If you’ve ever wanted to visit a Messianic Congregation or explore the Jewish Roots of Christianity, Beth Hallel Congregation in Hoover presents the perfect opportunity! Join us for an Open House on September 9 from 4:45-5:45 p.m. featuring traditional holiday foods, an art show and gift shop items. Then the New Year Celebration starts at 6 p.m. with dance, music worship, teachings, film and free gifts!
September 9, 10.The New Year is called Rosh HaShana , (head of the year) and in Israel, this date is the equivalent of America’s New Year’s Eve as the beginning of the secular calendar year. But in the Bible, this event is called the Feast of Trumpets, which in Hebrew is Yom Teruah. (Leviticus 23:24-25; Numbers 10:2-10, Numbers 29:2-5, Nehemiah 8:2-6)
As one might expect, one highlight of the Feast of Trumpets is the melodic sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn) and the blowing of long silver trumpets as well. Traditional foods include honey because the Bible is sweet and presents the opportunity for a sweet new year. At Congregation Beth Hallel, many traditional foods will be offered to guests. The holiday celebrations are always free of charge and include child care and holiday experiences and explanations for ages 0-12.
You may hear these Fall Feasts also referred to as the “High Holy Days”. In Hebrew, these special events are called “Moadim” (moe-ah-DEEM), which translates as “Appointed Times”. In Deuteronomy 23, God says to keep these appointments for all time. Says Rabbi David Schneier, “We look at it like, the Bible says God made some yearly appointments with us, and God always keeps His appointments. We fully expect God to show up, as we celebrate the wonderful things He has done.”
And don’t think these joyous gatherings are just for those of the Hebraic persuasion, because Jesus celebrated these moadim during his life on earth. Some Christians even contemplate that the Feast of Trumpets might be the timing for Jesus’ return on the Bible’s reference to the “last trump.” Beth Hallel will also have a Rosh HaShana day service starting at 11 a.m. on Monday, September 10.
September 18, 19.The days immediately following the Feast of Trumpets are called the “Days of Awe” and are times for reflection, repentance, and dedication, leading up to the Day of Atonement, the second in the lineup of High Holy Days. This is Yom Kippur, translated “Day of Covering.” Jesus’ blood provides a covering or an atonement for our sins. Though Christians are cleansed of sin upon accepting Jesus, it is still meaningful to participate in a set time to transact with God, as in 1 John 1:9. Yom Kippur is a day to do just that. It is traditional to fast, and to pray on Yom Kippur. At Beth Hallel there is an evening service on Tuesday September 18 at 7 p.m. and a Day service on Sept 19 at 11 a.m. After a short service that evening at 7 p.m., there will be a break-the-fast potluck gathering.
September 23.The third fall feast is called the Feast of Tabernacles, in Hebrew “Sukkot.” This is characterized by building tent-like structures outside and eating or even sleeping in them. The significance is to remember that the children of Israel once lived in tents as God delivered them. The Bible says that Jesus “tabernacle” among men. This Feast, Israelis and people of Nations would go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Lord.
At Beth Hallel Congregation, a Parade of Nations with flags and foods from around the world are part of the pageantry and celebration. There will be two outdoor structures to eat and drink within, and a musical extravaganza of worship and Israeli dance. All visitors are welcome to participate, or to just enjoy. The Feast of Tabernacles event will be Sunday September 23 at 6 p.m.
September 30.A final celebration is Simchat Torah (SIM-haht TO-rah), or Joy of the Torah. This is a day of rejoicing that God gave the first 5 books of the Bible, which constitute the Torah. At Beth Hallel, the Torah scroll is unrolled for all to pass by and see up close the detailed Hebrew letters written on skins or parchments – a rare opportunity. On this day, the scrolls are rolled up to start another year of weekly scripture readings beginning at Genesis 1:1. Candy and sweets are in abundance to signify that the Word of God is sweet on our lips and in our life.
And if you make it through all the High Holy Day Celebrations in September, come December, you can look forward to 7 days of Hanukah, the Feast of Dedication mentioned in the Gospel of John, Chapter 10, Verse 22! In fact, even though Hanukah is thought of as an exclusively Jewish holiday, the only place in the entire Bible it is mentioned is in the New Testament!
Come visit Beth Hallel this September and taste and learn of your rich Jewish roots. All are welcome, and all events are free of charge. Childcare available for ages 0-5. Happy Holidays!
-Rabbi David and Leslye Schneier
Leaders of Beth Hallel Messianic Synagogue
2230 Sumpter Street, Hoover, 35226