Guest Post by Rebekah Williams | One in Messiah: From Song to Actuality

Cupid

Thanks to the faithfulness of the entire Messianic Community of eating matzah and conducting Gentile inclusive Seders during Pesach this year, The Lord has seen fit to give Rabbi David Chernoff a calling to develop the One in Messiah Dating Service. Rabbi David will follow in the footsteps of the most anointed Messianic matchmaker of all time, his Mother, the late Yohanna Chernoff.

The first installment of the new dating service will commence at Messiah Conference later this week, and will continue to all Messianic Jewish organizations. A newsletter has gone out to Messianic synagogues reading, “In commemoration of Adonai’s faithfulness in allowing Israel to officially be a Jewish state 70 years ago, Messianic believers worldwide will celebrate by helping young believers fulfill the first charge from God upon leaving the Garden of Eden: Be fruitful and multiply!” To go along with this year’s theme, every ‘single’ will be required to fill out a Heart’s Desire Survey® about their fruits of the spirit. MJAA leaders will then fast, pray, and lay prostrate before the Lord, in addition to using their God given talents of matchmaking. Singles will be matched based on ministry calling, Biblical knowledge, ideal service style, liturgy preference, and other spiritual gifts. Rebbetzin Debbie Chernoff has been quoted saying, “I’m really hoping 70 marriages come from this service, so that in two years at least 70 babies will be attending Conference!” When asked why at least 70 babies, Rebbetzin replied, “It’s not too much to believe God will provide several sets of twins you know!”

Details are beginning to emerge about the service and this includes information that there will be two sets of singles serviced this year. The first is the “Mary and Joseph” group that includes 18 to 25 year olds, who are joyfully anticipating the possibility of finding love, happiness, and fulfillment with their God appointed mate. There will also be the “Ruth and Boaz” group of 26 to 35ish year olds who are tired of hearing, “When are you going to settle down and cover my knees with grandchildren?!” from the synagogues’ Grandmothers and Rebbetzins. Upon coupling up, each couple will be assigned to a counselor, whose specialty in topics range from “Never been kissed” to “I had given up all hope and need to reemerge back into dating society.”

Many are asking what is the catch to all of this. Well, there is one; by signing up for One in Messiah, all successful marriages that result in children promise to give their first born son to the IAMCS to be raised up as a future Messianic Rabbi, to offset the current shortage of future leaders. 

Even with this excitement in the air, due to the possibility of unions, the MJAA leaders are looking forward to 2019 being the year of Ketubot. They have even hinted at plans of orchestrating a 70s themed mass wedding at Messiah Conference 2019, if all goes well.

 

 

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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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Guest Post by Associate Rabbi David Wein | Local Congregation Bans Treif Jokes at Oneg

pepperoni pizza

Honolulu, HI — After the flurry of the high holidays, Congregation Or Yisrael has decided to focus their attention on the most pressing issue of their community: joking about non-Kosher food.  “It seems like every week someone will say, ‘I brought a pizza’ to which another person will inevitably chime in ‘with pepperoni?’  It’s really a low form of humor to which we’d rather not stoop,” notes local congregant, Marty Katz.

A sign posted in the fellowship hall alerts all members and visitors to the new community standards.  Asking questions like, “Rabbi, is there a blessing for the lobster?” in hopes of referencing the beloved, iconic film Fiddler on the Roof are now strictly un-Kosher.  “Surely the sanctity of Tevye and his family are not to be brought into such a common, Vaudevillian context,” explained Rabbi Harry Heinzleberg.

The congregation has not made a ruling on mixing milk with meat jokes, as in, “How about a nice, juicy Cheeseburger?” This is due to the schism on the halakha of Rabbinical Kosher jokes in the Messianic Jewish community.  There is, however, a consensus on pork humor.  “A pig-free comedic environment eliminates a stumbling block for everyone in the wider community,” Katz explained. “We’re keeping it Kosher in the kitchen and in conversation.”

The success of the new initiative has led the congregation to think about expanding it.  “Jokes about Jewish Mothers: you’re next!” cautioned the Rabbi.

 

 

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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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Guest Post by Rabbi Matt Rosenberg | Messianic Rabbi Starts GoFundMe Page for Beard Oil

Beard

A fantastic beard and great beard maintenance are an expectation that most people have for a Rabbi. Great beard maintenance means using lots of beard oil. It is believed to also be a throwback to the days of the High Priest, Aaron, who poured manly scented oil all over his beard. It is rumored that his beard actually built the Golden Calf from residue alone.

Recently, when Messianic Rabbi Shmuel Goldenfarb ran out of beard oil, he said to his wife, “I need more beard oil or people will leave our Synagogue and stop tithing.” His wife responded, “We can only afford one bottle of beard oil a year; that stuff is expensive.” That’s when Goldenfarb had an idea! He could raise the money on the interwebs! Of course not knowing how to use a computer, he called his Grandson, who quickly set up a GoFundMe for a year’s supply of beard oil.

Beard oil was much cheaper back in the day, but with the rise of Evangelical Hipster Pastors and their attempt to look like a cooler version of their favorite reformation preacher, the price has sky rocketed! At press time, Goldenfarb has raised eighteen cents towards his $150 goal. Turns out the eighteen cents was a mistake, when a Bubbe in Michigan meant to give eighteen cents to her grandson’s college fund because the number 18 represents “life.”

Goldenfarb noted that with all of the expectations that congregants put on a Messianic Rabbi, having to worry about how to afford beard oil should not be one them. You can help today and maybe even consider donating a bottle of beard oil to your Rabbi this coming Rosh Hashanah. Don’t worry, he won’t dip apples in it.

 

 

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Guest Post by Anonymous | Messianic Judaism Sees Major Wave of Circumcision Reversal Surgeries for Gentiles

Circumcision Reversal

Brooklyn, New York’s fastest growing Plastic Surgery practice attributes their intense level of growth to the large number of Brit Milah reversal procedures performed upon Messianic Gentiles who, upon embarking on their journey to follow Messianic Judaism with full commitment of heart, “committing their life and limb,” so to speak, were circumcised. Peter Tipoff, a former Baptist, who while searching Scriptures and was stunned to find out Yeshua (Jesus) was Jewish, was led to search for Jewish people who believed in Yeshua. His search led him to a Messianic Synagogue in a major Northeast city and he started attending services regularly. When interviewed, Tipoff said, “I felt so at home and such a part of the family, I began first to use Hebrew terms, then advanced to wearing a kippah and tallit in synagogue. After a while I started to wear tzitzit on my belt loops. From there I felt it was time that I ‘went all in’ and had a Brit Milah.” It was only after further investigating that Tipoff found that the Scriptures do not require Gentiles to fulfill the mitzvah of circumcision.

Plastic Surgeon, Doctor T. Ikun, stated, “I never expected to see so many Gentile men who loved God so much they were willing to suffer so much to feel like part of the family.” He also added, “I never imagined that almost half of my practice would involve this kind of restoration surgery.”

A local Messianic Rabbi, who asked not to be identified, shared with us, “Messianic Judaism’s attraction to people of the Nations grew so quickly that we were somewhat unprepared for the sudden growth and were a little behind in trying to nip this in the bud. But we think we are making progress in teaching and hope to see a marked decline in the need for reversal surgeries.”

It is our hope Doctor T. Ikun’s practice can return shortly to primarily working on nose jobs.

 

 

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