Hashivenu is a renewal movement within Messianic Judaism (see hashivenu.org). 2010 marks the 12th annual Hashivenu Forum in L.A., an invitation-only event. As someone remarked, we are a marginal part of a marginal movement of a marginal people. But in spite of our small size, we are a catalyst for something bigger.
Hashivenu has become the term for our stream of Messianic Judaism, the observant, traditional branch of the wider Messianic Jewish movement. Hashivenu has been criticized and misunderstood. Some have said we are liberal (a perennially bad word to evangelical and charismatic Christians). Some have said we are too Jewish and not Christian enough (although, ironically, Hashivenu participants tend to be quite centered on Yeshua and have a high view of his identity as the Word made flesh and so on).
I think if many Jews came to a Hashivenu meeting, they would see we are a Jewish movement.
I think if Christians from many backgrounds came, they would see we share the faith of the apostles.
I think if many of our critics from within Messianic Judaism and related groups came, they would be surprised to find a great deal of agreement with the ideas we discuss.
Hashivenu Messianic Judaism is open-minded, but faithful; contemporary, but traditional; broad, but focused; authentic, but forgiving; we’re old and young; rebellious and conventional.
We are committed to a bilateral ecclesliology, the idea that Christians and Messianic Jews represent the two distinct parts of the unified congregation of Messiah. Messianic Jews are called to be Jews, remaining within our people, and partnering with our Christian brothers and sisters. Our communities are distinct, but our Messiah is the same. We share a bond, but there are differences in identity and way of life. We are a bridge people.
In my opinion, Hashivenu is the future of Messianic Judaism and the beginning of a new day in the unbordered land between Judaism and Christianity. Welcome to a place that defies boundaries.
Hashivenu is a spiritual and intellectual retreat for me.
I participated a Shabbaton as a prelude to the Hashivenu Forum, a small gathering of older and younger leaders discussing some highly relevant questions which interest all of the Hashivenu participants. We gathered early to have an intergenerational interchange about some things critical to the future of Messianic Judaism.
In short, we prayed in innovative minyans and discussed the following questions:
–What are the greatest challenges facing MJ in the future?
–How do you conceive of the place of MJ in the larger Jewish world? Christian world?
–What has been / will be the role of MJ synagogues?
–How do we in MJ relate to the imperative of aliyah (the covenantal obligation to immigrate to Israel)?
–What role does halakha (our set of norms for walking out the Torah) play in the future of MJ?
And we kicked off the Hashivenu Forum, a larger gathering of about 80 leaders (not all rabbis, but all leaders), with three book reviews. We had reviews and discussions centered around the issue of the divinity of Messiah on the following books:
–Oskar Skarsaune’s Incarnation: Myth or Fact?
–Daniel Boyarin’s Borderlines
–David Berger’s The Rebbe, the Messiah, and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference
These three books, two of them positively and one negatively, explore the compatibility of the idea of divine Messiah in Jewish and Christian thought. One Jewish scholar and one Christian demonstrate that prior to a bitter split between the church and synagogue in the fourth century, it was possible to speak of a divine agent (the Word, Wisdom, the Memra, the Dibur, the Shekhinah, the Logos) carrying out the work of God and being equal with God. The third scholar, a Jew, denounces the messianism of the Chabad movement and their talk about the deceased Rebbe being divine. These three books represent an exploration of the borders or lack of actual borders between Jewish and Christian thought.
Hashivenu is the forum you wish you had come to. If you care about Jewish-Christian relations, what’s going on in the future of Jewish Yeshua-faith, and the observant, traditional side of Messianic Judaism, we are a large part of it.
We’re working on being about our faith in such a way that Jews will see us as good Jews and Christians will see us as good Christ-followers. As a bridge people, we are committed to the good of klal Yisrael and the Church. We witness and embody the reality that the Son of Abraham caused to grow a fresh vine in the Israelite vineyard and cultivated as well the grafted in shoots of wild grapes among the nations. Without a Jewish contingent in the congregation of Messiah, the authenticity of the whole enterprise is questionable. If Jesus did not raise up from his own people a movement, then the Church is rootless and an alien movement without a connection in history to the working of Jesus, the seeker of Israel’s lost sheep.