Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Remembering Manny Brotman

Today (25 Tammuz) Last Friday (20 Tammuz) marked the yahrtzeit of Manny Brotman, one of the founders of the modern Messianic Jewish movement.  One of his many contributions to the movement was his instrumental role in founding the Young Messianic Jewish Alliance (YMJA--originally YHCA).  Carol Harris-Shapiro writes:
Beginning in 1965, a youth branch of the HCAA begun by Manny Brotman, a young Spirit-filled Hebrew Christian, grew rapidly as more and more Jews who accepted Jesus through the youth movement entered into the organization.  In 1967, Manny Brotman attracted third-generation Jewish federal employees and professionals to [Messianic Judaism] in the Washington, D.C., area. (Messianic Judaism, 26)
Here is one example of what was happening in the hearts of these young Jewish people. (This took place at the June 1969 HCAA conference in Asheville, North Carolina--yes, THAT Asheville):
A delightful though disturbing crisis occurred one day, when we were waiting in the cafeteria for lunch.  Someone from our group said, 'Let's sing a song!' In response, we all began to sing, Havenu, shalom aleichem, an old Hebrew folk song, the older Hebrew Christians present would all surely remember from their childhood. And sing it we did, with energy, enthusiasm and joy. Abruptly, some of the old Hebrew Christians' Gentile wives accosted us. 'Why are you singing that? Don't you know you shouldn't sing Jewish songs!' Their sudden anger amazed us. What could be wrong with enjoying a simple, little song familiar to all Jewish people from ages past? After all, we were still Jews. But the older Hebrew Christians were embarrassed and rushed to suppress our singing. (Cohn-Sherbok, Messianic Judaism, 59. Story told by Yohanna Chernoff, another significant contributor to the movement.)
Cohn-Sherbok quotes Manny Brotman:
We were all discovering the abundant Jewish life at the same time. The joy of celebrating a Passover, Hanukkah, and other holidays was a new experience. There was a birth of a Messianic community. The revival that was born in the youth movement didn't come from the adult Alliance. It came from the youth who were filled with the Spirit. They had a zeal and vision for evangelism. This invigorated the whole Alliance. (Ibid, 58)
Of his own experience of Messiah, Manny wrote the following (from Sid Roth, They Thought for Themselves, pp. 227, 229):
Since that day in Philadelphia, over 40 years ago [when he believed the good news about Yeshua], the Messiah has not left me. He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Everything that God has promised in His word has come true--love, peace, joy, forgiveness, happiness, guidance, purpose, and so much more! 
. . .
Today, there are tens of thousands of Messianic Jews and hundreds of Messianic Jewish synagoguges and congregations where Jewish believers worship . . . What a joy to be involved in this end-time Messianic Jewish spiritual awakening that God promised our people in Hosea 3:5:
Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king [referring to the Messiah]; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.
There are so many more wonderful things that the Messiah has done in our lives--answers to prayer, miracles of provision, healings of illnesses, supernatural guidance, and much, much more. It would take volumes to write about it.
I cannot encourage you enough to invite Messiah Yeshua into your heart and life.
O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him (Psalm 34:9, verse 8 in some versions). Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered [saved] (Joel 3:5; 2:32 in some versions).
May we all be blessed with a zeal for Messiah, like Manny.

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