Guest Post by Caitlyn and Jonathan Salkind | Worship Glue: A New Workshop for Messianic Worship Coordinators

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — The MJAA is pleased to announce the launch of a new long-distance tele-workshop for up-and-coming Messianic worship coordinators. Run by a team of current and former YMJA worship coordinators, including Jonathan Salkind, Michael and Nicci Katz, Mykie Collins, and others, the workshop will cover the skills needed to hold a band together and make the worship sound awesome.

“This workshop isn’t really for worship leaders,” explained Mykie Collins, “Though of course, worship leaders are welcome. Leading worship is about choosing songs, casting vision, connecting with the congregation, and being the lead singer. Worship coordination is about providing musical structure and communicating among the musicians, and it’s really a different skill set. Guitarists and bassists make excellent coordinators, or pianists if they aren’t leading. Drummers mostly spend their time pounding rocks together, so they might be less of a good fit. And backup singers just live in their own world.”

Jonathan Salkind agreed. “Most of the worship coordinator’s job is to translate the worship leader’s vision into something that can actually be played. Worship leaders know what they want but have no idea what they’re doing. Every weekend, I walk in, set up my bass, and get told, ‘I want this song to sound exactly like Shane and Shane.’ And then I’m the one who has to translate that into something workable. We don’t have a cello, people! Anyway, the worship coordinator is the one to work out what the chord progression actually is, how to make the dynamic transitions flow smoothly, and how to play a reggae version of ‘Shabbat Shalom’ because that’s apparently where modern Messianic music is heading.”

“And don’t get me started on the Rabbi’s requests,” Salkind added. “If the Rabbi calls the band up and asks for ‘that song I like,’ the worship coordinator had better be ready to launch into ‘Every Praise’ with no chord chart. That’s my job.”

“I was in a rehearsal once for a YMJA morning worship time,” recalled Nicci Katz, “And I had chosen a great set list, but the chord charts weren’t in the key I wanted to sing for any of the songs. I can just clip a capo to my guitar, and I remember the keyboard had a transpose wheel, but the bassist and the saxophone player were totally lost. If my worship coordinator hadn’t stepped in, the whole set would have been ruined.”

The workshop will cover musical arrangement, volume dynamics, transposing songs on the fly, keeping the drummer from speeding up, keeping the drummer from slowing down, and keeping the drummer from adding too many splashy fills. It will also address some of the essentials of tech setup and mixing. “Knowing how to run a sound board is really important,” Collins explained. “I found this out the hard way. If your tech person that day is a teenager who got volunteered because he’s good with computers but not so good with music, the coordinator needs to be able to jump in and explain how to make the sound actually sound like music.”

Messianic worship leaders all over the country have expressed their excitement about the new coordinators’ workshop. “I have a doctorate in music, so I can actually lead and coordinate at the same time,” said Dr. Greg Silverman, “But every other worship leader I’ve ever met is in desperate need of a good coordinator. Or a doctorate.”

When reached for comment, singer-songwriter, Joshua Aaron, appeared confused by the idea. “I play the uke,” he said, “And the whole band comes together. The Holy Spirit just flows, right?”

For Messianic worship leaders, the ARCH Training Summit and other already-established events provide excellent opportunities to grow in their skills and ministry. 

 

 

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Pre-MLR Will Make Its Re-Branding Debut This Weekend as ‘MLR Jr.’

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Phoenix, AZ — The 10th annual Messianic Leadership Roundtable will take place this weekend, starting with what was formerly known as “Pre-MLR.” Pre-MLR is the day before MLR and is geared toward the next generation of Messianic leaders. MLR is the only leadership conference in the entire Messianic movement that brings together leaders from every major Messianic Organization and allows them to be in a controlled environment with plenty of security officers to prevent them from killing each other.

“Originally, this year’s MLR was going to be an African Safari in Kenya, but due to rising costs, we very unfortunately had to cancel that trip and move the conference back to Phoenix,” explained Jewish Voice and Messianic Movement President Jonathan Bernis. “Since this is our 10th MLR, we still wanted to do something to make the 2018 conference stand out. It was always our intention to change the name of Pre-MLR. That name was temporary until we could come up with a better one, and I really think we have a winner with ‘MLR Jr.’ it’s got a much nicer ring to it, and it also describes what the event actually is: a day for the youngsters. And I know those youngsters love catchy names they can pound sign on Instatwitter. So make sure you pound sign MLR Jr this year if you’re attending. And if you’re not attending, it’s only because you weren’t important enough to be invited. I’m looking at you, Messianic Meow! But I digress. Seriously though, pound sign MLR Jr. I’m not quite sure exactly what that does, but Matt Rosenberg told me it was a thing.”

If you’d like to be invited to MLR/ MLR Jr in the future, you may want to consider becoming a Rabbi. Most the MJAA and UMJC congregations in the U.S. are ready to start training up their next Rabbi, and it could be you…unless you’re a woman!

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Guest Post by Anonymous | MJAA Announces New Attempt to Sorta Organize the Teaching Sessions at Messiah 2018

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Grantham, PA — Fresh off a highly successful Messiah 2017 conference, the MJAA is proud to announce a new structure for the adult morning sessions to take place at Messiah 2018. In addition to being presented in the typical grid format, the classes will now be organized into tracks, to assist attendees in selecting classes best suited to them.

“I’m excited about the new track structure,” said MJAA President, Rabbi Larry Feldman. “It’s difficult for many people to select classes which meet their needs and interests. The message titles are only so useful, even when the speakers stick with their stated topic. But we were discussing the problem in one of our secret leaders’ lunches this year, and we realized that most speakers just do the same thing every year anyway, so why not group them accordingly?”

“Titles are hard,” added Rabbi David Chernoff. “We used to provide summaries in the booklet, but knowing what you want to talk about in advance, choosing a title, describing it…it was an impossible task. My wife, Debbie, has done a ‘For Women Only’ session for years to avoid having to come up with a title, but we can’t all do that. I’ve considered doing a ‘For Cool People Only’ session, but the fundamentals of our faith are probably more important.”

The current plan divides the sessions into three tracks. Fundamentals of Biblical Judaism will be primarily for those new to the conference or seeking to learn more about Messianic Judaism and the MJAA, and will include excellent foundational teachings from Messianic leaders such as Rabbis David Chernoff, Jeff Forman, Charlie Kluge, and Michael Wolf. “I feel that my class on the MJAA’s ministry is very important to provide to the newcomers at Messiah,” said MJAA General Secretary, Joel Chernoff. “Not only do people need to catch the Messianic vision, but they also need to understand precisely how many additional water wells the MJAA has built this past year in Ethiopia and watch a special video of me taking a drink from each one. Seeing me drink from every single well really helps people connect to the ministry.”

The second track will be the Conference Veteran track, aimed at those who have already mastered the FBJ material over several previous years.  Speakers will include Debbie Chernoff, Michael Rydelnik, Rachel Wolf, Jeffrey Seif, and an optional specialization for those who wish to major in Rosenberg.  Like the FBJ track, the classes will be intentionally scheduled to avoid overlaps in the same time slot. “I’ve been making fewer handouts in the past years, since I’m always scheduled at the same time as Debbie Chernoff,” said Dr. Michael Rydelnik. “I’m glad to know we’ll be sparing attendees that difficult decision of choosing between us in the future.”

The final track, titled “Blow A Shofar In Zion,” will be designed for those interested in right-wing politics, unscientific nutritional advice, apocalyptic analysis of regularly occurring phenomena, exhaustive search techniques to dig up any hints of Jewish ancestry, and overly simplistic explanations of prophetic mysteries. The track will also introduce a new class, titled “18 Reasons Why The World Will End In 2018” (which will be updated for Messiah 2019, should the need arise). Blow A Shofar in Zion track participants will also have exclusive access to a Cultural Center showcase exhibiting every product which was ever invented in Israel. Ever.

A fourth track, tentatively titled “Virgin Daughters of Zion,” may be included for those seeking a spouse. It would include classes on developing your “Jew-dar,” the roles of men and women in marriage, and how to convince your significant other to move to your city so that your Rabbi supports the relationship. Additional track-specific activities have been proposed, including singles-only schmooze times (which are not “open to all”), speed “intentional friending,” and opportunities for private consultation with Hope Edelstein.

The MJAA has also announced several new afternoon workshops at Messiah 2018, including Introduction to Interpretive Dance, Overwhelmingly Anointed Prayer, Davidic Harp-Carving (bring your own log), and How to Know You’re Called to Make Aliyah When Your Rabbi Says No.

You can register now for Messiah 2018 at http://mjaa.org/messiah18 to set up a prepayment plan with a 10% discount.  You won’t want to miss this one, just in case the world really does end.

 

 

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YMJA Curfew Golem Runs Amok, Causes Chaos At Messiah Conference 2017

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Grantham, PA – What started as a noble attempt at curbing teenage hooliganism at Messiah Conference quickly spun out of control, deteriorating into a catastrophe of truly massive scope by the end of the week. After three nights of flawless, efficient curfew enforcement, on Wednesday afternoon the YMJA’s experimental new golem suddenly began terrorizing the campus, leaving a trail of minor injuries and major property damage in its wake.

While the investigation into the cause of this debacle is still ongoing, early reports indicate that it began when one or more YMJA leaders decided to expand the golem’s duties, amending its life-giving instruction scroll to include enforcement of all other YMJA rules as well as the curfew. The identities of the leaders in question have so far not been released, but those following the investigation have noted that much of the scrutiny seems to be directed toward newly elected YMJA President, Ravi Goldberg, and the now former YMJA Vice President, Danielah Blackburn.

Regardless of the culprits’ identities, what followed is beyond dispute. Upon receiving these new, considerably more complex instructions, the golem promptly went about hunting down and apprehending supposed rule-breakers, many of whom were clearly innocent of the infractions for which they had been targeted. “I just suddenly felt this massive hand on my shoulder,” said Jason Jenkins. “This unimaginably deep voice said, ’No drugs or alcohol,’ and next thing I knew I was being lifted up into the air and carried away. I kept trying to explain that it was only a cough drop, but the golem just wouldn’t listen.”

Jenkins was far from the only attendee to suffer the golem’s undeserved wrath. According to Nick Lewis, a member of the YMJA leadership team, he and his wife had just settled in for the night on Thursday when their dorm room door burst off its hinges. “Before we could even react, it walked over and lifted the entire bed over its head with us in it. It kept screaming ‘Purple!’ over and over again. Purple is YMJA code for someone being in the room of someone of the opposite gender, and apparently the golem didn’t realize that the rule doesn’t apply to married couples sharing a room.”

Even those beyond the purview of the YMJA weren’t safe from the golem’s enforcement, as the crowd in the main auditorium discovered on Wednesday evening. “Rabbi David Chernoff had just started his message when this giant clay monstrosity lumbered onto the stage behind him,” recalled Jonathan Rutter. “It yelled ‘dress code violation’ really loudly, then wrapped the Rabbi in a massive bear hug and dragged him off stage. I heard that when security finally tracked it down, the whole YMJA exec committee was yelling at it that a crooked tallit is not a valid dress code issue.”

The golem’s reign of terror and overly zealous legalism finally came to an end on Friday afternoon when it tried to apprehend a group of children for possession of toy lightsabers, which it deemed a violation of the “no weapons” rule. Upon being grabbed, a young girl named Joelle Hackett became fascinated by the star-shaped clay medallion on the creature’s chest. She pulled it off to investigate it more closely, not even realizing as she did so that it contained the words that gave the thing life. Once the words were removed, the golem immediately became inert, at which point it was a simple matter to smash the thing and burn its instruction scroll. In the end, no trace was left of it but the numerous bruises, smashed door frames, and traumatic memories that it had caused.

While obviously disappointed by the golem’s failure, the YMJA executive team has vowed to continue to perfect the art of rule enforcement in future years. “I seem to remember Rabbi Kevin [Solomon] saying something about training a pack of curfew dogs,” Blackburn was heard saying. “Maybe we should look into that.”

 

 

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Messiah Conference to Host First Ever Messianic Friars Roast

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Grantham, PA — The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America announced this week it would begin hosting Friars Roasts at its annual Messiah Conference, which will take place at Messiah College in Grantham, PA next week. Messiah Conference is notorious for showcasing the talents of Messianics, from dancers to musicians to authors, but the one thing that has long been missing from Messianic pop culture is organized comedy, and Messiah Conference has set forth a plan to change that, by publicly making fun of its leaders.

“We’ve finally reached a point in our culture where we feel the Messianic community is ready for organized Messianic humor,” said IAMCS Director of Operations, Rabbi Joel Liberman. “Since all Messianic Rabbis are struggling comedians, why not publicly roast each other? We have close to 55,000 people view the livestream of Messiah Conference every year, so this is a great way to unveil Messianic comedy to the world…and it sure beats asking that awful Messianic Meow to speak at Conference.”

The first annual Messianic Leader’s Roast will take place during the plenary session on the final evening of Messiah Conference, just before the Klezmarians perform to close out the conference. MJAA General Secretary and founder of Lamb, Joel Chernoff will be the first ever roastee and we expect to see jokes from such Rabbis as Matt Rosenberg, Joel Liberman, Jonathan Bernis, David Chernoff, and everybody’s favorite prankster, Rabbi Kevin Solomon. If you can’t make it to Messiah Conference this year, you’ll be able to watch all the evening sessions and Saturday morning Torah service at http://messiahconference.org/live/

 

 

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Conference Junkies to be Recognized at Summer Conferences with Special Serrated Half Ribbon Underneath Their Name Badges

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Murca — Interesting news from the Greater Messianic Movement this week, as President Bernis announced Conference Junkies will finally get the recognition they crave. Beginning with the inaugural Conference Conference, which takes place this coming weekend, all major Messianic Organizations have agreed to add a special serrated half ribbon underneath the name badges of anyone who has attended four or more Messianic conferences in the last year and a half, that will read “Conference Enthusiast.” This may seem like overkill, but Conference Junkies help make the Movement go ‘round.

“I am so happy that my incessant conference attending is finally going to pay off,” said notorious Conference Junkie, Stephanie Escalante. “Don’t get me wrong, there are many other benefits to attending all these conferences, but it’s about time we get something in return, even if it is just a ribbon underneath my nametag. I will cherish it forever. Plus, I think it’ll give me some street cred with the UMJC Rabbis. I’ve mostly been involved with the MJAA, but I’m the new UMJC Leadership Development Program Manager and I really think having this ribbon on my name badges will make a world of difference for me trying to make a name for myself within the Union.”

The new ribbons will automatically come attached to the name badges of anyone meeting the aforementioned requirements. There is nowhere to sign up for this accolade; we just know who you are. Oh, we know. Everyone knows.

 

 

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Desperate for New Rabbis, UMJC to Begin Ordaining Women

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Los Angeles, CA – Historical announcement from the UMJC this week, as they’ve decided to finally begin ordaining women to be Rabbis. While some sects of Judaism, as well as a few non UMJC Messianic congregations, have allowed and welcomed female Rabbis or other female leadership roles, the UMJC seems to be behind on this change. However, desperate times call for desperate measures.

“Yesterday, the first round draft pick Rabbinical candidate dropped out of Yeshiva and disappeared, because he didn’t want The Messianic Meow to satirize him,” explained Rabbi Dan Juster, who hasn’t even been part of the UMJC for years. “Ordaining women is not Biblical or right, but still somehow seems better than the alternative of finding a male candidate from the MJAA. There are three UMJC congregations that have been searching for a Rabbi for years, to no avail. We can’t just leave them without a leader. It’s time to do something drastic.”

Congregational Elder of B’nai Maccabim near Chicago, Brian Glauberg, added, “We’ve been without a Rabbi for three years now and we are excited about the prospect of having the first female Rabbi in UMJC history lead our congregation. I knew, last year, when a female Executive Director was appointed that it was just a matter of time before a female Rabbi would follow. I, for one, am grateful that we will get to be part of making history. Messianic Judaism is finally headed in the right direction of treating men and women equally.”

The UMJC has yet to announce the names of the first female Rabbinical candidates, but they will be enrolling in the various UMJC affiliated Messianic Yeshivas in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled for the new leaders, coming soon to a UMJC congregation near you.

 

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Early Bird Registration Deadline for Messiah Conference 2017 is May 31st, and They Mean it This Time. No, Really; They Do

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Springfield, PA – The beginning of Messiah Conference 2017 is now just 41 days away, and early bird registration discount prices are set to end on May 31st. The MJAA has a long history of extending their conference registration deadlines, but this year’s Messiah Conference will be unlike the others, as the MJAA has stated they will not be extending their early bird deadline this year.

“Yes, we are notorious for extending the registration deadline for all of our conferences,” said Conference Services representative, Leah Levine. “We extend the early bird and regular registration deadlines for Messiah Conference, our regional conferences, YMJA retreats, and ARCH Leadership Summit pretty regularly. You could actually set your watch to it. However, this year we have to lay down the law. We raised the price of Messiah Conference this year, and there’s a reason for that. If we could afford to give everyone the ‘early bird’ price up until the day of the conference we would. Somewhere along the way we lost sight of this being about money and now we have to make up for all those deadline extensions we granted. Plus, if we don’t keep people on their toes, they won’t keep coming back. So register by May 31st. Or else.”

You can register for Messiah Conference at www.messiahconference.org The cost is supposedly going to go up by $50 per person if you register after May 31st, but it will probably really be more like June 9th or 10th.

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MJAA Announces Temporary Ban On New Rabbis Named David and Michael

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Springfield, PA – In a landmark press conference this week, MJAA President, Rabbi Larry Feldman, has announced a sweeping legal change within the Alliance. The new rule, passed unanimously by the board, will bar men named either David or Michael from seeking Rabbinic ordination through the organization. The ban will last for a period of six months, but includes a provision to extend it, should the board feel that such action is warranted.

When asked for explanation of the reasoning behind this unusual new rule, Rabbi Feldman explained that it was an attempt to ease an increasing confusion among the Rabbis. “Look, obviously nobody on the board has any problem with the names in and of themselves,” he said. “I mean, we’ve got two Davids and two Michaels on the board, all of whom voted for the rule. But that right there illustrates exactly why we needed to act. There are just too many of them. You call out for Rabbi David or Rabbi Michael at a Rabbis’ conference, and it seems like a good third of the crowd thinks you’re talking to them.”

However, Rabbi Feldman assured the gathered press that such an extreme measure was not undertaken lightly. “Believe me, this is a decision we’ve come to only after many hours of prayer and intense discussion. Our first thought was a rule that required all Rabbis to go by their last names, but that just resulted in the same problem spread wider. Do you realize how many father and son rabbis we have? I didn’t until we discussed standardizing to last names. And then there are guys like David Rosenberg who can’t get ahead either way; you try calling him by his last name to avoid the David issue and you just end up addressing his entire family, which all happen to be Messianic Rabbis as well. After that idea fell apart, we discussed adopting some kind of quota system, but everyone had his own idea on how to do that, and we ended up completely deadlocked on the details. In the end, the ban was all we could do for the time being. We’re hoping we’ll be able to hash out a better system at the next Rabbis’ conference, but frankly, if your name is David or Michael and you’re hoping to get ordained, you may want to pray about the virtues of going by your middle name.”

Since the announcement, widespread concern and confusion has been reported among the various Davids and Michaels currently scheduled for MJAA ordination. “It’s just that the wording is really unclear,” said David Baumstein, who’s scheduled to be ordained next month. “I’ve read through the new rule five times, and I still can’t figure out whether this means my appointment is canceled. And if it does apply to me, I can’t even use their suggestion of getting ordained under my middle name, because Michaels are banned too. I sent an email, but I haven’t heard back yet. If I don’t hear otherwise, I guess I’ll just have to go in and pray that everything turns out okay.”

While Rabbi Feldman and the rest of the MJAA board stressed that this is strictly a temporary measure, they also refused to rule out the possibility that, barring some more permanent solution, the ban could be extended or even expanded. “Look, this will be our top priority at the next meeting,” said Feldman, “but if you’ve never been to a Rabbis’ conference you can’t really understand how hard it is to come to a consensus on anything. You know the saying ‘two Jews, three opinions?’ Well, when those Jews are Rabbis, trust me, that’s a very low estimate.”

As for what may happen if the issue can’t be resolved in the next meeting, Rabbi Feldman refused to speculate, but did have one word of warning. “If we can’t solve it? We’ll deal with that if it comes up. But should that day arise, all I can say is potential Rabbis named Jeff may soon find themselves on thin ice as well.”

 

 

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