“Do or do not, there is no try”.
– Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
These words come from a non-Jewish source, actually a fictional character, Yoda from the Star Wars films. His words penned my George Lucas and spoken in the film, The Empire Strikes Back, during the training of Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi knight makes for a fitting challenge to this multi-part posting.
In his training to become a Jedi knight, Luke failed to do what he was being trained to do, opting at times to try but not to do. His older trainer Yoda, made it clear that his job was to do what needed to be done, even if the task was difficult or seeing impossible and so to our task of building a mature Messianic Judaism.
There is so much work that needs to be done for the furtherance of Messianic Judaism for the future including:
- Establishing new Messianic synagogues
- Training new leaders
- Establishing Messianic halakha
- Developing training materials for adults and children
All of these tasks are vitally important and now we need to seek to make these a reality.
I have for many years desired to see new Messianic synagogues in the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles), being that there are currently no Messianic synagogues in the “Valley” that represent Messianic Judaism, there are a few Hebrew Christian congregations that were planted by Jewish missions. This is an area with a good portion of Los Angeles’ Jewish population, especially towns like West Hills, Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Northridge and others, yet they are without a local representation of Messianic Judaism.
I would like to see at least 3 new Messianic synagogues planted in the San Fernando Valley:
- West Valley: West Hills/Woodland Hills
- Mid Valley: Northridge/Granada Hills
- East Valley: Tarzana/Encino
This would bring a Messianic Judaism presence to this area of Jewish populace and it with local congregations help to build more community for the members of these congregations who are now driving to congregations that are 20 or more miles away, being that the Valley is about half way between Beth Emunah in Agoura Hills and Ahavat Zion in Beverly Hills. As I shared with a friend about the need for Messianic synagogues in the Valley I was told, “It would be too difficult and you would face opposition from the local Jewish leaders” (especially with about 4 Orthodox synagogues in Woodland Hills alone, along with 2 Conservative and 1 Reform). But then out of my childhood came the words of Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try”.
And this should be our focus we need to do what needs to be done for the building of a mature Messianic Judaism and do what is needed to be a light of our righteous Messiah in our communities. We can look at the difficulties and challenges with establishing new synagogues and then do nothing and thereby not do what is needed or we can look at the difficulties and challenges and take the risk and do the work that needs to be done.
I guess these needs call for people to take up the task to see that these needed synagogues are established and for those in leadership now it is a call for you to develop those within your synagogues to be the ones to start these synagogues.
There is so much work to be done to build a mature Messianic Judaism and this is a call for us to move to the doing.
May each of us do what we can to foster the future of Messianic Judaism and do our part to honor and glorify our God.