Do you have questions about SFF that are not addressed here? If so, reach out directly through our Contact Us page.
Q: What is SFF?
A: SFF is short for Shalom Family Fellowship
Q: Why the name Shalom Family Fellowship?
A: Shalom is the Hebrew word translated into English as ‘peace’. We want people to know that they can feel at peace when they join us and that we are a peaceful group. Family is at the heart of everything we do and we believe that family is the most important thing in our lives, right under our relationship with our King. Fellowship, because we are not a church. The name Shalom Family Fellowship represents who we are…A peaceful family who gathers together to study the Word!
Q: When do you meet?
A: We meet at 2:00 PM every Sabbath (Saturday).
Q: Do you have a dress code?
A: We describe our dress code as Family Casual! That means whatever you are most comfortable in is okay with us. If you are unsure about what to wear just remember one thing, Modest is Hottest!
Q: Do you have a Pastor or Rabbi?
A: Because we do not consider ourselves a church or synagogue we do not have a full-time pastor or rabbi. We have leaders that oversee our meetings and ensure things stay on topic and moving forward. We encourage everyone to ask questions or make comments about the Torah Portions as long as they are done in a respectful manner that is edifying to the group. That is how we learn and grow, by interacting with one another. However, conversations that are distracting or that do not promote unity are not tolerated.
Q: What is a Torah Portion?
A: Torah Portions are predefined sections of scripture that are read each week by millions of people around the world. They started with a section from the Torah and a section from the Prophets and this part of the weekly portion is the same for everyone, Jewish and Messianic believers alike. Messianic believers often include a section from the New Testament to go along with the section from the Torah and the Prophets. The idea is that all around the world millions of people are all reading and studying the same sections of the Scriptures. Since the New Testament portions can vary, the following link is the schedule that SFF follows.
Q: Who is welcome at your meetings?
A: EVERYONE! If you love God and want to have a deeper more meaningful relationship with Him by not just reading His Word, but digging in and studying it, then SFF is the place for you! Regardless of your background, you are welcomed at SFF. Just keep in mind that we are all here to learn and edify one another in everything that we do and say! We realize that we are not all in the same place on our walks and everyone is not going to agree on every point, but we have to remain respectful and moving forward. This means that we apply 2 Timothy 2:23 to our meetings: “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies(arguments); you know that they breed quarrels.”
Q: What format do you follow at your meetings?
A: Our Service Outline is as follows:
- 2:00-2:15: Fellowship
- Worship Begins
- Torah Study
- Havdalah (During Fall/Winter months)
Q: What is Oneg?
A: Oneg means joy or delight and is typically used to describe a social gathering held on Friday evening or Saturday afternoon that is marked with eating and socializing. It is one of the ways that we delight in the Sabbath.
Q: What is Havdalah?
A: Havdalah is a prayer service that signifies the end of Shabbat. For a more detailed explanation click HERE.
Q: Are you Christians?
A: That depends on your definition of Christian. If you mean Christian as in, do we believe in Jesus as the Messiah, then yes, we are Christians. However, today the label “Christian” can mean many different things so we typically refer to ourselves as Messianic.
Q: What is the difference between Christian and Messianic?
A: Not much to be honest. Both groups believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah. The major difference is that Messianics believe we should keep as much of the Torah that applies to us as we can. Most of Mainstream Christianity believes that the Torah was fulfilled by Yeshua and that only moral laws still apply to believers today. The truth is, we are all keeping Torah, even mainstream Christians! Messianics just keep a few more of the commandments that people in Mainstream Christianity don’t, such as the Biblical Feast Days, the Sabbath, and the clean and unclean food instructions. Messianics also refer to God and Jesus in their Hebrew names, so they will refer to them using YHWH or Yahweh instead of God and Yeshua, Yahshua or Y’shua instead of Jesus.
Q: Why do you use those weird names for God and Jesus?
A: Once we realized that the Father and Son had Hebrew names and that their Hebrew names carry more meaning we choose to use them instead of the common English translations of God and Jesus. However, we still use God and YHWH and Jesus and Yeshua interchangeably and do not look down on those who use God and Jesus.
Q: Are you keeping the law (Torah) as a way to earn salvation?
A: NO! That is not the case at all! We are keeping Torah because it is YHWH’s instructions for how we are supposed to be righteous and because we love Him! We believe that believers should indeed focus on YHWH’s love for us (grace), but that believers (in response) should also focus on loving YHWH back (obedience). (1 John 5:3 & John 14:15) Obedience is how we show that we love Him!
Q: What calendar do you follow?
A: As a Fellowship, we observe the Sabbath day from Friday night to Saturday night. As individuals, people are free to observe different calendars but as a Fellowship we follow the Hillel II calculated calendar for the Feast days. This is not something that is up for debate or discussion.
Q: My friend said that you guys don’t believe what the Bible says and teach people that it has errors in it and is not the inerrant, infallible, inspired word of God. Is this true?
A: Not at all! We believe that the original scriptures are the inerrant, infallible, inspired word of God. However, we also realize that through various translations from multiple languages and due to the doctrinal bias of some translators, some things have been lost or misunderstood in our modern translations. That is why we think it is important to not only study our Bibles, but also the culture and time periods of the people who were around when the Bible was written. If we understand Ancient Near East (ANE) culture then we can better interpret what the Bible would have meant to them and apply that to our lives today.
Q: What is the ANE?
A: The ANE is comprised of the modern nations of Egypt, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, the Gulf States and Turkey. This is the area where people lived during Biblical times, from Adam and Eve all the way to Yeshua and his disciples. For more information on the ANE click HERE.
Q: Why should I study about the ANE, isn’t my Bible enough?
A: Contrary to what you may have been taught, your Bible is NOT enough. The following quote from THIS BOOK by David A. deSilva explains why:
“If we are to hear the text correctly, we must apply ourselves to understand the culture out of which and to which they spoke. This enterprise prevents potential misreading of the text. This task is essential as a check against our impositions of our own culture, theological and social context onto the text. We should be concerned that we do not import into the text what is not there (and take those impositions as word of God!) If, then, we divorce the text from the original culture context — those basic values and scripts that shaped the world of the original authors and hearers — we will miss much of the instruction that the text wish to give and add much that the text does not wish to say.”
This quote sums up why we place such a level of importance on not just reading our Bibles, but studying them from a proper cultural and historical context.