by Rabbi Jason Forbes
Liturgical worship must employ the art of blending kevah with kavvanah, a pairing of order and holy intention. Our worship spaces must be holy spaces where we all pray in unity, yet have the ability to let our intention, orkavvanah, be led by divine inspiration. This is why it has been important in our community to have a siddur prayerbook in everyone’s hand. We follow our service together, but we each have the opportunity to stop and dwell on each thought as we are inspired. Some passages affect us differently week to week. Communal prayer is made more powerful by individuals praying in unity, but not identically.
by Rabbi Joshua Brumbach
This past February, Ahavat Zion celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special gala dinner featuring special guests, joyous music and historical trivia and insights into the congregation’s past forty years. This momentous occasion brought together current and past members, as well as other special guests, for an evening of recollection, celebration and vision casting toward the future. The event also turned out to be an excellent opportunity for outreach as there were many Jewish friends, family and colleagues present who were introduced to the community for the first time. Many people expressed an interest in finding our more about our congregation and a few people have already become actively involved.
Our special honored guests included the founders of the congregation, Dr. Ray and Kassiani Gannon, and former leaders Rabbi Barry Budoff and Rabbi Dr. Stuart Dauermann. We also had special music featuring Messianic Jewish recording artists Britta K, Sally Klein O’Connor and Misha Goetz.
The occasion clearly embodied the MJRC’s vision of a vibrant form of Messianic Judaism that is “rooted in Torah, instructed by Tradition, and faithful to Messiah Yeshua in the twenty-first century.”
Ahavat Zion Messianic Synagogue was originally founded in 1973 under the name Beth Emmanuel. However, in 1978 the congregation reincorporated and changed its name to Ahavat Zion. As the oldest Messianic congregation on the West Coast, and one of the seven oldest in the entire country, Ahavat Zion has been at the forefront of the Messianic Jewish movement, serving as a flagship congregation, a think-tank for innovative ideas and services, and a spiritual home for those who are Jewish or intermarried.
It has now been a few months since the 40th Anniversary Celebration and I continue to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback … from the warmth and friendliness of the evening to how nice it was to especially recognize the contributions of significant members throughout the congregation’s history. This was definitely a significant milestone I will never forget.
by Rabbi Jason Forbes
We never could have foreseen the impact a single local synagogue program could have on so many communities…
In 2010 our community developed the Riverton Mussar program. The concept was formed out of years of questioning how better to be a light of Mashiach Yeshua in a very practical and everyday manner. Over the course of reading and studying, we discovered the concept of Mussar, a personal discipline meant to build good character. We saw the amazing practicality and profound spiritual depth it provided through honing character traits.
We were most inspired by two books by Alan Morinis (head of the Mussar Institute), Climbing Jacob’s Ladder and Everyday Holiness. Like Morinis, we sought a path of personal self-improvement for the sake of clarity and a better life. We also wanted to share the power of this transformative practice with our local community. For years, we had seen too many people nearly hit rock bottom or lack consistency in their lives. We saw Mussar as an integral tool for a more meaningful life.