Lots of new and relatively new learning centers are making a bright future for Messianic Judaism and Judeo-Christians. I will list here some of the great learning resources, some new and others not-so-new, that are out there. I also want to describe a trend that I think makes learning centers even more important right now than ever.
This is all especially on my mind because we just leased new facilities here in Atlanta (Roswell, Georgia, actually) for the Hope of David Learning Center (and Tikvat David Messianic Congregation). And through a web of friendships, we are cooperating with various other learning centers and resource organizations. If you are in Atlanta, we’d love to have you take classes in Hebrew, Torah, rabbinics, mussar, intermarriage issues, biblical studies, and more. There will also be summer seminars and you may want to come in from out of town and join us at least once this year.
Now, here is more about why learning centers are so important and links to more info about Messianic Jewish and Judeo-Christian learning resources.
One new learning resource is the new blog of Rabbi Carl Kinbar called “The New Messianic Jewish Learning.” Just yesterday he posted about a trend amongst a younger generation of Jews in America:
Jweekly.com has article about Keva, a new non-profit in the San Franciso area. The article touches on three distinct trends: disaffection with current institutions, yearning for community, and a focus on Jewish texts. These trends are thoroughly relevant to Messianic Judaism. Here’s an excerpt: “A number of studies indicate that unaffiliated 20- and 30-something Jews . . . are turned off by conventional Jewish institutions and want to create their own Jewish vision of community.”
In other words, many young Jews (and non-Jews, by the way) are not interested necessarily in a place of worship for Shabbat (or on Sunday), but they are interested in God, ethical living, spirituality, and learning.
Creating times and places for group learning is an important way for all of us to carry on the work.
That’s why at the Hope of David Learning Center, we’re forming classes and developing a community network of learners in Atlanta. And this is not about competition or “starting our own thing.” The watchword is cooperation and mutual promotion. Consequently, we’ll be partnering with and doing programs with a number of other learning centers and organizations, including:
Rabbi Kinbar. I don’t know what he’s going to call it or how it’s going to work, but he will be offering some classes. Let’s just say, he will be out at least once to our center in Atlanta in 2011 and maybe more than once. It looks like we’re going to have something like a “Mishnah and Scripture” class for a two-day event. Details will come. And I will post info when Rabbi Kinbar has some classes ready to start (but I think certain doctoral work is being completed first, so I’ll try to be patient). Meanwhile, his blog on “The New Messianic Jewish Learning” is something to read regularly.
Riverton Mussar. We want to have some Riverton Mussar events out here. I know they have a video class on Jewish meditation (no, it’s not a Buddhist thing). Or maybe we’ll actually get a speaker out here. But I believe in and participate in the learning network that is Riverton Mussar. And we will offer Mussar classes here (hopefully in partnership with Riverton . . . as soon as we tell them about the idea and get like . . . well, their permission and stuff).
First Fruits of Zion and Vine of David. In July, we’ll have a Southeast U.S. Release Party for the DHE Gospels and we’ll have Boaz Michael and (hopefully) Aaron Eby out here. We’ll also have Roman and Alaina Wood bringing musical worship for the event. And there will be a pastor’s event as part of all this too. Plus we’ll offer HaYesod classes at various times of the year and help people get started with FFOZ’s awesome Torah Club materials. If you’re one of the few people in the universe that doesn’t know about FFOZ or Vine of David or Torah Club, click the links.
And find Roman and Alaina Wood here (music, really, and not exactly education, but way cool).
For graduate-level Messianic Jewish education, there is only one place to consider: MJTI (Messianic Jewish Theological Institute) and their School of Jewish Studies. It’s where I took my rabbinics classes and where I do continuing education every summer (this year in Jerusalem!). Most of their classes are online (so travel to Israel and/or L.A. is not necessary). And you don’t have to work on a degree to take classes.
To see more about the newly forming Hope of David Learning Center in Atlanta, click here.