God is so good – “all the time.” We believe we are blessed because we bless our people. In the year 2021, as of the date of this newsletter, Tikvat has given $40,000.00 dollars to Messianic ministries all over the world!!! Baruch Hashem! Additionally, many of you donated non-perishable food items that our Cleveland Joseph Project has supplied much needed food and hygiene supplies to the JFSA Kosher Food Pantry. Together – we have been tremendously generous even during these uncertain times of inflation and global Pandemic. Tikvat has continued to minister to many families, we have seen more than one family in our congregation have new babies and many others stepped up to provide meals for these young families. Despite, a drop in physical attendance, online Livestream and financial support has grown in 2021. More people are participating online, through Tuesday evening Zoom prayer meetings, online Zoom bible studies and weekly Shabbat Service Livestream. Tikvat’s office has been contacted by families around the world who tell us that our ministry is changing their lives. Rabbi Eric has also taught online classes this year, and we plan to continue this in 2022.
The leadership at Tikvat started a new weekly prayer meeting on Shabbat mornings from 10 a.m. to 10:30 (just before Shabbat service starts), to devote ourselves to praying for the specific needs of the ministry. We want to see a greater impact and harvest of souls in 2022 – we are NOT going to allow fear or any economic or crisis stop of from building the Kingdom. Everyone is invited to come pray with us for this before each service. One area that we are devoting ourselves to prayer is specifically for the next generation of our children and grandchildren. We are all in a battle for the hearts and minds of our children as society has grown spiritually darker. As our Messiah said,
“You will be hated by all the nations because of My name. And then many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one other. Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Mt 24:9–14).
If we fail to reach our children while they are young, if we do not lay the foundation of faith when they are little, the future of our Messianic Jewish movement will suffer, and so will they. The good news is, according to a 2020 Pew Research report: “Teens are about as likely to say they go to religious services mainly because their parents want them to (38%) as to say they go mainly because they themselves want to go (35%).” (PEW REPORT) While this percentage is not high, it does mean the situation is not hopeless. Parents still have extraordinary influence on their kids even in the teenage years. However, it does not mean that it is easy. It takes commitment by parents and grandparents, sometimes to even to exercise authority when it comes to matters of faith, worship, and prayer together in the home, as well as in the community. In an age where we find ourselves increasing isolated from each other – NOW, MORE THAN EVER – WE NEED TO CULTIVATE COMMUNITY – (a community of Messianic Faith). We need to reach the next generation before it is too late. We have seen some of Tikvat’s teens leave the faith, some temporarily and come back eventually. Others sadly, have led and are now leading exceedingly difficult and painful lives due to poor choices, and the lack of relationship with God. We always pray for them and their families. If you have children, or if your children are grown, but you have grandchildren, we implore you to act. How?...(continue below)...
#1 – PRAY FOR THEM!
#2 – JOIN A PRAYER TEAM TO HAVE OTHERS PRAY WITH YOU FOR THEM!
#3 – INFLUENCE THEM FOR THE LORD (find creative ways to share without being “preachy” – but never give up).
#4 – INVITE THEM TO SPECIAL SERVICES & HOLIDAYS (without pressure). But always invite nevertheless, and don’t give up.
#5 – LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY – (that doesn’t mean agreeing with their choices or lack of morality – but show them in meaningful ways that you love them no matter what).
#6 – STAY IN TOUCH – (always respecting boundaries and not overstepping them, but to the extent it is possible on your part, as parent or grandparent – never close the door – keep communication lines open).
#7 – EXPRESS INTEREST IN WHAT INTERESTS THEM (try to find out what their interests are and learn about what matters to them. Try to find common ground in areas of interest they may have. It may require a little research and some technical learning on your part but try to connect with your kids and grandkids at their level and affirm them as much as possible. Always be encouraging, but never compromising on morality or integrity).
These are just some things that we can all do, now, to reach the next generation. Don’t let the enemy have your kids. Even if the relationship is not there – YOU CAN AT LEAST PRAY FOR THEM, AND HAVE OTHERS JOIN YOU IN PRAYING FOR THEM.
In 2022, Tikvat will focus on reaching the next generation. Currently, we do have a children education program (Club Maccabee – ages 5-12) that is active during the sermon each Shabbat. Other activities and events can be planned with this age group in 2022. However, we do not have nursery care workers currently – please pray and help support this ministry financially. Professionally trained, qualified and certified pre-school staff is needed now. Pray that we can employ them even during this labor shortage season. Also, over the years Tikvat has had a Youth Leader on staff, but unfortunately, they have come and gone. We also want to reach teens at the High School level, but we need a called and experienced new Youth Leader now. There are families out there with youth, and they would come if we had a dynamic Messianic program for young people. Would you partner with us to help this become a reality? Come out to prayer meetings to join us in praying for this. Support this endeavor financially – (we need to raise a salary for a Youth Leader). And – please keep your eyes and ears open for anyone you may come across who may be experienced and qualified to be a Messianic Youth Leader, even if they do not currently live in CLE – relocation is possible. We don’t want to limit God in what He can do. He is waiting for us to want and ask for it bad enough…just as the brother of our Messiah said,
“You do not have because you do not ask.” (Jas 4:2).
2021 was a year of making improvements and preparing for the future of Messianic Jewish ministry in Cleveland. Tikvat moved into its current location in 2018, having just purchased the property, and laid a new concrete parking lot, (which was mud and some remnants of stone originally), there was not much more that was done around improvements. However, by this year the Lord had blessed Tikvat by allowing us to save and replenish the building fund. The first task we implemented was a new floor in the foyer which was desperately needed. Tiles were beginning to separate and there were some ugly spots that unable to be removed with elbow grease. After getting multiple bids and the process of choosing the type of new flooring needed, we set the date for installation. However, the first day of work, the contractors found mold in the subfloor, and everything needed to be decontaminated first before a new floor could be installed. Suffice it to say, this was not planned, and it was an unfortunate expenditure, but it was necessary. Next, part of the floor was determined to be “uneven,” so a concrete contractor was needed to level the floor. After an endless delay last summer, we finally had the new floor installed. The next surprise we had was a torrential downpour last summer that resulted in flooding around the building, (which explained where the mold had come from previously), and this was discovered immediately AFTER the new floor was installed!!! Oy Gevalt! But there is more…
At the same time, Tikvat had decided to invest in new lighting for the Sanctuary to improve our stage lighting and the video image of the Livestream as more people began relying on Livestream since the Pandemic started. The first step was new electrical conduit to be installed, but with the heavy rains we received, the day the electricians were schedule we had multiple leaks coming from the roof all over the sanctuary and many other places in the building! We had to cancel with the electricians obviously and get another contractor out that we did not plan for…a roofer!!! This too was NOT planned. However, it was extremely necessary as we were experiencing heavy rains for days that lead to weeks. We placed garbage cans and buckets all over the sanctuary and some of the water was dripping from the light fixtures! The roofer warned us after he inspected it that in some places of the roof it seemed extremely “mushy,” and a nail would not even hold into a shingle in some places. He feared that our roof may have problems underneath the shingles, but he could not tell until he tore it all off. Yes, all of it, we needed a complete tear off. And…just as expected he found, in some places, there was no plywood under the shingles, nothing but foam sub-roof had been installed to save money by some previous owner 30 years ago! So not only did Tikvat need a new roof, but we needed all new plywood sub-roof underneath as well! As soon as the unplanned roof job was finished, we could proceed with the new lighting installation and the required electrical work that needed to be done first. Of course, this also required Tikvat to provide the necessary “articulating” boom lift, (see pic) to provide the electricians and lighting contractors the ability to reach the ceiling in the sanctuary. We also needed to paint the back wall around the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark), to maximize the lighting on the stage.
Additionally, while all that was going on, we needed to address the flooding issue outside and around the entire building, (another unplanned project), so we needed to have professional water proofers give us estimates, (of course multiple proposals were reviewed by the board), until we settled on one company that gave us what we knew was necessary, including an external sump pump to ensure water would not encroach on the building. But, with the labor shortages due to the Pandemic and supply chain issues there were many weeks we waited until our waterproofing job could get finished by the end of August, just in time for the Fall High Holiday season to get into gear. Many volunteers also worked extremely hard to prepare the Sukkah for the Feast of Tabernacles so that Tikvat could enjoy outdoor services again this year. The good news is Tikvat was able to observe all High Holy Day services and all weekly Shabbat services without interruption…AND…God provided enough funds so that none of these projects exhausted the building fund and they were all paid in full… CASH. No debt!!! B” HS!
I want to close this letter with an expression of gratefulness to you. We know there are many out there on our email list who pray for us and do support this ministry even if we do not see them regularly. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT OF THIS MESSIANIC JEWISH COMMUNITY IN CLEVELAND. God will bless you for blessing the apple of His eye. On behalf of the Board of Elders, meshartim (leaders and ministers), at Tikvat Yisrael Messianic Synagogue, May 2022 bring you, joy, health, favor from God and long life this year and for years to come.
B’rachot, b’shem Yeshua Hamashiach! (blessings in the Name of Yeshua the Messiah),