UMJC On-Site Blog, July 24

Here I am at the delegates’ meeting at the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations conference (

It is a somber day for a meeting. I’m not sure whose fault it is that we are meeting on Tisha B’Av, the day of commemorating the destruction of both temples, one in 586 B.C.E. and the other in 70 C.E. It doesn’t seem an appropriate day to have a meeting.

Further, what is the stance of UMJC leaders regarding the observance of a traditional day as Tisha B’Av? How Jewish is the Union in practice? I’m guessing from observation that about half of the leaders here observe it and half don’t. Fifty percent is better than zero, but we have a long way to go.

Since Tisha B’Av is not an observance directly commanded in Torah, why follow it? We follow it because we are Jews (or, in my case and many others, non-Jews who have joined with Israel as God-fearers or proselytes). To be with Israel means to stand with Israel on matters of tradition as well as Torah. To refuse to fast on Tisha B’Av on the grounds that it is not in Torah makes a statement.

What statement are Messianic Jewish leaders making when Tisha B’Av is ignored? For some, it says, “I am for Torah but I do not identify with the Jewish people.”

There are many who came into Messianic Judaism because of a romantic attraction to the lifestyle of the Torah: the beauty of God’s calendar, the sanctity of the Sabbath, and the physicality of the dietary law. Some are blatant about this, such as the Hebrew Roots movement. They say, “When we accepted Yeshua we were grafted in and Torah became ours.” For this crowd, Jewish identity is almost of no importance. Others, such as my colleagues here at the UMJC who are not observing Tisha B’Av would seem to have a higher view of Israel’s role, but strangely feel free to ignore important traditions.

Twice in history the temple of the Almighty was destroyed. Jewry observes this on Tisha B’Av. Let’s grow as a movement and decide what we stand for. Are we a Torah movement only or a Jewish movement? Why wear a yarmulke or proclaim yourself Jewish and eat on the day Jews are mourning and fasting? Come to think of it, why have a delegates’ meeting on such a day? I am guilty of going along with this and I hope our movement will do better in years to come.

Tomorrow, more delegates’ meetings and the conference itself begins. I’m sure some interesting debates and topics will come up, so stay tuned.


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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3 Responses to UMJC On-Site Blog, July 24

  1. Jeremiah says:

    The Master mourned the destruction of Jerusalem before it was destroyed and now we should mourn over it like him… I fnd it very rude when believers make this day as if it is anther day on the calender. The Master lamented the coming destruction of Jerusalem/the temple and now some of us feel as if we have the right not to?

    Hope your fast if going well.

    Peace, Jeremaih

  2. Kim DeJesus says:

    “On March 31, 1492, the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella issued a royal decree that all Jews must leave the Spanish territories. The deadline was set for August 3rd of that year. If any Jews were found in Spain after this period they were to be killed. On the Jewish calendar, it was the 9th of Av (Tisha B’Av).”

    Danny is Sephardic as far as we have been able to tell so this kind of fact is really interesting to us.

    Here’s the whole article that I read

  3. Pingback: Jews/Messianics relationship to the Torah - Page 8 - Christian Forums

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