Beth Yeshua is a Jewish Messiah confessing congregation, located in Amsterdam where weekly services are held, in addition to all Jewish festivals. The congregation is nationally oriented, with departments spread across the Netherlands.
Beth Yeshua is now more than 27 years old. Lion Erwteman is the son of two Jewish parents and was born in Eindhoven in 1949. Lion and his wife Elze graduated in biology. After the completion of a second doctoral study, in theology, Talmud and Torah in America – where Lion Erwteman was officially ordained by the laying on of hands by rabbis – Lion and Elze Erwteman founded the congregation in Amsterdam. They lead the congregation with various teams.
The congregation has public weekly services, celebrations of all Jewish holidays, Jewish education, fun activities, interesting lectures, courses, youth work, education, social-pastoral and financial care.
Beth Yeshua works together and is closely associated with a large religious ordaining organisation in America, and with leaders of congregations in the Netherlands and with Jewish Messianic congregations in Israel, especially the congrregation of Netivyah (Roeh Israel), led by Joseph Shulam and Yuda Bachana (son-in-law of Lion and Elze Erwteman).
Thoughts on Tzohar Rabbis
In Israel the amount of rabbis desiring to have Judaism growing back to its original is growing. With areas like conversion, divorce, women dancing with a sefer Torah and much more, they are actively involved. The grip of established orthodox Judaism in Israel makes people unhappy and treats them regularly unjustly. Conversions will not be acknowledged if they do not proceed exactly as a small group of rabbis prescribes. Men are able to marry a next wife while they grant their former wife not a proper divorce, get. The ex-husband continues living happily while his ‘former’ wife lives in ritual imprisonment. And when she is in the process of receiving her get, and she does or says something wrong, she will be rejected and will not receive her get after all.
Dancing and speaking are strictly forbidden for women in many synagogues. A group orthodox rabbis desiring renewal, better said restoration of the original, united themselves into the Tzohar Rabbis, Rabbane Tzohar. It takes much courage and persistence for them to execute their ambitions. Look e.g. at the arson in their synagoge in Tel Aviv. It also takes a lot of courage for Messianic Jews in Israel to experience their faith in their synagogues. Counteraction and resistance, dismissal and physical violence happen more often than freedom of religion should guarantee.
In our congregation Beth Yeshua it has been decided collectively to allow women to dance with the sefer Torah. It takes courage for this is not acceptable in established Judaism. Resistance against this kind of dancing takes much less effort and courage than allowing it. Also resisting women to read from the Torah takes much les courage. This article is a call for realizing what is going on in the world regarding the participation of women in services in synagogues. The Tzohar Rabbis admit they could not find any argument in Torah prohibiting this participation. So these courageous rabbis fight against the establishment which doesn’t like change which – to them – would diminish their power and control. From February women in Beth Yeshua in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, will be allowed to participate in the procession with the sefer Torah on Shabbat. The Rabbane Tzohar have no argument against it, and neither do the elders of Beth Yeshua in Amsterdam.
Orthodox rabbi calls Yeshua his Rabbi
It is also exciting to see how people in Israel begin to see who Messiah is. Shalom Riskin for example, orthodox chief rabbi in Efrat, calls Yeshua His Rabbi. He needs much courage for it. realize how much courage it takes to start a new habit in your congregation. The Spirit of the Lord continues His renewal, as Isaiah 43:18-19 reads, ‘Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’ We belong to the courageous believers who notice His regeneration and apply it.
What is a Jewish Messianic congregation?
A Jewish Messianic congregation? That is a congregation existing of Jewish disciples of Yeshua. It provides space where Jews find their spiritual home when they get to know Messiah. A congregation also with open doors to non-Jews who want to connect wholeheartedly. A Jewish congregation where grace and truth form the ancient foundations of faith, besides Torah and Messiah, Jewish liturgical prayers, songs, dance, Torah readings from the scroll and readings from the Prophets in Hebrew as well as readings from the New Testament. Rules as well as respect for opinions and thoughts, all that and more.
Why a Jewish Messianic congregation?
From the exodus out of Egypt Jews have expressed their faith together with non-Jews and shared their lives. A mixed multitude travelled with Israel, towards freedom. Later on the Temple would become a House of Prayer for all peoples, read Isaiah 56. Where Jews and non-Jews celebrate Shabbat and bring their sacrifices. So there is the Jewish basis of expression of faith, next to personal experience of faith. The parable of the Olive Tree in the New Testament (Romans 11) shows that same Jewish basis.
Beth Yeshua (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Beth Yeshua is a Jewish Messianic congregation, established by Lion and Elze Erwteman – see picture – on Sukkot (Feast of Booths) in 1991. The congregtion is located in 21st century Amsterdam. In Beth Yeshua Jewish faith is being expressed like it has been done in 1st century Jerusalem and other cities and villages in Israel by Jews and non-Jews. Already they understood that it is possible to be Jewish and to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah. Beth Yeshua: a Jewish Messianic congregation with an open door.