Standards of Congregational Practice
for Nazarene Jewish Synagogues
The Union of Nazarene Jewish Synagouges ("The Union"), recognizing the responsibility of the congregation to teach Nazarene, First Century Believers, Judaism by example as well as by precept, and moved by the desire to instruct congregations and their leaders in standards of conduct which exemplify and reflect Biblical Culture and Values within the Netzri Movement, adopts these Standards of Congregational Practice ("The Standards") for observance by its affiliated congregations.
ARTICLE I - BASIS FOR AUTHORITY
1. The UNJS recognizes the International Netzri Beit Din, constituted in a manner mutually agreeable to The UNJS and the National Batei Din, as its authority on Netzri Halachah. The International Netzri Beit Din and the National Batei Din shall serve as the UNJS Board of Elders.
2. Each Synagogue shall look to its own Beit Din and Elders, by virtue of their election as spiritual leaders of the congregation, as the local authority on all matters of Netzri Halachah and practice and as the interpreters to the congregation of the decisions rendered and principles established by The International Netzri Beit Din.
3. All the spiritual leaders of the congregation, whether or not a member of the Elders Assembly, shall be bound by the rules, regulations, policies and standards established by the Elders Assembly as they apply to these Standards, as a matter of contractual obligation with the congregation. The congregation shall deliver a copy of The Code of Conduct and These Standards to the leader upon appointment.
4. Batei Din Defined
a. Local Beit Din is composed of Zaqeinim for establishing local minhag and customs in Synagogues and Congregations.
b. National Beit Din is composed of Shophetim for national halakah!
A National Bet din also has a Shoteir who communicates to the local and international bodies. He is like a civil servant.
c. International Beit Din is composed of Chakhamim, These are the Shophetim that are chosen for their wisdom to help in international dealings with halakah and customs.
The International Beit Din also has a Shoteir Gadol who communicates to the national and local bodies. He is like a chief civil servant.
5. Definition of Terms
a. Beit Din - בֵּית דִּין House of Judgment: An assembly for the purpose of rendering judgment on matters of Torah and disputes between believers. D'varim (Deut) 17:8-13
Primary purpose: To protect and empower the people of God.
Secondary purpose: To enable someone or put them in a position so that they can see the Kingdom of God worked out in their lives.
b. Zaqein - זָקֵן Elder: Man above the age of thirty (30), with a maturity in the faith, who holds a position of respect and leadership in the community. Letter to Titus
c. Shophet - שׁוֹפֵט Judge: Man above the age of thirty (30) with knowledge and understanding in Torah. Well practiced in the use of Torah from personal experience. Knowledge of how to apply the Torah to heal. Teom Aleph (1Timothy) 5:17-18
d. Chakham - חָכָם Wise, Scholar, Sage: Man above the age of thirty (30) with great understanding and wisdom in Torah having a deep grasp of the Kingdom, the will, and the intents of the King. Having the ability to hear Eloha speak on a given topic and put in the answer. Has life experience (in Eloha). Sh'mot (Exodus) 24:1-9; Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:16-29
e. Shoteir - שֹׁטֵר Scribe, Magistrate, Superintendent, Overseer: One who does the day to day books/management and is paid for his labor. D'varim (Deut) 25:4; Qorinthia Aleph (1 Corinthians) 9:7-9; Mattiyahu 10:10; Luqka 10:7
ARTICLE II - STANDARDS AND CRITERIA FOR CHARTERING NAZARENE JEWISH CONGREGATIONS:
1. The applying congregation is to be in agreement with the UNJS Doctrinal Statement and willing to abide by the By-laws of the UNJS
2. The applying congregation shall have at least ten Nazarene Jewish members. Members are defined as those who are committed to the Congregation as their primary center of worship, in financial support and regular attendance.
3. The applying congregation shall be meeting at least weekly on Shabbat.
4. The applying congregation shall submit a copy of its By-Laws or other governing document with its application.
5. The applying congregation shall select three delegates from among it leaders to be its official representatives before the UNJS.
6. Whenever the word "congregation" or "synagogue" is used in this document, it shall refer not only to the congregation or synagogue proper, but also to its affiliated arms, such as its sisterhood, men's club, youth group, etc.
7. Definition of Terms
a. Synagogue - A Believing Community that is functioning and supporting the Jewish Believers in all aspects of Faith and Culture.
b. Congregation - A Community which is growing towards being a fully functional Jewish Believers Community.
c. Chavurah - A small house group which meets and is developing into a Congregation of more house groups. (When enough house groups are formed, they can merge into a Congregation, lastly maturing into a Synagogue.)
d. Ministry - Where they have no community structure, but a one or two person leadership.
ARTICLE III - BASIC STRUCTURE OF A SYNAGOGUE AND CONGREGATION
1. The basic structure of a synagogue includes membership of ten or more people.
2. The basic structure of a synagogue includes reading Torah in Hebrew and the local language.
3. The basic structure of a synagogue includes using a First Century Styled Service in Hebrew and also the local language.
4. The basic structure of a synagogue includes having a Beit Din, which is a Mitzvot to all Jewish Communities.
5. The basic structure of a synagogue includes having a program of Tzdaqka 'charity' to the poor of their community.
6. The basic structure of a synagogue includes having Burial Society for the community.
7. The basic structure of a synagogue includes teaching Mitzvot, Customs of the Fathers (Avraham to Y'shua), Hebrew Class, Kosher, and a Biblical defense of our faith.
8. The basic structure of a synagogue includes having a Membership (Conversion) program were by one is accepted as a Nazarene Jew within the UNJS.
9. The basic structure of a congregation includes having become an organized assembly with a membership of ten or more people.
10. The basic structure of a Congregation includes moving towards a deeper knowledge of a Torah based Life and Biblical Culture.
11. The basic structure of a Congregation includes association to the nearest Synagogue and to the Bet Din of that Synagogue.
12. The basic structure of a Chavurah includes having become an organized assembly with a membership of three to ten people and the support of the nearest Synagogue.
ARTICLE IV - BASIC TENANTS
1. Shma Yisrael, YHWH is your Elohim, YHWH is Echad (one).
2. The Complete Scripture, is the divinely inspired, infallible Word of ELOHIM
3. Y'shua HaMashiach has come and with great joy we anticipate his return, and even though he may delay, nevertheless we think about his return every day. We believe that the Messiah is the Word made flesh.
4. Through the death of Messiah, because of his blood covenant with us, we receive salvation by way of inheritance.
5. Torah observance is man's moral obligation and expression of love to YHWH.
6. There is one faith which was once and for all delivered to the set-apart-ones.
7. Corporate Community Prayer is an essential element of our being. And is the expression of the Kingdom of Heaven to the soul of our community.
8. Shabbat should be observed in a manner which will reflect the sanctity of Shabbat.
9. Observance of Mitzvot, Tzdaqka, Kashrut, Customs of the Fathers (Avraham to Y'shua), and a First Century Hebrew Culture are essential to Nazarene Judaism.
10. A Biblical defense of our faith is a requirement for all of Nazarene Judaism.
ARTICLE IV - RITES, CEREMONIES AND OTHER FUNCTIONS
1. The congregation shall require, and make every effort to ensure, that Torah is appropriately observed at all functions on the premises owned or under its control, and functions sponsored by the congregation or under its auspices on other premises. All of such functions shall be viewed as means to further the teachings and values of Nazarene Judaism.
2. Receptions, luncheons, dinners and other functions and activities, including social dancing, entertainment and music, shall be conducted in a manner, which will reflect the sanctity and the observance of Torah.
3. Worshipers and attendants at all religious services, rites, ceremonies and other functions should be encouraged to dress modestly and in good taste, as is seemly in a House of Worship.
4. The meal served following any religious ceremony (Se'udah shel Mitzvah) should be regarded as an integral part of such ceremony and should be in keeping with the spirit of the ceremony and planned accordingly.
5. T'vilah (immersion) is a sacred religious ceremony and care shall be exercised not only during the ceremony, but in connection with any function associated with the Mikvah, to ensure that the spirit of Netzri Halachah will not be violated.
6. Circumcision is a sacred religious ceremony and care shall be exercised not only during the ceremony, but in connection with any function associated the ceremony, to ensure that the spirit of Netzri Halachah will not be violated.
7. The Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies are religious milestones in a child's life and should be dignified and decorous elements of the service. Congregations shall make it possible for the parents to provide a kiddush after the services to emphasize the primacy of their religious character. The kiddush, as well as all social events connected with the occasion, should be modest, and should also be dignified and decorous.
8. Weddings are sacred religious ceremonies and care shall be exercised not only during the ceremony, but in connection with any function associated with the wedding, to ensure that the spirit of Netzri Halachah will not be violated.
9. Funeral services and mourning practices should be dignified and unostentatious. The casket should be simple. Flowers should be discouraged.
Only Netzri Believers shall be admitted to membership in the Synagogue.
ARTICLE VI - NORMS FOR THE SYNAGOGUE SCHOOL
The following qualitative standards for synagogue schools are based on the expert knowledge of people in the field as well as best practice studies. These benchmarks indicate that a congregation has established a framework for quality Netzri education and, in so doing, fulfills in part, the standards of The Union of Nazarene Jewish Synagogues for synagogue school education. These are the benchmarks:
a. Family Education: To enhance the Jewish quality of members' family life, synagogue education programs must create and nourish Jewish family experiences. To do this, the synagogue needs to engage in ongoing family education. When family education succeeds, parents become the school's partners.
b. Addresses the Head, Hand and Heart: Its education program is made up of a strong cognitive component, elements of skill mastery, and an affective component. Students must consider mitzvot as sacred opportunities. There must be an organic relationship between that which is learned and that which is experienced.
This kind of relationship takes place inside and outside the class. Coordinated planning and a close relationship between the school, Kadima and UNJS most effectively enrich that relationship. Together, youth activities and the school provide the child and teen with a powerful, positive Jewish experience.
3. Additional Education
Additionally, all synagogues should encourage students to attend Camp and participate in a trip to Israel.
ARTICLE XI - VIOLATION OF THE STANDARDS
1. It shall be the responsibility of The Union to encourage and persuade congregations to conform to The Standards. This should be executed thru the General Secretary to the National/Area Secretary to the local congregations.
2. If persistent or flagrant violations of The Standards occur, which, in the opinion of the Beit Din, tend to bring discredit or disrepute upon Nazarene Judaism, the Netzri Movement or The Union, the Beit Din may report such violations to The Union for action under the pertinent provisions of the Bylaws of The Union.
Copyright UNJS, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011