Man Attending Virtual Seder Spends 45 Minutes Locating Missing Afikomen

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Bangor, ME – In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic currently sweeping across the nation, Joseph Schlott was excited, if somewhat skeptical, when he saw on Facebook that his local Messianic synagogue, Congregation Beth Messiah, would be livestreaming a virtual Seder for their members. Sadly, what started as a wonderful alternative for those stuck in solitude turned into a source of considerable frustration before the night had ended.

“I was really looking forward to it,” said Schlott. “I live alone, and of course we’re all social distancing these days.  I would have felt pretty silly reading the Hagaddah out loud alone in my apartment, but the answers to the four questions and the explanations of the elements are just so essential to Passover that I don’t think I could bring myself to skip them. So when they announced that they were taking the congregational Seder virtual, I was thrilled—finally, a congregational Seder worth attending! But I did have one major concern, which was that the Afikomen hunt wouldn’t be much of a challenge. Turns out I was right to be worried about it, but not for that reason.”

The trouble began when the Rabbi paused the proceedings for a few minutes to give the children at home a chance to find the Afikomen. “I knew it wouldn’t be much of a challenge since I’d be both hiding and finding it, but it’s a crucial part of the Seder, right?” said Schlott. “So anyway, I was about to go hide it, when I realized I didn’t have a clue where I’d last put it down. So then I’m looking all over the place for it, and next thing I know the Rabbi’s starting the Seder up again. There wasn’t a way to pause it, so I had to back out of the thing.”

Nearly an hour later, Schlott finally recovered the missing piece of matzah, which had become buried in the recesses of his couch, alongside his previously misplaced keys. Although he’d missed the rest of the livestream, he decided to finish the Seder by pulling up the archived footage, which he reports wasn’t without its additional difficulties. “When I finally found the thing and went back to the video, it started from the beginning. It took me forever to find the right part. All in all, a pretty frustrating end to an unusual night.”

However, when asked if he’d attend another virtual Seder in the future should the need arise, Schlott was open to the possibility. “Obviously I’m hoping that all my future Seders will be in person, surrounded by family and friends, the way it should be. But if we had a situation like this again? Yeah, I think I’d give it another shot. It certainly beats monologuing the whole thing to an empty room like a lunatic. Besides, I gave myself fifty bucks for the Afikomen once I found it; it’s hard to argue with a payout like that.”

 

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Messianic Congregations Across United States Move to New ‘Abuseless Shabbat’ Format Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

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Murca — With a global pandemic at hand and the world rapidly changing, Messianic Congregations across the United States are being forced to re-format their weekly activities. Just as many corporations have moved their work online, Messianic Congregations are following suit. Synagogues are rushing to begin live-streaming their services, so as not to lose the attention of their attendees, while they are forced to close their physical locations for the unforeseeable future. Live-streaming services will allow Rabbis to continue giving their sermons, as well as collect online tithes. However, not meeting in person does present some challenges, including having to loosen their reigns on ensuring congregants stick by their side during this time of uncertainty.

“Honestly, I don’t even know what to do with myself on Shabbat right now,” said Missy W., a member of a nameless Messianic Congregation, located somewhere in the United States. “I can live-stream my Rabbi’s sermon while I’m still in bed. I don’t even have to get up. So that’s like 45 minutes of my life. I don’t even have to get dressed to attend services right now. On a normal week, as a member, I’m required to be at my Synagogue for 10 hours every Saturday. I have to be at my Rabbi’s every beck and call. Sometimes I lead worship, sometimes I am in the nursery, sometimes I am running the soundboard, sometimes I am just a gopher for leadership. If I even try to miss a week of services, they pretty much put out an Amber Alert for me. One week I had a 103º fever and I had five people tell me if I didn’t show up in the next 20 minutes they would have a Sheriff’s Deputy come to my house and escort me there. My Rabbi is a really gifted speaker, but I can do without the rest of his controlling behavior. Our congregation has been closed for two weeks already, and I feel so free right now. I feel like I can breathe. For the first time, in eight years, I can finally just rest and not have to worry about what will happen to me if I just take the day to myself. This new arrangement, where our congregation is 100% virtual, allows me to filter out the bad and only deal with the good. And I am kind of enjoying not dealing with the bad. I’m seriously considering not even returning to my congregation when they re-open in a couple of months. And I actually feel okay with that. Is it okay to do this for myself? I don’t even know if that’s okay. It’s okay, right? Please tell me it’s okay.”

More than 70 Messianic Congregations across the United States and Canada have moved their Shabbat services online, during this time of social distancing. If you would like to attend a virtual Shabbat service, please visit this page for a list of options: https://messianiccomedy.com/find-a-messianic-congregation/

Progressive Rabbi Volunteers Synagogue Building as Newest Site for Amazon Locker

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Pensacola, FL — Since 2011, internet retailer, Amazon, has been offering off site lockers in select locations. The lockers provide an alternative to having packages delivered to your home. As package theft becomes more and more prevalent, the need for these lockers is becoming greater. While Amazon lockers are typically found in retail locations, one Rabbi in Pensacola is providing space for them in his Synagogue.

“Well, we had some empty space available in our building that wasn’t being used for anything,” Rabbi Eric Tokajer, of Brit Ahm Messianic Synagogue, explained to the Messianic Daily News. “I’m always looking for new ideas for our congregation that will catapult us into the next decade, like a men’s conference, an inter-congregational cruise, and a coffee shop called ‘Java Nagila’ that we run once a month. Having Amazon Locker in our space is a great way to get people in the door that wouldn’t otherwise be setting foot in our building. We have so many events going on during the week, it’s likely they’ll walk in to pick up their package while a Bible study, dance class, or Shabbat service is happening. The hope is that they’ll either stay for the event, or come back for a later one. It’s even better if they select our congregation on Amazon Smile; not only are their packages giving back to us financially, but we wind up with more members, because they walked in and stayed for Shabbat, when they wouldn’t normally have been here otherwise. I know it’s a real forward thinking idea. I like to consider myself pretty progressive, which is why we own our Synagogue building, instead of renting it.”

After hearing about Brit Ahm’s new idea to acquire more members from the general population, it is expected that Messianic Congregations across the county will follow suit in hosting Amazon Lockers. At press time, Brit Ahm estimates they have five new congregants from this experiment; one of which Jewish.

 

 

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A New Slogan For Messianic Judaism: The Top 10 Finalists

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A few weeks ago we asked you all to come up with a new slogan for Messianic Judaism to replace “Returning to The God of our Fathers, by becoming fully devoted followers of Yeshua.” It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that slogan, but it’s almost 2020 and it’s time for a refresh. We received more than 100 submissions and we narrowed it down to 10. Please vote for your favorite and we’ll announce the winner on January 1st. The person who submitted the winning slogan will receive an all expenses paid trip for two to the Messianic Conference of their choosing, courtesy of our sponsor, Jewish Voice.

 

 

•Messianic Judaism: There’s nothing better than a Jew who believes in Jesus.

•Messianic Judaism: There’s nothing better than a Gentile living as a Jew who believes in Jesus.

•Messianic Judaism: How many extra syllables can we shove into this song?

•Messianic Judaism: Free food with every service.

•Messianic Judaism: Conferences and disagreements.

•Messianic Judaism: Many organizations; zero organization.

•Messianic Judaism: You aren’t being abused; The Lord is just testing you.

•Messianic Judaism: Stop the ride; I want to get off.

•Messianic Judaism: We’d tell you to drink the Kool-aid, but it’s not Kosher.

•Messianic Judaism: 30% Jewish, 100% Stubborn.

 

 

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Worship Leader High Fived for Covering Up Rape in Congregation

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Amarillo, TX — Alarming news from Messianic Congregation Tikvat Shalom in Amarillo, TX, after a worship leader was rewarded with a high five for sweeping a rape under the rug. Jenny Morgandorfer, who plays guitar and sings with the worship band every Shabbat, was out to lunch with another congregant, who informed Jenny that she had been raped by a member of the prayer team, after giving him a ride home last week, and was too afraid to go to the police. Jenny advised her she did the right thing by not going to the police, as it’s best to keep things quiet in this situation. The man was already on the national sex offender registry, and reporting this to the police would send him to jail. Not wanting to lose him from the prayer team or let anyone find out that he is already a sex offender, Miss Morgandorfer went directly to Rabbi Milt Schwartzberg to apprise him of the situation, at which point Schwartzberg high fived Morgandorfer for the decision she made at how to handle the quandary.

“She dun good,” Rabbi Milt said to himself, in his own head. “She dun real good. Look, when it all comes down to it, this is the Bible Belt. And not only is it the Bible Belt, we’re a Messianic congregation. It doesn’t matter what’s actually happening within these walls, it only matters what appears to be happening to the rest of the Messianic movement. If the wider community doesn’t see us as spotless, then we’re doing something very very wrong. Nevermind if we’re actually doing something wrong; I just want to be able to make it look like everything is okay when I see my peers at the conferences we attend together. And anyway, Yeshua said, ‘Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.’ And they’re all sinners too, so who are they to judge us? Who is anyone to judge us? We’re fine. It’s fine. This is all fine.”

At press time, Tikvat Shalom continues to operate under the pretense that everything is okay, and all attendees of their congregation have done no wrong and have experienced or caused no trauma.

 

 

*******If you know of any affiliated Messianic Congregations where some or all of the leadership is covering up rape or any other kind of sexual, physical, spiritual, verbal, or other type of abuse directed at you or anyone else, and you are not comfortable reporting it yourself, let us know and we’ll report it to the affiliated organization for you.*******

Jews for Jesus to Start Training Their Missionaries to Drive for Uber, in Latest Guerrilla Evangelism Tactic

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San Francisco, CA — Interesting news out of the headquarters of the largest Jewish evangelistic organization in the world, as Jews for Jesus announced they are now planning to train their missionaries to drive for Uber, in their latest guerrilla evangelism tactic. After acquiring Starbucks and opening several coffee shops across the globe, it was time to try something even more left field, in order to win hearts for Jesus. Uber, which is also headquartered in San Francisco, previously began a campaign to deliver Bibles upon request. After which, they were more than happy to partner with a local missionary organization.

“We are constantly trying to come up with new and creative ways to reach unsaved Jews,” Jews for Jesus Missionary and Head of Innovations, Isaac Brickner, explained in a recent newsletter. “If we get our missionaries driving for companies, such as Uber, our passengers are a captive audience. They have no choice but to listen to what we’re saying. They literally can’t walk away from us while we’re talking to them, unless they have really excellent tuck and roll skills. I don’t know why anyone would want to walk away from us anyway; we’re very fun. On top of this, it’s a great way for our missionaries to be able to raise a little extra support. Anyway, with Christmas and New Years coming up, lots of people are going to be calling for an Uber. It just seemed like perfect timing to test this out around the holidays. Also, I’d like to give a shout out to our intern, Rachel, for coming up with the name ‘Jewber for Jesus.’ Great work, Rachel!”

Jews for Jesus plans to have their missionary drivers fully trained in time for Christmas Eve, but did not have an exact date when that would begin. The new program is set for a trial run in San Francisco and New York City, with the other branches starting training early next year. Jews for Jesus said when you ride with them, you can expect to receive the following: a bottle of water, a mint, a broadside, and salvation. They are looking for more missionary/Jewber for Jesus drivers. If you’d like to serve with them, you can find out more information at https://jewsforjesus.org/get-involved/serve/

 

 

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“You’ll Have to Pry This Congregation Out of My Cold, Dead Hands,” Says 84 Year Old Messianic Rabbi, After 5th Heart Attack

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Champaign, IL — Being in a small college town, far away from any major city, Congregation Shmatte Yarmulke has had its ups and downs over the years, but none more so than their long-in-the-tooth Rabbi suffering from a smattering of heart attacks and multiple bypass surgeries. While those who attend the Synagogue are concerned that their leader has reached the end of his career, he has no such plans to make any changes.

“I may be 84 years old, but I’m a young 84 years old,” Rabbi Paul Millburn said to his congregants, in a members meeting this week. “So I’ve had a few setbacks recently, but here I sit before you, fully capable of running this congregation. Look, are most 84 year olds retired? Yes. But here’s the thing…who would be able to take over this congregation if I did retire? A lot of Messianic congregations across the entire country are having this problem. Nobody in the next generation is stepping up. Nobody is ready. And even if they were, this congregation of 30 people couldn’t pay my retirement! I’d be out on my tush. Call me stubborn, call me an alter cocker, call me what you will, but you know I’m right. I’ve survived five heart attacks, three bypass surgeries, and my pacemaker failing; I can survive you trying to overthrow me too! You’ll have to pry this congregation out of my cold, dead hands before I just give in and move to Boca.”

Though Congregation Shmatte Yarmulke is at a crossroads, as their Rabbi is rapidly aging, yet not quite ready to step down, at least they aren’t the only Messianic Congregation in this same situation. At press time, the congregation’s Assistant Rabbi could not be reached for comment.

 

 

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Messianic Couple Swears Their House Sold Faster After Burying Upside Down Statue of Joel Chernoff in Their Backyard

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Walla Walla, WA — Astonishing news out of Walla Walla this week, after local Messianic couple, Frank and Janice Walkervicz, claim their house sold immediately after burying an upside down statue of famed Messianic musician, Joel Chernoff, in their backyard. The pair had been trying to relocate to Florida, but their house was not selling. After more than seven months on the market, the two finally reached a point of desperation.

“We’ve all heard the bubbemeis about how if you bury an upside down statue of Joel Chernoff in your backyard, your house would sell faster,” Frank Walkervicz explained to News Channel 9. “We’d tried everything up to this point: praying in English, praying in tongues, deliverance, tithing extra, and nothing was working. We’re just ready to get out of this state and retire to Florida, and Janice and I were just tired of waiting, so we thought, ‘what the heck?’ ya know? We had this old Joel Chernoff bobble head laying around that was given to us for being one of the first 100 people in the door at Messiah Conference one year, so we figured we’d give it a go. We buried it upside down in the backyard, as the legend foretold, and sure enough, our house sold just two hours later. Two hours! We couldn’t believe it! We can’t recommend this trick enough, if you want to sell your house. Goodbye, Walla Walla; hello, Sunshine State!”

While the aforementioned collector’s edition Joel Chernoff bobble head dolls are now out of print, we were able to locate some on Ebay, going for as much as $100,000 each. We hope the MJAA will begin offering them again someday, so all Messianics around the globe can partake in selling their homes in a more timely manner.

 

 

 

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Rabbi to Hand Out Mezuzahs to Trick-or-Treaters After Purchasing Hundreds on Bulk Clearance

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Lincoln, NE — After a local Judaica store offered a going-out-of-business liquidation sale, Rabbi Gerry Barry of Beth Jesus House of The Lord in Lincoln, Nebraska, made sure to take advantage of the clearance prices. Barry cleared out the store’s entire inventory of mezuzah cases, as the store promised an extra discount for anyone with the chutzpah to do so.

“I don’t know why Lincoln’s only Judaica store would go out of business in the first place, but I was more than happy to purchase 720 mezuzah cases at only $2 a piece,” Rabbi Barry explained. “Now that’s a metziah if I ever saw one! Initially I had no plan for the mezuzot, but at those prices, I simply could not pass up the bargain. Now that I have them, the only thing I can think to use them for is trick-or-treaters. I’ll be honest, I HATE Halloween! It’s from HaSatan and I usually hide in my basement every October 31st and turn all my lights out, but what else am I going to do with 720 mezuzah cases? At least this way the children have something meaningful and not just an extra way to rot their teeth. What little boy or girl in Nebraska wouldn’t want a free mezuzah case?! They’ll have to get their own Kosher scroll though; I’m not made of money after all!”

Rabbi Barry says he will be handing out the mezuzahs at his house tonight from 4pm-8pm; the town’s trick-or-treating hours. He said any child dressed as a witch, the devil, or Harry Potter will be given an extra mezuzah case, as well as some anointing oil.

 

 

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New Synagogue’s Members All Weirdly Dogmatic About What Kind of Apples to Dip in Honey

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Rosh Hashanah may have come to a close, but Rabbi Joseph Weiner of Congregation Beth Messiah in Butte, MT will likely be dealing with the aftermath of the holiday well into the new year. Following the newly founded Messianic synagogue’s very first High Holy Day service, Rabbi Weiner’s office voicemail has been flooded with messages, all bearing a similar, and rather fruity, complaint.

“I thought our first High Holy Days would bring us closer together as a congregation,” says Rabbi Weiner. “Instead I’ve got dozens of complaints on my machine, and more coming in every hour. All I did was pick my favorite type of apple to dip in honey at the service. I’ve always loved Granny Smith apples, and I appreciate the way the tartness of the apple mixes with the sweetness of the honey. I never would have thought something like that could offend so many people.”

Listening to the voicemails, it’s hard not to be caught off guard by the vehemence of some of the complaints. “How dare you use Granny Smiths on Rosh Hashanah!” shouts one particularly upset woman, who sounds as if she was close to tears while leaving the message. “Dipping an apple with a gentile name like that is a slap in the face to our heritage. Unless you issue an apology and swear to use proper, Jewish apples like the Jonathan from now on, I don’t know that I can bring myself to come out again.”

According to the Rabbi, the suggestions of what apples to use in the future are the worst part. “Most of the calls include ideas for more ‘appropriate’ apples, and about half of the people seem to believe that their favorite varietal is the only ‘proper’ one to use. But there are dozens of types mentioned, and some of the opinions are directly contradictory. One person called the Red Delicious ‘God’s chosen apple,’ while another ruled out any red cultivars because ‘the apple Adam and Eve ate was red.’ Obviously that’s wrong on a whole host of levels, but is it really that much more wrong than any of these other ridiculous stances? And that’s not even factoring in the rare types [of apples]. One gentleman insisted that we should only use Northern Spy apples. I had to look that one up, and it turns out they grow mainly in upstate New York. How am I supposed to get those in Montana?”

Nevertheless, the Rabbi has hopes that the rest of the High Holy Days will be a success. “I’m telling you one thing, though,” he adds. “I’m placing a ban on all mentions of food during Yom Kippur prayers. We need a time of somber repentance and reflection, not a bunch of prayers for me to be forgiven for my ‘sinful’ choice of apples. And I’ve learned from my mistake; next year, our Rosh Hashanah service will be strictly B.Y.O.A.”

At press time, the Rabbi had just received a call also complaining about the type of honey used.

 

 

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