This is a Memorial Issue dedicated to the life and times of Dr. Ellen Goldsmith, who lived and loved and entered into her eternal Shalom on January 3, 2017. This tribute to Dr. Ellen’s life is hardly sufficient to adequately characterize this woman of valor.
Ellen was passionate about her life in Messiah Yeshua, demonstrating a real love for people. She had a special connection with the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI), which publishes this journal; she served as a Trustee for many years on MJTI’s Board. It was her desire to see the messianic movement grow to maturity with educated leaders that drew her to the work of MJTI. In addition to her work as Trustee, Ellen also taught in the Institute, sharing her knowledge of caring for the whole person, gained through her experience as a Marriage and Family Therapist.
Ellen was interested in genuine Jewish life and expression. She strongly believed that the Messianic Jewish movement should be made up largely of Jews. She demonstrated this passion as President of the Board of Ahavat Zion Synagogue, Beverly Hills, California. Stuart Dauermann, who was the Rabbi of Ahavat Zion for twenty years, had a special connection with Ellen and is the best person to eulogize her, which he does in his opening tribute to Ellen.
Next come eight articles, each of which addresses a topic that ignited Ellen’s passions. Dr. John Fischer opens the messianic narrative with an article on the centrality of community. Rabbi Russ Resnik speaks Ellen’s language when addressing identity and the hero’s journey in reference to Joseph. Dr. Vered Hillel discusses rabbinic literature and its messianic application, while I contextualize scripture and rabbinic literature into a cohesive unit supporting the thesis that King David was not just the exemplar of the Kingly Messiah, but also characterized the Suffering Messiah.
The next four articles, authored by Rabbi Isaac Roussel, Dr. Mark Kinzer, Karen Worstell, and David Nichol, are adapted from papers delivered at the annual 2017 Hashivenu Forum and address the topic of prayer from a Messianic Jewish platform. Ellen was diligent in prayer and focused upon liturgy. These articles would have brought a smile to Ellen’s face. Also, Ellen was highly active in Hashivenu, a branch of MJTI, which she religiously attended and where she served as a Board member.
The Issue concludes with book reviews by Dr. Rich Nichol, Rabbi Benjamin Ehrenfeld, and Solomon Intrater, each contributing a critique of books that have a bearing on Messianic Jewish culture, with their focus on the Jewishness of the Gospel of John, Gender Equality, and Postmessianic Messianism. Ellen was an ardent reader and would approve of the reading list.
Ellen was a great lady and worthy of a great issue, which we proudly present to you. Ellen, we will miss your passion and excitement; we will emulate your faith and empathy; we will never forget your wit and lady-hood.
Farewell, Ellen. We love you.
Rabbi Elliot Klayman