Editor's note: Recently a local Hebrew newspaper in the
Jordan Valley region published a feature article about Messianic
Jews in the area. This very favorable (!) article was largely an
interview with Eric and Terri who lead the Poriya congregation as
part of the Tents of Mercy Network. This article is made up of
translated excerpts from the original.
The Jordan Valley is a small valley, but it has a great variety of
natural and human treasures. There is something very communal about this
valley, which was founded by idealistic and cooperative groups of people.
Even today kibbutzim, moshavim and those who differ in their faith and in
their way of life, live together in an interwoven network of
relationships. Among these communities, is also a Messianic community.
As we approached the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost], we went out to meet
representatives of the Messianic community in the area, Eric and
Terri Morey, leaders of a home congregation in Poriya Illit ...
The reading of the book of Ruth during
[Pentecost] emphasizes the universal aspects of the Torah. Anyone who
wants to read and believe the Torah may do so, even if he is from Moab -
a people who were a bitter enemy to the Nation of Israel at that time.
Therefore we went ... to meet representatives of two Messianic
fellowships who live among us and feel a strong connection to the Jewish
people and the nation of Israel. As we gathered the information for this
article, we discovered they really are an inseparable part of Israel.
The Messianic Jews believe that their faith has ancient roots. They see
themselves as a continuation of the first disciples who followed in the
way of Yeshu[a].
Members of the independent fellowships who belong to this faith define
themselves as Jews, though the movement is not recognized as a branch of
Judaism by almost any of the other branches [within Judaism].
A Revelation and a Love Story
The position of the Messianic fellowship in Israel causes a conflict. The
government is not happy to give Messianics citizenship, and therefore
those being interviewed wanted to know the purpose of the interview. My
answer: "Because we want to broaden the picture, especially due to a lack
of awareness, and suspicion toward the Messianic community. We want to
show the human variety in the Jordan Valley and the importance of
Q: (Interviewer) What does the word Messianic mean?
A: (Eric) Messianics see themselves as continuing the way of Yeshua. We
have in our fellowship both Messianic Jews and Messianic Christians. All
of Yeshua's first disciples were Messianic Jews, and this faith drew
Q: (Interviewer) Terri, you come from a Jewish home. How did you
A: I came from a secular Jewish home. In 1967 I lived in Philadelphia,
and when the Six Day War broke out, I wanted to be here in Israel and
help my people. I was 29 years old and no one understood why I wanted to
go to a war zone. But I was sure that was what I was supposed to do. When
I did get to come to Israel, the war was over. But as soon as my feet
touched the land of Israel, I knew that it was to become my home. I
wasn't religious, but when I came here I had a divine revelation. I
returned to the USA and opened a job-personnel business. Only 18 years
later did I at last fulfill my desire to move to Israel. All those years
I wanted to make aliyah, but it didn't work out. I never found the
right time to do it - I also was single. Finally I understood that if I
didn't do it now it would never happen!
Terri and Eric Morey, pastors of
the Messianic congregation in Poriyah Illit
At that time Eric was a good friend of mine, but we were not involved
romantically. The day I decided to close the business and to immigrate to
Israel, Eric rang my office to ask about employment possibilities. When
Eric arrived, I had just come back from a lawyer who thought it would not
be advisable to sell such a successful business and immigrate to Israel.
Eric knew from the expression on my face that something was not right. He
asked me if he could pray for me and I was happy for his suggestion.
While he prayed for me, I saw a vision of us being married and living in
Israel. I didn't tell him that, but 13 months later we got married!
After two years we immigrated to Israel, and we have lived here together
for 30 years.
Interviewer: That's a good story!
Terri: It's an encouraging story to all women who are looking for
the right husband, because God has a plan for everyone in His own time
Q: (Interviewer) What festivals do you celebrate?
A: (Eric) We celebrate all the festivals in the Tenach [Old Testament]
... We hold to everything written in the Bible. For instance, we
don't work on Shabbat, but other things like driving on Shabbat or
turning on the lights on Shabbat that are not written about in the Bible
are not relevant for us ...
Where is God?
According to Messianic Jews' faith, the prophecies in the Tenach
[Old Testament] speak about the New Covenant and Yeshua the Messiah; and
The New Testament does not contain new dogma, but is a continuation of
the Tenach ...
Q: (Interviewer) In Purim 2008 a religious Jew sent a bomb wrapped up
like a holiday gift for Purim to a Messianic family in Ariel and their
son was injured ...
Prayer and worship
at the Poriyah Congregation
A: (Eric) Look, this man was doing the same thing to Arabs. He views
people who are different as his enemies. Thank God it only happened one
time. This kid went through many medical treatments, and now his
condition is much better. The family even said that they forgave the
Q: (Interviewer) How can you forgive?
A: (Eric) You have to see the enemy from a Godly perspective and see him
first as a human being and forgive him ...
Q: (Interviewer) How do you explain that Yeshua came to give us a
better world in light of the Holocaust in which millions of innocent
people, including children and babies, were murdered. Where were Yeshua
A: (Eric) I think many bad things happen to Jews in the world,
unfortunately even through the acts of [nominal] Christians, and the
Holocaust was the worst of all. Therefore, many Jews in the country see
in the believers of Yeshua a threatening danger. If we believed in
Buddha, it would not have created a reaction. I personally understand the
attitude of the Jewish people to the Messianics. On the other hand, here
in Poriya we don't feel any hostilities from the locals. On the
contrary, we are in great relationship with everybody. They trust us and
our good intentions.