Ken and Flora Wilsker
Volume 10 – December 2014
Shalom Havurim (Friends),
We want to wish you all a blessed Advent, Hanukkah, and Christmas! We are settling into our new home very well here in St. Louis. We love our new St. Edith Stein Havurah. We also have settled into our new Parish, the Cathedral Basilica. We love spending many of our Sundays fellowshipping with David and Kathleen Moss after Holy Mass. Every Sunday feels more like a true Sabbath rest for us. Worshiping God in such a magnificent Church and then spending time with brothers and sisters in Messiah is a true blessing and foretaste of heaven. Our next issue we will examine more closely the Sabbath and concept of Sabbath rest which we, the Church, and the world need so desperately.
We are busy during this season just as all of you are with your families and with Hanukkah and Christmas preparations. We prepare for the coming of our Savior/Messiah, Yeshua. As we write this issue, we have just begun the season of Advent, and we are preparing our hearts and our homes for his coming. We were reading a recent Advent Reflection from Father Robert Barron, and we were reminded how much we need a Savior. When one is stuck in quick sand, one does not need a teacher, but they do need a Savior.
This year the first night of Hanukkah falls at sundown on December 16. It is good to light the special Hanukkah Menorah. Hanukkah is a time that reminds all Jews and Christians that our God is a miracle worker, that he brings light where there is only darkness. God miraculously saves the Jewish people and the Temple from destruction. We light the candles of Hanukkah to celebrate this miracle and then a few short days later celebrate the birth of our Messiah and Savior who is the light of the world. Our God is still in the miracle business. As we look around this world, we can see his miracles all around. We look at our lives and our families, and we see his miraculous love and forgiveness at work every day. Now more than ever, we need God to reach into our hearts and into this world to bring light and work miracles!
For more information on Hanukkah, you can visit the AHC website at www.hebrewcatholic.net and click on the Havurot/Havurah Newsletter/volume 2 and also Prayer/Liturgical Year.
Below you will find the Novena of Light that was written by Jorge Guzman of the Houston Havurah. We will be praying this Novena for the Holiday, so will you please join us and share with everyone you know. Thanks so much, Jorge!
Perhaps now is a good time to consider how we can cooperate with God’s grace to ignite the light of Messiah in lives around us. As lighting our Menorah takes some action on our part, so does bringing the light of Messiah to others. What actions are we going to take individually and in our havurot to make that happen? We look forward to hearing about what God is doing through you in the year ahead.
Here in America we just finished celebrating Thanksgiving and we are so grateful to HaShem for being in St. Louis, for the AHC, for David and Kathleen who keep this work alive, and to all of you who are part of the havurot and support the AHC. We must join our hearts together with our Lord Yeshua’s to bring about the salvation of all Israel and life from the dead.
Shalom b’Yeshua v’Miriam,
Ken and Flora Wilsker
Why an AHC Havurah? (continued)
David Moss writes: “The AHC Havurah: a work of hope for the People Israel, for the Church. The AHC havurot can help:
* enrich the faith and lives of all Catholics as they learn and experience the Jewish roots of our faith;
* support the local parish through havurah programs and the witness and zeal of havurah members;
* and finally, serve as one of our Lord’s instruments in the Church’s preparation for all Israel’s recognition of her Messiah, “life from the dead”, and the second coming of our Lord.
This is now the third havurah we have been associated with in the last several years, and without exception, almost all of the members were non Hebrew Catholics. This should not be a surprise since there is only a very small minority of Hebrew Catholics in the Church, but there is something else even more significant here. There is an awakening in our parishes and in the Catholic world of the Jewish roots of our Catholic faith. We believe this to be a unique work of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) at this time in history.
Since the end of Second Vatican Council and Nostra Aetate, the Church has opened the doors to greater understanding and love for our Jewish ancestors and neighbors. Since Pope Pius XII, and especially with our last 3 Popes starting with St. Pope John Paul II, there has been a profound change in how the Church understands the Jewish people.
Just look at all the books that are available to the general public. Father Elias Friedman’s Jewish Identity. Then Second Exodus by Marty Barrack followed by Salvation is from the Jews by Roy Schoeman. It was Roy’s work that caught the Catholic world by storm, receiving much praise from EWTN. Following this was the excellent book by Dr. Taylor Marshall, The Crucified Rabbi, and most recently the outstanding books, CD’s, and videos by Dr. Brant Pitre, not to forget the work of our very own Dr. Feingold and his Lecture Series.
We have said many times previously that the better we understand our Jewish roots, the more we realize that it is only Catholicism that is the fulfillment of Judaism, and not mere Christianity. The study of our Jewish roots and the development of the AHC and the havurot around the world are the stepping stones that God has used to bring not only many ex-Catholics back to their faith, but also many Jews to the fulfillment of their faith in Catholicism. These studies enrich the lives of all Catholics and will continue to be developed and used to build the bridge between Messianic Judaism and Evangelical Protestantism that will allow many to come back home and over the Tiber to the one true faith and Church.
Next, the havurot can support the local parish with our studies and celebrations, especially with that of Passover. While we were in Louisville, KY we were able to share the celebration of the Seder in the light of Messiah with our Parish family, of course with the permission and support of our Pastor. As many of you know, last year the Parish in Louisville invited Roy Schoeman to lead the Seder celebration, and there were over 120 attendees who experienced the Seder in light of its roots of the Holy Mass. The Parish and many in the Catholic community experienced a renewed enthusiasm for the faith.
Even if some of our havurot meet outside the parish, we can put on a Seder or a Hanukkah celebration wherever we meet and invite others from our parishes and neighborhoods to experience the Jewish roots of our faith and thus ignite the faith of so many more among us. We hopefully will attract some Jews and Messianic Jews who are also curious and on their journey home.
Ultimately, the witness and zeal that we all have for our faith is contagious to the whole parish and all those around us. Pope Francis has reminded us recently that Christianity grows by attraction, and that is exactly what happens when we are “on fire” for our faith.
Finally, each havurah and all of us who participate are called to be lights to Israel and the nations. “For I am not to be ashamed of the Gospel, it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Rom 1:16
We are the first fruits of the salvation of all Israel, and God can use us as instruments to prepare the Church and Israel for Israel’s return. The Church, too, needs to be prepared since there is still much misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding the plan God has for the salvation of all Israel and their return to the faith and the Church. But look what God promises upon Israel’s return: “for if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead!” Rom 11:15. It’s worth all the work and prayer. Let’s remember the teaching of the Church in the CCC 674, “The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel”. The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of “the full number of the Gentiles”, will enable the People of God to achieve “ the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” in which “God may be all in all.”
A little News from the Diaspora
From Light to the Nations Havurah, Houston, Texas
I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving yesterday. We at Light to the Nations are proud to present the havurah network and the AHC with our “Novena of Light”, aka the “Hanukkah Novena”. I have attached the Novena to this email. The document explains how the Novena is prayed. The reflections included in the Novena were written by the present havurah members.
We plan on praying the Novena at St. Vincent’s starting December 16th. I chatted with Nick, the Adult Faith formation director, about the Novena. We are determining what the best set up for praying the Novena is. I will keep you posted.
Here is the Novena:
Light to the Nations Havurah Novena of Light
Light to the Nations Havurah (LTTNH) is pleased to provide you our “Novena of Light”. Inspired by the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah, LTTNH developed this Novena to include reflections on selected biblical passages referencing or alluding to God’s light. The Novena is prayed starting with the daily opening reading from the Book of Maccabees regarding the dedication of the altar. In the associated reflection for that reading, a prayer of dedication is made to God. The reflection is followed by reading the bible passage and reflection for that particular day. Following the reflection, a meditation is made. The meditation is concluded by reciting an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be.
We encourage those praying the Novena to light an Advent wreath while praying the Novena. Those in possession of a menorah can pray the Novena by lighting the menorah. The shamash, or middle candle, is lit the first night. The following nights the candles are lit from left to right, one candle per day. The shamash is used to light all the remaining candles. By the time the ninth candle is lit, the lighting of the candles will have followed the sign of the cross. Ideally, the Novena should be prayed in the evenings starting the first night of Hanukkah. This year (2014) the first night falls on December 16th.
Opening Daily Reading and Reflection
1 Maccabees Ch. 4 verses 56 and 59
So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness; they offered a sacrifice of deliverance and praise… Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.
Heavenly Father, we find gladness and joy and in the incarnation of your son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Tonight, we dedicate ourselves to you, just as the assembly of Israel dedicated the temple to you during the Feast of the Dedication. Enlighten our minds as we pray and reflect on this Novena so that we may be true light to all your people. Amen.
Day 1 – Genesis Ch. 1 verses 3-5 (God keeping us in his Light)
“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”
Heavenly Father. You gave us light; it was your first gift to creation. You separated the light from the darkness. Keep us forever in the light of your truth and the shelter of your love.
Day 2 – Exodus Ch. 27 verse 20 (Bearing Witness to God’s love and mercy)
“You shall order the Israelites to bring you clear oil of crushed olives, to be used for light, so that you may keep lamps burning regularly”
God, may we be open to your will, especially in times of trial. May the fruits of our trials serve as a witness of your Divine Providence, a light to those who don’t know you.
Day 3 – Isaiah Ch. 9 verses 1-5 (Faith in God in times of darkness)
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as men make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian. For every boot that trampled in battle, every cloak rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for flames. For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”
Lord Jesus, help us see your light in times of confusion and fear. May this light banish any evil present in those difficult times. Help us understand that your light illuminates a path to Salvation, and that your Salvation brings abundant joy and great rejoicing. May we too proclaim you “Wonder-Counselor”, “God-Hero”, “Father Forever”, and “Prince of Peace”.
Day 4 – Isaiah Ch. 58 verse 10 (Helping those in need)
“If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted, then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday;”
Lord Jesus, make us dutiful stewards to those in need, most especially during this Ad-vent and Christmas Season. May we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, harbor the harborless, visit the sick, ransom the captive, and bury the dead. Let us remember that service to others is a light that chases away darkness.
Day 5 – Matthew Ch. 5 verses 15-16 (Spreading God’s light to all)
“Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”
Jesus, in order to let my light before men, I must let your light shine in and through me. Open my heart and mind so your light can come in. Help me clearly shine this light to others so they too give glory to Our Heavenly Father.
Day 6 – John Ch. 8 verses 12-15 (Jesus’s light being a source of strength)
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Lord Jesus, your birth brought light to our dark world. We pray this light will be a source of strength so that we may we never again walk in the darkness that is sin, but follow you and have the light of life.
Day 7 – Matthew Ch. 17 verses 1, 2, and 5 (Jesus’s light as a source of healing, help, and hope)
“After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light…While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, (and) then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’”
Today the entire world is in very dire need of Christ’s light. Jesus, may all listen to your Word, and may your light be a source of blessings and healing. May we bring this light to all who are in need of it. Help us remember that in Heaven, God provides all the light that is needed. Help us remember your Transfiguration is a small sample of the light awaiting us in Heaven.
Day 8 – Revelation Ch. 12 verse 1 (Our Blessed Mother bringing us to Jesus and as an example of God’s light)
“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. “
Queen of Heaven, Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, extend the warmth of your mantle into our lives. Intercede on our behalf with God when we are confronted with darkness. Let us remember that your “yes” to God’s plan resulted in God shining through you His Light to the world. Above all, remind us always, as only a loving Mother can, that your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is the Light of the World that conquers all darkness.
Day 9 – Revelation Ch. 22 verse 5 (Eliminating Darkness from our lives)
“And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamps or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.”
God, Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit you are pure light, and there is no darkness in you at all. We long for this Beatific Vision. Cast out the darkness from our lives so we can be able to take in more of your light in Heaven.
LTTNH is a spiritual community focused on learning the Jewish origins of Catholicism and providing a supportive environment to Jews entering or discerning entrance into the Catholic Church. LTTNH meets every other Tuesday evening in the Monsignor Jamail Family Center at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Houston, Texas. For more information, contact the parish office at 713-667-9111 or email us at email@example.com. Baruch Haba B’shem Adonai.
And More from Jorge Guzman:
It’s amazing that another year is coming to a close. My sincerest thanks to all of you for your participation in Light to the Nations havurah. Your participation has resulted in the group continuing next year. On that note, I present a proposed agenda for the approximate first half of next year. Please review and comment if necessary.
- Jan 20, 2015 – LTTNH resumes Tuesday evening meetings at 7pm in the MJFC. Listen to Dr. Feingold’s lecture, The Continued Role of the Jewish People after the coming of the Messiah. Order Honey from the Rock, a book by Roy Schoeman compiling the journey of various Jews into the Catholic Church.
- Feb 3, 2015 – Part 2 of Dr. Feingold’s lecture. Begin reading select biographies in Honey from the Rock. These biographies will be discussed at our next meeting.
- Feb 17, 2015 – Discussion on Honey from the Rock biographies.
Mar 3, 2015 – Discussion on Honey from the Rock biographies.
Mar 17, 2015 – Discussion on Honey from the Rock biographies.
- Mar 31, 2015 – Discussion on Honey from the Rock biographies or a Holy Week-based discussion/meeting.
Please note, this week is Holy Week, and Passover is Holy Saturday. My plan is for LTTNH to host a Seder that evening at 6pm in the MJFC. We can discuss logistics, RSVPs, and costs when we reconvene on Jan 20. Hosting the Seder at 6pm should allow ample time for the group to finish dinner and proceed to the Easter Vigil service. We are truly blessed being able to celebrate both Passovers on one day! I assume the Easter Vigil service will be held at 8:30 pm (same as this year).
- April 14, 2015 – Listen to Bob Fishman’s Jewish Roots of Catholicism CD
- April 28, 2015 – Listen to Bob Fishman’s Jewish Roots of Catholicism CD and pray for the men going on the parish ACTS retreat (yours truly is one of the co-directors)
- May 12, 2015 – Listen to Bob Fishman’s Jewish Roots of Catholicism CD
From Light of Prayer Havurah, Winona, Minnesota
Hi Ken & Flora,
I hope you are both doing well.
We celebrated Hanukkah early this year, in November. We lit the Hanukkah candles and had a prayer service. We then listened to a CD by Dr. Brant Pitre, “The Fourth Cup and the New Passover”, had discussion and refreshments. It was enjoyed by all and we always learn something from Dr. Pitre.
Going forward, we will not meet in December because of Advent, but will start again in January. We are going to finish reading “The Jewish Roots of the Eucharist” and then start reading and studying “Jewish Identity”. We are going to have the book printed from the pdf file and put in a binder and use it as a workbook, so we can write on it and take notes as we study. We also hope to have a seder this coming Passover.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all!
Light of Prayer Havurah
San Dismas Havurah, San Dismas, California
Hi Ken! Thanks for being so patient! Since your last AHC newsletter, I wanted to share what we have been up to here in So Cal… Please feel free to use any of this material that you think is useful.. and edit as needed. Call me if you have any Questions, ok ?
On Yom Kippur — October 4, 2014, four of us attended the Los Angeles Archdiocese Celebration of Cultures event. This was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, with Archbishop Jose Gomez presiding, and concelebrated with about 7 more Bishops and many priests as well. This was our second time to participate in this great event which celebrated every culture in the most diverse Archdiocese in the USA. Attached are two photos from the event. In the first you can see us in the Main procession behind El Salvador… Photo #2 is a Group shot outside the Cathedral. We also met up there with AHC Associate Cynthia Kron, who lives closer to Los Angeles, and it was very nice to finally meet her in person.
We were also very excited that our Parish, Our Lady of the Assumption, chose to run our story as well in the bulletin (attached see page 5), again highlighting our “emerging Hebrew community” and paving the way for the kickoff of our havurah in the very near future.
Also, on October 22nd, we hosted a Group Webinar Viewing, which was presented by the Boston Committee of the Messianic Jewish–Roman Catholic Dialogue Group. The group was established by Georges Cardinal Cottier, Theologian of the Papal Household for Pope John Paul II. We gathered in the parish rectory to view the Webinar, and it was attended by several members of the parish, an Associate Priest, plus invited guests from Beth Shalom Messianic synagogue. It was a marvelous morning of fellowship, conversation, and dialogue, and we look forward to hosting similar events in the future. Our thanks to Pastor Fr. Charles Ramirez for allowing us to host the event and to Kathy Steighner for helping us make the arrangements.
We are planning a Passover Seder for Holy Week in 2015 as well as more educational and community-building celebrations in the future. We are located in Claremont, Calif., and anyone interested in contacting us can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann-Marie and Mark Longanecker
From the Almond Blossom Havurah, British Columbia, Canada
Dear Ken and Flora,
During the month of November about 15 of us are meeting on Fridays to watch a dvd- The Appointed Times, Jesus in the Feasts of Israel.
We are really enjoying the episodes.
The themes covered are
1- Rest, Remembrance and Renewal.
They are 30 mins each- then we have a time of prayer afterwards.
Next week a few of us are going to a House of David presentation. They are a family who had a ministry to Russian Jews.
We will join with another prayer group-Friends of Israel- to celebrate Hannukah. It will be an appetizer and dessert evening.
After lighting the Hannukah candles and reading the Scriptures- there will be 4 or 5 people sharing at intervals about their recent visits to Israel.
A few of us were there for the Feast of Tabernacles- a local family and a lady from our parish volunteered with Hayovel- who help the Israeli farmers bring in the harvest of the grapes and olives. Very symbolic. Another group went on a prayer pilgrimage around Israel. So it should be an informative evening.
From the St. Edith Stein Havurah in St. Louis, Missouri
Thanks to Linus Pottebaum, we have added the Evening and Night Prayers from the Liturgy of the Hours. This has added a beautiful dimension to our havurah meetings.
We met on November 14 at 6 PM and began with Shabbat candle lighting and prayers over challah. This was followed by our potluck dinner. Evening Prayer took place at 7 PM, followed by our ongoing study of Brant Pitre’s Jesus the Bridegroom, The Most Beautiful Love Story Ever Told. Shortly after 8:15, we took a break for dessert and coffee and then prayed Night Prayers, ending the evening at 9 PM.
Everyone seemed so captivated by the book that there were hardly any comments or questions along the way!
We normally meet on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month. For November and December, we decided to skip the second meeting because of the holidays.
Wishing you every blessing of Chanukah, Advent and Christmas,
In Yeshua, Miriam, and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross,
David and Kathleen Moss
From the St Joseph Fellowship in Toronto, Canada
Fall, 2014 Report Toronto, ON
As Mark & I anticipated the coming of the 2014-2015 season of meetings, we had to take into account some changes at our parish. In September, we had no Parish Hall to meet in!
We showed the wonderful video, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist with Brant Pitre. To our delight, the cozy atmosphere of the smaller room we were given lent itself perfectly to the film. It was a very moving and informative experience and we high-ly recommend Brant’s DVD.
In October we were back in our familiar surroundings. Mark gave a wonderful presenta-tion entitled, “Everyone needs a Jewish Mother!” Following Mark’s PowerPoint, we showed Steve Ray’s film, Mary, Mother of God. This film helps put Mary back into her Jewish context.
November brought another special evening. A friend of ours, a PhD candidate in New Testament, brought us a talk on The Synagogue in the Time of Jesus and the First Century. Jordan showed us pictures of the archeological evidence recently unearthed of the actual synagogues in Israel of that era. He also gave us detailed descriptions of a dig he had been on in the land. Seeing the layout of the spaces helped us envision where Jesus and his disciples would have sat, opposite those who would freely debate with them on matters of law and scripture.
To end the year, we will be having a Hanukkah evening. Mark will discuss the question, “If there had not been a Hanukkah, would there have been a Christmas?” Dreydles, Hanukkah gelt, donuts and maybe even latkes will round out the evening.
Our plans for 2015 include another talk on the Jewish Roots of the mass, two on Messiah in the book of Revelation, and one on the prayers of St. Edith Stein. We have a well known journalist and author, Michael Coren, coming to speak about his new book on the persecution and suffering of Christians in the world. Finally, we hope to show the film, The Jewish Cardinal at our June movie night. This is an inspiring movie about the late Cardinal Lustiger of Paris, a child of Jewish parents, whose mother died in the holocaust.
Mark continues to receive invitations from churches to share the Jewish roots of the faith. During the war in Gaza, there seemed to be a renewed interest in Israel and the need to support and pray for her and the Jewish people.
We are looking forward to some very special guest speakers in the new year. But I will save that for our next report. We are still trying to raise funds for a new computer to replace our faithful nine year old one!
As always, we appreciate your prayers and input. We can be reached at email@example.com and we would love to hear from you.
May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you.
In Yeshua our Messiah and Miriam our mother,
Sue and Mark Neugebauer
Havurat Yosef HaTzaddik
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS NEWSLETTER.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!