November 2011 - Joshua Brumbach

pic_Josh_BrumbachI am often asked what I love most about being a rabbi. The answer is people. As a rabbi, we get to be involved in some of the most intimate and exciting aspects of people's lives - Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, and other joyous simchas. However, that also means we are there for the most difficult part of people's lives, as well - funerals, sickness, the death of a loved one, unemployment; and the list goes on.

Our tradition emphasizes the role of community. The Talmud states "Kol Yisrael arevim ze ba'ze - All Jews are responsible for one another (b. Shavuot 39a)." This means you cannot be Jewish by yourself. The need for, and care of, one another is built into our tradition. The importance of relationships and how we treat others is even further stressed by our Messiah.

Read more ...

October 2011 - Tony Eaton

pic_Tony_Eaton

Recently, I had the privilege of officiating in the same week at a wedding and a Bat Mitzvah.  A few weeks later our junior congregation led our Shabbat services for the first time ever.   As I reflect on these occasions I am vividly reminded of why I love being a rabbi.

Many years ago when I became a believer in Messiah Yeshua, (I was already in my thirties) I never envisioned myself as a rabbi.  Instead I thought it would be nice to have a congregation to belong to and support in whatever ways I could, but the prospect of leading such a congregation never entered my thinking.   What I soon discovered was, that in order to have what we desire and need as a community, often requires those who are willing to do the leading.  Stated another way, if we want to have a vibrant Messianic Jewish community, some must have the calling and training to envision and build it.   So I am grateful, first to HaShem for placing the calling on me, and secondly to the people, rabbis before me, who helped to educate and train me for the task of being a congregational rabbi.

Read more ...

September 2011 - Jamie Cowen

pic_Jamie_Cowen

My passion in life is to serve the Lord.  When the Lord called me into ministry in 1986, the last thing in the world I considered was being a rabbi.  At the time I was not involved in Messianic Judaism, but God had been leading me for some time to explore my Jewish heritage.  (I, like so many others, had effectively relinquished my Jewish identity to become a believer.)  On a business trip to San Francisco, I decided to stop in to visit with Jews for Jesus.  I met with Moshe Rosen and Mitch Glazer about my calling to the ministry. They challenged me to consider some seminary training prior to entering the ministry.  When I returned to the Washington, DC area, I discovered a Messianic Jewish seminary in my backyard.  My enrollment began a process leading to becoming a rabbi and placement in a fledgling congregation in Richmond, Virginia, Tikvat Israel.

Read more ...

August 2011 - Mark Kinzer, PhD

pic_Mark_KinzerSince my teenage years I have been fascinated by history. Modern life - especially in America - tends to dull our sense of the way events and people of the past continue to shape our lives in the present. But this sense has always been vivid for me.

Historical consciousness certainly played a role in opening my heart to the reality of God and to an apprehension of God's redemptive and revelatory activity in a particular history - that of the Jewish people and its Messiah. I experienced God acting personally and immediately in my own life, but this relationship derived from what God had done in calling Abraham to leave the country of his birth, in leading Israel out of Egypt and giving them the Torah, and (most emphatically) in raising Yeshua the Messiah from the dead.

Read more ...

July 2011 - Stuart Dauermann, PhD

My Passion in Life as a Rabbi

pic_Stuart_DauermannI am certain I would be selling the calling short if I commended the rabbinical role based on the professional functions one gets to perform, and the respect that goes with the title. The satisfactions and honor of being a rabbi go far deeper and in a direction far different from a checklist of professional responsibilities and perks.

The pleasure and privilege of being a rabbi is grounded in our calling to epitomize and pass on our holy tradition. As the cohanim and levi'im (priests and Levites) in the Tanach were meant to be living microcosms of the calling of Israel, so with rabbis. The joys of this calling are proportional to one's love, respect, and awe for the holy legacy which we are called to exemplify and transmit to God's people, Israel. There will be times when the functions we are called to perform seem trivial and trying, thankless and boring. There will even be times when congregational and denominational politics will blot out the sun for a time. But if one truly loves our holy tradition, the holy books, holy people, holy calling, and of course, the Holy God, all difficulties become by comparison but temporary distractions from something far greater to which one wants constantly to return.

Read more ...