Ken and Flora Wilsker
Volume 12 – December 2015
We are so excited to be able to produce volume 12 of the AHC Havurah Newsletter after all we have been through during the last 6 months. Life is never dull in the Wilsker household. Ken’s healing has been nothing short of miraculous, and he is now getting ready to go back to work part-time. We now kid each other that we are in the “bonus round” of life. Truth be told, we are all living in the “bonus round” each day that we wake up alive, ready to do His will. It’s just now, after being through a life-threatening illness, that we have become more aware of our unique calling. It is time for us to refocus and to put a sense of urgency into our lives.
We all have a unique calling in the Body of Messiah at this time in history. It is no coincidence that God has called all of us who are reading this newsletter to be faithful and courageous in the face of a culture of death that is so prevalent in our time. We can learn much from our ancestors, the Maccabees, in the story of Hanukkah. Hanukkah starts on the eve of December 6 this year. You can look over some of the past issues of the AHC Havurah Newsletter regarding Hanukkah. We can use Hanukkah, Advent, and Christmas as a time to refocus our faith and dedication to Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ), to Ima Miriam (Mother Mary), to our small community of the havurah, and to the larger Church community.
We want to wish all of you a blessed season where God will direct our thoughts and actions to refocus our love for Him and for each other.
Shalom in Yeshua and Miriam,
Ken and Flora
Havurot as Community – The Value of Community
by Ken Wilsker
I wanted to take some time to talk about the value of building community as the Havurot get established around the world. Recently, we have received some emails from the AHC website to find out if there is a havurah in a particular area. In almost every instance, the answer is no. Then I encourage them to start one. It’s really easy, and I refer them to the brochure we have at the website and offer to assist them personally. So far, we have not heard of any new havurot being established. I realize that starting a group can be daunting, so we remain patient as others are being led by the Holy Spirit to step out in faith to start their own.
The value of being a part of the community of believers is undeniable. I just finished reading Forming Intentional Disciples, by Sherry Weddell. She observed that one of the common reasons people leave the Roman Catholic Church is due to feeling the lack of community. Even though she is referring to the parish, this is also true for Hebrew Catholics as we look to connect with our community. We are such a small minority that it is almost impossible to connect locally, so we are forced to look for others on the internet. This was true for me, and that is how I found the AHC’s website and connected with David Moss. The internet is a place to start, but the real power of community comes when we are able to meet face to face in our local community with other believers. This is why we believe in the havurot movement.
I have been reflecting recently on the significance of community. Yeshua started a community, a Church. In contrast, He did not start out writing a book or a blog which is how so much of our faith is spread in this day and age. The concept of community sometimes gets lost in our modern society where we put so much significance on the written word. I would suggest that this originates out of a more Protestant and modern mind set. Yeshua called out from the people of Israel twelve Apostles with whom He could spend time, forming them in union with Him, in order to start a community of believers. This community would spread by attraction through the power of the Holy Spirit in community. These Apostles spread the faith by story telling and action. Then, only as the community grew did the written story develop. We would do well to reconsider how vital and important our humble havurot communities really are.
This faith of ours strengthens and spreads through community. Our havurot play an important role in this regard, especially for Hebrew Catholics who often feel isolated in the larger community. This is also true for those of you who are not of Hebrew origin but who feel called to the Jewish roots of our faith. It is fairly easy to start a havurah, but it takes a bit of chutzpah (nerve, guts). All you need are two or three people to start one. Flora and I have had the privilege of starting two groups in two different cities. You can do this, too. It does take someone or a couple to be led by the Spirit to be the catalyst. Now is a great time to be planning the start of a new havurah. You can plan to have a Passover Seder in the Light of Christ, and from there you can develop the interest for an ongoing havurah. The AHC has the Haggadah as well as all the initial resources you need to be successful.
Once the community is started, then we can build the bonds of charity in the Holy Spirit. Then we grow our community in numbers and love for Yeshua, Miriam, and our Church. We can develop more about this aspect next newsletter.
News from the Diaspora
From the St. Edith Stein Havurah, Saint Louis, MO
“Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, there’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!” (Hilaire Belloc)
Little by little, our life in AHC continues to expand and take shape through wonderful fellowship in our havurah and through celebrations from our Jewish heritage in light of Christ.
Our St. Edith Stein Havurah has been really enjoying the Footprints of God DVD series by Steve Ray, an adventurous history of our faith from Abraham through the apostolic period, filmed in Israel and at numerous holy sites in the middle east.
On October 2 and 3, we celebrated the Feast of Sukkot in the light of Christ, with most members of our havurah present. Our sukkah was a “klutz-proof sukkah kit” which we erected on the back porch of the AHC Center.
The sukkah was festooned with colored ribbons which we dubbed “spirations of the Holy Spirit.
Our heavenly ushpizin (guests) were welcomed and represented by lists of Old and New Testament saints hung along the walls. Our Lord Jesus was present since we were more than two gathered!
Left to right: Barbara, Paula, Molly, Flora, Ken, David
David led the prayers and waved the four species in keeping with Jewish tradition, now celebrated in the light of Christ.
To each of you, we send Glad Tidings for Advent/Channukah/Christmas in Yeshua HaMashiach, Adonai!
David and Kathleen Moss
From the Light to the Nations Havurah, Houston, TX
Here’s a brief summary of LTTNH’s status.
Light to the Nations havurah decided to take a break during the middle of the year. We agreed it would be good for us to take time off and come back with fresh ideas on how to move forward. I had a commitment during the fall and was unable to regularly organize the meetings. However, I understand Deidre and Bill managed to meet during this time. I will be reaching out to Deidre to touch base. I hope to have more substantial information by the time the next havurah newsletter goes out. In the meantime please remind our fellow havurim of our Hanukkah novena. Ideally, the novena should be prayed starting the night of December 6th. I will distribute copies to some of my fellow parishioners this week. The novena can be accessed through the AHC’s website:
May God bless you and your family. I will continue to pray for your recovery and healing.
May God bless you and your family. I will continue to pray for your recovery and healing.
From the Bnei Miriam Havurah, Tasmania, Australia
The Bnei Miriam Havurah has now moved to Dover in the far south of Tasmania. Our Havurah activities include a weekly celebration of the traditional Jewish Sabbath meal. We kindle the lights using the traditional prayers and then do the Catholic evening prayer from the Office. We say the Jewish Psalm for the day and then sing the L’cha dodi (Come my beloved)’in honour of Our Lady the Sabbath Queen. We also sing the song to welcome the angels and pray other prayers from the Siddur before saying the Kiddush. After the meal we say Birkat Mazon (Grace). During the meal we talk or share some aspect of Jewish Torah life. We also at other times study the teachings of Rebbe Nachman or the Zohar or other Jewish writings in the light of our Catholic faith. We also attend certain events with the local orthodox Jewish community in Hobart.
cheers Br Gilbert.
From the Light of Prayer Havurah, Winona, MN
Hi Ken & Flora,
Greetings from Minnesota! We were able to meet for our Havurah on Saturday, even though there was snow predicted for the area. We had about an inch, so all was well.
We celebrated Hanukkah with a Mass, lighting of the Hanukkah menorah, discussion and celebration. Our priest gave another perspective on the Hanukkah menorah. He compared it to Mary and carrying Jesus for 9 months, a candle for each month. Something to meditate on. We also read and discussed the roots of Hanukkah from Maccabees.
This past year we have studied You Shall be My Witnesses, which will prepare us for reading Jewish Identity, which we will start in January.
Blessings on the Holiday Season,
Light of Prayer Havurah
From the Claremont Havurah, Claremont, CA
Four members of OLA Parish / Claremont Havurah attended Monday night’s Kristallnacht commemoration event, held at Loyola Marymount University (see flyer attached). Attendees were Dolores Simmons, Lourdes Borja, and Mark and Ann-Marie Longanecker.
The evening’s program consisted of:
“Bearing Witness Through Music: Songs of Heartbreak, Yearning and Celebration” – an interfaith concert with Vanya Green Assuied and Yuval Ron, featuring music from Ladino, Coptic, Hebrew, and South African traditions.
And “The Vatican II Revolution –
The Ongoing Struggle for Jewish-Catholic Reconciliation”
An evening of dialogue in celebration of Nostra Aetate featuring Dr. Mary Boys and Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, presented in collaboration with the Catholic-Jewish Women’s Conference of Los Angeles and sponsored by the Martin Gang Institute and “The 1939 Society.” This event commemorated the 50th anniversary of the historic Nostra Aetate declaration, which re-shaped relations between the Catholic Church and non-Christian religions.
In addition, the event was covered in The Angelus, the online format of the Tidings, and was videotaped. The entire evening’s program can be watched here:
From the Fellowship of St. Joseph, Toronto, Canada