What Are Messianic Synagogues?
A synagogue is above all a sacred community of Jewish people who gather for worship, prayer, study, benevolence, social justice, lifecycle events, outreach and other Jewish community activities. What distinguishes Messianic synagogues. from mainstream synagogues is the centrality of Yeshua (Jesus), the prominent place of the New Testament, and the presence of Gentile followers of Yeshua who come alongside Messianic Jews to build a congregation for Yeshua within the house of Israel.
Messianic Judaism is “a movement of Jewish congregations and groups committed to Yeshua the Messiah that embrace the covenantal responsibility of Jewish life and identity rooted in Torah, expressed in tradition, and renewed and applied in the context of the New Covenant” (UMJC Defining Messianic Judaism Statement). The primary purpose of Messianic synagogues is to make it possible for Jews who follow the Jewish Messiah to remain Jews and become better Jews in keeping with the eternal purposes of the God of Israel. Rabbi David Chernoff describes the unique mission of Messianic synagogues in this way:
"Our history is unique in that we were not just chosen out of many nations, but were formed by God through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be a special blessing to this world. God has a purpose and calling for the nation of Israel and this covenant relationship is eternal (Gen. 17:1-8). If God has made an eternal covenant with us as Jewish people, then it is incumbent upon us to keep our covenant relationship with Him. It is God’s desire for Jewish people not to assimilate but to continue to be Jewish. That desire and our eternal relationship with God are evidenced by preservation of the Jewish people for the past 2000 years, and the fact that God has supernaturally restored the State of Israel today. The primary way a Jewish believer can continue to live a life as a Jew and not assimilate away from his Jewish people is to be a member of a Messianic synagogue. In a Messianic synagogue, a Jewish believer can continue to worship the Lord in a Jewish way, celebrate the Jewish festivals, raise his children as Jews and be a testimony to his family and people."
There are presently over 500 Messianic synagogues in the world today. These congregations are committed to Jewish continuity and work hard to pass on Jewish identity to the next generation of Jewish followers of Yeshua. They provide a weekly Messianic Jewish community experience that focuses on the Lord, follows the rhythm of Jewish life, and fosters a connection with the wider Jewish world. For more information about Messianic synagogues, see the Books page.