Despite the Jewish people being spread throughout the world, and speaking many languages, one of the things that has kept us together is the Hebrew language.  Because of it we have been able to stay engaged, and connected with one another over vast distances of space and time.  The corpus of learning that has come from that engagement has defined Jewish life for millennia.  Thus it has always been an integral part of Jewish life to study our traditional texts in the original language, and in this way become part of the ongoing conversation.

This is the view of those of us who are members of the MJRC.  So developing our standards has always involved significant engagement with Jewish traditional texts.  We feel that whatever standards we recommend to our communities should be done in thoughtful dialog with our Jewish people throughout the ages. 

This of course is not for rabbis only.  In the Birchat Hashachar (the Morning Blessings section of the Shacharit service)  we pray; “Blessed are you oh Lord Our God who has sanctified us and commanded us to engross ourselves in words of Torah…” .  This mitzvah is for everyone, and so we are promoting  a higher degree of Hebrew literacy for our members.  To do so we have started the Biblical Hebrew Club here at Simchat Yisrael in West Haven, CT.

A wise bible scholar once said, “If you want to understand how a person or culture thinks, learn their language.” Language, both written and spoken, is the footprint for how the mind processes information. So if we want to join the ongoing Jewish engagement with our Bible and other Jewish texts then we must learn the Hebrew language.

So what’s our recipe for this challenge? First we start with an interested group of students. Then we add a Rabbi who can teach Biblical Hebrew. Next we acquire a text book on Beginning Biblical Hebrew for students from Yale University.  Actually this ingredient can be substituted with a more user friendly text book, although we are discovering that all Biblical Hebrew grammarians have their idiosyncrasies! We add to that iPad Hebrew dictionary, and translation apps.  

Ours is in the tradition of the chevrutah, a study group where everyone including the leader is learning.  This is not just the rabbi lecturing on grammar.  In fact we are blessed to have a native Hebrew speaker in the group.  It is notable however, that being able to speak modern Hebrew does not make you an expert in Biblical Hebrew grammar.  So everyone is learning and teaching.  It makes the experience that much more engaging and fun.

Along with working through our textbook we throw in a few verses from each week’s Torah portion to read, translate, and discuss together.  The ultimate goal is to be able to read the Bible together in the original language.  When we feel we have enough proficiency, we hope to move on to learn the trope in the Torah portions, and have a number of people who can laine on Shabbat.   Eventually, we hope to move onto engagement with the Mishnah and Midrashim.  Lofty goals I suppose, but worthy, and goals that will I hope, allow us to engage in the glorious task that is Jewish learning. 

 

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"The MJRC consists of ordained Rabbis and associates who promote a life of faithfulness to God's covenant among Jewish followers of Messiah Yeshua by providing realistic and practical guidelines for Messianic Jewish observance."

Our Mission Statement

Rooted in Torah, instructed by Tradition, faithful to Messiah Yeshua

MJRC

The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council (MJRC) consists of ordained Rabbis and associates who promote a life of faithfulness to God's covenant among Jewish followers of Messiah Yeshua by providing realistic and practical guidelines for Messianic Jewish observance.

Our core mission is to define, clarify, and foster standards of observance for council members and for those in the Messianic Jewish community who look to us for leadership.

We also exist to serve the professional and personal needs of our members by fostering high standards of professional competence, ethical behavior, and halakhic conduct.

The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council (MJRC) was formally established in May 2006. It consists of a group of ordained Messianic Jewish Rabbis and associated leaders who share a common vision for Messianic Judaism rooted in Torah, instructed by Tradition, and faithful to Messiah Yeshua in the twenty-first century.

The MJRC had its beginnings five years earlier. At that time a set of Messianic Jewish leaders from New England invited some of their colleagues from outside the region to join them in working on a common set of halakhic standards for themselves and their congregations.