Ken and Flora Wilsker
Happy Advent and a Blessed Christmas to all our havurim!
We are trying to use our updated newsletter software. We hope you enjoy the new fancy schmancy format. We hope that as we get more proficient we can send out newsletters more often. We need your input as always so please be sending us your ideas, articles, letters, and experiences in your havurot and in your families. The work of the AHC and the havurot is in its infancy and we can all learn from each other. Todah (thanks) in advance.
Shalom ha Mashiach,
Ken and Flora Wilsker
The Purpose of our Havurot
In volume 5 we started to review the vision and purpose of the havurot. We want to be sure that all of the havurot around the world are sharing in the vision put forth by Fr. Friedman our founder and David Moss our current President.
By way of quick review this appeared in the last issue: David calls the Havurah a “work of hope”. Our founder Father Elias Friedman envisioned that the work of the AHC in general would foster the regermination of a Hebrew community within the Church. We also believe that the Havurot can be instrumental in developing a love and understanding for the Jewish people both in and outside the Church as God continues to draw all people to Himself. David envisioned the work of the havurot as a vehicle to help drive this vision.
We already reviewed that the havurot will provide a place where people can meet:
1. to develop an intimate, orthodox, spirit-filled community committed to mutual support and spiritual growth;
2. to pray together for the needs of the AHC, the People of Israel, and the Church.
In the last issue, we included some prayers that the Church has approved for use in different liturgies for the Jewish people. We also want to include an example of one of the closing prayers we use in the havurah here in Louisville. Feel free to use or modify this prayer format to fit your needs.
The Miriam, Our Lady of the Miracle Havurah Closing Prayer:
(Together) In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
(Together) Our Father:
(Together) Hail Mary:
(Together) Glory Be:
(Together) God of our Fathers: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the prayers and intercession of Miriam, our Blessed Mother we pray for the work of this Havurah and for all the Havurot around the world. We thank you for the work of the Association of Hebrew Catholics and this parish and we ask you to continue to bless our Pastor, our Priests, Deacons and Laity. We ask you to bless and protect us and our families as we go forth to do Your Will. We pray for the peace, protection, and conversion of the Jewish people and the Universal Church.
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem!
May they prosper who love you!
Peace be within your walls,
And security within your towers!
For my brethren and companions’ sake
I will say “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good. (Ps 122)
(Priest, Deacon, or Leader) Miriam, Our Lady of the Miracle: (All) Pray for us
(P, D, or L)St. Edith Stein: (All) Pray for us
(P, D, or L)St. Maximillian Kolbe:(All) Pray for us
(P, D, or L)St. Louis Bertrand: (All) Pray for us
(P, D, or L)St. Dominic: (All)Pray for us
(P, D, or L) Immaculate Heart of Mary: (All) Pray for us
(P, D, or L)Sacred Heart of Jesus: (All) Have mercy on us
(Blessing from Priest of Deacon for all)
(Together: Prayer over our Nosh)
Blessed art thou O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth and
Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord. AMEN
Next David continues:
1. “to study and discuss Fr. Friedman’s ideas, the work of the AHC, the totality of our Jewish heritage and its relationship to our Catholic faith, the Hebrew language, etc.”
As you will see in all of our havurot, we are studying the Jewish roots of Catholicism through books, booklets, videos, etc. We are studying the works of many current scholars, and it would be a good idea to study the work of Father Friedman. His book, Jewish Identity is out of print, but many of us found copies of this on Amazon. David Moss will be reprinting this book. You can download a copy at no cost on the AHC website:
We recommend that each of us that is involved in the havurot get a copy and read carefully. This book and Father Friedman’s ideas are the foundation for all we do in the AHC. Later when this book is reprinted and easier for us to get a copy, we can study this together in the havurot. This is also a perfect book to share with our Pastors and our Catholic friends.
2. “to attract people who will administer, support, and continue our work.”
As you can imagine the work of this apostolate is considerable. The headquarters is located in St. Louis, Missouri, USA where David and his wife Kathleen live and work. We have others like ourselves who volunteer our time and efforts as all of you do to continue and advance the work. We rely heavily as we should on the Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit). Along with people power, it is necessary to have the resources (money, gelt, shekels) to reprint books and to carry on the work to the next generation of Catholics and Jews. Please consider making a contribution of funds from each of our havurot to advance the work of the AHC, and ask yourselves what is God calling me or us to do for the advancement of this apostolate. From the havurot could come the successors of this movement. Be praying about how God can use ME!
In the next issue, we will complete this examination of the vision and purpose of the havurot. We welcome your comments and questions on this; please send to:
Mazel Tov! It’s a Boy
by Ken Wilsker
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is celebrated on January 1st, exactly 8 days after the Nativity of our Lord. In Jewish tradition, the 8th day is the Brit Milah (circumcision) for every baby boy. This was and is the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. So this would have been the day that our Lord would have been circumcised. In fact, this Feast of the Circumcision was celebrated for centuries by our Church before 1974.
In the early centuries of the Church, January 1st was a celebration of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but by the 13th and 14th centuries, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ had come to replace the Marian feast in many areas. By 1570, Pope Pius V expanded the Feast to the entire Roman Catholic Church. Then in 1914, the feast of the “Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary” was established in Portugal, occurring on October 11. In 1931 this feast was expanded to the entire Roman Catholic Church and stayed on October 11. Then after the Second Vatican Council in 1974, Pope Paul VI removed the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ from the liturgical calendar and replaced it with the Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
We who are of Hebrew origin understand very clearly that this day, January 1st, is still a celebration of both Motherhood and Mary’s baby boy. We love our Jewish Blessed Mother, Miriam, and love to celebrate her as “Theotokos”, the Mother of G-d. She is the quintessential Jewish Mother. Even though we no longer officially celebrate the Circumcision on January 1st, we are free to acknowledge that our Lord was circumcised on the 8th day after his birth. This 8th day for every Jewish family, then and even today, is a celebration of the birth of a son. It is also the day when the Jewish baby boy is formally given his name. It is a family celebration of the birth of a baby and is also a celebration of Motherhood and Parenthood.
In Catholic Christian tradition this Feast has deep theological significance, too. This is important because it is the first of seven times that our Messiah spilled his blood for all mankind:
1. The Circumcision
2. The Agony in the Garden
3. The Scourging at the Pillar
4. The Crowning with Thorns
5. The Via Crucis
6. The Crucifixion
7. The Piercing of His Side
It is also the time when our Lord received his name, Yeshua. I always wondered why more English speaking people do not question the name, Jesus. Our Lord’s Hebrew name has so much significance but is often lost in English translation. In Hebrew, Yeshua, means Savior or Yahweh our Savior. An Angel told Miriam that she will conceive and have a son, and she will name him Yeshua. Our Blessed Mother would have known instinctively what the Angel was really telling her. (Matt 2: 18-23). Similarly, Christ is not his last name but the Greek translation of His title, in Hebrew, Mashiach or Messiah. Messiah simply means the Anointed One. So in Hebrew, Yeshua haMashiach, Jesus the Messiah or Jesus the Christ!
Circumcision in Hebrew is “Brit Milah”, or in most Jewish families it is called a “Bris”. So the Bris of our Lord occurred on January 1st, the 8th day following his birth. This is still an important date to all Hebrew Catholics. This day in a Jewish family is full of joy and also some anxiety, for it is the day that the Mohel, or the Rabbi who is trained to do the ritual circumcision, comes to the home with a house full of people to perform the circumcision. This is a day that families, extended families, friends, and neighbors celebrate the birth of a baby boy and honor the new parents. In fact, the first thing all the visitors say to the new Mother and Father is “Mazel Tov”!
Of course, we are obedient to the Holy Father and celebrate the Feast of Miriam’s Motherhood, and Miriam always leads us to her son, in this case her (and “our”) baby boy. Along with the shedding of blood, our Lord also receives his name and lives among us. This is G-d becoming one of us.
So on January 1st we shout “Mazel Tov! It’s a boy, and His name is Yeshua and He is our Messiah!” Let us celebrate this Feast with renewed love and appreciation for Yeshua and Miriam and the Jewish roots of our Faith.
News from the Diaspora
Here is a collection of letters and updates that were sent to us from around the world! Thanks to all of you who keep in touch! We hope to hear from more of you next time.
Update from Miriam, Our Lady of the Miracle havurah in Louisville, KY USA
We have been meeting every month now since May of 2013. In November we completed the booklet, Judaism, from a Catholic Perspective by Roy Schoeman. We have enjoyed lively discussion of the topics. We also talked about Hanukkah and what the significance of this Feast is to all Catholics and Christians. We are planning to study Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Dr. Brant Pitre starting in December.
We have some exciting news to share: We are going to have a Seder presentation by Roy Schoeman at our Parish, St. Louis Bertrand in Louisville, KY on Saturday, March 22. All are welcome. We will be putting together a flyer very soon. The cost will be $5 per person and no more than $20 per family. There will be a full Seder dinner, and the Seder will be led by Roy Schoeman.
We will have more information for you all in the next newsletter. We hope that if you are close to Louisville, KY on March 22, you will be able to join us. We have room for over 200 people. Oy vey!
Update from Yeshua and Miriam Havurah, Belgium
Dear Ken and Flora,
Its a long time ago that I send you a mail.
The little havurah we have is still going on, once a month with two or three people.
I send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org of Andrew Sholl, to order three copies of Completed Jew, but the mail can not be deliver and come back, maybe you know where I can find this book.
Do you also have a good advice for other books I have to read because I feel the poorness of my knowledge about God’s plan with the Jews and the connection with Catholic faith.
There are so many books like those of Scott Hahn, I can’t choose.
I want a simple explanation of how the sacraments are integrated in the Old and New Testament, (because of my language). What I also like to know is how do Catholic Jews celebrate exact the Jewish feastdays. Is it in another way because of their Catholicism? Many questions I know but I don’t want give the wrong answers when someone ask me something about.
Thank you on advance and friendly regards, God bless you, Suzanne Leonard (Belgium)
(Ed. David Moss answered Suzanne’s email and “Completed Jew” is now available in our web store.)
Update from San Dismas Havurah, California
Here’s what we have to report from our “emerging” Havurah in Claremont, Southern California… While we still have not accomplished our “official ” status or a meeting place just yet, we continue to remain hopeful. This past September we participated as a Group in the LA Archdiocese Celebration of Cultures Mass, held on September 28th at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. It was an amazing and beautiful experience!
We processed in with all the other Nations.. carrying our “Hebrew” sign and my husband, Mark, wore his Tallit and kippah for the Liturgy. We were the “last” group in the great procession… but when we came down the aisle, the people on both sides were clapping, cheering and taking our photo. It was a truly humbling. I’m told we were the first Jewish or Hebrew representatives at this Liturgy– ever.
Attached for you is the event flyer, an Article, plus some photos… where you can barely make us out in the back carrying our pink sign.. ( where’s Waldo ??) You can see Mark in his Tallit on the left
we had a great time and look forward to doing it again next year.. hopefully with a larger representation…..
thanks Ken! — let me know if you have any Questions about this email or the event. for the High Holy days several of us did attend services together for the Erev Rosh Hashanah. Hanukkah is just around the corner! We are starting to form some great relationships… more to come soon! From Ann-Marie Longanecker, So California
Update from Light of Prayer Havurah, U.S.
Hi Ken and Flora,
Sorry this is late, but hope you can still get this in the newsletter.
We had a wonderful time at our last Havurah meeting. Since we have been blessed with having our own building to use for our meetings, we were able to have a Mass of dedication in the building this past Saturday. We thought it was very appropriate that it fit with Hanukkah and the dedication of the temple. We were also able to light the Hanukkah menorah and other candles for the Mass. After Mass we had refreshments of dried fruits and enjoyed the company. It was a beautiful day of celebration. We will continue our book study in January.
There were pictures taken of the Mass, but won’t get them till maybe next week. I will pass them along for maybe a future newsletter.
Blessings and Merry Christmas!
Light of Prayer Havurah
News from Miriam Mystical Rose Havurah:
Our group met on the 23rd to discuss the booklet, Judaism, by Roy Schoeman. As usual the conversation led back to the unavoidable truth of the panoramic viewpoint, that Judaism and Catholicism merge into one according to God’s plan.
Since we are pre-Hanukah, we celebrated with some jelly donuts, fruit, nuts, and coffee. We decided next to read together Honey From the Rock, and chapter-by-chapter wonder at the miraculous Divine Plan in each individual life while drawing from the accounts lessons for our own lives.
Thoughts from Miriam,the Joy of Israel Havurah – Burnt Hills, NY
Recently Joan and Arnold kindly reached out to all the Havurot by mailing small jars of honey for Rosh Hashanah. This act of kindness touched us and many others but as it turns out, Joan and Arnold also were blessed by the outcome. We have asked them to share their story:
We now have 6 members and 1 Ursuline Sister that prays for us and the Jewish people. It was very hard getting started for several reasons, one of which people finding a common time to come together. We give the word flexibility meaning! A dear friend of another Havurah said maybe we should think of ourselves as a missionary havurah! These people are daily communicants. I supply reading materials and we get to discuss them over the phone for the most part, Four of us are local, one is on the west coast and the other down state NY. They have set aside a special time during the week for these prayers and add their own personal touch and it works! Its different and unique but it works. Inspired by the AHC vision to bring people together, I decided for Rosh Hashanah to send a small gift of honey to any and all Havurah leaders that I was aware of. Out of the 16 that I sent out (8 were international) I heard from 12 people.
Inspired by Fr. Friedman’s note in the Novena to St Edith Stein, that all Hebrew Catholics should consider themselves survivors of the holocaust, I decided to try in my own small way to make a difference. I contacted the producer of the program “Miracles and Meals” featuring Joanne and Harvey Caras and made a business deal concerning their cookbook project. Their cookbooks will soon be available in the AHC webstore. All of the profits got to feed holocaust survivors as well as other poor people in Israel through Carmei Ha’ir. This beautiful Orthodox Jewish couple have nothing but love and kindness in their heart. Arnold and I have made wonderful friendships with various Jewish groups.
Last Saturday we were at Temple Sinai with Rabbi Jonathon and Rabbi Linda (his wife) who is also a scribe. We met them through a mutual friend in Saratoga Springs. Rabbi Jonathan is also a baker and runs the “Slice of Heaven Breads” ministry to help provide hunger relief and for the homebound. We also help with a fund raising project at Congregation Beth Shalom. We have been invited for Veterans Day celebrations with them and, in the past, Arnold was blessed by Rabbi Markowitz.
Through the Holocaust Survivors Museum in Washington, DC, we purchased beautiful survivor pins and donated them. This weekend we will be at Siena College for discussions on Jewish Christian relations, ending with the local Jewish Communities honoring Bishop Hubbard for his extraordinary love extended to them. We wish to thank God for the wonderful people He has put into our life: to Andrew Sholl and Father Friedman of blessed memory for inspiring us; to Joane and Harvey Caras, for helping us to remember the holocaust and the survivors; to Rabbi Linda and Rabbi Jonathan who showed us a practical and easy way to practice Tikkun Olam; to Flora and Ken for all their help and support; to all the Havurot with their unique charisms and friendships; and to David and Kathleen who are always there for us! We are truly blessed!
News from Mother Miriam
Dearest Ken and Flora and AHC Mishpocha,
The email below, it seems, was forwarded to me by Sue and Mark Neugebauer (thank you Sue and Mark!), but written by you, dear Ken and Flora?
In any case, I wanted you to know how excellent I think it is and how increasingly grateful I am for – and, surprised, I must say, by – our present Holy Father. How wonderful, and healing, are his words.
I read your Hanukkah article just now – and wanted you to know that the Holy Spirit, who exists outside of time 🙂 – (i.e., our articles are a year apart!) lead me also, I believe (through the reading at Holy Mass this past August) to the story of the Maccabees and their heroic sacrifices as applicable to us in the present darkness and increasing evil of our day.
I was struck particularly deeply by the story of the mother and seven sons in 2 Maccabees 7 – and have made that the theme of this year’s Christmas newsletter (which I’m writing from France! and which will soon be on its way to the printer).
I give thanks for you all. There is no “Thanksgiving” holiday in France, but we were able to share with the sisters here its meaning last night. How very much we have to be thankful for, that in the midst of an unbelieving world, we have been given the gift of faith, and grace upon grace to love Him, to serve Him, and to spread His name through all the earth – to the Jew first and also to the Greek!
I wish you all a most blessed Hanukkah, Advent, and Christmas – in Him who indeed is the Light of the world and our very Life.
Our love and prayers,
Mother Miriam, of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.
Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope
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