November/December 2012 – A Rabbi You Should Know More About: Rabbi Akiva ben Joseph (ca. 40-137 CE)
Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue Newsletter
Volume 29, Number 2 November/December 2012 Cheshvan/Kislev 5773
**KA “Pasta Idol Talent Show” and Fundraiser Dinner, Nov.3
**Kids Hebrew School begins Dec.3
**KA Israel Study and Humanitarian Trip, June 23-July 4, 2013
A Rabbi You Should Know More About:
Rabbi Akiva ben Joseph (ca. 40-137 CE)
By Dr. Beth Reid (KA member)
Are you struggling with Hebrew as an adult and wondering if it is worth it? Don’t give up! Rabbi Akiva was an illiterate shepherd who didn’t learn to read until he was 40! But he studied and went on to become a major contributor to the Mishnah and an authority on Jewish tradition. He is referred to in the Talmud as “Rosh le-Chachamim”(Head of all the Sages). Akiva came from a humble background and probably was a servant on someone else’s farm until he got married. He began life as a shepherd whose family was too poor for him to study or even get married. But a young woman from a wealthy family, Rachel, married him and supported him while he learned to read and later studied Torah. He never forgot his humble background and championed the common people in his rabbinic decisions. He had many disciples who studied under him. His favorite saying was: “Whatever God does He does for the best.”
In discussions of the Torah, Akiva developed his own style of logic, taking a seemingly minor aspect of a verse or even a word’s numeric value, using this to put forth his side of the discussion. Other rabbis were astounded and often confounded by this. Even when he was still a student, Akiva sometimes made a winning point, gaining him respect among scholars and teachers of the academy. Still, with all this, he remained modest.
There was a long-standing division of opinion between the patricians and plebians in the Land and among the rabbis. The wealthy patricians included land-owners of large estates and the priests, the Shammaitic wing, whose interests sometimes conflicted with those of the lower class small farmers, nomadic herdsmen and shopkeepers, the Hillelite wing. The policy was that both groups would be represented, one by the Nasi (roughly speaking, the president) and the other by the Bet Ha Din (vice president). Remembering his roots, Akiva always argued in favor of the poor and lower classes. He is best known for systematizing the Halakah, the material about religious practice. In Akiva’s time this information was difficult to study or use because there was no organization to it. So Akiva set himself the task of logically arranging the Mishnah (the oral traditions), the Midrash (explanation of the Halakot) and the Halakot.
Around 110-112 CE the Roman Emperor Trajan made an edict that the Jews could rebuild their temple in Jerusalem (it had been destroyed in 70 CE). The edict was vaguely worded but it gave rise to much hope among the Jews and the feeling that a Messianic Age was about to begin. It also may have caused Akiva to later endorse the rebel leader Simon Bar Kosiva as Messiah, whom he renamed Bar Kochba (son of a star), saying, “A star has broken out from Jacob” (cf. Numbers 24:17). This was Akiva’s one black mark on an otherwise unblemished career. In kindness, it should be pointed out that Akiva was 92 when the rebellion broke out and his faculties seemed to be failing him; he had reversed himself on a few of his decisions, something which he had never done before.
Before the Jews could begin rebuilding the Temple, Trajan died and Hadrian took his place as Emperor. Hadrian visited Jerusalem in 130 CE and let it be known that he planned to build a temple, but not to God. His plan was for a temple to himself and Jupiter on the exact place of the Jewish Temple ruins. This, among other things, provoked the Second Jewish Revolt leading to the banning of Jews from Jerusalem among other punishments. Because the Messianic Jews recognized Yeshua as Messiah, they did not participate, finally separating them from Judaism in the eyes of the rebels. Akiva refused to obey the Roman edict which forbade the study and teaching of Torah. He was arrested and tortured by being skinned alive. He preached and quoted scripture during the process, impressing his Roman torturers. He died with the Shema on his lips. Despite the fact that Messianic Jews disagree with Akiva’s conclusions concerning Yeshua as Messiah, we can give him due respect as a late-blooming scholar and martyr for the Jewish cause. He is certainly a rabbi who made a great impact at a crucial time of the history of our people in the Land. While the failed Bar Kochba revolt has proven that Akiva’s choice could not be the messiah, many are taking another look at a captivating rabbi from Galilee.
Historical Source: Finkelstein, Louis. Akiva: Scholar, Saint and Martyr. New York: Atheneum, 1970.
November 3, Saturday, 6pm. KA Anniversary Celebration!
We have a very special evening planned as we celebrate 31 years of our messianic synagogue. Pasta Taste-testing Dinner from your home-made recipes plus entertaining show: “KA Pasta Idol Talent Competition”. Tickets $25 per person, $10 for kids 12 and under. At the KA Social Hall with proceeds going to some synagogue building projects. Pick up your tickets at the shul or call our office. Go to our website and click on Pasta blog for some funny commercials! Invite all friends who appreciate our ministry in the Jewish community.
November 22, Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), 8:15am. United Run/Walk For The Hungry. A group of KAniks are walking the 5K event and raising support for
the SD Food Bank as well as Jewish Family Service. A great way to help out the needy on this day of thanks. If you would like to join our group contact the KA office or register individually at unitedrunforthehungry.org.
November 24, Saturday, 10:30am. Bnai Mitzvah for the Lazar family. Join us for this special time as 13-year old Joe is called to the Torah as well as participating parents James and Jennifer. Oneg luncheon to follow.
December 1, Saturday, 9:00-10:am. Kid’s Hebrew School Begins. We start a new 15-week semester for all kids 10-13 years old who desire to have a KA
Bar/Bat Mitzvah. There is a fee plus other requirements. Talk to Rabbi Kasdan for more details.
December 15, Saturday, 10:30am. KA Hanukkah Service. Come out for this special Shabbat celebration as we recall the miracles of the season.
June 23-July 4, 2013: KA Israel Study and Humanitarian Trip. Join us for our next mission to Israel led by Rabbi Kasdan. One week study tour followed by a 3-day Mitzvah Project of renovating a bomb shelter at an Israeli apartment complex. This is part of a larger trip with our denomination (Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, UMJC) including many other believers from around the world. Get you deposit in for the unique trip! More info at umjc.org or talk to Rabbi Kasdan. Next year in Jerusalem!
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 “Zechariah—God Remembers” which is a chapter by chapter study of this amazing prophet from the Tenakh.
Children Shabbat School: Our children join us for the first part of the service, then break for different classes. Classes for ages 4 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!
Tuesday Minyan and Messianic Jewish Institute of San Diego: Corporate prayer from 6:30-7:00 as we lift up Israel and the needs of our synagogue. Class from 7:00-9:00pm. Current Course: “Introduction to Talmud”. This 6-week course will be taught onsite locally and online internationally. Accredited course through the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI). $99 per student. 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 Bresheet/Genesis. A great way to learn the foundations of our faith! There is also a Spanish Torah Study at this same time. Contact Gabe Pacheco 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.
Sisterhood: 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!
Messiah TV: Check out our TV outreach program as we share Mashiach and the Jewish background of the New Covenant faith in Yeshua. Seen cross-country! Check your local cable listings and spread the word.
Barney Kasdan, Rome Remigio, Frank Rosas Luis Garabay, Patty Kolb, Tovik Liberman, Bob Haas, Ron Wallace
Audio: Gabe Pacheco
Dance: Sue Rubin
International: Eddie & Yrena Niewald Music: Eric & Joanne Kragenbrink
Office: Jan Folb
Prayer: Patty Kolb
Singles: Bob and Jeannette Haas
Translation: Paty Garibay
Ushers: Tony Savavese
Youth/Education: Michael & Jeannie Stinton Rabbinic Intern: Yisrael Vazquez
Havurot/Small Groups (connect with the community!)
Del Cerro, Tony & Joan Savarese, 2nd & 4th Fri, 6:30 pm. Cover dish.
Encinitas, Michael & Jan Folb, 2nd & 4th Weds. 7:00 pm.
Carlsbad, Eddie & Yrena Niewald, 2nd & 4th Thurs. 7:00 pm.
Bay Park, Mike and Sylvia Ferson, every Thurs. 10 am.
Oceanside, Frank and Marianne Rosas, every Fri, 6:30 pm. Shabbat dinner.
Yachad (Singles Fellowship), Bob & Jeannette Haas, Various events planned.
Espanol, Luciano Rivera, Shabbat 4pm-sunset at KA upstairs. Potluck Havdalah.
Tijuana, Yisrael and Aviva Vazquez, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Thurs plus last Friday 7pm plus 3rd Saturday, 9am.
Sisterhood, monthly meeting.
Carlsbad (women), every Tuesday, 10am.
Men’s Club, Rome Remigio every Wed, 5:00 am or 2nd and 4th Mondays at KA 7pm.
Contact the KA office for more details and contact information.
If you would like to send a special love gift donation for our work within the Jewish community, please send it to:
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)
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