shortly after was amazed to find out that he was healed, something that left the doctors open mouthed because they could hardly believe that this young man who had an incurable disease and was no doubt going to die soon was unexpectedly healed and he explained this incredible and unexpected health as a miracle that God had done in his life.
But that was not the only miracle that would happen. Walking one day along the well known Paseo del Borne in the city of Palma de Mallorca he observed a blond young woman who was incredibly beautiful. He saw her walk along that street every day and wanted to make friends with her because he could not get her out of his mind. One day he walked up to her and asked her what “tinc mal de cap” meant in Mallorquin, the dialect of the beautiful city of Palma, capital of the island of Mallorca, belonging to the Balearic Islands off the east coast of Spain. She replied with a warm smile: “I have a headache.”
He followed her several times to the Public Library and noticed the book she was reading. When she left he would pick up the book and write poems on a piece of paper knowing she would return to continue reading the book. She belonged to a good family and he was only a stranger at a time when any one who was NOT born in Palma, but came from the peninsula was considered “a stranger” a term that implied some one you do not trust and is not welcome.
God removed all the problems standing in my father’s way and he ended up marrying this young woman, moving to Madrid sent by CAMPSA, the petroleum monopoly company, in spite of the fact that they received letters warning them that my father was “a spy” and the police even interrogated my mother and asked information about my father. Many people were mistakenly considered as spies, like it happened to my father, and quite a few even lost their lives, as was the case with the wonderful and famous dramaturge and poet Federico García Lorca, known in the States mostly for such works as Yerma, poet in New York and many others.
The Roman Catholic Church was the official state church until 1975 in Spain. Although it has not lost its status as the state church, the 1978 constitution guarantees equal rights for all religious groups. At the end of the 20th century the Catholic Church claimed approximately two thirds of the population, but the numbers are falling rapidly.
Since end of Franco's reign, Spain has quickly become a more secular nation. The fastest growing religious grouping is atheist. This grouping now accounts for more than 30% of the population as people grow increasingly disenchanted with the Catholic Church. People have also turned to other things such as marginal groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses, the occult, and drugs.
Evangelicals frequently suffered discrimination and persecution during Franco's dictatorship, but their numbers grew, with churches some times being closed, pastors imprisoned, telephones tapped into and, in general there was no freedom. Evangelicals are still few in number, less than half of one percent, but the numbers continue to grow. The Lord has done a work among the Gypsy (or Romanie) people, also known as “the halleluiahs” because they are mainly Pentecostals.
So it was in this Spain that I was born with a father who was also a Bible teacher, a writer, who gave conferences and who spoke 8 languages. I ended up working with him in the Bible Society for 9 of those 25 years and also inherited from my father his gift as a translator, who had translated two full collections of “British Authors” into Spanish and translation would become my passion and one of the most important motivations in my life, having translated to date 112 (one hundred and twelve) books, 2 smaller ones, as well as literally hundreds of encyclopedia, newspaper and Bible related articles and many other translation and interpreting projects both in Europe and in the USA, including simultaneous translation in conferences in Astria, France and Spain.
Needless to say being discriminated as a “Protestant” or “Evangelical” was common and children suffered this discriminations in schools too. For this reason and also because my parents considered languages very important I was educated, and later my brother and sister were too, in the “British Institute School” of Madrid, where the children of the ambassadors and rich people, some times even members of royalties of several countries studied, in spite of which I was mainly discriminated not so much by other children, but by the Principal and the teachers, which motivated my father, as the director of the British and Foreign Bible Society in Spain to make a complaint to the British Council in Madrid.
For most of our lives I was first a member of the most important Plymouth Brethren church in Madrid and later of Baptist churches, both in Spain and the USA. There came a time in our lives when we felt the church could NOT teach us anything else, but felt deep inside that there was much more in the Bible and needing to discover those things became like an anguish that tore inside me, so I cried to God and He answered my prayers.
Tamara, my daughter, and I had been watching on television the movie old Exodus in English and when it was over Tamara said to me: “you know what I would like to find?” I answered: ‘No, what?’ “A congregation of Jewish believers who believed in Messiah.” At the time I thought that was impossible in Spain, but even so I decided to see if I could find something like that and I did find one congregation and little by little we found a number of people who had experienced the same as we had and had started to discover in his Torah (Word) the same things we were able to learn. It was then that we discovered, as well as a few other things:
THE FORGOTTEN COMMANDMENT
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. (Exodus 20:8-10).
YAHWEH the Almighty God of Israel ordained keeping Shabbat as a day of physical rest for all mankind. This is a commandment given by God and is not an optional decision of man. It is to be kept holy, apart, sanctified and was to be different from the rest of the days of the week. It was God himself who after having created the world, once He had finished the work which He had been doing “he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done,” as we see in the second chapter of Genesis.
The meaning of the term Sabbath is rest, peace, which also means completion and, therefore, perfect and a manifestation of G-d’s blessings. We delight in obeying his commands because one of the natural consequences of loving and obeying God is to “keep his commandments” and if we say we love G-d, but we do not keep his commandments, as the Word says: “The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 Johan 2:4).
YHVH (God) has NEVER given us commandments that we cannot keep. Yeshua (Jesus) said: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30). We say that our God does NOT change and yet there are those who pretend He first said one thing and then changed his mind and said another, making of replacement theology an abomination and a grievous sin and also ignoring what the Torah/Word of G-d clearly says, according to the words of Yeshua, our Jewish Messiah: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Certainly the word Torah which has been translated as “law” really has the meaning of “teaching and instruction” and is the foundation of our faith and we are to “comprehend, listen, learn and teach, to guard, to perform and fulfill ALL the words of instruction in your Torah, (the Word of G-d) with love.” We are further instructed: “you shall teach them to your children and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you travel on the road and when you lie down and rise up.”
Yeshua, which is Jesus real name, as we are speaking of a Messiah who was born and lived in a Jewish, Semitic world, came “to fulfill, not to abolish” so if we have been taught that we are “free in Jesus” to do as we please, the person who teaches such false doctrine would be better off taking these solemn words of warning into serious consideration: “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck,” (Mark 9:42) because he or she has become a “stumbling block” for others and YHVH will not take this lightly and we will ALL give account of what we do and what we say.
Therefore, obedience applies to all humanity, not exclusively to the Jews, but the Goyim or Gentiles which implies keeping the Sabbath a holy and set apart day in which we will do NO work, in which neither we nor anyone working or living with us has the liberty to do any work, to sell or to buy, if we are truly sincere and committed to “obeying YHVH with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our souls and with all our strength,” as we have been commanded. How is it possible to take some of His commandments very seriously whilst absolutely ignoring others? Who are we to pick and choose?
One often wonders how those who are responsible for teaching Torah/His Word to others can take it upon themselves to decide what they want to keep or obey and what they want to simply ignore, as if this was a personal choice with no consequences for disobedience. There are those who mistakenly think that the Old Testament has been done away with, that it is no longer valid and, therefore, the words “to keep his commandments throughout ALL your generations, to obey to perpetuity, to do and seek His good will,” do not apply to us. It is evident that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16.17).
If we open our Bibles we will see that it teaches that “Yeshua (Jesus) taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.” (Luke 4:15-18) and we also know that “he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. (Mark 1:22).
It was definitely the Sabbath, not the Sunday, instituted much later with the purpose of distancing themselves from the Jews, which is an anti-Semitic poison that has been sown all along the centuries and a position totally contrary and of disobedience to what YHVH has commanded us. In Acts we read: “As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. (Acts 13:24-44).
In an article that compares the rest of the Sabbath commanded by God and the practice of the Babylonian culture we read:
The closest analogy between the biblical Sabbath and Babylonian culture is the shared literary motif of the god(s) resting after having created humans (see Enuma Elish 7.8, 34). Even here, the parallel is distant: the biblical God rests at the conclusion of his creative efforts, while the Babylonian gods are freed from the labors required to feed themselves since humans were created to relieve them of that task.
The Sabbath was a cornerstone of Israelite religious practice from earliest times. This can be seen from the consistent mention of the Sabbath throughout all the strata of Pentateuchal and extra-Pentateuchal sources, with the exception of wisdom literature. In the Pentateuch, Sabbath observance is legislated repeatedly in general terms (Exodus 20:8-11; 23:12; 31:12-17; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:12-15), though the types of work prohibited are relatively limited; those mentioned include gathering food, plowing and reaping, kindling a fire, and chopping wood (Exodus 16:29-30; 34:21; 35:3; Numbers 15:32-36). The positive specifications of Sabbath observance include giving rest to one's servants and animals (Exodus 20:10; 23:12; Deuteronomy 5:14).”
Celebrating the Sabbath runs parallel with keeping and obeying the Feast Days that God has established because the whole Word of God is like a parable that gives us information on the plan that God had for Israel, as his set apart, chosen people, and the rest of the Goyim or the nations, even before the creation of the world and referring to the celebration of the feasts we always read that they have to be celebrated during “all your generations, to perpetuity.” The whole Word of God, his Torah, is set around one main theme: “the harvest,” and without it man cannot hope to start to understand God’s plan for man’s redemption, which is a plan of redemption and salvation for Jews and Gentiles, for all those who have accepted Yeshua as Lord, those who being indistinctly Jews and Gentiles become: "ONE in the Body, neither Jew nor Greek, being Yeshua, our Messiah our bride and our reconciliation!
"Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh who are called uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision made in the flesh by hands, that at that time you were without the Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you, who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.” (Ephesians 2:11-14).
These Feasts of Israel, which are for ALL people, also known as ‘The Feasts of the Lord or holy convocations,” are: Pesach or Passover, HaMatzot or Unleavened Bread, Bikkurim or First Fruits, Shavuot or the Feasts of Weeks, Yom Teruah or Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement and Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles.
"And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them. ‘The Feasts of YHVH, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My Feasts. - These are the Feasts of YHVH, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.” (Leviticus 23:1-2 and 4).
If we do not believe in the authority of G-d’s voice then it is evident we need to start reading his Torah or Word and returning to the basics of our Hebraic faith. If the foundation is not firmly established the building will NOT stand, the cares and the storms of this life will make it come tumbling down.
For those of you who would argue that faith is important, but we do NOT need the works I would like to remind you that as James says: “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (2:17) And in that same chapter we also read: “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?”
I would like to ad the following for the reader’s information:
Talking of keeping Sunday as a 'holy or set apart day, as in the still extant 'Blue Laws,' of colonial America, should know that as a 'holy' day of rest and cessation from labor and amusements Sunday was unknown to Jesus . . . It formed no tenet [teaching] of the primitive Church and became 'sacred' only in the course of time. Outside the Church its observance was legalized for the Roman Empire through a series of decrees starting with the famous one of Constantine in 321, an edict due to his political and social ideas."--W, W. Hyde, "Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire," 1946, p. 257.
"The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a Divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic Church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday."--Augustus Neander "The History of the Christian Religion and Church," 1843, . 186.
The Catholic Church took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian Sunday. As we know the pagans worshipped the god of the sun and from there the Catholic Church, with the intention of attracting the pagans decided to consecrate and sanctify the Sunday. We are told that: “The Fathers often compared Jesus to the sun; as they compared Mary to the moon."--William L. Gildea, "Paschale Gaudium," in "The Catholic World," 58, March, 1894. "The Church made a sacred day of Sunday . . . largely because it was the weekly festival of the sun;--for it was a definite Christian policy to take over the pagan festivals endeared to the people by tradition, and to give them a Christian significance."-- Arthur Weigall, "The Paganism in Our Christianity," 1928, p. 145.
Therefore, "Is it not strange that Sunday is almost universally observed when the Sacred Writings do not endorse it? Satan, the great counterfeiter, worked through the 'mystery of iniquity' to introduce a counterfeit sabbath to take the place of the true Sabbath of God. Sunday stands, side by side, with Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday "If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day. And call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of YHVH honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word. Then you will take delight in YHVH. And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Yaacov your father, for the mouth of YHVH has spoken.” (Isaiah 58:13-14).
When YHVH openly reveals His truth to us, when reading his message taking into consideration the Jewish and/or Hebrew roots of our faith, as something precious, as a privilege and our obedience to Him becomes our delight, we need to stop and think if we are going to continue to follow the pagan and mistaken concepts we have inherited either from the Catholic or the Evangelicals or if the time has come for us to break away from the old, to be set free and to truly find in obeying His Torah, in following Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus our Messiah) and in loving and comforting Yisrael the main reasons for our existence, as part of our Torah obedience and love for our Father.
Ms. Rhode Flores
November 22, 2008
Do you allow messianic Gentiles to be included in your congregation?
(The above email is a home email address I share with my husband, who created it.)
November 7, 2008
I am interested in visiting one of your services.
are you a messianic congregation?
I have been studying the feast of the Lord for about 5 years and find them most most satisfying--much better than any of the other kind of holidays celelbrated in america.
what is the home group study?
October 26, 2008
I am glad that our website helps you feel a bit closer to Rachel, James, and the girls. You are of course always welcome at Bnai Maccabim, and I hope to see you again soon.
G-d bless you, and again, thank you for your kind comments.
October 26, 2008
While I appeciate your perspective I need to tell you that I am very concerned with the way you a willing to handle the text of the Brit Chadasha. It is way too fast and loose!
I know that many of the saying of Yeshua and His talmidim can and should be understood in light of the community, and the times in which they were written. However, you are not at liberty to simply ignore or re-write the text to fit your perspective, which is what you seem to be doing.
More importantly you seem to be taking the position, if I read your words correctly, that it is in the doing of Torah that we find atonement. This is just not so. Torah was never meant to bring us atonement or redemption. Rather it was and is an outward demonstration of our love for HaShem. As Yeshua said, "If you love Me you will do My commandments."
If our atonement is dependent upon our doing of Torah then none of us will ever attain it, as none of us can fully keep it, either in its written or its oral form. If this is truly your position then I have to say you are making the same error as that addressed in Shaul's letter to the Gaul-Asians.
The problem he addressed with them was their lack of understanding of the nature, purposes and responsibilities of Torah, and the fact that our relationship with G-d never came from the doing of Torah. His reason for saying this is quite clear: "If the Torah had been made/given that could bring salvation/ atonement then what would be the purpose for the death of the Messiah."
Torah is the life and heritage of our community/people, but it is not our atonement. That comes only through trust in the sacrifice/
atonement that was given through the death and resurection of the Messiah, Yeshua.
October 25, 2008
Bless you and all that you do for our people. And I am blessed to have found your website thanks to my hero, Rachel. Now I can feel close to Rachel, James and the girls through this website and worship with them. How I miss them and the wonderful experience of coming to services with them.
Thank you for this opportunity to worship with all of you. And may I add, your sense of humor is so refreshing.
May your work continue to be blessed. My love to you in Yeshua, who continues to sustain us.
October 11, 2008
Hello! I find your website!
Everyone that does their utmost to keep Torah non-selectively is promised atonement.This of course includes Torah-practising Jews.
Ribi Yehoshua said:
"Don't think that I came to uproot the Torah or the Neviim [prophets], but rather I came to reconcile them with the Oral Law of emet (truth). Should the heavens and ha-aretz (the land, particularly referring to Israel) exchange places, still, not even one ' (yod) nor one ` (qeren) of the Oral Law of Mosheh shall so much as exchange places; until it shall become that it is all being fully ratified and performed non-selectively. For whoever deletes one Oral Law from the Torah, or shall teach others such, by those in the Realm of the heavens he shall be called "deleted." Both he who preserves and he who teaches them shall be called Ribi in the Realm of the heavens. For I tell you that unless your Tzedaqah (righteousness) is over and above that of the Sophrim (Torah Scribes), and of the [probably 'Herodian'] Rabbinic-Perushim (corrupted to "Pharisees"), there is no way you will enter into the Realm of the heavens! “
• Finding the historical Jew, who was a Pharisee (today's Orthodox) Ribi (see www.netzarim.co.il), brings, for the first time in your life, his *true* formula for profound meaning, inner happiness and purpose in your life.
From Anders Branderud
Geir Toshav, Netzarim in Ra’anana in Israel (www.netzarim.co.il) who are followers of Ribi Yehoshua – Messiah – in Orthodox Judaism
August 15, 2008
I am a first time "listener" and visitor to your website. I just listened to your audio "teach us to pray part 1". I am not a big movie buff. I tried to patiently attend to the analogies that were being presented, trusting that at some point, some great truth was going to be delivered. I was not disappointed. I am so impressed with the beauty of the One I adore, the Holy One of Israel, and our blessed Redeemer Yeshua! Everytime I see a glmpse of Him, my heart is overwhelmed with love. Your message once again, caused the swelling of praise and worship to rise up within me knowing I am connected to Him forever!
August 6, 2008
I have read a few articles concerning 'm'chtzah
and generally speaking they say men and women are 'different' in the sight of God but they refuse to acknowledge that it is writen that there is neither Gentile or Jew, Male or Female In Christ (The Anointed One).
I am not a supporter of ERA or womens groups but I would like to worship with those that Preach/Teach the whole Truth and acknowledge that indeed women can and do love Almighty and Most High GOD with as great a ferver and sincerity as men.
I am going in to your site to see what you teach now ...Thank you
July 31, 2008
I attend Beth Messiah Synagogue in Norfolk Virginia .You may be wondering why I am leavina message in your comments;actually it's not a comment ,but rather a request :please pray for my Mother Rochelle I. (Hirsch)Brenner.My Mother lives in Lincolnwood Illinios and is coming to the end of her life on earth.She needs to know Yeshua & have his peace before she departs .
June 18, 2008
When asre you coming to do a free concert at Bnai? (I know of some great musicians that could "open" for you.
June 18, 2008
June 5, 2008
I'm not sure how to react to your annonomous statement/ question. Just because we are Messianic Jewish doesn't mean that everything we do, say, or write must drip with messianism. We really have nothing to prove in that regard.
As to your last comment, I am not aware of there being a denomination in the Jewish community called "regular". There are Reconstructionist Jews, Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, Orthodox Jew, and many other Jewish communities that differ in the traditional or Biblical practices, but as I said there are no "regular" Jews.
I assume that by "regular" you mean that they are not Messianic Jews, so I will also assume that you consider us to be irregular Jews. I wonder what Yeshua and His talmidim would say if they knew that being Messianic put you outside of the "regular" Jewish community.
You see, all of that "crazy stuff" is there because just as we have nothing to prove insofar as our being followers of the Messiah, we also have nothing to prove insofar as our being a part of the Jewish community. A big part of who we are is found in the word Jewish, and it is not there just as a screen, or for some decorative purpose. It is there because as Popeye used to say, "I yam what I yam, an' thats all whats I yam..."
Now, if you have a serious question please feel free to ask and I promise to give you a serious answer. (Toot toot!)
June 4, 2008
Yeah I looked at your PDF ("Nosh"). Crazy stuff. Where do you get those recipes? Where do you get those puzzles? How come you don't talk about Yeshua more in these things? Or is this just regular Jewish and not messianic?
May 3, 2008
It's great to hear from you. I do hope you and Alicia will be able to visit soon, you know you are always welcome!
May 2, 2008
Way cool, hope you can come! (MH)
Enid King and Alicia Williams
May 2, 2008
I (Enid) really enjoyed listening to the Audio Files on this web site. Thank you!! We (Alicia and Enid) would like to visit for Shabbat Service and, perhaps even Shabbat School, sometime this Spring or Summer. We did visit, occasionally, in Highland Park, but have not had the opportunity to visit B'nai's new location in Lake Bluff. I hope that we can visit soon. Blessings.
April 27, 2008
Dear Rabbi, I have some questions, I hope you can help me, according with the gospels, Yeshua celebrated pesaj the night of 14th and during the day of 14th he died, then he arose from the grave three days and three nights later . Well I have heard that he arose in the feast of the first fruits, and that day is the 17th, Is this correct? and my other question is: Why Torah says that the feast of the first fruits is the next day to the hight shabbat lev 23:11 , if the hight shabbat is the 15th lev 23:6,7 how is tha the feast of the first fruits in on the 17th instead of the 16th, of course if this information is correct, and in this year when was the feast of the first fruits?, thank you, and I hope you can help me understand this confusion that I have. Shalom Beth
April 22, 2008
Barry and Mike,
It's great to see you both and see the ministries the Lord has given you.
March 24, 2008
I enjoyed being in the Shabbat service last week in you congregation, the teaching was very good and helped me to understand what is the messianic movement, also your congregation made me feel welcome so, Thank you all of you for your kindness, I hope I could be with you again soon. Shalom Elizabeth.
February 7, 2008
Hey Ken, right on!
February 6, 2008
Hi I came across your comments (Crystal and others below) a while back--I too have been involved in Messianic Judaism a while. I'm just passing thru and saw the stuff on this site but I really wanted to kind of spill my guts on something.
When I see comments and excitement by Christians (like below) I really really have mixed feelings. Let me try to explain why.
I also wasn't raised Jewish but kind of came to Messianic Jewish awareness through Jewish portals first (like Spertus Hebrew class, Hashomair HaTzair, Hillel, JUF, etc). It always does a double take on my kishkes because of the weird mixture of Jewish and Christian (expressions/ culture/ theology/ lingo, etc) on a seeming Jewish site like this.
Understand what I do and don't mean. I don't mean that Yeshua isn't messiah. I also don't mean to imply G-d doesn't have a unique path in mind for people like those below, or even that for the first time in 1850 years, some in the larger Christian world are waking up to awareness of what they usually call Hebrew roots--and waking up in a way that isn't philo-semitic, or replacing the Jewish people.
What I do mean is this: more and more parts of the Mess. Jew. movement are wrestling with what it really does mean to have that suffix ("Jewish") attached to "Messianic." This wrestling informs its theology, culture, lifestyle and community of identification (larger Jewish community) from what used to be Christian-with-Jewish toppings to a truly authentic Jewish space/expression of worship to G-d.
Yeah this all is kind of ironic cuz I'm not Jewish and all that and I am not looking for a family Jewish relative four generations back to kind of validate me. I still am old me. But I'm involved as I said. And by the way I'm not wanting to rag on Christians in general. It's just my gut reaction is all.
So for those people who left their comments who are excited about Mess. Judaism I'd say as someone just floating by (and who asked me but I couldn't resist after all)--get involved with the mainstream Jewish community (being honest about yourself as a believer, and not trying to be anything else). Get involved to learn and not with an agenda. And study. Study study study.
February 6, 2008
Dear Rabbi Barry:
I have been looking for your e-mail address because the one the Sanctuary (whitewater) gave me was incorrect. I am going to visit your congregation soon as I have witnessed to a Jewish family recently and need to refer them to your congregation. I know where you are located in Lake Bluff, but need the other information. Blessings. Shirley
January 28, 2008
"Test everthing.Hold on to the good."And you will find more goodness and holinees from joy and righteous bibles verses and of the Lord and be strong of his power and love,win and help too the lost that find Christ,pray for blessed revival soon,thanks and bless and hope,keijo sweden
January 21, 2008
I have been studying TORAH, the JEWISH ROOTS of my christian faith, for about 3 years now. Oh, How I cry out to OUR SAVIOR YAHSHUA, to send a Rabbi our way, to teach us and whom we may worship with in spirit and truth The One True Living G-D!
January 17, 2008
As a christian of 25 years I am only now beginning to explore the richness of christianity when understood in its full Jewish context. I have so much to learn! The passover seder, now celebrated by my family in a Christian perspective, has only been the start of what I now realize can be so much more. I am so pleased there are congregations like yours and I wish we had one closer to my area. Blessings to you all--!
December 26, 2007
I honestly have no idea where your comment is coming from, but I will tell you that this is not the place for an Anti-Catholic diatribe. Every faith community has had its falsehoods, and false leaders, including the Protestant/Evangelical Christian community. If you have some comment about our website, our congregation, or would like to ask a question about the Jewish or Messianic Jewish world be my guest and post away. However, please don't post this hate filled tripe here again.
December 24, 2007
II Corinthians 10:3-5
10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through
God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself
against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every
thought to the obedience of Christ;
The apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians of our spiritual warfare against sin. The seat of the great apostasy (the Vatican) has sought to impose its faith on the masses using the argument that "freedom of thought" can lead to licentiousness. A Professor of history, writing around the outbreak of WWII (a time when Catholicism and fascism were sometimes allied) wrote:
A MODERN POPE ON FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE
We enjoy under our constitution freedom of conscience. What will become of it should votes ever be cast under the supervision of the Roman Church? Let a modern pope answer, Gregory XVI (died 1846). I translate from his encyclica Mirari Vos as follows:
From the filthiest of fountains of indifference (to wit: freedom of thought) flows that absurd and erroneous sentiment or, rather, delirium, the assertion and vindication of universal freedom of conscience. For this pestilential error the way is smoothed by that unrestrained freedom of thought which of late has been spreading far and wide to the destruction of things sacred and secular, for there are those who proclaim that thereby religion will be advantaged. Here is the cause of the mental perverseness, the steady corruption of youth; here the contempt on the part of the people for sacred things and sacred laws; here, in one word, the pest of the commonweal surpassing all others, tested by experience and in evidence from hoariest antiquity-that countries, once fourishing by reason of wealth, dominion and glory, came to grief through this one evil, the unrestrained liberty of thought, freedom of assembly, desire of innovation.
So Pope Gregory XVI in A. D. 1832. The pope puts his finger upon a sore spot indeed! License of thought does lead to license of behavior. But the remedy is not the universal subjection to the pope's word which this gentleman advocates. For one thing, when he was universally acknowledged as arbiter of truth, not only the laity but also the reverend clergy were so corrupt that the Reformation heaved into action by the very logic of necessity. For another thing, the freedom to obey the Gospel would soon be suppressed, whereas compliant license might receive the golden rose, as in the case of Isabella of Spain. We would suggest as remedy for the evils arising from freedom of conscience, the more effective proclamation of the Bible and its Christ.
(C. B. Gohdes, Litt.D., Does the Modern Papacy Require a New Evaluation? , The Lutheran Literary Board, Burlington, Iowa, 1940, Pp.74-75).
And the Roman Catholic Church tried to justify its persecution of Jews and Muslims under the Spanish Inquisition because they thought the mere existence of people belonging to other faiths (even, as the case was, in secret) was a threat to the "church":
"At that time the purity of the Catholic Faith in Spain was in great danger from the numerous Marranos and Moriscos, who, for material considerations, became sham converts from Judaism and Mohammedanism to Christianity." (newadvent.org article "Tom'as de Torquemada). When the Jews agreed to pay the Spanish government 30,000 ducats to avoid persecution it was reported that King Ferdinand II considered the offer but inquisitor Torquemada compared this to Judas selling Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and then presents an idol (specifically, a crucifix) saying "Here He (Jesus) is; take Him and sell Him." (ibid).
Despite all this, and the late persecution of Protestants by the inquisition in Spain, Ferdinand's Queen, Isabella of Castile, was put the path to "sainthood" by Paul VI through beatification in 1974, the reason given was because of her advocacy of the Spanish poor and the American Indians against the exploitation of the Spanish nobility.
My Yahoo! group:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sabbathkeepersdiscussionboard/
December 11, 2007
Hi Don & Lorraine
I am one of the ppl at Bnai who answers email and have added my two cents occasionally (below) to the guestbook. There are several resources (that you may have already tried). For instance I tried the Torah Observant MJ official listing (http://usa.ctomc.org) of congregations. Nothing is officially listed for IN yet. (But see below.)
But as you know, you probably ought to personally check each place, if you can, regardless of its affiliation (or lack thereof) simply due to the flux in the larger MJ world as it changes and grows. Example: Bnai is fairly "conservadox" as far as praxis. The leadership here studied under Chabad and in yeshiva. But short of a m'chitzah between men and women, establishing an eruv on Shabbat, (since people have come from literally a tri-state area to Bnai)--while Bnai holds Torah to utmost importance--nevertheless, we don't officially have that as a label. Bnai, for instance is part of the UMJC. But again, one might see big differences between Bnai and other UMJC congregations since UMJC does not function in the same way as some other organizations, I believe.
So having said that you may find something in Indiana that's right for you. A question came up before (same area, Indiana) and I forwarded the email to Barry Budoff. I think his response might be good for you too, to at least check out anyway, tho this congregation is to the South of you:
"I would recommend that you go to the MJAA (Messianic Jewish Alliance of America) web site, and follow the link to their IAMCS (International Association of Messianic Congregation and Synagogues) site. One of their member congregations is located in Indianapolis. It believe it is Ahavat Yeshua, but I am not sure. If it is, the leader there is Jeff Adler. I know Jeff very well, and while I am not sure how traditionally Jewish the congregation is, I can tell you that Jeff is a very good teacher, a caring leader, and a man who is committed to following Yeshua."
Hope that helps, if you want read thru the previous guestbook entries for an historical overview. Be well.
Mr. & Mrs. Don & Lorraine Purvis
December 10, 2007
Shallom >> my wife and I are Torah observant and will be moving March 2008 to the area of Griffith, Indiana and would be grateful to find a synagogue / Messianic congregation to study at in the area can you help us please? Thank you Don and Lorraine Purvis 972-358-9480
November 30, 2007
My husband and I live in Lake Bluff and serve with the Military Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ - Sailors for Christ - at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Last week at our bible study I met a delightful young sailor who is a Messianic Jew looking for a place to worship - another sailor is evidently also a Jewish believer and knew of your congregation. I told Elaina I would try to find you and provide transportation for her if I could. I am so happy to know you are so near - knowing this is also a wonderful resource for other interested Jewish people I meet from time to time. Praying God's richest blessings on your congregation - Karen
November 27, 2007
November 6, 2007
Hi Immanuel Gomez. I forwarded your comment and email to Bnai's congregation leader, Barry Budoff.
In the meantime here's what I can tell you. It seems you are asking a question of the UMJC (a nationaly organization) vs Bnai, a local congregation. The UMJC does not distinguish between Sephardic or Azkenazic Jewish believers. Anyone who goes through their (I think its) MJTI courses and meets some standards (whether you are S'fardi or not does not matter) gets smicha. The courses are vetted, and to be accredited. For more info on that see www.UMJC.org, and www.MJTI.org.
There are very Orthodox Messianic Sfardi rabbaim I know of and have met (in Florida and South America).
Of course Bnai also does not distinguish between S'fardi and Azkenazi. Also there are a lot of non-Jewish believers (in Yeshua) who have varying degrees of understanding and commitment to a "Torah life" and to the larger Jewish community.
Messianic Pastor: Immanuel Gomez
November 5, 2007
I wanted to ask if Sefardic Jews are welcome to the UMJC and can obtain Ordination to Rabbi Level? I was also wondering if my friend whom is Goy who has a love for Yisrael and wants to live a Torah obedient life in Yeshua was also welcomed? I also would like to know if any of your Synagogues or Congregations perform Halaich Return ceremonies? Shalom and Todah Rabbah, I look forward to hearing back from you, I am interested. I do have a congregation and am looking to possibly be affliated with a reputable Messianic Organization. Please contact me and let me know, Todah and Shalom.
Sincerly and in Yeshua,
Messianic Pastor: Immanuel Gomez
September 18, 2007
Good to see you, Rebbe Budoff. I like the new site, much better! I've been busy recording music (http://www.myspace.com/trebiesbor), attending Beit Midrash while in exile here in the Southeast.....have an easy fast this Yom Kippur. Sholem Aleichem!
September 10, 2007
Here's my second part of an answer. It involves recent MJ history to give you more of a perspective. (And forgive me since you may or may not know this stuff already.) Some of the modern history I have seen close up--both as a former worker in the (Hebrew Christian) mission world, of which I no longer am in, all the way to living in Israel and studying informally with Mea Shearim (ultra Othodox). I have seen the pan spectrum extremely close up. So, I am coming from a certain perspective, but more on that later if you wish.
While there have always been Jewish believers in history, from as late as possibly the 5th century until the 19th century, there were no official combinations of Jewishness and Jesus-ness. If you were Jewish but somehow came to connect to Jesus/Yehua, you were mandated to officially deny your ("former") Jewishness. In a nutshell, Christendom (all aspects of it, Western and Eastern) came against Judaism (and by extension, the remaining Jewish believers), starting from early in the 2nd century and onward, typified by the sermons of John Chrysostom who encouraged Christians to violence against Jews (see below).
The reasons for this are nuanced. What became normative Judaism also hardened itself against those believers in Yeshua still within the community. But, continuing my nutshell, one reason for this general hatred and antipathy was an issue of simple survival and vying for recognition from the Roman empire by Christians to be an official religion--recognized by Rome, and therefore not liable to capital punishment. So what became known as Christianity, then consciously modeled its theology, polity and praxis (how it lived its communal life) to be as different as possible from Judaism. ("Easter" had been around the time and similar to Pesach/Passover-ish. Forcefully given a different date, etc.)
Another reason was what is called "Anti-Judaism," a theology that predicates that the Jewish people are past, not the people of G-d, that Christians are now, that G-d is through with the Jewish people, the Jews are damnable etc etc.
So centuries went by. Not a great atmosphere to have the freedom to investigate the case for or against Yeshua in objectivity.
Starting in the 19th C there were stirrings again (Don't worry, this response won't go into all that) from Jewish believers that had been in the church world to explore their Jewishness in the light of Jesus-ness. Up until the late 60s, the re-emerging groups of Jewish believers were still pretty much a subset of the larger church/Christian world. The identify of Jewish believers was "Hebrew Christian." I.e., Christians ultimately, Jewish locally. A background of Jewish but a new creation in Christ (by which that meant, looking unconsciously and or consciously like a Christian--and here I mean culturally, and some aspects of what we'll call anti-Judiastic theology.)
First in approx. 1895, and specifically in the early 70s, some leaders in the then-Hebrew Christian movement deliberately, and with full awareness of the import of what and why they doing so, changed their designation to Messianic Jewish. They did so with the idea that they were and would remain Jewish--still willing to have cordial relationship with their fellow non-Jewish brothers in the Messiah ("Christians") but ultimately, with the G-d ordained motivation committed irrevocably as Jews and to something called "Klal Yisral"--ALL of Israel/Jewish people. (How do you do this, when you believe that Yeshua is G-ds way for all people--and the Jewish people--in light of the Holocaust and centuries of Christian persecution is a tricky discussion for another time... but there are answers, I believe.)
When MJs first started using this nomenclature, Jewish Missions, Hebrew Christians, believers in the churches who had a Jewish background but no longer self-identified as Jews except by background or surname, and many Christian in general felt that this language "divided the body of Christ."
Fast forward about 40 years. Again for lots of reasons I won't get into here, it is now, to use Madison avenue parlance, very "sexy" to use the general umbrella term of "Messianic" or, less often, "Messianic Jewish" to mean anything that involves some aspect of Jewishness lined up next to Jesus. That's why you have the samples I gave previously of such a broad use of the term by very disparate groups. The differences remain, by the way. Many people now use the term Messianic Jewish, even tho their lifestyle, theology, attitudes and beliefs are the same as it was (mentioned in the above paragraph talking about 40 years ago).
So--the term has become generic by many Christians and Jewish believers. It does not now mean what it meant--specifically a very dedicated commitment to a a Messianic Jewish theology, a Jewish lifestyle as a G-d given mandate, learning, and larger Jewish community.)
By the way, I want to quickly add that, and this is my view only, that while I personally wish all Jewish believers would remain dynamically committed within the Jewish community that there are those believers in Yeshua from a Jewish background who are comfortable for whatever reason within the church or mission world. I have tried many times to give G-d my agenda and preferences, but this is the reality on the ground.
I also have to say with 34 years' perspective, tho, that there are some very interesting mind blowing changes happening MJ movement wide and I welcome these wholeheartedly.
Well, are you totally zzzzzzz by now?
OK Elizabeth, here is my last two cents (yay):
Don't believe a word I say.
Explore for yourself. Use your own brains, be open also to G-d. If you want some starting resources I am glad to give them to you at another time, or contact Barry.
"A synagogue is not only a whorehouse, it is also a den of thieve and a haunt of unclean wild animals. When animals are unfit for work (as the Jews clearly are) they are marked for slaughter. By making themselves unfit, they have become ready for slaughter."
10. For an overview of emergent Jewish status in the christianized Roman Empire, see James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue (London, 1934), 151-269. On the crucial role of Augustine in the development of a normative view concerning the Jews, see Bernhard Blumenkranz, Die Judenpredigt Augustins (Basle, 1946), and, idem, "Augustin et les juifs, Augustin et le judaisme," Recherches augustiniennes, I (1958): 225-241, reprinted in, idem, Juifs et chrétiens: patristique et moyen âge.
September 9, 2007
Great observations, great question. I go to Bnai and so will give you one answer tho you may get others and may hear back also from Bnai's leadership. I've also been involved with Messianic Judaism for 30 years and have seen a lot of changes and interesting developments in that time.
So here's a short answer (see later for more details if interested).
Messianic Judaism (MJ), like normative Judaism, has different approaches all along a spectrum. Under one umbrella you will find very different congregations in feel and "flavor." The commonality all across the board in MJ is that its adherents are Jewish people who have come to believe that in fact Yeshua ben Yosef (Jesus) was and is the Jewish expected one, the Maschiach (Messiah). This includes Bnai. (There are also many non-Jews who attend these congregations.)
One Messianic congregation you visit may look in form very similar to a Christian church service; its first family of identity is the larger Christian world. So with the exception of a few Jewish symbols, or maybe a Jewish prayer like the Shma, the service and language is modeled after that larger Christian world.
Some Messianic congregations may be filled with mostly non-Jews who look very Orthodox, and who now view themselves as Jewish. (These congregations aren't as numerous, but there are a lot of things calling themselves "Messianic" so if you wonder...)
Some Christian bible studies call themselves Messianic if they are seeking Christians who want to find their Hebrew roots. Etc etc.
Now onto Bnai.
What I would say, is that Bnai's services are kind of "Conservadox." If you went to a service there, it might remind you of a conservative shul (synagogue). Same kind of approach and similar liturgy, but in addition, passages from the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) are read. Commentary and drashes (sermons) are from a Jewish perspective, drawing on the inspiration, to give an example, of great Jewish sages to maybe help amplify say, a passage from Romans.
The Jewish holidays are kept. A conscious alliance with, and an awareness and commitment to the larger Jewish world in the form of relationships that individual congregants have, or in the form or volunteering with various events and groups, etc., etc. is there.
It is important to note that that the reason WHY Bnai (and some other MJ congregations are involved and committed to the larger Jewish world is because, simply put, many of the Jewish believers, upon committing to Yeshua, never left their larger Jewish community. It is an act of simple integrity to maintain a Jewish identity--not as a maneuvering tactic, or to be deceptive, (because their Jewish identity is maintained regardless of response by some in the larger Jewish world, but simply because--that is what is. And in the heart of the Jewish community is where the Messiah is as well.
BTW, this is not to say that for instance, Bnai, and other groups are anti-the Christian world. It is a cordial relationship-- but Bnai and many other MJs believe very much that the Jewishness that comes from G-d (God) is G-d given and irrevocable. It is a distinctive that must be kept.
More coming on the history. Thanks again, Elizabeth...
September 8, 2007
very interesting your page, but can you tell me a little more about your believes, I know that there are many messianic congregations and not all of them believe the same. Thank you.
September 8, 2007
shalom rabbi, its been a while since i spoken to you all im in mesa, arizona now, but still think of you all at bnai. lshana tova to you all and many blessings...........john
September 4, 2007
Blessings to Barry and Dyann from an old friend.
August 30, 2007
Mazal tov on getting this up!!! yay. Great art by the way. Except I couldn't see the cartoon of Budoff very well.