THE JEWISH CONNECTION
"The Grafted Olive Branch is structured around some of the concepts that have existed in the Jewish Community for many generations and are being explored and developed in many new ways in Israel today"
The Grafted Olive Branch is a Learning Community. A Learning Community is different from an educational institution in that the goal is not to pass tests but rather enter into "Knowing" in an area of study.
Whereas, our Learning Community is focused upon two Roma language groups,The Bayash Roma and the Arli Roma it is of course open to all.
The languages used will be Serbian, Croatian, Bayash, Arli and English.
Firstly, let's look at what our Bible learning community is.
It is built around three platforms:
1. The Large Group
2. The Dinner Table
3. Individual Person One To One
All of the teaching modules work themselves into our lives and experiences through each of these platforms.
We have built the large group sessions after 20 Hours of testing different teaching sessions held in Leskovac, Serbia among the Arli Roma with approximately 50 people in each group.
This research helped us to customise and develop the programme specifically to and for Roma cultures.
1. The Large Group is able to learn in a way whereby the content is delivered using a dramatic style of presentation somewhere between Preaching and Teaching.
Very often though people feel uncomfortable asking questions in Large Groups and many times go away from the sessions feeling that they have missed important truth. That is why we break the large group down into smaller groups of ten people for what we call the Dinner Table Group.
2. The Dinner Table Group is an interactive group session of no more than ten people and is very much based questions and answers on material presented in the large group sessions.
The session will be accompanied with Israeli dance, music and food. The sharing of content in the context of music folk dance and eating together provides a very different but important learning experience.
Material can be explained with more detail and when it is hard to grasp we can grapple together on understanding the content in small group discussions.
In this case the environment creates the atmosphere.
3. This leads to the One to One or Individual Person sessions. Here a person can be totally honest about what they understood and what they missed and also how to apply it to their lives. This can be done sitting drinking coffee, together on Zoom or FB Messenger or walking and talking in the countryside.
Together, these three platforms allow for a sense of community where each person is able to learn in different ways that are unique to their own needs.
The first level of the Learning Community experience is built on 24 one hour sessions.
It works itself out in 8 monthly group gatherings.
At each of the gatherings, day one will be where 3 one hour sessions are delivered to the large group.
On day one, two and three there will be the smaller Dinner Table groups and then time designated for one to one sharing.
The cost per student will be $30 for each month. For 2022 and 2023 all the students will be covered by a scholarship and will not have to pay any fees for either materials, tutoring and meals.
The outcome of a learning community is to engage in a process whereby "knowledge" becomes "known". We use the word Known in the Biblical sense of a man and wife who know each other in intimacy. As result of that the whole process of "knowing" become much deeper and more intimate.
We also place a high emphasis on reflection and personalised application inwardly to study.
Our programmes are "Cooperative" and not "Competitive" which means the goal of study is not getting right or wrong but understanding and knowing the material
One of the interesting outcomes from the focus groups and discussions was how connected the Roma feel to the Jewish people.
On the basis of this we made two important decisions:
1. To use the Hebrew/Aramaic name Yeshua for the Lord Jesus as means of identifying with our Messianic sisters and brothers.
2. We wrestled through what hermeneutic to use in our studies and came to the conclusion that we would use the Hebraic Hermeneutic often referred to as PARDES.
Pardes is the Hebrew word for ORCHARD.
Pardes is an acronym for:
PESHAT (פְּשָׁט) - THE LITERAL MEANING OF THE TEXT
REMEZ (רֶמֶז) - THE SYMBOLIC, TYPOLOGICAL AND ALLEGORICAL MEANING OF THE TEXT
DERASH (דְּרַשׁ) - SEEKING DEEPER MEANINGS AND ASSOCIATIONS
SOD(סוֹד) - THE MYSTERY OF THE INSPIRED TEXT SPEAKING TO EACH GENERATION OR PERSON
When looking at the teaching modules it will become apparent we are using this method of determining meaning
THE TEACHING PROGRAMMES
There are five teaching programmes offered by The Grafted Olive Branch.
The Feasts and Festivals Of The Lord
This is a 24 session programme designed to take the participant through the Hebrew Feasts and Festivals that are found in Leviticus 23 and are central to the Spiritual Life of the Jews.
This study programme is designed for Home Bible Study Groups that give the basic disciplines of the Christian Life.
The Ferryman's Bell is a one day teaching programme designed to help Christians share their faith with non Christians.
Spiritual Formation Studies
We call this Spiritual Formation programme "Still Waters'. The objective is to help Christians develop a personal spiritual life that is honest and true before God.