From Generation To Generation
A Celebration In Praise

Marty Shoub

Father and Son, Worship Leaders
From the outset of creation, music has played a central role in worship. The angels sang together when the God of heaven fashioned the earth by the word of His mouth (Job 38:7). David ensured praises were sung continually before God's presence and he organized singers and musicians to worship before the Ark of the testimony, declaring: "The Lord is good and his mercy endures forever." (I Ch 16:34)

David appointed three Levites to lead these praises; Eitan, Heman and Asaph. They clanged the cymbals and led the choir; it must have been glorious. Of these three, Asaph was chief. Asaph's skills were passed on to his sons who took up their places under his leadership to conduct praises to the God of Israel. The gifts and callings of this family continued throughout the generations: they led the singing when Solomon dedicated the Temple and at Josiah's revived Passover feast. Both Ezra and Nehemiah record "The singers, Asaph's sons" returning to Jerusalem from exile, one Mattaniah being the worship leader for the post-exilic community.

Tents of Mercy has its own generational heritage of worship leaders. Marc Chopinsky leads our congregational worship and his son Eli, leads our youth/young adults worship. Their styles are quite different but as with Asaph and his sons, the gifts and calling have passed from one generation to the next.

Eli was only ten years old when he made aliyah with his parents Marc and Leah. Eli recalls his dad trying to teach him to play guitar when he was very young but in his words, "it didn't take." Eli just didn't have his father's passion for music and lost interest. But when Eli's buddies were starting up a band he asked his dad to teach him how to play bass. With little musical training fifteen year old Eli played bass and sang backup vocals on the seminal Messianic youth recording, "Corban Chai."

Now shift back three years: Eli was only twelve years old when he had an experience with God that changed his life. Eli described it this way; "During a meeting with a group from Kansas City I was standing at the back of the sanctuary when I felt the pain and suffering of Yeshua on the cross. I went forward in response to a call and saw a vision. I was in a huge dark room. In the midst of the room a figure sat on a chair, His clothes and face shone as bright as the sun. I wanted to go to Him but there was an invisible wall between us. I called out and the wall collapsed and immediately I felt His overwhelming love surround me."

Despite this profound experience, Eli's walk with God did not deepen throughout his teenage years and he began to doubt the validity of his faith. "I had a lot of intellectual doubts. I could not reconcile what the Bible said with my rational understanding and I came to a place where I decided I didn't believe it anymore."

Eli and Sasha
Marc remembers well that day in February 2005 when Eli broke the news to his mom. Leah was heartbroken. "What are we going to do now?" she lamented to Marc. Marc replied, "Here is what we are going to do; we are going to pray together every morning until Eli comes back to the Lord." Together they prayed and declared God's promises over Eli.

God was faithful to answer the Chopinskys' prayers. In October, 2006 three things happened that shook Eli up and brought him back to faith. He was seconded from the IDF to the Israeli prison service, he broke up with his long-standing girlfriend and the new young adults group began at Tents of Mercy. Eli's world took a radical shift. Into this mix the young adults leader Dima K. asked Eli if he would lead worship at their meetings. Eli: "Dima didn't know where I was at; I knew it wasn't a good situation but I figured others can enter into worship even if I just play and sing."

The Maker of heaven and earth is known for catching "the wise in their own craftiness." (Job 5:13) and as Eli led the worship, as others entered in to God's presence, God's Spirit came upon Eli. "God spoke to me; I realized beyond any of my intellectual difficulties that I knew the truth and I surrendered my life back to Him."

With his return to the Lord, Eli's passion for music bloomed. "God brought me back to Himself through music and He gave me this gift for a reason. He filled me with a deep love for music and for worshipping - I realized this is what I want to do with my life."

Eli is not only a burgeoning worship leader, he is a talented and sensitive song writer. Last year two of Eli's songs were selected for the CD, "Praise to our God." This CD was recorded live at Jerusalem's King of King's Pavilion and features new talent from within the Israeli Messianic community. This is not the only recording to showcase Eli's talent. Last February, Eli and good friend Sasha Fishman put out their own CD, "Chesed M'Hashmel" (Electrifying Grace).

The project started three years ago when Eli was leading worship in the youth group and Sasha was the youth leader (... not to be confused with the young adults group - Tents of Mercy has two young people's groups, the youth group is pre-army and the young adults group is army and following).

Marc and Eli leading the congregation together
Sasha is one of those guitar players who always has a guitar strapped over his shoulder so it was a natural fit for him to join the younger players in the youth group worship team. Eli and Sasha hit it off and Eli suggested they work on a project together - Sasha agreed. Neither Eli nor Sasha had much technical experience and Sasha's home studio was not up to capturing their dynamic sound. In short, the project took three years and each song was re-recorded three times! The result was ten original songs, engineered and recorded by Sasha and Eli. The album is aptly named "electrifying" - the target audience is teenagers and young adults and the recording has a definite electric sound. (Bubbies and grandmothers take note: Buy this CD for your grandchildren - not for your ladies fellowship!)

Three years is a long time for any project, especially for a young man working out some of the most important issues of life. Sasha saw Eli go through many changes as they worked in this project together. "Eli is not the same musician he was when we first started the project. He found his voice as a singer and grew as a player; he learned how to compromise and receive constructive feedback. I think he not only matured as a musician but as a person."

On any given Shabbat, Marc Chopinsky might be leading our congregation, singing one of Eli's songs. A father, leading others to commune with God through the music and words the Holy Spirit, inspired his son to write. There is something so right about this godly heritage passed on from one generation to the next. Our prayer is that our children will exceed us in their gifting and service to our King.


By Martin Shoub

If you would like to purchase a copy
of Eli and Sasha's CD,
you can order online.

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09:16 06May08 Michael Grinder -
This was a well-written, wonderful article that testifies to God's goodness. Clearly the torch is being passed from father to son and God's Ruach is present through it all! I was blessed to read Eli's story, for it is a wonderful testimony to all of us who have strayed from God at some point in our lives, only to discover that God never leaves nor forsakes us. God truly inhabits the praises of His people, and we are all blessed when we allow Him to be the Lord and master of our lives. May these wonderful men of God play on for years to come!

18:54 06May08 Milton Greenberg -
It has been one of the pleasures of my life to know Marc and Leah and Elias. Their testimony is John 16: 33 come to life!

Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Daniel Juster: Why Is Discipleship So Difficult?
Moshe Morrison: Single Mom's Ministry Returns
David Shishkoff and Eddie Santoro: A Place Set Apart