Thursday, 12 March 2020
Between and Among Communities of Faith
David Wein, the associate rabbi of Tikvat Israel congregation in Richmond, VA, starts an article in the Winter/Spring 2020 issue of "Kesher" journal about Jewish identity with a well-known quote from Groucho Marx:
I wouldn't want to be a part of any club that would have me as a member.
He then goes on to share some of his life story: upbringing, college, work, marriage, until today when he serves and preaches at Tikvat Israel as a part of the leadership team. Strongly affirming the role of community in the formation of Jewish identity, he writes:
Once I began to live consistently in Messianic Jewish space, I started having regular experiences like [my first] seder in Senegal. Living out the cycle of festivals and orienting my life around Shabbat in community revived something inside me that I didn't know was asleep. Messianic Jewish space on the local level and at conferences provided a sense of belonging, an affirmation that I wasn't alone, that I wasn't meshugah. Meeting and building relationships with Messianic Jews who pioneered this movement made me feel even more secure and grounded in my identity and community.
Talking about growing into his Messianic identity, David says:
I learned that following after Messiah means taking up the right amount of space in social situations. Practicing genuine humility, releasing shame and putting others at ease can go a long way to being winsome in the Jewish community. Occasionally, it also leads to opportunities to "give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks me to explain the hope I have in me, yet with humility and fear" (1 Peter 3:15, personalised).
If you would like to read the rest of David Wein's article, you can visit the Kesher Journal website.