Who We Are
About Beth Messiah
As a Messianic synagogue, Beth Messiah embraces Yeshua as the Messiah and includes Jewish and Gentile Yeshua followers from diverse backgrounds. Everyone who is part of the Beth Messiah community enjoys full participation in all facets of congregational life. We are committed to Jewish life and value Jewish forms of tradition, worship and social action. Beth Messiah supports and participates in service projects in the local Jewish Community and Israel. We are passionate about God’s Messianic promise for Israel—and we strive to demonstrate its reality. Our inclusive community of Jews and Gentiles is merely a glimpse of the future unity that God has for Israel and the nations.
Our terminology and symbolism reflect a decidedly Jewish orientation toward congregational life. Therefore, we refer to Messiah by His Hebrew name, Yeshua.
Our main symbol is the Shield or Star of David (Magen David) with a menorah and the words “Yeshua HaOr” (“Yeshua the Light”) inside. This represents the fact that Beth Messiah Congregation (BMC) is a Messianic Jewish congregation composed of Jews and Gentiles with Yeshua dwelling within as the glory of God’s people Israel and a light to the nations.
Our worship, including the prayers, songs, and order of service, is grounded in rich Jewish tradition.
As you spend time with us, you’ll find that while our congregation is composed of people from various backgrounds, most aspects of our service find their source in the traditional Shabbat (Sabbath) service.
Immediately following services we have a light luncheon known as an oneg (delight) so that we may get to know one another better and answer any questions you may have.
The Torah Service
Following the Amidah, the Torah (a scroll containing the Five
Books of Moses) is removed from the Aron HaKodesh (the Holy
Ark). It is then carried around the sanctuary––a rite known as “processing the Torah”. Children are invited to follow the Torah around the sanctuary.
You will notice that as it is carried along, congregants will touch
it with a Bible, a Siddur, or tzittzit (the fringes of a prayer shawl
called a “Tallit”) and then kiss that article. This ancient Jewish
tradition expresses our honor and devotion to the Word of God
as Psalm 119:103 declares: “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth”!Once returned to the Bima (raised platform), a passage from the Torah is read in Hebrew and then in English. References for the Torah Scriptures and other passages may be found in the front of the weekly Shabbat service program.
Dressing the Torah
After the Torah reading, the scroll is “dressed” by replacing its
covering mantle and adorning silver elements. The Torah scroll is then returned to the Aron HaKodesh and the congregants join in this rite by singing the words of “Etz Chaim” (Tree of Life).
Haftarah and B’rit Chadasha Readings
A short reading from the Prophets (called in Hebrew the Haftarah) follows the reading of the Torah. A passage is then read from the B’rit Chadasha Scriptures (New Covenant Scriptures). As Abraham Joshua Heschel once wrote, the Jewish way of life teaches us to sanctify time—to be attached to holiness in time. Every hour in time is unique, exclusive, and endlessly precious. Life thus becomes a pilgrimage to the seventh day, a longing for Shabbat rest during all the days of the week. Shabbat is a palace in time, the climax in living designed to provide the blessing of profound rest, delight, and enjoyment. And so, we begin with song!
About Messianic Jewish Congregations
The Contemporary History (1960s and 70s)
Israel’s victory in the Six Day War brought the reunification of
Jerusalem. For the first time in over 2000 years, Jewish people
were allowed to worship God freely at our holiest site. The Jewish return to Jerusalem sparked a spiritual renewal among Jewish people across the globe. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish people chose to follow Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel. These new believers began forming congregations and membership associations to nurture a radical new path: Jewish life renewed in Yeshua. Beth Messiah was one such work born of God in 1975.
The Earliest History (First Century)
On one particular Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), God poured out the
Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) on the first community of Yeshua’s
followers, so that they might be joined intimately to the Messiah
as His ‘Body’ and become the preliminary representation of the
new covenant fullness promised to Israel. To this early Jewish
community, God added partners from among the nations who
heard the report of God’s work in Yeshua and responded to the
Good News with trust. (Isaiah 19:23–25; 66:20–23; Joel 2:28–32;
Acts 2:1–21; 10:44–48; 15:8–9; Eph 1:13; & 2:11–22)
A Glimpse of Israel & the Nations in the World to Come
Spiritual life is grounded in God-centered family units within
the relational framework of congregations, whereby persons
are encouraged, trained, and disciplined. Jewish families in
Messianic Jewish congregations are strengthened in their
Jewish calling to covenant life. Gentile families are strengthened
in their Gentile calling to covenant life while enjoying full and
rich participation in the Jewish heritage and essence of the
Messianic way of life. Thus, BMC is the synagogue of choice for
Jewish-Gentile couples who seek to preserve their own ethnic
identities in Messiah. Such a community of Jews as Jews and
Gentiles as Gentiles, one in Messiah, provides a glimpse of the
future unity God has for Israel and the nations in the world to
come. (1 Cor 7:17–20 & Rev 7:4–10)
Following the Torah service, our children are prayed over
and proceed to Junior Congregation or an age-specific
Shabbat School. Typically, on the last Shabbat of each month
our children and youth lead the liturgy and conduct all
the Scripture readings. This service is considered a special
simcha (joyous occasion), as it demonstrates the way of
the LORD being inculcated into the next generation and
provides everyone with a foretaste of the future of BMC.
Rabbi’s Sermon & Afternoon Torah Study
Following the prayer over our children, our Rabbi or a guest
speaker gives a sermon. BMC is known for strong expository
sermon series that work through books of the Bible from
start to finish. When appropriate to meet a need, a topical
sermon is delivered. Later on Shabbat afternoon, there is a
separate study on the Torah portion.
Our Shabbat Service
The Amidah is a series of benedictions that serve as the center-piece of daily Jewish prayer. We recite the first three benedictions thanking and praising God for our covenant relationship, the promise of a redeemer, and the promise of resurrection.
Psukei d’zimra (Verses of Song)
Following the opening prayer, we enter into a series of songs. You’ll find that most of the lyrics are drawn from the Scriptures themselves––the book of Psalms and other passages that focus our attention on knowing, loving, and praising the one true God of Israel and the one whom He sent, Yeshua Messiah. Some songs are sung in Hebrew, but all Hebrew songs and prayers are transliterated and/or translated for your understanding.
The Siddur (Prayer Book)
As we finish singing, you may want to take up a Siddur that is readily found in the rack in front of you. This prayer book, which opens from right to left, is used intermittently for specific prayers during our Messianic Synagogue service. You’ll find that it is written in Hebrew with English transliteration and translation so that you may easily follow along even if you don’t know Hebrew. Also, we will guide you through the service by providing you with the
page numbers being used in the Siddur on the projection screen.
The Shema (Hear! Listen! Obey!)
The Shema is the heart of Jewish prayer and consists of three passages: Deut 6:4–9; 11:13–21; & Num 15:37–41. The first of these passages is recited in Hebrew. It is a declaration that there is only one God, the LORD, and that we are to love Him with all of our heart, all of our being, and all of our strength.
The Hebrew Banners
The white banner reads: “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is filled with His glory”. It is Isaiah 6:3, which is recited at the end of the Amidah. The large burgundy banner has the words of Ephesians 2:19–20.
Traditional closing prayers such as the Adon Olam (Master of the Universe), or a suitable alternative, and the Mourner’s Kaddish are recited. This allows God’s people to enter the upcoming week with a great sense of hope grounded in the total sovereignty of God—past, present, and future.
This traditional closing rite allows God’s people to express joy and gratitude for God’s sustenance. A blessing is said before drinking a cup of wine and eating a piece of Challah bread. Immediately following this, our Congregational Leader speaks the Aaronic blessing over our young children.
Oneg (Shabbat ‘Delight’)
Following the Shabbat service, our congregation shares a light meal together to delight in Shabbat. We would be further delighted if you would join us!