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May-June 2011 – The Living Waters of the Mikveh

Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue Newsletter
Volume 27, Number 5                       May-June  2011                     Iyar-Sivan  5771


*Shavuot Service – June 7, 7:30pm

*Shabbat at La Jolla Shores – June 24, 5pm

*Israel Study and Mitzvah Tour – June 26- July 12  (2 seats still available!)




The Living Waters of the Mikveh       by Rabbi Barney Kasdan


Most of us Messianic Jews have had to overcome many barriers to arrive at our personal faith in Yeshua as the Messiah.  One such example was probably the perception of baptism which often has been considered a sign of a Jew’s “conversion” to the church world.  Even the Greek term sounds so foreign to the Jewish ear.  Yet, like so many New Testament customs, baptism is thoroughly Jewish in its roots.  The term “baptidzo” is a direct translation of the Hebrew term “tevilah” meaning “to dip or immerse.”  In this original context we can understand that there are many different types of immersions in traditional Judaism.  These immersions have normally taken place in the special pool called the “mikveh” meaning a collection of waters.  According to rabbinic tradition, a kosher mikveh must contain enough water for full bodily immersion (about 120 gallons) and this water must be “living waters”; that is, fresh water that comes from a natural source and not piped.  There is considerable debate about what percentage of the mikveh must contain the living waters.  Many authorities agree that a swimming pool is an acceptable mikveh when there is no other specially designated place.  Likewise, a river or ocean can serve as a natural place for such immersion.  In the Torah, there were various occasions that called for a mikveh ceremony such as when there were healings, a childbirth or preparation for priestly service(cf. Leviticus 12-16).  In the laws of family purity, a married woman must go through a sexual separation (Nidah) during her monthly period until the time where she takes a mikveh to symbolize her ritual cleansing (cf. Leviticus 15:19-24).    It is interesting to note that in rabbinic opinion, another case for mikveh is for a Gentile convert to symbolize their true repentance.  Of course, many of the biblical cases cannot apply to modern society as there is no functioning Temple or priesthood.  Still, the tradition of mikveh is followed in religious communities for the purposes of Nidah, Gentile conversion and to some extent to prepare for the holy days.

Despite all of these external details, one should not miss the spiritual picture which mikveh illustrates.  As one modern Jewish commentator put it;


“One interpretation of the mikveh relates it to an experience of death and resurrection, and also to the re-entry into the womb and reemergence.  Immersing fully, you are like the fetus in the womb, and when you come up out of the mikveh you are as reborn” (Yitzak Buxbaum, Jewish Spiritual Practices, p.569).


This, of course, is reminiscent of a conversation Yeshua had with a rabbi in his day (Yochanan/John 3).  Although Nicodemus had some difficulty grasping the larger picture, Yeshua emphasized the need for a spiritual mikveh through the Holy Spirit.  In this sense, the New Testament mikveh immersion in Yeshua’s name is the perfect Jewish picture of what God has done in our hearts as Jews and Gentiles who have embraced the Messiah.  Have you experienced the living waters of the Messianic mikveh?  It is not so foreign after all.


Upcoming Events

May 7, Saturday, 10:30am.  KA Yom HaShoah Service.  We will remember the important lessons of the Holocaust and have a special candle lighting ceremony.  Special speaker Rabbinic Intern Mark Rantz will share a message from his Master’s thesis on the Shoah.

May 15, Sunday, 11am-4pm.  SD Community Celebration of Israel’s 63rdBirthday.  Join thousands from the Jewish community as we rejoice in Yom HaAtzmaut on Mission Bay at Ski Beach.  Food, music, dance and a walk for Israel at his free event.  Am Yisrael Chai!

June 7, Tuesday, 7:30pm.  KA Shavuot Service.  Come out for this joyous celebration of the giving of the Torah plus the giving of the Ruach/Holy Spirit.  There will be lots of music and dance as well as important liturgy for the holy day.  All this followed by our Mt. Sinai Ice Social to celebrate the “milk of the Word.”  Invite a friend!

June 22, Wednesday, 1:00-2:30pm.  KA Music and Dance Teams at SD County Fair.  Zemer Yeshua and Nagila B’ariel will give a special program in this open air event.  Bring the family and invite your friends to this great outreach event!

June 24, Friday, 5pm- Sunset.  Shabbat at the Shores.  Welcome in the summer season with this great sunset service at La Jolla Shores on the grassy area by the main lifeguard tower.  Bring your dinner, a chair or blanket as we celebrate Shabbat together at this beautiful location.  Bring your surfboard for a 4pm surf session with the Rabbi at the checkered flag!

Israel Study/Mitzvah Tour,  June 26-July 12, 2011. Rabbi Kasdan and Rebbitzen Liz will be leading an amazing study tour of the Land to the key historical sites and enjoying modern Israel.  This will be followed by an opportunity to bless many families of Israelis by doing some remodel work at a needy apartment building bomb shelter.  Contact Rabbi for more information and pray about this opportunity for your own life.  This year Jerusalem!

July 13-17.  UMJC International Conference in Dallas, Texas.  Join hundreds of messianic believers from around the globe for this annual gathering.  Special concerts, workshops and fellowship with the mishpacah.  Conference details and hotel information at


Weekly Services
Shabbat Morning Services: at 3219 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., in Clairemont, Saturday, 10:30am. Join us for this uplifting time of worship, fellowship and study. Our current sermon series is “I Peter—The Jewish Walk With Messiah” which is an detailed study of this New Covenant letter written to the early Jewish believers in Yeshua.

Children Shabbat School: Our children join us for the first part of the service, then break for different classes. Classes for ages 2 through High School which include a Bible lesson plus background on Jewish studies and Hebrew.

Dance Ministry: Beginning Dance workshop is held every Shabbat, 10:00-10:25am in the upstairs classroom area. All welcome to learn!

Midweek Minyan and Messianic Jewish Institute of San Diego:   Corporate prayer from 6:30-7:00 on Tuesday. From 7:00-8:30 current 12-week class:  “Understanding and Celebrating the Jewish Customs” which is an in-depth study of our rich heritage.  The MJISD classes can lead to a certificate of Messianic Jewish Studies.   $60 fee for this class taught by Rabbi Kasdan.  Call for information.

“A Taste of Torah” Classes: Saturday 9:00-10:00am. This survey of the Torah class will take you through the Parsha in one year. Currently in Vayikra/Leviticus.   A great way to learn the foundations of our faith!  There is also a Spanish Torah Study at this same time.  Contact Rabbinic Intern Mark Rantz or Luciano Rivera for info.

Men’s Club
All men are invited to this group for connecting, dialogue and encouragement on vital issues that we deal with today.  Always some good discussion and study along with service projects for men to be involved with.   Contact Rome Remigio for more information at 858-243-3126.

This dynamic group of women meets monthly for study, friendship and service.   Call the KA office for the latest info on the next luncheon and meeting.  All women are welcome!

KA Zekeynim/Elders                                   Board of Directors
Barney Kasdan, Rome Remigio, Frank Rosas                 Mark Rantz, Valerie Cooper, Rome Remigio, Anna Martin, Gabe Pacheco

Luis Garibay                                                                    Paty Garibay
Donna Jacobson                                                           Murray Jacobson
Eric Kragenbrink                                                               Mark Rantz
Joanne Kragenbrink                                                     Debbie Remigio
Joan Savarese                                                               Tony Savarese
Jeannie Stinton                                                               Michael Stinton

Audio: Gabe Pacheco                                                  CD Duplication: David Stephens
Dance: Diana Martin                                                     Facilities: Jim Scarborough
Music: Eric & Joanne Kragenbrink
Office: Jan Folb                                                 Oneg: Maria Montelongo
Resource Center: Alice Hoover
Singles: Bob and Jeannette Haas
Translation: Paty Garibay                                                         Ushers: Elisabeth Sant’ana
Website: Mark Rantz                                                 Youth/Education: Michael & Jeannie Stinton

Nu? News is published bi-monthly by Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue. We welcome your testimonies, poems, humor (no kvetches) or any creative submissions. Please email

Havurot/Small Groups
Del Cerro, Tony & Joan Savarese, 619-501-7778, every Fri, 6:30 pm. Cover dish.
Escondido, Mark & Kathy Rantz, 760-294-9619, 1st & 3rd Fri, 6:30 pm.
Men’s Club, Rome Remigio 858-243-3126, every Wed, 5:00 am.
Encinitas, Michael & Jan Folb, 760-436-8828, 2nd & 4th Weds. 7:00 pm.
Carlsbad, Yrena Friedmann 760-931-1298, 1st & 3rd Thurs. 7:00 pm.
Bay Park, Mike and Sylvia Ferson  619-276-9321, every Thurs. 10 am.
Yachad (Singles Fellowship), Bob & Jeannette Haas,   415-370-8449.  Various events planned.
Espanol, Luciano Rivera, 619-475-0430.  Shabbat 4pm-sunset at KA upstairs.  Potluck Havdalah.
Sisterhood, contact the KA office for details about the next monthly meeting.

Upcoming Speaking Engagements of Rabbi Barney Kasdan:
June 24, Friday, 10am.  Luncheon at North Coast Church in Vista including Nagilah B’Ariel (dance ministry).

If you would like to send a special love gift donation for our work within the Jewish community, please send it to:

Kehilat Ariel
P.O. Box 178755
San Diego, CA 92177

Thank you! And may God return a special blessing to you as you bless our people! (Genesis 12:3)