GROWING as a spiritual family in the knowledge & love of God through His Word and faith in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah
BRINGING new life in Yeshua to the House of Israel and to all Nations
I Peter 2:5
Philippians 3:10 Romans 1:16
From Rabbi Ken
Jewish & Gentile
Statement of Faith
Kol Dodi, Hebrew for "voice of my beloved," is taken from Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs\Song of Solomon) 2:8.
We are a messianic community in the Nashville area, a home for Jewish believers to become grounded and grow in their faith in Yeshua (Jesus), for non-Jewish believers to recapture the roots of their faith, and for inter-faith families to raise their children with a Biblical Jewish heritage. Kol Dodi welcomes you!
There's nothing more exciting (and challenging) than for a Jew to find Yeshua! Each of us has our own extraordinary story, how God in His love and faithfulness revealed the truth to us. Do you have a story? Come share it with us. Is yours incomplete? Perhaps we can help you find some answers.
With the goal of shaping talmidim (students, followers) of Yeshua who can impact the world with God's love and power, our vision extends nationally and internationally, far beyond our congregational borders.
Join us for one of our Saturday morning services or holiday observance celebrations. Enjoy worship in a contemporary and traditional Messianic style in a Jewish-Christian atmosphere, with relevant Biblical teaching from the Hebrew Scriptures.
The blessings of Yeshua the Messiah be with you,
Rabbi Ken Alpren
A key function of Kol Dodi, as stated in our core values, is to be a home for both MJs (JBs) and JPBs (Jewish pre-believers).
GBs in a messianic congregation are partners with MJs, supporting them in reaching their people and testifying to the "one new man" איש חדש אחד (Eph 2:15 ). JBs are not superior to GBs, but do have different roles and callings in certain areas, even as do men and women.
GBs are partakers of the Jewish people’s blessing and heritage as those attached to the Jewish Messiah, spiritually Abraham’s seed (Gal 3:29), included in the commonwealth of Israel and covenants of promise in one sense (Eph 2:12), partaker of the root of the olive tree (Rom 11:17). They are however NOT spiritual Israel, or the Israel of God as defined in Scripture (Gal 6:16) — this phrase refers to the Messianic Jews (Rom 2:29) as does also the “remnant of Israel” in the Tenakh. [the Messianic Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart--in Ruach not in letter. His praise is not from men (the majority in the Jewish community), but from God.]
Gentile Believers (Messianic Gentiles) are still Gentiles, though grafted into Israel's olive tree. And again it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” Was anyone called when he already had been circumcised? Let him not make himself uncircumcised. Has anyone been called while uncircumcised? Let him not allow himself to be circumcised. (Rom 11:17; 15:10; 1 Cor 7:18), as Messianic Jews are still Jews ... I said to Peter in front of everyone, “If you--being a Jew--live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” “I am a Jewish man ..." I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin... For if you were cut out of that which by nature is a wild olive tree, and grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? (Gal 2:14; Acts 21:39, 22:3; Rom 11:1, 24).
Romans 9, as with the end of Romans 2, are addressed to Jews. E.g. But if you call yourself Jewish and rely upon the Torah and boast in God ... (Paul’s Letter to the Romans 2:17 TLV) and in these portions Paul is challenging his Jewish brothers, "Are you a part of God's Jewish remnant, or not? Merely biological Jews, natural Israel, or part of the historical minority of the faithful to God within Israel, true to your calling as 'Jews', praises to God and praisers of God?"
As Jewish and Gentile followers of Israel's Messiah, we are demonstrations of His grace! Praises to Him and praisers of Him! We represent God, though a pauper. Recognizing that all is an undeserved gift from God, we use our hands to give thanks to Him before the world!
The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America
Since 1915, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA) has been about God’s assignment for the restoration of Israel. Both the Messianic community and a small number of Christian Zionists have already played a significant role in both the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel.
In 1948, in fulfillment of prophecy, the physical restoration of Israel began with the re-establishment of the nation of Israel.
In 1967, also in fulfillment of prophecy, the spiritual restoration of Israel was initiated within the context of the Jesus People Revival. God poured out His Holy Spirit upon the dry bones of Israel. Messianic Judaism reminiscent of the 1st century faith in Yeshua (Jesus) was reborn.
In 1996, the MJAA’s humanitarian arm, the Restoration of Israel (ROI) was established. We know that God’s prophetic plan is for our Jewish people to recognize Yeshua (Jesus)—the spiritual restoration of Israel. God has given the MJAA clear direction to accomplish this by showing the Messiah’s heart of love through acts of kindness and good deeds in the form of humanitarian aid (1 Peter 2:15).
To this end we have initiated humanitarian projects in Israel, Ethiopia, Western and Eastern Europe, and the US.
International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues
The spiritual vision of the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS) is to see the outpouring of G-d's Spirit upon our Jewish people through Messianic congregations. The IAMCS is not designed to be a denominational structure, but rather to be an instrument in promoting Messianic revival and to provide for the needs of its members, whatever their affiliations.
CONGREGATIONAL LEADERRabbi Ken and Frances Alpren
Rabbi Ken Alpren has over 35 years in ministry. During his this time he has planted non-denominational and Messianic Jewish congregations in Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, and Tennessee. He extended outreach in those states at times by producing and hosting television and radio programs.
Rabbi Alpren also served as Chaplain of a medical mission ship in the Caribbean and led mission teams in the Middle East and Europe. He and his family resided in Israel for nearly a year.
On staff with Chosen People Ministries for ten years, he spent five of those years as Philadelphia Area Director, establishing a Fellowship in the Russian Jewish community.
During this period he also served for a year as the President of the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship.
Rabbi Alpren has been a guest speaker and worship musician in over 300 churches and educational institutions in the U.S., as well as abroad. He also served as the assistant director of a national Messianic Jewish Youth Camp.
Presently, Rabbi Alpren serves on the Board of Directors of the Operation Andrew Group. Having taught Biblical classes and Hebrew at the college level, he recently became certified in Teaching English as a Second Language through the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute, after which he initiated and recruited a team to offer free English Conversational Classes at his congregation in Nashville. He is a sought after leader in community events in the Middle Tennessee area, and takes pride in regularly serving as an Election Poll official.
This fall, his congregation, Kol Dodi, will celebrate its twelfth year of ministry in the Middle Tennessee area.
He and his wife Frances live in Franklin and have four grown children.
ELDER, DIRECTOR OF THE KOL DODI INSTITUTESean Benjamin Bortz
Sean and his wife Eliza came to Kol Dodi in 2007. Sean graduated from Vanderbilt University Divinity School in 2009 and is currently a PhD candidate in History at Vanderbilt studying religion and politics in late medieval and Reformation England. Sean was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has been an avid Pirates and Steelers fan his entire life. He met Eliza at the University of Kentucky and they have been married for ten years. Sean teaches several courses at KDI, from history to biblical studies and theology, and loves learning and the life of the mind and believes those things can enrich one's spiritual life. Sean and Eliza love traveling, adventure and reading as well as their Basset Hound, Moses.
ELDER, MINISTER OF CHILDREN'S EDUCATIONOwen and Mary Harvey Finley
It’s been fun to be at Kol Dodi where we can experience a Jewish perspective and learn about Israel. As Children’s Director, the emphasis has been on a happy childhood for the children, learning to love the Scriptures, and appreciating Jewish heritage. We are grateful to the children’s ministry at Congregation Beth Hallel in Roswell, GA for their curriculum assistance; and to Devar Emet Messianic Jewish Outreach in Skokie, Illinois for their Club Maccabee materials. Mary Harvey Finley assists using her 29 years of experience teaching elementary school and a Masters in Special Education from Peabody-Vanderbilt. I worked as an Assistant Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts for 10 years, have a BA in History, and have studied at Vanderbilt Divinity School.
A. Teaching of the Scriptures
1. The Scriptures are the source and center of our fellowship. Academically and spiritually, education with application, our aim is to reflect Messiah’s life and character. The Word of God, wielded by the Holy Spirit,
is the discipler.
Rom.8:29; I Cor. 8:1-3; 2 Cor.3:2-3; Mt.4:4; 24:35; Acts 20:32; Jn.8:31-32, 17:17; Heb.4:12; I Pet.1:25, 2:2; Js.1;21; Col.3:16;
Eph.6:17; 2 Tim.1:5, 2:15, 3:16-17; Ps.1:1-2, 119:11,89; Is.40:8, 55:11; Dt.4:6, 6:6-7; Josh.1:8; Job 23:12; Jer.15:16; 23:29.
2. Grace-centered and lovers of God’s Torah (which finds fulfillment in Yeshua), we emphasize Messiah’s finished work of redemption and the “new creation,” learning of our new: life, mind, purpose, position, family, citizenship, covenant, hope, destiny, righteousness, relationship w/ God, etc.
Jer.31:31-34; Heb.8:6,10,12-13, 13:9; Rom.6:14, 8:15, 10:4; Jn.14:26; 16:13; Tit.3:7; Eph.1:13; Gal.2:4-5, 3:2-3,24-25, 4:6, 5:1;
I Cor.2:16; 2 Cor.3:6, 5:17; I Pet.1:23, 2:9; 2 Tim.1:9; Jn.3:3; Is.55:2-3; Tit.3:5; Mt.28:20; Eph.3:11,15; I Jn.3:1; Phil.3:20.
3. Teaching primarily from a Jewish biblical context, we grow in understanding our Hebraic heritage and roots.
Rom.3:1-2, 9:4-5, 11:17; Acts 24:14; 26:6-7; 28:17; Heb.2:17, 11:40.
B. Congregational Composition
1. A congregation is a spiritual family of mutually committed members who faithfully assemble, serve, and support financially for the purpose of discipleship (in-reach) and evangelism (outreach). The overseeing pastor / rabbi has been given authority and responsibility by God to lead and manage the flock in achieving this goal.
Eph.2:15,19-22; Rom.4:12,16, 12:4-5, 15:1-17; I Pet.2;5,9; I Jn.3:14,16; 5:1; Rev.2;1; Neh.4:6; Dt.12:5; Ps.133; Heb.10:25;
Acts 2:42-47; Jer.3;15; Heb.13;17; I Tim.5:17; I Th.5:12-13.
2. Identifying with the Jewish Biblical holidays freely (not necessarily to the exclusion of other holidays), all of which find their fulfillment in Yeshua, the congregational calendar life will revolve around these. These also proclaim and testify to Yeshua Messiahship and Lordship.
Rom.9:4-5, 11:24, 14:6; Lev.23; Dt.16; Mt.5;17; Acts 28:17; I Cor.5:7, 9:22, 11:26; Col.2:16; Heb.2;17; Lk.24:27; Heb.10:1.
3. Providing a setting welcoming ALL, we are particularly sensitive to Jewish and interfaith family ministry, children’s education being a priority. Furnishing a needful context in which Jewish believers in Yeshua can freely retain their Jewish identify without accusation, and Gentile believers can discover the Jewishness of their faith, we recognize that Jewishness yields to one’s new creation identity in Messiah, which is supreme. Jew and Gentile are one in messiah and there is no “middle wall of separation” or superiority, for Yeshua is preeminent and our unrivaled focus.
Rom.11:1,5,24, 15:7-9; Is.55:1; Heb.2:17, 13;1-2; I Pet.4:8; Dt.6:7; Mt.19:14; Acts 21:39, 28:17; Gal.6:15; 3:28; 5:6;
Philip.2:2, 3:7; Eph.2;14-15; Ps.133; Lk.24:27; Col.1:18, 3;11.
4. Our goal is to see every member established in messiah, grounded in the grace of God, knowing Yeshua deeply through the Word and Spirit of God, mature ministers of Messiah to others; Messiah-centered rather than self-centered, adequately equipped to serve sacrificially in His nature, utilizing one’s gift(s) to edify the Lord’s body. A Bible Institute may assist in so-doing and in the raising up of leadership under the overseeing rabbi / pastor.
Col.1:28; Eph.4:12,15-16; 2 Tim.1:9, 2:2; Gal.5:13,22-23; Rom.15:1-3; I Pet.4:10; 1 Jn. 4:8; Philip.1:20-21, 2:3-4.
C. Outreach & Missions
1. A fundamental component of discipleship and spiritual growth (individual and congregational), outreach is a response to the work of the Word of God and Holy Spirit within. Reproduction is the natural outgrowth of a healthy, living being. Sharing messiah’s compassion for those who are perishing prompts our prioritization for outreach’s urgency.
I Pet.2;9; Mt.4:19, 5:14-16, 9:37-38; 2 Cor.2:15, 5:11,14,20; 2 Tim.1:7-8; Philip.2:15-16; Is.52:7; Ps.40:10, 126:5-6; Rom.10:14-15;
2. Our recipients are the community at large, with a Jewish and interfaith priority. Children’s programs, campus ministry, holiday presentations, neighborhood outreach, community classes offered – represent some practical avenues of outreach.
Mt.4:19, 28:19; Rom.1;16, 9:1-5, 10:1, 11:5,11, 15:8-9; Jer.50:6; Ezek.34:6; I Cor.9:19-22; Is.53:1.
3. Our vision must go beyond our borders, embracing other countries and certainly the Land of Israel. Mobilizing short term trips can expose members to the needs of the unreached abroad.
Acts 1:8; Mt.28:19; Mk.16:15; Lk.19:10; Rom.10:14-15, 15:20-21; Rev.5:9, 7:9; Is.6:8-9.
We believe that the Bible, composed of both the Tanakh(1) (Hebrew Scriptures) and the Apostolic Writings of the New Covenant (Brit HaChadasha), is the only infallible and authoritative Word of God 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Hebrews 4:2; Ephesians 6:17.
GOD IS ECHAD
We believe that God’s unity is Echad, as declared in Shema, "a united one" or the "composite unity" Eternally existent as HaAv (Father), HaBen (Son), and Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Sprit). Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 48:16-17; 1 John 5:7-13.
We believe in the Deity of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) and he is the "Seed of the woman" God promised and that His virgin birth was to be a prophetic sign of His God-issued King-Messiah leadership role for Israel. Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 1:22-23.
MESSIAH YESHUA’S LIFE
We believe in Messiah Yeshua’s life and readiness to perform miracles yesterday, today and forever, in His vicarious and sacrificial death as the atoning satisfaction of divine wrath upon our sin, in His bodily resurrection, in His personal physical future return with His followers, both living and dead, to establish His universal Messianic kingdom with His kingly enthronement in Zion. Isaiah 53:8-11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 9:6-7; 1 Corinthians 11:26; Zechariah 12:6-10 and 14:16-21.
CLEANSED BY GRACE
We believe that the only means of being cleansed from sin (sanctification) is by grace, through faith in the sacrifice of the blood of Yeshua HaMashiach and that regeneration by the Spirit of God is absolutely essential for personal salvation. Leviticus 17:11; Ephesians 2:8; Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4; John 3:3; Hebrews 11:6; Genesis 15:6.
THE RUACH HAKODESH
We believe in the continuous and ever-present ministry of the Ruach HaKodesh by whose indwelling the believer is enabled to live a godly life and is equipped for spiritual ministries. Jeremiah 31:31-34; John 14:15-17; Galatians 5:13-25; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12.
We believe in the resurrection of all mankind, both the saved and the lost, the one to everlasting life and the other to eternal separation from God, e.g., consigned to a state of everlasting punishment. Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46; Psalm 69:28; Revelations 20:12-15.
SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF ISRAEL
We believe that Jewish descendants of the Hebrew Patriarchs, through either father or mother, who place their faith in Israel’s Messiah Yeshua remain integral to the Jewish people and culture.
Non-Jewish believers are grafted onto Israel’s Olive Tree, enjoy membership in God’s New Covenant with Israel and spiritually function as full team members in God’s household. Galatians 3:28-29; Romans 2:28-29; Genesis 15:6; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Romans 11:17-21; Ephesians 2:11-22.
We affirm God’s covenant with Abraham that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people in perpetuity. We are committed to stand with the State of Israel.
MIDDLE WALL OF PARTITION
We believe that the middle wall of partition which had marked radical alienation and enmity between Jews and non-Jews was divinely obliterated by Yeshua’s accomplishment on the Tree of Sacrifice. Ephesians 2:12-24; Acts 10:34.
NEW COVENANT BODY
We believe that the Jewish New Covenant body of Messiah is composed of both Jews and Non-Jews who have accepted Yeshua HaMashiach as the promised Redeemer and are now at liberty to worship God TOGETHER. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Hebrews 10:25; Ephesians 3:6, 10-12.
JEWISH AND GENTILE FOLLOWERS OF YESHUA
We believe that Jewish followers of Yeshua are called to maintain our Jewish biblical heritage and remain a part of our people Israel. This is part of our identity and a witness to the faithfulness of God.
We believe that Gentile followers of Yeshua are called to unity with their Jewish brothers and sisters in Yeshua through the Spirit of God, but remain as Gentiles in identity. Together we comprise a glorious witness of the "one new man" (Eph. 2:15). We do not believe that One Law Theology or the doctrinal positions associated with the “Two-House” Movement reflect biblical teaching about Gentile identity in the Messiah. This position is in accordance with our parent organizations, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA) and the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS).
PROCLAIMING YESHUA TO "ALL ISRAEL"
Since God’s Anointed King, Yeshua, is Israel’s only hope of salvation and God’s key to Israel’s destiny, we are committed to proclaiming Yeshua to "All Israel." Matthew 15:24; Acts 17:1-3; Romans 1:16-17.
Kol Dodi Messianic Congregation