From the Editor
Written by Andrew Sparks   

K esher is a journal that deals with biblical, theological, and spiritual issues facing the Messianic Jewish movement today. At the same time, Kesher provides a forum for the discussion of challenging issues. Any issue has the potential to divide rather than unify, and to harm rather than heal.

As Kesher deals with a wide range of topics, it is important to remember that those things that connect the Messianic movement are much greater than any differences. The greatest form of unity is what God has created through the Spirit, the Word, and the Messiah. The divinely-ordained holiday of Shavuot is a demonstration of a people unified through a shared celebration, through the gift of Torah (zeman matan torahtenu), and through the giving of the Spirit (zeman matan Ruach haqodshenu). The Spirit came in power at a time when “all were with one accord.” Therefore, cooperation with divinely-established unity is the utmost responsibility of all.

Another demonstration of unity is when people participate in common ministry. While serving beside each other and expressing Yeshua’s vision of sacrificial service, any perceived or real differences are subsumed under the greater good of the community. Serving together will not only uphold unity in the midst of diversity, but will positively testify to those just entering Messianic community and the next generation of Messianic youth.

One expression of unity was vividly displayed at an international conference that I recently attended. Numerous methodological and philosophical differences existed among the participants. At the same time, after sharing meals together and engaging in ongoing dialogue, greater common ground was reached. New and re-established relationships enabled many to be committed to work and serve together as much as possible.

Gentile conversion to Messianic Judaism is an area of discussion that provides an opportunity to demonstrate unity in the midst of diversity. The leadership of the UMJC is dedicated to this type of unity. Therefore, the UMJC leadership requested that Kesher devote the current issue to the subject of Gentile conversion from a variety of perspectives. Rabbi Jamie Cohen, the UMJC President, has taken the lead in guiding this discussion on Gentile conversion and provides an introduction in the following pages. This multi-faceted dialogue on conversion takes the form of an essay written by Rabbi Rich Nichol, diverse responses, and two book reviews.

Your contributions and subscriptions to Kesher help to provide for constructive dialogue and further development of Messianic Judaism. Please find a subscription and giving form on the following page.

Andrew Sparks

Editor-in-Chief • Kesher •


Andrew Sparks (M.DIV., Westminster Theological Seminary, S.T.M., Yale University) leads Congregation Avodat Yisrael of Philadelphia, PA, and

MJTI School of Jewish Studies
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