Search This Blog

Monday, December 10, 2012

Messianic Music, Chanukkah & Unity in Seattle!

What an amazing time we had with Joel Chernoff in concert this past Saturday (Dec. 8th).  What a great way to start off the Festival of Chanukkah.  To be able to worship God together with our two sister congregations, Beit HaShofar and Beit Tikvah, in unity was amazing.

It was really a special time of worship before Adonai.  Rabbi Jason Forbes led us in Havdallah for the closing of Shabbat.  My family and I led the blessing for the first night of Chanukkah.  The music, of course, was outstanding thanks to Joel Chernoff.  Close to three hundred people came out; many of which danced in a great dance circle.  About twenty of our children had their own dance circle thanks to some outstanding women of God who jumped in and helped the kids!

The words that describe the event for me are "wonderful, exciting, amazing, and awesome."  Of course the entire point was to celebrate our Messiah Yeshua together in unity.  For Beit Messiah it was a no-brainer.  We belong to both the IAMCS and the UMJC.  Beit Tikvah is our sister congregation through the IAMCS and Beit HaShofar is our sister congregation through the UMJC.   This was not just about bringing together all/any  "Messianic" groups in Seattle.  This was about bringing three like-minded Messianic rabbis and their synagogues who are focused on the same purpose: sharing Yeshua with our Jewish people in Seattle in a Jewish way.  Our three congregations are different.  We do things differently.  And this is to our benefit.  We are not saying that any of us do Messianic Judaism "right"!  We are saying we are three expressions of what Messianic Judaism is!  And to come together to celebrate the end of Shabbat, the Festival of Chanukkah, and Messianic Judaism in Seattle was a joy!

Special thanks go out to Joel Chernoff, his music was the catalyst for this special night.  I also want to thank Dan Behrens who did a fantastic job with everything audio/visual.  Phil Baxter leading our offering team, Fred Savo leading greeters, Mechele Baird helping me take care of Joel, the people that helped at the merchandise table.  Thanks to Dave Petrie getting our Beit Messiah banner waaaaaaay up on the wall, Jennifer Benvenuti for leading all the dancers, Janelle Behrens and her team for setting up coffee and cookies.  Thanks to Maryanne Savo and P.K. White for being so detail oriented and making sure the event went smoothly, everyone who helped with set up and break down, North Seattle Alliance Church for their partnership and friendship.  Thanks to Rabbi Hylan Slobodkin and Rabbi Jason Forbes for their friendship and co-leading in this event. Thank you to the people from Beit Messiah, Beit HaShofar, and Beit Tikvah and so many other friends who came out and supported this outstanding effort of unity.

The end of the event was one of my favorite parts when Rabbi Hylan, Rabbi Jason and I stood on the stage together as representatives of our synagogues.  To close the event Rabbi Hylan led us in the Aaronic benediction.  Psalm 133:1 says, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" And we did! And it was awesome!

If you have pictures from this event please send them to so we can share them!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yeshua means salvation. Yeshu does not. Yahshua means nothing.

I believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah of Israel. Yeshua literally means "salvation" as in what He supplies to those who believe in Him. In Matthew 1:21 the Gospel reads, "...and you are to give Him the name Yeshua, because He will save His people from their sins.” And He did. And He is. And He will.

We, Messianic Jews, do not exist to trick/deceive our Jewish people into Christianity. We are not trying to lure unsuspecting Jews into denying the God of Israel. We believe in all sincerity that Yeshua is Who He said He is: the One we've been waiting for -- Mashiach.

Sometimes the name Yeshu is used by non-Messianic Jews to describe Yeshua. But these names do not mean the same thing. The name "Yeshu" is actually an acronym for the formula (ימח שמו וזכרו(נו (Y'mach Sh'mo V'Zichro) meaning "may his name and memory be obliterated." When non-Messianic Jews use this name, it is an intentionally derogatory name for Yeshua.  They treat Yeshua like he is the Voldemort of Judaism -- as in "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named".

I get it; they don't believe as I do. I get that what I believe is insulting to some. I understand that non-Messianic Jews would rather I not describe myself as Jewish; and, in fact, believe I am not Jewish. My mother is not Jewish (my dad is). My wife is not Jewish (her husband is). Yet, according to the Torah I still qualify. The truth is I do not follow the rules of orthodoxy and they don't follow my rules either. My last name is Rosenberg. I look like any other kid of Eastern European Jewish descent. I can't help what I am: a Jew who believes in Jesus; a Jew who believes he lives up to the Hebrew name his parents gave him -- Yeshua (Salvation). I am rightfully insulted when non-Messianic Jews refer to Yeshua as Yeshu.

In a similar sense some who claim to be Messinaic/"Hebrew Roots" like to use the spelling Yahshua. It is an attempt to fit "Yah" into Yeshua's name. I get it. But it doesn't work grammatically and scholars overwhelming reject "Yahshua" as a legit Hebrew name.

In English His name is Jesus. In Hebrew His name is Yeshua. He was a real Jewish person Who lived in Israel in the first century. Most can agree here (even Shmuley Boteach). The disagreement is what happened after His life: His death, His resurrection, the over 500 Jewish witnesses who saw Him alive 40 days after He died. I don't believe in Yeshua because I want to freak the rest of my Jewish people out. I'm not trying to trick anyone. I am convinced that Yeshua is the Messiah for Israel and all of the nations – for the whole world. Believing in Him can bring what His actual name promises: salvation, eternity, a life that never ends and which is reunited with the One Who gives life.