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July/August 2011 – B’Midbar – Communities of Purpose, Movement, and Cooperation Numbers 1:1-4:20

Nu? News
Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue Newsletter
Volume 27, Number 6           July/August 2011              Tammuz/Av  5771 
  • ·       Messianic Minyan – July 24
  • ·       Free Beginning Hebrew Class – July 19 & 26
  • ·       KA 30th Anniversary Luau – August 28

B’Midbar – Communities of Purpose, Movement, and Cooperation Numbers 1:1-4:20

by Aaron Kasdan, ministry intern at Sha’arei Shalom, Cary, North Carolina
Ma tovu ohalecha Ya’akov, mishkenotecha Yisrael.
According to the rhythm of traditional Jewish prayer, these well-worn words are the first spoken upon entering the synagogue. Although we use them metaphorically to speak of the space we occupy as a community for prayer and learning, Balaam’s impetus for this proclamation was the actual physical dwelling of Israel in the desert, the organization of its tents and standards. It is the Lord’s organization for the Israelite camp that we find in this week’s parasha.
We can learn many things from God’s instructions for Israel’s encampment, especially regarding the organization of our own “tents”.
It’s about purpose.
They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side. (B’Midbar 2:2)
The encampment was evidently centered on the Mishkan. Although this is a logistic detail, the layout of the camp made it clear what the central focus of the community was, what was most important for the community to preserve and accomplish, and what was most connected to their identity. Naturally, the structure of the community must reflect and represent the community’s purpose.  In our own communities, we also must organize around our central purpose. What is God’s central purpose for our community? Let us discern this and put this first. How many communities and organizations find themselves with well-intentioned vision statements that do little more than occupy a frame on a shelf? If we are seeking to be communities of substance and impact, our activities and initiatives must actualize the purpose we espouse. It is honoring to God to have well-structured communities that treat their organization as a matter of importance in accomplishing his work.  In other words, we must take God’s purpose for our community seriously. What is he calling us to accomplish as a community? If we cannot answer this question we cannot do much else effectively. It is a crucial first step to discover this purpose. Next, our community must be organized in a way to accomplish this purpose. The next two principles expand on this.
It’s about movement.
Then the tent of meeting shall set out, with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp; as they camp, so shall they set out, each in position, standard by standard. (2:17)
The camp was organized with preparedness to move in mind. The layout was conducive to moving toward the community’s central purpose, toward taking their community closer to what God had promised. There was a communal preparedness to follow the leading of the Lord at his direction and timing. They were to be a moving community and a community of movers.
We too are called to be moving communities. There is nothing static about a body, just as the Body of Messiah is to grow; there is nothing haphazard about a military campaign, just as the good news is to advance through us. “We have not been called to hold the fort, but to storm the heights.” (The Master Plan of Evangelism, Coleman)
This must be experienced on a communal level. Is our community moving forward? We can view added activity as healthy movement, but often this amounts to little more than moving things around rather than moving forward, adjusting man-hours and resources rather than applying them. We mistake additive change for transformative change, adding programs and activities without moving our community toward its purpose (Sacred Strategies: Transforming Synagogues from Functional to Visionary, Aron et al.). We must examine the activities we undertake in light of our central purpose, evaluating whether or not they are serving to accomplish it. Do we see our central purpose more clearly and find ourselves closer to it by doing this activity? Are we moving forward or just moving things around?
We must also see this on an individual level. Are people growing through their involvement in our community? Are people moving closer to the central purpose of the community and the purpose God has for them? In addition to building a moving community, we should be fostering a community of movers. This is made evident by our last point.
It’s about cooperation.
Thus did the people of Israel. According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so they camped by their standards, and so they set out, each one in his clan, according to his father’s house. (2:34)
The organization of the camp involved everyone. Every tribe, clan, and family was listed and enlisted. Each had their part to play in moving the community forward. The movement of the community was the responsibility of every individual.
This is true for us as well. There is not one of us that can accomplish all that there is to accomplish on this earth for Messiah. To focus solely on accomplishing your personal work without consideration of God’s part for others is to accept a shrunken vision of God’s Kingdom. We need one another. We won’t move very far on our own.
If we pause for a moment to consider the obscurity of a body made entirely out of eyes we might better understand our need for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:14-20) This also affects the organization of our communities. Are our activities partnering to move the community toward its purpose? Is this evident to those involved? Often different opportunities to engage with communal life compete with each another for attention, funds and participation. It is not enough to have a motivating central purpose, or even to structure our communities to move toward it. Individuals must also know how their contribution, whatever form it takes, moves the community forward and toward its central purpose. The goal must be in view, uncovered beneath every activity and aspect of community life, discovered in the mundane and magnificent. Movement must be the language of leadership. Leadership can be defined as “moving people on to God’s agenda” (Spiritual Leadership, Blackaby).
Can we connect and verbalize how each activity within our communities moves us closer to our central purpose? –
If we seek to build communities of purpose, movement and cooperation, we will certainly find ourselves, our communities, and our efforts more engaging and effective. May our “tents” be a blessing and force for Messiah’s Kingdom!
Upcoming Events
June 26-July 12, 2011. Israel Study/Mitzvah Tour,  Pray for Rabbi Kasdan and Rebbitzen Liz as they lead an amazing study tour of the Land to the key historical sites.  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.
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
July 24, Sunday, 9am-10:30am.  Messianic Minyan.  Bring your own  siddur  and tefillin for this creative prayer group.  All invited (men, women, older kids) and a bagel nosh following.   Meeting at KA upstairs.
July 29, 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!
July 30, Saturday, 1pm.  KA Congregational Meeting.  Please plan on attending as we elect our new Board of Directors and review the activities of the synagogue.  KA Youth hosting a luncheon with proceeds going to their ministry.
August 2, Tuesday, 7pm.  KA at Petco Park.   Take us out to the ball game
August 7, Sunday, 11am-5pm.  Messianic Community Picnic at DeAnza Cove on Mission Bay.  Join us for this annual get together with Tree of Life Congregation and other believers in Yeshua.  Dance, music, volleyball and bring your lunch for this great time of mishpachah!
August 13, Saturday, 10:30am.  Bar Mitzvah of Evan Stele.  Come to this beautiful Shabbat service as Evan is called to the Torah.
August 28, Sunday, noon-5pm.  KA 30th Anniversary Luau Celebration!   We have a very special afternoon planned as we celebrate 30 years of our messianic synagogue.  Luau with Hawaiian theme.  Luncheon, dance (both Israeli and Hawaiian) and a great program as we mark this great milestone.  Tickets $10 per person, $5 for kids under 12.  At Playa Pacifica on the east side of Mission Bay.  Pick up your tickets at the shul or call our office.  Invite all friends who appreciate our ministry.
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. Next class:  “Beginning Hebrew Using the Tanakh.”   This 3-week crash course taught by our Rabbi will give you the tools to read Hebrew in this short time!  July 19, 26 and August 2.  The MJISD classes can lead to a certificate of Messianic Jewish Studies.   Call our office for further 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 Bemidbar/Numbers.   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 Monday evening group (2nd and 4th at KA) 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.   Also a group meets every Wednesday 5am.  Contact Frank Rosas or 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
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Havurot/Small Groups (connect with the community!)
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 or 2nd and 4th Mondays 7pm.
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:
North Coast Church (Carlsbad campus), Monday, August 1. 7pm : “Messianic Prophecy”.
 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)