Remembering Israeli Musician Marc Chopinsky
JERUSALEM, Israel – Musician, composer and worship leader Marc Chopinsky will be greatly missed by many. This beloved brother was laid to rest on Monday.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Psalm 116:15)
Born in Philadelphia in 1950, the self-taught guitarist traveled the rock and roll nightclub circuit for 17 years without ever composing a song. All that began to change in the spring of 1981 when he met the Messiah.
He became a prolific songwriter and part of Israel’s Hope, a popular trio in the 1980s, with Paul Wilbur and René Bloch.
Chopinsky’s lifelong friend and founder of Tents of Mercy Eitan Shishkoff, gave the eulogy at the service.
“This is hard. I won’t kid you,” Shishkoff told the gathering. “He gave so much to so many.”
“I think Marc never got over being saved,” Shishkoff said. “It was perhaps his first theme: the gratitude and joy of his salvation.”
The two families knew one another when they lived in the US, their 15-year friendship picking up again at Ohalei Rachamim (Tents of Mercy) congregation Shishkoff led in Haifa.
“Marc gave our son, David, his first guitar lessons – a gift that continues,” Shishkoff relayed.
Chopinsky and his wife, Leah, passed the legacy onto their son, Eli and his wife, Vanessa. They held family worship together every week in their home.
“It meant a lot to me how much their prayers became a living legacy,” a friend and member of the congregation told CBN News. “They prayed a lot for their son over the years.”
The news of Marc’s passing took everyone by surprise.
“It just felt so unexpected. We just saw him on Shabbat [Sabbath]. To get news of his passing on Sunday morning was shocking.”
“Everyone admired his calm, even-keeled, upbeat and encouraging demeanor,” she continued. “He was always approachable if somebody had a question. He was never ruffled by things. It didn’t matter how many people were there.”
“Marc’s songs became the calling card of the ministry and the reason the phone kept ringing,” Paul Wilbur wrote after hearing the news.” Always humble, always tender hearted, Marc was the unflappable one who always had a soft answer and a large smile.”
For some, Chopinsky’s sudden passing brought to mind the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“The righteous perishes and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.” (Isaiah 57:1-2)
Chopinsky shared a little bit about himself in an interview in 2014 at the annual Intercessors for Israel prayer conference in Jerusalem.
His sudden departure is a reminder for all of us to cherish one another, encourage and love each other while we can.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, October 23, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Tzippe Barrow is the CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem. She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) nearly two decades ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.
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Orthodox Jewish publication lambastes Messianic writer
Even with his bold and evangelistic approach here in Israel, Ron Cantor had yet to experience an attack as vicious as he did when a media outlet accused him of being anti-Semitic and even compared him to perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition.
“It was kind of like getting hit by a two-by four-to be honest,” Cantor told Kehila News Israel (KNI). “I have no ill will against them, but I have to be honest this is one of the few times in 15 years that I encountered this level of rejection and rhetoric against me.”
Breaking Israel News (BIN), a Jewish-run Israel news site with an Orthodox leaning, published a scathing article in response to Cantor’s original piece in which he questioned the credibility of the self-appointed Sanhedrin in Israel and its courting of Christians for donations. While Cantor’s own article was opinionated, the response to it bordered on defamation and slander.
In it, Sanhedrin spokesmen Rabbi Hillel Weiss was quoted as saying that Cantor “is reenacting every anti-Semitic act ever perpetrated throughout history.”
“I know that everyone’s got their voice and they are free to respond, and I certainly expected them to disagree with me,” Cantor told KNI. “But I was a bit stunned by the over the top rhetoric. It seemed that it was an emotional response. Clearly I’m not anti-Semitic. I live in Israel, I sent my daughters to the army, I speak Hebrew. I love this country. I could live a very nice life in America.”
After making aliyah 15 years ago, Cantor, a ministry leader and writer, has chosen to live in Israel and has dedicated his life to see the salvation of the Jewish people.
In his original article, published on his website on Sept. 19 and picked up by Charismanews.com, Cantor addressed a worrying phenomenon that Christians are seeking friendships with the Jewish people possibly at the expense of both Messianic believers and of recognizing Yeshua.
“As a Jewish believer, I am deeply conflicted: On the one hand, I love that Christians are seeking friendship with Jews. On the other, I am deeply concerned that it is in an effort to affirm a Yeshua-less Judaism,” Cantor wrote in his article.
He called out the new Sanhedrin as a group that would shun Messianic Jews even while seeking partnerships with evangelical Christians.
“Not only would they not fellowship with me, they would most likely persecute me. While I love the fact that evangelicals are establishing relationships with Orthodox Jews, it seems that some of it is coming at the cost of compromising our most holy commission—to spread the message of Yeshua to all nations,” Cantor wrote.
Cantor himself subscribes to BIN and appreciates the organization’s zeal for God and its mission — to repair relations between the Jewish people and Christians. But he points out on his blog that, “Christians, while absolutely having a calling (Rom. 11:11) to reach out with love to the Jewish people, should never assume that Judaism without Yeshua is acceptable.”
When he saw the BIN email containing the article in his inbox, Cantor said he shivered. At first he was hurt, then he thought that such inflammatory rhetoric is possibly illegal. He contacted a lawyer who agreed, then contacted the author of the article.
“To my great delight the writer responded saying. ‘I understand how you feel, let’s have a conversation,’” Cantor recalled.
“I understand why what I wrote was offensive,” Cantor told KNI. “I sympathize with their feelings against me. I realize the church has persecuted the Jewish people for centuries so in their minds I am masquerading as a Jew who believes in Jesus with a hidden agenda.
“In their eyes Messianic Jews are coercing Jews to convert to a foreign religion when in fact all of the first followers of Jesus were Jews and it never entered their minds that they were changing their religions.”
In his own community of secular and Orthodox Israelis, Cantor’s beliefs are not an issue: “Three things impress the average Israeli: That I moved here, that I know the language and that my children served in the army.”
Cantor said he is up for strong debate, but the challenge for him will be to communicate in the most gracious and honest way possible. He encourages other believers in Israel to not back down from the challenge but at the same time to understand that there are people behind the criticism — and these people share a zeal for God despite their difference of opinion on who the Messiah is.
“The thing to take away from this is that while we can never compromise our commitment to the Great Commission, I would be lying if i didn’t say that we want to bring Israelis to faith in Messiah,” Cantor encouraged. “But when we speak about issues like the Sanhedrin or others, we need to remember that these are real people with real feelings in our country and some of them are actually willing to dialogue.”
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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In memory of Marc Chopinsky – Pioneer of Messianic Jewish Music
Marc Chopinsky left to be with the Lord Oct. 21, 2018.
Today, during a bris [circumcision ceremony] for dear friends who were part of our congregation, Beth Messiah in Maryland, we received word that Marc Chopinsky had died. It was only in the last spring that we celebrated his birthday up north. It was quite amazing. Here we were entering this infant into the Covenant of Abraham, and then right after it we got the news on Mark. The passing of a giant was announced just after we believed that this infant would become a spiritual giant. I am terribly sorry that Patty and I are sailing on a ship back to the United States and cannot be at the memorial service.
I was Marc’s pastor for 16 years. He and later his wife Leah, were a blessing to my life that cannot be put into words. When Marc came to us at Beth Messiah, he was leaving a career as a rock musician. He believed that God spoke to him to put his guitar away and not give himself to music for the next season until he knew that this was not the basis for his meaning in life. When Marc believed that God spoke to him to again take up the guitar, it was in a new direction, to glorify HaShem and his Son Yeshua. Marc met Leah in our congregation. I was part of the marriage preparation and then officiated.
Marc was part of Israel’s Hope, the amazing worship group that laid foundations for Messianic Jewish worship for the whole Messianic Jewish congregational movement in the United States. Paul Wilbur was more prominently known, a great worship leader and powerful singer. But many did not know that Marc wrote most of the songs. He was genuinely humble and did not tout his accomplishments. In our congregation he led worship in alternation with Paul Wilbur in the times that Israel’s Hope was not traveling. After ten years Paul Wilbur left our congregation for an opportunity in Chicago. He parted with the words that Marc would more than adequately fulfill our need for worship leadership, but would be excellent. I already knew this.
So it was wonderful to have several years of his unique ability to lead people into the Presence without calling attention to himself. His skill and sensitivity were amazing. The congregation continued to grow. I have never worked with a more selfless leader. When renewal in the Spirit came to our congregation, which led later to many going into full time ministry, Marc was easily able to lead us and guide us in the times of renewal in worship.
When he left us for Israel and to serve our beloved Eitan Shishkoff and the new congregation in the Krayot, north of Haifa, Marc again was a foundational leader, and led people into the Presence. He became an elder as well. He also became the worship leader at national gatherings of leaders in Israel. I indeed was able to enjoy these times. We were sad to lose him, but what a gain he was the Kingdom for these last decades in Israel.
He and his wife Leah also gave themselves to leading a chavurah in our congregation in Maryland. They trained in marriage ministry and became a key couple for healing marriages. Leah also served selflessly and wonderfully. Marc and Leah are on my short list of those who were the greatest blessing to us in serving with us in His Kingdom.
Dr. Daniel Juster, founder and director of Tikkun International, has been involved in the Messianic Jewish movement since 1972 and currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel, from where he serves and supports the Messianic movement worldwide. Dan was the founding president and general secretary of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations for 9 years, the senior pastor of Beth Messiah congregation for 22 years, and a co-founder of the Messiah Bible Institute in several nations. Dr. Juster serves on the board of Towards Jerusalem Council II, provides oversight to 15 congregations in the USA as well as overseeing emissaries in Israel and the Former Soviet Union. Daniel has authored about 20 books on topics ranging from theology, Israel and the Jewish people, eschatology, discipleship, and leadership.
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Incredible beyond report: Update from Pastor Santoro
Today was a good day! Early this morning we went to our appointment with the oncologist to receive the report on last week’s MRI. Praise God, for the first time in the past six months, he announced that there was no visible cancer showing on the MRI! Hallelujah!
As always though, the doctor was quick to remind us that the the cancer is still there though not visible and will no doubt return one day. But we say “no!” Let God’s word be true! In addition, in the natural, there have been some negative side effects from all that I have walked through these last three years- from radiation, surgery and various treatments. After much discussion, we have decided to continue but reduce the treatment from every two weeks to once every three weeks.
Overall, we are so grateful to God for the good report and believe with all our hearts that our God will give me all that I need as I continue down this path of total healing. He is the God who restores and redeems and we are confident that he will do much more than we can imagine or hope for!
Along with our overflowing gratefulness to God is an overflowing “Thank You” to each one of you. We know and believe with all of our hearts that you are a tool in God’s hands. We believe it is God’s will to heal us all and we thank you for your willingness to intercede on our behalf so that his will be accomplished. Keep praying, keep believing and together we will all see the wonder of our God manifest in all of our lives.
As always, we continue to share the Lord and his love with whomever we can while receiving treatment in the hospital. This last time, we were sitting opposite an Israeli woman and we started speaking to her. At some point I mentioned that we were believers in Yeshua and it turned out that she knew our dear friends who lived in the same town as she did! And she met our friends through another friend of hers who happened to be a believer. And to top it off, she mentioned where she worked and it turns out that one of our other friends works there also! We had a blessed conversation with her and know that as one plants and another waters, God will bring the increase!
Israel is so ripe but the opposition is fierce. Please pray that the resistance will be broken down. God has given us weapons that are not carnal but mighty in the spirit to tear down strongholds. Let us use these weapons and open hearts to receive their Messiah!
Sharing Yeshua At the Hospital
Pray for Israel
It has been an intense time here in Israel. This morning alone there have been over twenty attacks on southern towns near Gaza. In addition to the missiles, incendiary and explosive balloons are still being sent over the border, landing as far as Bet Shemesh which is near where we live. There have been riots on the border with attempts to storm the border fence and Palestinians and Israelis getting killed as a result. Gaza is in a desperate situation economically. Unemployment is soaring, poverty is overwhelming and Hamas determined to carry on these ongoing attacks on Israel in order to provoke Israel to respond harshly and thus gain some favorable international response. As the attacks continue, Israel appears to be seriously considering military action.
Please stand with us in prayer. Even today military leaders are meeting together and trying to set a workable plan for this nation that will ensure long term quiet. Join us in declaring that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed by God. Pray that the plans of the enemy to destroy us will result in their destruction!
Please pray for revival in the Gaza Strip. These people so need the love of Yeshua to melt their hearts. And only the Prince of Peace can bring forth the true peace we all want.
The congregation is overflowing in numbers. As it grows, develops and matures, we need to be flexible to adjust to needed changes. Please pray that we would have wisdom to know how to move forward in this complex city of Jerusalem and to bring in the fruit that is waiting to be harvested!
We have had several births in just one week and more on the way. We praise God for this fruitfulness. We see these births as a sign of health and blessing. Please pray for all these young growing families that they would prosper in this land and all their needs would be supplied.
Along with the increasing number of children in our congregation is the tremendous need for teachers in our Shabbat school program. It is such an important task! Please pray fresh blessing on those who are serving so faithfully and for new and dedicated teachers to come forward to help.
God is so good and we sense so much advancement in the spirit in these days. There was a lot of press coverage on the events during Succoth and the thousands of believers who came to the Land made a good impression! The love for Israel shown forth and no doubt touched many Israeli hearts. There was much worship that was lifted up, the name of Yeshua was proclaimed and we look forward to seeing the results of all that transpired in the spirit. The gospel is going forth and it will produce fruit!
Feast of Tabernacles – ICEJ Jerusalem
This article originally appeared in Zion’s Glory Update, October 16, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Eddie and his wife, Jackie, are senior leaders of Ahavat Yeshua Messianic Congregation in Jerusalem and also serve in positions of senior leadership in Revive Israel.
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‘Passion’ worship movement comes to Israel
In what has been billed as “more than a concert,” the powerhouse worship group Passion will pause in the midst of touring Israel to host an event in Jerusalem next week to glorify God.
“This is the heart of Passion as we pause to gather together in the midst of traveling the Holy Land to collectively lift up the name of Jesus,” Misty Paige, Passion operations manager told KNI (Kehila News Israel).
The organization has opened the event to anyone who wants to attend.
Passion is known for several top Christian songs, including “How Great is Our God,” “God of this City” and “One Thing Remains.” Currently the group consists of Kristian Stanfill, Brett Younker and Melodie Malone, but well known Passion alumni include Chris Tomlin, David Crowder and Christy Nockels.
Passion Worship Night in Israel is part of the organization’s first official Holy Land Tour and is being facilitated by Premier Cruises together with Keshet Journeys. Some 500 people will be touring Israel with the organization’s leaders this month. The worship night will be held on Oct. 25 at The Hebrew University Amphitheatre and will include a teaching by Pastor Louie Giglio who founded and heads the organization.
Passion began as a movement 20 years ago calling for a generation to live lives that glorify God, based on Isaiah 26:8:
“Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.”
Louie and Shelly Giglio, based in Atlanta, began the Passion Movement in 1995 in order to encourage Christian college students to strengthen their relationship with God. The organization holds worship nights around the United States and annual conferences. Last year, 55,000 people gathered in the Georgia Dome for the Passion Conference.
“We believe that Jesus has given us a unique platform to be a gathering place for churches all over the world — and we are excited to lift up the name of Jesus in Israel with you!” Passion said in its invitation the the Israel Worship Night. “We have also opened this event to the public and would love to have as many as possible be part of this night.”
Passion hosts Worship Nights around the United States and wherever the group tours.
“Rooted in the Passion movement, we are committed to leading people toward renewed intimacy with God and fresh encounters of worship wherever we go in the world,” Paige said.
Passion has won four Dove Awards and eight of its albums have debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums Charts. The group’s latest album, “Whole Heart,” features a collection of songs recorded at conferences in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door.
For more information and tickets, please visit https://268generation.com/passion-worship-nights-in-israel/
To learn more about Louie Giglio, visit https://www.louiegiglio.com/
To listen to Passion music, click here: https://passionmusic.com/
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.