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Frequently asked questions

Q

Who is Rehoboth?

Rehoboth is a Messianic Jewish congregation established by David and Ellie Sumner in May, 1997. Rehoboth literally "means wide open spaces" and comes from Genesis 26:22 stating:

He went away from there and dug another well, and over that one they didn't quarrel. So he called it Rechovot [wide open spaces] and said, "Because now ADONAI has made room for us, and we will be productive in the land."

Q

What is a Messianic Jewish congregation?

A Messianic Jewish congregation is a community of Jewish and non-Jewish believers in the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) where the expression of that faith and worship is distinctly Jewish.
 

Q

What is Messianic Judaism?

Messianic Judaism is a resurrection of the first century expression of faith in Messiah Yeshua. Since the New Covenant was given in a Jewish context, it is best understood in that context. Rehoboth has congregants from a number of different religious backgrounds in addition to the main branches of Judaism.
 

Q

What exactly is a Messianic Jew?

A Messianic Jew is a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who is joined by faith to Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel.
 

Q

Does Rehoboth try to make everyone a Jew?

No. Believing that people should remain as they are, we do not practice ritual conversion. However, it is also understood that, given the calling of G.d upon Rehoboth to a distinctly Jewish expression, those committed to this congregation should have a desire to live out their lives in a manner keeping with that calling. 
 

Q

Is it only for Jewish people? Are Gentile believers in the Messiah Yeshua welcome?

Rehoboth is a house of worship for Jewish and non-Jewish people alike. Jewish and Gentile people are equally in need of G.d's one provision of atonement in the Messiah Yeshua. In the Messiah, both are equally a part of the Body of Messiah and are beloved of G.d. All are welcome.
 

Q

Since Jewish and non-Jewish believers are equal before G.d, why then have a distinctly Jewish-oriented congregation?

Because there is a need for it. It is a historical reality that people assemble with others of like culture, language and tradition. Rather than assimilating into the Gentile-dominated churches the Jewish believer can worship G.d and practice his Messiah-centered faith in a context that respects Jewish life and tradition. Unlike in the Gentile Church our congregants can bar-mitzvah their children, observe the Jewish life-cycle events and biblical holy days, follow the weekly Torah readings, etc. Maintaining one's Jewish heritage is a distinct calling not to be cast off when becoming a follower of Yeshua. Messiah does not ask us to stop being male or female, black or white, Jewish or Gentile, etc. The New Covenant refers to Messianic Jews as a "remnant" within Israel who are "chosen by grace" (Romans 11:5). As such we desire to maintain that Jewish identity.
 

Q

Why would a non-Jewish believer want to be involved with a Messianic Jewish congregation?

Gentile followers of Messiah join for various reasons, including: To stand with Israel, to embrace the Jewish roots of the New Covenant, and to show their love for Israel and the Jewish people. Some join because they have a "Ruth calling" in which they feel that G.d wants them to live as Jews, while some simply find great fulfillment and personal enrichment by observing things such as Sabbath and biblical holidays.  We like to say we are "Jews by birth, Jews by choice, and Jews at heart."
 

Q

How long has Messianic Judaism been around?

Starting in the late 1960's and continuing into today, there has been a dramatic move of G.d's Spirit. As G.d was moving to restore His people physically back to the Land of Israel, so too He was moving spiritually in the hearts of many Jewish people. Thousands have been coming to believe in Yeshua and even forming their own Congregations where both Jewish and non-Jewish can worship the Messiah in the fulfillment of their Jewish roots.

Refer to the About Us page for more information.

Q

Why do you have services on Saturday?

The seventh-day Sabbath was given to Israel as a perpetual observance in the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 31:16-17).
 

Q

What are the worship services like?

Services usually last for about an hour and a half. The first portion is given over to announcements, liturgy, Torah reading, and worship. The worship time is spent in praise, singing, dance, and prayer. Songs and liturgy are in both Hebrew and English, and are displayed on an overhead projector.  The second portion is devoted to teaching and proclamation of Scripture by either our Congregational Leader or others in leadership. Guest speakers and musical artists are periodically brought in as well. Services conclude with more songs and dancing, as well as the Aaronic Benediction (Numbers 6:22-27).  Worship and prayer for individual needs continues after dismissal. A meal or light refreshments (Oneg) may also be served following service.
 

Q

What is Oneg?

Oneg means "delight". At Rehoboth it is a special time of food and fellowship. Visitors are welcome to participate in this "pot-bless" time of meeting new people and being encouraged in your faith by other believers. We ask that food for the Oneg be kosher (clean) by biblical standards; therefore, no pork products or shellfish will be served.
 

Q

Why do the men wear head-coverings and prayer-shawls?

These are traditional items of Jewish life, history and worship. The shawl is called a "tallit" and the small round cap is called a "kippah" (Hebrew for "covering" or "yarmulke" (Yiddish for "reverence the king". All males worshipping with Rehoboth are encouraged to wear one or both of these items, but the conscience of each individual is respected in this matter. Women, likewise, may use or not use appropriate head-coverings as conscience allows.
 

Q

Why do you not spell out G.d or L.rd?

His name is holy and should be treated with respect.  We choose to write it like this because we do not want to accidentally throw away His name. 
 

Q

Does Rehoboth practice water baptism and the L.rd's Supper?

Yes. Immersion in water is practiced as a sign of one's beginning a new life of devotion to Messiah as well as a re-dedication or purification, and the L.rd's Supper is observed periodically throughout the year. Water Baptism (immersion) has its roots in the Biblical rite of the "mikveh" (ceremonial washing) and the L.rd's Supper (l'zikaron-to remember) has its roots in the Biblical feast of Passover. 
 

Q

Do you pass a collection plate?

Money is rarely stressed during services and no "collection plate" is regularly passed. An offering box (pushke box) is located in the foyer for tithes and offerings similar to the days of the Second Temple. Occasionally an offering basket may be passed for special offerings or guest speakers.
 

Q

Why do you use different terminology?

By using Messianic terminology, we accomplish a couple of things. First of all, we put Yeshua back within the proper Biblical and historical Jewish context from which He was uprooted. Secondly, we are educating many people today to the Jewish roots of this faith in the Messiah Yeshua.
 

Q

What is Rehoboth's attitude toward other congregations or churches?

"There is one L.rd, one faith, one immersion and one body" (Ephesians 4:4,5). Rehoboth cooperates with other congregations who share faith in the Messiah Yeshua. We seek to build bridges between churches and the Jewish people, fostering love for Israel, repudiating anti-Semitism, educating churches about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith and being a resource to that end.
 

Q

Other than Shabbat services, what are some of the other services/gatherings at Rehoboth?

Choir, Prayer and Intercession, Torah Study, Youth Music, Monthly Men's & Women's Breakfasts, Shabbat School, Adult Education Studies, and Hebrew Classes.  Special services are held for both Biblical and traditional Jewish holidays as well as an annual congregational picnic.

Refer to the Calendar for more information.

Q

How does one learn the worship dances of the Shabbat service?

Davidic worship dance classes are offered weekly and we have quarterly dance fellowships.

 

Refer to the Dance Ministry page for more information.

Q

Does Rehoboth offer Hebrew classes?

Yes. Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Hebrew classes are offered during the school year between Shabbat services.

Refer to the Calendar.
 

Q

What does Rehoboth offer for children?

During the service, we have Shabbat School for ages 3-12.  We also have a nursery room childcare for children under 3.  The teen youth group (H'orak Chaim-The Way of Life) meets during 2:00 pm service.
 

Q

Does Rehoboth offer Bar/Bat Mitzvah for the children?

Yes. Bar and Bat Mitzvah (Son of/Daughter of the Commandment) is available. This ceremony recognizes the time of life when a boy (age 13) or girl (age 12) becomes responsible to follow G.d and obey the commandments. Please call the office to schedule a meeting with the Congregational Leader.
 

Q

Does Rehoboth have a store?

Yes. The Rehoboth Messianic Bookstore is located outside the Oneg room on the bottom floor.  It is open after services.  At our bookstore you will find something for everyone, including books, music, jewelry, judaica, and gifts.  We also offer a lending library with books, VHS and DVDs.  We carry a supply of Complete Jewish Bibles, Messianic Siddur's and Hebrew resources, as well as music from many Messianic performers from around the world, including a CD from our own Ellie Sumner. Other items include greeting and note cards, mezuzahs, key chains and bookmarks.  For men we have a variety of kippah and tallit, for women silk scarves and inspirational jewelry.  We also carry special items during holiday times. Visit our bookstore when you visit us!  We're sure you will find something that will be meaningful and inspirational for you, your friends and your family.