Gaza Flotilla Incident

May 31, 2010 at 3:58 PM

We usually stay away from commenting on politics. However, the Gaza Flotilla incident which occurred last night (March 31st, 2010) has sparked an outcry around the world.

With critiques of the actual blockade aside, members of a foreign military are allowed to board any ship entering a militarized zone. And international understanding is that peaceful activists must not respond violently. After all, according to JPost, the first 5 of the 9 vessels were allowed to proceed peacefully after consenting to searches by the Israeli Navy. Why did this ship (the 6th one) react differently?

Although the details are still being released (and we reserve the right to change our own minds as new evidence comes forth) we feel it is vitally important to watch exactly what happened.

The IDF gave warnings to the Gaza Flotilla prior to their being boarded:

Here is up-close footage of IDF Navy soldiers being attacked as they board the vessel:

Here is an aerial view of the same situation (the 'peace activists' attacking soldiers as they board the vessel):

Points to Consider:

1) Not expecting the level of violence, Israeli soldiers were armed with paint-ball guns (they were also carrying small side-arms in case things got out of hand). But NO machine guns! They were not prepared for a battle, but crowd control.

2) The first 5 vessels were allowed to proceed peacefully after consenting to being searched by the Israeli Navy.

3) Many passengers aboard the ship were already riled-up and singing about killing Jews BEFORE the soldiers arrived.

4) If this was an attack by Israel against the ship, shouldn't there be even more casualties than only 10? (Sounds like IDF soldiers actually did a good job controlling the situation after they were attacked)

So decide for yourself. Did Israel overreact?

A little bit of gratitude

at 9:33 AM

My maternal grandfather served in U.S. Army intelligence during WWII, and helped liberate Dachau. My paternal grandfather served as a midshipman in the Navy on the Battleship New Mexico.

Joshua's paternal grandfather (pictured at left) also served in the South Pacific in the Army's searchlight and radar units. Joshua's maternal grandfather served the Army in the Pacific during the Korean War.

Finally, Joshua's father served our country as a Navy Seabee during the Vietnam War. We're exceedingly proud of our families' contributions to U.S. history and their willingness to sacrifice their lives for others' freedom.

From our families to yours, we wish you a very Happy Memorial Day.

Piles of Dead Quail

May 28, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Parashat Beha'alotcha

Imagine eating the exact same thing every single day. (That’s like forty years of Passover matzah) Now imagine complaining about it. Not just complaining – wailing. Standing outside your front door with your entire family carrying on as if life is no longer meaningful because all you have to eat is manna. Imagine asking for something … anything, but manna … and getting exactly what you asked for … in a deluge. Mounds of dead birds lying at your doorstep … three feet deep. Enough meat to gorge on for over a month. Now imagine getting sick of the very thing you asked for. Getting so sick, in fact, that the quail you asked for … well … it literally kills you.

"Why were the children of Israel complaining about manna?” the sages ask. According to Scripture, it was pretty tasty – the shape of a coriander seed, the color of a cloud. It tasted like the warmest, richest challah loaf baked with oil and coated with honey. Why, after being delivered from 400 years of oppression and slavery, did the people of Israel get so sick of manna that they stood outside their tents wailing about it and causing a huge spectacle of ingratitude? What caused them to romanticize their slavery in Egypt? And what can we learn from G-d’s response?

Rashi suggests that the people are tired and cranky of a long journey into the wilderness. They’re complaining because they miss the relative comforts of Egypt. Most modern rabbis who address this passage theorize that the people longed for variety in their diets. Life had become monotonous in the wilderness. Exhaustion and boredom may have been part of the problem, but I think that’s just scratching the surface.

According to Nachmanides, the people are motivated primarily by fear. Moses has just taken them from the familiar surroundings of Mount Sinai, where they had camped for two years, to a desolate wilderness, where they are uncertain about the future. They carry no grain stores on their donkeys to lean on in a food shortage. There are no weapons to defend them from attack. And their gold and jewelry is worthless in the absence of a market for trading. If they slaughtered their sheep and goats, they could not feed themselves for more than a few weeks. All they rely on is manna. It falls from the heavens each morning, and its provision seems contingent on their adherence to the commandments. The people complain, Nachmanides says, because they lack the things that give them a sense of security and knowledge that they will survive to see another day. And so they wax nostalgic about Egypt, and lose sight of the Promised Land that Moses and G-d are leading them to.

So … to answer their complaints about day after day of manna, G-d gives them day after day of meat. So much meat that they get sick of meat, and the complainers die in a plague. G-d’s response suggests many things. First, that it doesn’t matter what I dump on your heads, you’re going to get sick of it eventually. In a sense, the grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence, but spend enough time on the other side, and you’ll get sick of that, too. What G-d also says in this response is that the children of Israel remain dependent on G-d for their daily survival, and that this is a reality that is never going to change. Listen, it doesn’t matter whether it’s manna or meat. It’s food, and it keeps you alive, and you’re going to have to trust that I will rain it on your heads every morning.

What does this mean for us today? We have a tendency to sound like the children of Israel when we’re thrust into unfamiliar surroundings, or feel the stress of financial insecurity. One year ago I packed up my life, sold most of my possessions, and moved to a small apartment on the other side of the country. It’s been very easy over the past year to romanticize the last four years that I spent living and working in my former home, and to complain to G-d about how I’m already tired of the same-old, same-old here. Ultimately, my complaints originate from my insecurity. It is difficult to trust that G-d will provide for me day after day. So easy to forget G-d’s continued faithfulness through multiple moves in pursuit of G-d’s plans. Am I losing sight of the Promised Land that G-d is guiding me to?

I hope it doesn’t take three feet of dead birds at my door to remember that I’m dependent on G-d’s daily provision no matter my tax bracket, no matter my job title, no matter my mailing address? Let us remember that we have never hacked it on our own successfully, and that we remain dependent on whatever the equivalent of morning manna is in our lives. The Promised Land has not gone away. It’s still waiting for us, and G-d will bring us there when we finally figure out how to trust G-d.

A Rabbinical ... What?

May 27, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Earlier this week I had the privilege of attending the annual meetings for the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council (MJRC), held this year in Hartford, CT.

The MJRC consists of a group of ordained Rabbis and associates who endeavor to promote a life of covenant faithfulness to G-d among Jewish followers of Messiah Yeshua by providing realistic and practical guidelines for Messianic Jewish observance. Although this was my first year attending, I was honored to be voted-in as an Associate Member (next year I should be able to become a Full Member).

Our core mission is to define, clarify, and foster normative standards of faith and halachic practice for our membership and for those in the Messianic Jewish community who look to the MJRC for leadership.

The MJRC also exists to serve the professional and personal needs of our membership by ensuring high standards of professional competence, ethical behavior, and halachic conduct; and by facilitating the professional placement of members into the growing number of congregations seeking new leaders.

Why a Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council?

There are some out there who feel we do not need such a council. So why bother?

We bother because Messianic Judaism is a growing movement in the world. As we slowly mature, we find ourselves facing a number of different needs and decisions. And like any other movement within Judaism, questions constantly arise in relation to Jewish practice, theology, and practical matters. As such, our growing Movement needs a Rabbinical Council to help develop standards for our wider community.

What we are NOT doing is telling people what to do. While the MJRC commends these standards for the consideration of the entire Messianic Jewish movement, it recognizes the limits of its own authority. The decisions of the MJRC are binding only on the members of the MJRC. Nevertheless, we hope that others in the Messianic Jewish world will benefit from the work being done.

And that is actually what is happening!

Many congregations now consult these standards as they develop their own practice, and many individuals from around the world seek the advice of the MJRC as they wrestle with their own personal observance. The MJRC website receives numerous hits a day, and the standards of observance currently posted on the website are only the beginning of continued work that is happening on matters of practice and halachah relevant to a Yeshua centered Jewish life.

The MJRC currently does not seek to necessarily establish "halachah" in its strictest sense, but rather proposes basic standards of observance. The currently established standards cover two different categories - a "basic practice" and an "expanded practice"

"Basic practice" refers to standards of observance that members of the MJRC are themselves committed to follow in their own lives. They will also seek to order communal events of their congregations in accordance with these standards, and will employ them in instructing those preparing for conversion. While members of the MJRC commend these standards of basic practice to all members of their congregations, they are not imposed as requirements for congregational membership.

The second term is "expanded practice." This refers to a more demanding level of observance, beyond basic practice, that includes a fuller expression of traditional forms of Jewish life. An expanded practice is one that is explicitly commended by the MJRC, but is not required of its Rabbis or those converted under their auspices. The practices so listed do not exhaust the range of worthy expressions of Torah observance that a Messianic Jew might adopt, but provide concrete examples of the shape such observance could take.

It is an honor to now be a part of the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council and serve with such a broad range of worthy colleagues as we seek to bring further maturity to the future of our Movement. With HaShem's help, the inspiration of the Ruach, and clear commitment to our Messiah, we hope to continue to serve our Movement in this important way.

Of Priests and Blessings

May 21, 2010 at 7:23 AM

Parashat Naso

When the ancient rabbis finalized the yearly calendar along with its cycle of Torah readings, they purposely situated this week’s parasha, Naso, to always coincide with Shavuot – either right before or after (this year, Shavuot fell this last week).

So, what is the relationship between Naso and Shavuot?

The Torah commands that there are three festivals during the year, known as the Shalosh Regalim, in which we were obligated to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. These three festivals - Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot - are described by G-d as His moedim; “appointed times,” that G-d has purposely set aside in order to meet with us.

Going up to the Temple in Biblical times was an overwhelming experience. Worshipers were filled with great joy and anticipation. The Temple bustled with activity. Worshipers were surrounded by Jews from all over the Near East, coming to encounter G-d and receive a special blessing. This trek up to Jerusalem, and the bringing of offerings and sacrifices, brought the Jewish people closer to HaShem, and closer to each other.

After having counted fifty days, seven full weeks in preparation, our ancestors must have been filled with great anticipation for the arrival of Shavuot and the excitement of making the pilgrimage once again up to the Temple Mount. The highlight of each of these three pilgrimage festivals, including Shavuot, was culminated in the High Priest’s blessing of the people.

Parashat Naso describes how the cohanim were to bless the Jewish people, giving the exact words to be used in pronouncing the Birkat Cohanim, the Aaronic benediction:

"May HaShem bless you and keep you
May HaShem make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
May HaShem lift up his countenance toward you and fill you with peace."

Thousands of years later, the descendants of Aaron still perform this blessing in much the same way. I still get the shivers when I experience this today, and feel whisked away … back to the time of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, when the Cohanim come forward in front of all the people, drape themselves with their tallitot, and utter the ancient words of the Birkat Cohanim.

The Aaronic Benediction is just one of the connections between Parashat Naso and Shavuot. As we come away from Shavuot, may that same blessing that our ancestors’ experienced in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem be with us as we continually work to prepare the way for the return of Mashiach.

Shavuot: A jewel worth dusting off

May 18, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Apart from Orthodoxy and more traditional forms of Judaism, Shavuot is one of the least observed holidays within the wider Jewish community. For far too many Jews today, Torah is no longer at the core of our existence. Many of us have lost our zeal – and as a result, have lost a particular hope as well.

Shavuot is a unique jewel, and within it gleams the hope of the world to come.

The giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai was a dramatic and miraculous experience. It was filled with thunder, lightning, trembling blasts of a heavenly shofar, and HaShem descending on the mountain in a column of fire. At the base of the mountain, trembling before G-d, we took upon ourselves the mitzvot through our utterance of “na’ase v’nishma” – that everything HaShem has said, we will do and we will obey.

Yet this is not the end of the story. For within the giving of the Torah was a remez, a hint of more to come. Our sages teach us that,

All the prophets prophesied only concerning the days of the Mashiach (b. Sanhedrin 99a).

Our holy prophets foretold that a renewal of Torah would be brought through Mashiach, when G-d would take the Torah and inscribe it upon our hearts (Jer. 31, Ezek, 36 & 37, etc.), making it ever more personal. This must happen in order to prepare the world for the final culmination of Yemot HaMashiach – the Messianic Age.

Within Ma’aseh HaShlichim, the book of Acts, the emissaries and followers of Mashiach were gathered together observing Shavuot when the promise of our holy prophets became a reality. In events similar to the original giving of the Torah (heavenly voices, miraculous occurrences), a mystical fire descended similar to the fire which fell on Mt. Sinai. However, this time the fire descended and divided itself, and came to rest upon each individual who was present. This experience caused the Written Torah and the Living Torah, through the Ruach, to be inscribed upon the deepest parts of our hearts, enabling a new heavenly power, and Malchut HaShamayim, the Kingdom of Heaven to be infused into the earth in a new way.

As we observe Shavuot beginning this evening, let us not forget that we are not only reliving the giving of the Torah, but may we also be inspired to a greater reality and a new hope. May we receive a greater impartation of the Ruach, a renewal of the Written Torah and the Living Torah inscribed within us, and may we become greater partners with HaShem in preparing the world for the coming of Mashiach.

Quote of the Day

May 16, 2010 at 6:08 PM

"The Kingdom of G-d ... does not come with visible signs; nor will people be able to say 'Look! Here it is!' or, 'Over there!' Because, you see, the Kingdom of G-d dwells in your midst."

- Yeshua of Nazareth, Luke 17:20-21

The value of the person in the crowd

May 14, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Parashat Bamidbar

This week’s Torah portion, Bamidbar (‘in the desert’), begins the book of Numbers. The book is called Numbers in English after the census taken at the beginning of the parasha. The act of counting individuals seems quite trivial and without meaning. In addition, the census seems to appear out of nowhere. As such, what is the purpose of the census?

The Hebrew of the text provides an answer. The literal translation of the phrase, “take a census – se’u et rosh” is “lift up the head.” According to Chasidic thought, the purpose of the census was to reach out to the core of the Jewish soul. When each person is counted, everyone is equal. No one is counted twice and nobody is skipped. The famous commentator Rashi adds that because the Jewish people are precious to G-d, "He counts them all the time."

The census was meant to level the playing field and show equality and value of every single individual. Each person has a purpose.

This concept is emphasized even further in the parasha. Detailed instructions are given as to the order of the camps and the specific roles of the cohanim within the Tabernacle. Great care is taken to emphasize that not everyone can do every job. The Levite cannot do the job of the Cohen, and vice verse. And a general Israelite cannot do either of their jobs. And yet, the entire Tabernacle cannot function without each person working together to perform their individual role. For when each person accomplishes their own assigned tasks, the entire puzzle is brought together.

You and I may not be a Cohen, or even a Levite. But we do have a unique role to play. The Torah tells us that each one of us is created “b’tzelem Elohim – in the image of G-d (Gen. 1:27).” We are partners with G-d in bringing redemption into the world. We are called to infuse holiness into the world around us. A Jewish understanding of holiness requires action. Just as Yeshua taught,
"May Your kingdom come, may Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Mat. 6:10)
According to the great Jewish thinker, Abraham Joshua Heschel,
"The question of religion is what we do with the presence of G-d: how to think, how to feel, how to act; how to live in a way compatible with our being created in the image of G-d."
Just as the cohanim acted, existed, and served within the Holy; so are we to do. Our challenge is to ask ourselves, “are we a reflection of HaShem, serving in our own unique role within G-d’s sanctuary for the service of our community, the restoration of Israel, and the redemption of the cosmos?” If not, what is holding us back?

Learning from recent genocide survivors

May 13, 2010 at 9:44 AM

My friend Laura Waters Hinson has been busy promoting her fantastic documentary film titled "As We Forgive Those."

The film follows two women, both survivors of Rwanda's recent genocide, as they confront their families' murderers, released from prison through Rwanda's gacaca court system. (It is noted for its use of community members as both judge and jury, for the tightrope it walks between reconciliation and justice, and its choice to send the architects and leaders of the genocide to international tribunals, while focusing on the "little guys.") The question the film asks is whether reconciliation is truly possible in the context of horrific atrocities.

The answer, thank G-d, is a resounding yes.

Hitting Close to Home

The first time I saw the film (during a small screening in a coffeehouse in Washington, DC ... well before Laura began winning awards and attracting international headlines) I was deeply moved. As a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I have often struggled against the impulse to hate, to seethe, and to seek revenge against the enemies of the Jewish people (both past and present). I have no way of knowing whether my grandparents and great-grandparents - who were directly targeted for persecution, imprisonment, deportation, torture, and murder - struggled the same way. Ours is a German family, where facts are discussed more readily than feelings.

What I know intimately is just how potent genocide is ... how in addition to destroying lives in the here and now, its effects trickle down into the succeeding generations of survivors. I know how we live simultaneously with paranoia, gratitude, guilt, and anger. I tend to take pride in the fact that my grandfather (who after escaping Germany served in U.S. army intelligence) helped liberate Dachau, and my uncle (who also served in the military after escaping the ghetto) hunted down Nazi war criminals to face prosecution at the Nuremberg tribunals and other courts. It is my family's participation in "justice" that I relish. And I don't think my pride is misplaced. It's just that after justice we need healing ... and that's something that feels elusive to me.

Meeting a Recent Survivor

While in college, I befriended Agaba Bisengo, a young Rwandan woman whose family was killed in the genocide while she and her sister were sheltered in Uganda. She invited me to stay with her surviving relatives at their home in Silver Spring, Maryland over a spring break. Agaba and I became fast friends. She often introduced me to others in the Rwandese community with this disclaimer: "Don't worry, she's not really muzungu [a colonialist foreigner]. She's Jewish!"

The Rwandese, unlike my German grandparents, it turns out, are much less reticent to talk about the genocide and their reactions to/recovery from it. Sitting on the sofa drinking tea with the Bisengo's ongoing stream of visitors (mostly fellow survivors working for the Rwandan embassy in DC), I was struck by the resilience, empathy, and hopefulness of Agaba and her friends. Reconciliation had made them neither idealistic nor naive, and in no way did they stop mourning their relatives who had been murdered. "Is this what my grandparents talked about when their friends (fellow survivors living in Queens, NY) came over?" I often wondered. Did they cope in the same way? Did they maintain any sense of hope for the future? Did they even entertain the prospect of forgiveness ... or was that unthinkable?

Agaba is now working on an MBA, working for one of my former employers, and recently married and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Although most of the Rwandese I meet are thrilled to meet a Jewish person and bear reverence for our experience as survivors of ongoing persecution (I often hear, "Oh my goodness! I've always wanted to meet a Jew! This is amazing!"), I often feel that we have as much to learn from them as they from us.

Why Watch the Film?

Watching "As We Forgive Those," I could not help empathizing with these two women, forced to pick up their lives from the ashes and to live side by side with the men who they watched literally hack their families into pieces. And yet I also could not deny their obvious transformation upon choosing to forgive the unthinkable.

It is a powerful film, one that I hope to soon bring into our synagogue and into synagogues all over the world.

Demonstrating Faith

May 7, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Parashiot Behar - Bechukotai

What is the connection between these two parashiot, and what is the ultimate promise made by G-d to the Jewish people?

Behar and Bechukotai are the last two portions in the book of Vayikra, Leviticus. On non-leap years, when various portions are doubled up, the rabbis specifically chose these two portions to be read together. One does not have to look too hard to be able to see the similarities between the two portions.

Behar begins with a special connection between Mt. Sinai and the land of Israel by speaking of the holiness of shmita, of letting the ground lay fallow for an entire year every seven years. This connection is directly connected to the mitzvah of Shabbat. For six days we are to work, and on the seventh day we are to rest.

This idea follows that HaShem created the world in which we inhabit for six days, but on the seventh day G-d ceased from his creating, and brought completeness and menucha – rest. The purpose of shmita is to teach us that the ultimate force in the universe is G-d and not the law of nature. It also goes against our own instincts of fear that if we do not plant and work during that year, we will starve. Yet this is why, built even into the harvesting of the land, G-d gives us opportunities to demonstrate faith. That is the reason for the harvesting for six years, and stowing a small amount away every year of in order to have extra food for the year of shmita. By doing so, we are obligated to trust G-d that by following His mitzvot, we trust He will provide for us during these years so that we will not go hungry in the seventh. This goes against everything in us to take a Shabbat – especially for an entire year!

However, Parashat Bechukotai begins with G-d promising that if we follow His commandments, than He will give us abundance in our harvests and blessings upon us. That He will send us the rain we need, and will keep our enemies away. It is His promise that if we will trust in Him, and observe the mitzvot He just gave us in the previous parasha, that He will be faithful to meet our needs.

How often do we really trust G-d to meet our needs? Often we worry and seem to keep one little areas hidden (or at least we think hidden from G-d). Yet that is not what HaShem wants of us. G-d wants us to trust Him, that by following His mitzvot, He will bring blessings in our lives. Yeshua reiterates this by reassuring us not to worry about these things – of what we will eat or drink, or even about what we will wear (Mat. 6:25-34). For Yeshua promises us that He knows everything we need better than we do. Therefore Yeshua affirms the message of this week’s parashiot, to continue to seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness (i.e. His mitzvot and will for our lives), and everything else will be added to us as well.

Quote of the Day

May 6, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Rabbi Russ Resnik wrote a very great blog post yesterday titled Cinco de Mayo and the Jews in which he discusses Cinco de Mayo itself, and ethical considerations concerning the recent Arizona immigration bill. The article is well worth reading, but here is just a taste:

"Sure, a nation has the right and even responsibility to maintain its borders, but the believer has the responsibility to respect and be concerned for the alien, even the one who snuck in illegally, or who doesn’t show much inclination to drop his Spanish, forget about ­Cinco de Mayo, and assimilate. We can argue some other time about how respect and concern should play out, but surely they will avoid the harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric that is employed without much thought at times by those who claim to follow Yeshua."

-Rabbi Russ Resnik from his recent blog post, "Cinco de Mayo and the Jews"

Empowered Judaism

May 4, 2010 at 1:13 PM

My wife and I are deeply committed to re-imagining congregational life, developing innovative and creative programming, and planting vibrant spiritual communities. As a skilled community builder, I am often sought as a consultant on congregational life and growth and travel regularly to assist communities going through change, reorganization, and those wanting to incorporate more vibrant and meaningful liturgical worship.

As a result, I am always seeking creative and innovative ideas, and visiting communities that are on the forefront of change. I often share on this blog a number of practical suggestions that can be helpful for your own spiritual community. This is especially true of books that I believe are 'must-reads' for congregational leaders who desire to remain relevant and continue to meet peoples deep-felt spiritual needs.

One such recent book I would consider required reading is, "Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us about Building Vibrant Jewish Communities" by Rabbi Elie Kaunfer.

The Jewish Theological Seminary recently hosted an excellent panel discussion on this book with Rabbi Kaunfer, along with other noted figures Professor Steven Cohen, Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, and moderated by JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen.

The discussion is very important because it presents growing trends within the Jewish community toward a heightened experience of G-d, engaging participatory communities, and meaningful prayer. I highly recommend listening to the panel HERE.

In recent years the Jewish community (primarily younger generations) have been moving away from a Jewish experience dictated only by 'belonging.' For many young Jews, Jewishness is no longer perceived as a given, but rather a choice. You can agree or disagree with this, but one thing is for certain - those Jews who desire to remain involved are not looking for a Judaism that is a secular culture of bagels and lox -but rather Judaism as a Faith (something I raised in my recent paper at the Borough Park Symposium).

Yet, what many young Jews are beginning to realize is that they did not even know they were looking for faith. It turns out what we young Jews are looking to do is what we have always sought to do, to simultaneously connect with G-d and find our place within thirty centuries of Jewish history.

Seems we're still deeply spiritual after all!

Kabbetz Southeast

at 1:00 PM

This past weekend was the UMJC Kabbetz HaEsrim Southeast conference, held in Cary, NC at host congregation Sha’arei Shalom. Nearly fifty young Messianics between the ages of 18-35 gathered to pray, worship, and build relationships with each another. Participants enjoyed worship services and numerous opportunities to strengthen relationships. The opening session was kicked off Friday night with a Kabbalat Shabbat service, Shabbat dinner, and a special message brought by Dr. Seth Klayman. Additional speakers over the weekend included Rabbi Jamie Cowen and myself.

Shaletha Riggs, one of the conference organizers, commented, “I feel like the people who came left feeling more connected to their Messianic Community and renewed by the time spent in worship and prayer. The teachings and discussions were very helpful and sparked a desire to practically look for ways to be a part of the future of Messianic Judaism. It was definitely a fulfilling experience!”

According to another participant, Jason Linas from Richmond, VA, “Kabbetz was a resounding success this weekend. It was very fruitful and a real blessing ... this weekend was an EYE OPENER for me personally."

Getting Involved

“The central aspect of all we do is community building,” says J. David, Chair of the UMJC Twenties Committee. “I’ve seen many long standing friendships established during these times together. People in their twenties and thirties in the movement are few and far between, so this is so encouraging to all of us.”

The UMJC Twenties Committee is continually working to empower and raise-up the next generation through a number of initiatives, including Kabbetz HaEsrim.

For more information about the Twenties Committee or our upcoming events visit us on Facebook or email us at