1. What is Beit Shofarot?
Beit Shofarot is a Messianic Jewish synagogue. Beit Shofarot literally means “House of Shofars (or Trumpets).”
1. (a) Is Beit Shofarot a Two House, House of Ephraim or House of Israel Congregation?
No. Beit Shofarot is not a part of any of these organizations, but is in very many ways much like the congregations associated with the IAMCS (International Association of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues)..”
2. What is a Messianic Jewish synagogue?
A Messianic Jewish synagogue is a community of Jewish and non-Jewish believers in the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) where the expression of that faith and worship is distinctly Jewish.
3. What is Messianic Judaism?
Messianic Judaism is a resurrection of the first century expression of faith in Messiah Yeshua. Since the New Covenant was given in a Jewish context, it is best understood in that context. Beit Shofarot has congregants from a number of different religious backgrounds in addition to the main branches of Judaism.
4. What exactly is a Messianic Jew?
A Messianic Jew is a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who is joined by faith to Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel.
5. Does Beit Shofarot try to make everyone a Jew?
No. Believing that people should remain as they are, we do not practice ritual conversion. However, it is also understood that, given the calling of God upon Beit Shofarot to a distinctly Jewish expression, those committed to this congregation should have a desire to live out their lives in a manner keeping with that calling.
6. Is it only for Jewish people? Are Non- Jewish believers in the Messiah Yeshua welcome?
Beit Shofarot is a house of worship for Jewish and non-Jewish people alike. Jewish and non-Jewish people are equally in need of God’s one provision of atonement in the Messiah Yeshua. In the Messiah, both are equally a part of the Body of Messiah and are beloved of God. All are welcome.
7. Since Jewish and non-Jewish believers are equal before God, why then have a distinctly Jewish-oriented congregation?
It is a historical reality that people assemble with others of like culture, language and tradition. Rather than assimilating into the Non-Jewish dominated churches the Jewish believer can worship God and practice his Messiah-centered faith in a context that respects Jewish life and tradition. Unlike in the Non-Jewish Church our congregants can bar/bat mitzvah their children, observe the Jewish life-cycle events and biblical holy days, follow the weekly Torah readings, etc. Maintaining one’s Jewish heritage is a distinct calling not to be cast off when becoming a follower of Yeshua. Messiah does not ask us to stop being male or female, black or white, Jewish or Non-Jewish, etc. The New Covenant refers to Messianic Jews as a “remnant” within Israel who are “chosen by grace” (Rom. 11:5). As such we must maintain that Jewish identity.
8. Why would a non-Jewish believer want to be involved with a Messianic Jewish synagogue?
Non-Jewish followers of Messiah join for various reasons, including: To stand with Israel, to embrace the Jewish roots of the New Covenant, and to show their love for Israel and the Jewish people. Some join because they have a “Ruth calling” in which they feel that God wants them to live as Jews, while some simply find great fulfillment and personal enrichment by observing things such as Sabbath and Biblical holidays.
9. Why do you have services on Saturday?
The seventh-day Sabbath was given to Israel as a perpetual observance in the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 31:16-17).
10. What are the worship services like?
Traditional liturgies, heartfelt messages, and a contemporary Messianic worship service, presents a balanced blend of past and present that encapsulates the needs of today’s believers.
Following the morning (Shacharit) services there is an oneg (a time of fellowship and a meal) and the opportunity for visitors to ask any questions that they may be curious about from our congregational leader and others in the body. (We also offer a variety of classes for all ages both in the morning before services and in the afternoon).
11. What is Oneg Shabbat & Kiddush?
Oneg Shabbat means “delight of the Sabbath.” At Beit Shofarot it is a special time of food and fellowship. Visitors are welcome to participate in this “pot-bless” time of meeting new people and being encouraged in your faith by other believers. The food for the Oneg must be kosher (clean) by Biblical standards; therefore, pork products, shellfish and anything containing animal fat or lard are not allowed.
12. How is Beit Shofarot governed?
Beit Shofarot is primarily a theocratic congregation governed by its Rabbi with the assistance of the Board of Z’keinim and Shamashim (Elders and Deacons). The Congregational Leader, or Rabbi, carries the primary responsibility for teaching and daily ministry needs. The Board shares in responsibility as overseers of the congregation’s finances, general spiritual life, and administrative affairs. The Leadership Board, Budget Committee, office staff, ministry leaders and others share in carrying out the work of ministry as is delegated to them. In matters affecting the community as a whole, congregational meetings will be held (at least twice a year) to give financial reports, current state of affairs, and address any issues as needed.
13. Apart from the Jewish elements, what are some of the goals and objectives of Beit Shofarot?
We seek to be a congregational home(s) for both Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua who are called into covenant community with one another, seeking to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven locally, in Israel and to the nations, within the framework of Messianic Judaism (Ephesians 2:11-3:7; Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37; Matthew 26:26-29; Jeremiah 31:31-37; Romans 11:11-36; Acts 21:20; Luke 4:42-44; Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 28:19-20). We also believe in promoting biblical worship, prayer, covenant relationships, and personal holiness. We desire to create a school and Yeshivah for higher learning.
14. Why do the men wear head-coverings and prayer-shawls?
These are traditional items of Jewish life, history and worship. The shawl is called a “tallit” and the small round cap is called a “kippah” (Hebrew for “covering”) or “yarmulke” (Yiddish for “reverence the king”). All males worshipping with Beit Shofarot are encouraged to wear one or both of these items, but the conscience of each individual is respected in this matter. Women, likewise, may use or not use appropriate head-coverings as their conscience allows.
15. Is Beit Shofarot a Jewish mission or Para church ministry like “Jews for Jesus”?
No. Jews for Jesus is an evangelistic organization based in California. Unfortunately, the term “Jews for Jesus” is considered a derogatory term within the Jewish community much like others use the terms “Jesus freak” or “holy roller.” Beit Shofarot and Messianic Judaism are more like a Messiah-centered branch of Judaism with its own rabbis, centers of learning, materials, congregational confederations, etc.
16. Does Beit Shofarot practice water baptism and the Lord’s Supper?
Yes. Immersion in water is practiced as a sign of one’s beginning a new life of devotion to Messiah, and the Lord’s Supper is observed during Pesach where Messiah said, “As often as you do this do it in remembrance of Me.”(I Cr. 11:25) Water Baptism (t’villah) has its roots in the Jewish rite of the “mikveh” (ceremonial washing) and the Lord’s Supper (shulchan Adonai) has its roots in the Jewish rite of Passover.
17. What distinctly Jewish elements are incorporated into congregational life and worship?
Just to mention a few: Shabbat observance, kashrut (keeping Mosaic dietary laws), identification with Israel as the Jewish homeland, Jewish liturgical worship, Jewish dance, use of the Hebrew language, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, traditional dress (kippot and tallitot), and observing the Jewish holy days.
18. Do you pass a collection plate?
Money is rarely stressed during services and no “collection plate” is regularly passed. An offering box is located in the back of the sanctuary for the reception of tithes and offerings similar to the days of the Second Temple. Occasionally an offering basket may be passed for special offerings or guest speakers.
19. What is Beit Shofarot’s attitude toward other congregations or churches?
“There is one Lord, one faith, one immersion” and “one body” (Eph 4:4,5). Beit Shofarot cooperates with other congregations who share faith in the Messiah Yeshua. We seek to build bridges between churches and the Jewish people, fostering love for Israel, repudiating anti-Semitism, educating churches about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith and being a resource to that end.
20. Other than Shabbat services, what are some of the other services/gatherings that Beit Shofarot has?
1) Corporate prayer gatherings
2) Bible studies
3) Praise services
4) Men’s meetings are held monthly.
5) Women’s meetings are held monthly.
6) Topical studies
7) Hebrew classes
8) Special services are held for both Biblical and traditional Jewish holidays, e.g. Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost), Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication) and Purim (Feast of Esther) as well as Jewish holidays such as Yom Hashua (Holocaust Remembrance).
9) Torah study
10) Shabbat School
21. What does Beit Shofarot offer for children?
Beit Shofarot believes that the children are the foundation of our future. Bearing that in mind, we currently offer classes for children after Oneg. Afternoon classes encapsulate an understanding of the Hebrew language with a hope that our children will grow up bi-lingual and will be prepared for the eventuality of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
22. Does Beit Shofarot offer Bar/Bat Mitzvah for the children?
Yes. Bar and Bat Mitzvah (Son of/Daughter of the Commandment) is available. This ceremony recognizes the time of life when a boy (age 13) or girl (age 12) becomes responsible to follow God and obey the commandments. Children begin to prepare approximately one year prior to their respective birthdays. Training is centered on learning God’s Word as it pertains to a personal relationship with Him through the Messiah Yeshua. Also included is training in Hebrew language, liturgy, and chants for Scripture portions as well as various aspects of Jewish history and tradition.
23. How does one learn the special dances of the Shabbat service?
Davidic worship dance classes are offered bi-weekly. We also offer a dance practice at 9:30 on Shabbat mornings. Those wishing to participate should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
24. Does Beit Shofarot offer Hebrew classes?
Yes. Hebrew classes are offered periodically and Hebrew training is available to anyone who wishes, both children and adults.
25. How does one become a member of Beit Shofarot?
Beit Shofarot does not keep actual membership roles. However to participate as an active part of the congregation, the following requirements are expected…
A. Must profess and acknowledge that Yeshua is his or her personal Redeemer and that He is indeed the Messiah of Israel and is Deity.
B. Must be willing to submit him or herself to the L-rd, to the Eldership of the Congregation, and to the other members of the Congregation respectively.
C. Must be willing to support Beit Shofarot with his or her prayers, tithes and offerings, and other resources as Adonai leads and he/she is able.
D. Must be willing to present him or herself for the believer’s immersion (mikvah/t’villah) as a sign of obedience to God. (This applies only to new believers or those who have not been baptized.)
E. Must successfully complete whatever course of instruction the board may elect to require in order to be able to serve in the Congregation. (A transfer congregant shall also provide a letter of reference from the leadership of his or her past congregation unless released from this obligation by a specific decision of the Rabbi and/or Board).
F. Must be at least 18 years of age or have a written consent from a parent or guardian and must agree with our Purpose, Vision and Faith Statements. If the applicant is married but his/her believing spouse is not participating, that spouse must be in agreement and supportive of the congregants’ decision. It is the desire of the Rabbi and the Board that there be no division within the family. The Congregation shall not discriminate against race, national origin or gender in the acceptance of new congregants.
26. How long has Beit Shofarot and Messianic Judaism been around?
For hundreds of years after Messiah came, there were many Jewish Christians, called Nazarenes, but the movement slowly diminished and disappeared. In the late 19th century there again arose a small number of these believers, who were called Hebrew Christians during that era. In the late 1960’s and 70’s the movement exploded, leading to the formation of congregations and institutions. In May of 2008 Beit Shofarot was launched as a small Bible Study teaching on the foundations of the Jewish roots in the Christian faith. Not until February of 2009 was Beit Shofarot formally established as an Associate Congregation leading to the April, 2010 status of Congregation.
27. What should I wear to Shabbat services?
Beit Shofarot has no direct requirements except that one should dress modestly. Our congregants dress in a variety of styles including suits/ties/dresses/etc as well as casual to business casual. Others opt to wear jeans and such. We do request that you remember that this is a House of Worship and that you refrain from wearing mini dresses/skirts or apparel that reveal too much cleavage. Also, for Shabbat services we request that jeans, trousers or skirts/dresses be worn in lieu of shorts. We appreciate your willingness to honor the House of Adonai.