The Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies celebrated its 15th year of existence in the fall of 2021. God has been faithful to provide faculty, students, administrators, and facilities for well over a decade of ministry.
That anniversary was a significant benchmark in the ministry of the Feinberg Center. The school is a unique partnership between Chosen People Ministries (CPM) and Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology. The idea for the school came as the result of the need for advanced Biblical and Theological training for those ministering among the Jewish people. Dr. Mitch Glaser, President and CEO of Chosen People Ministries, recognized this need and in 2004 shared his vision for the Feinberg Center with the faculty and administration of Talbot School of Theology. They wholeheartedly embraced this strategic vision and affirmed that Jewish ministry had been part of Talbot’s original DNA, noting that Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg, a Jewish scholar who had come to faith through Chosen People Ministries, was the first Academic Dean of Talbot School of Theology. Dr. Glaser, an alumnus of Talbot, had already determined that the name of the program would be the Feinberg Center in honor of the first Dean.
The years 2004 to 2007 were marked by God’s guiding hand. Dr. Dennis Dirks, then Academic Dean of Talbot, and Dr. Gregory Hagg, Vice President of Chosen People Ministries and newly appointed Talbot professor, worked diligently to satisfy the requirements for accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the New York Board of Regents (NYBR), and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). The Lord’s favor was evident in the process with small and large events that were clearly orchestrated by Him to affirm this academic/missionary partnership. The first accredited courses were offered in 2007.
As of the fall of 2021, twenty-five students have graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Talbot School of Theology through the Feinberg Program. They have been almost equally divided between Jewish and non-Jewish, male and female, and single and married. They have come from a dozen states and have heritages ranging from Romanian, Ukrainian, Puerto Rican, Chinese, and Kenyan. This diversity of students has enhanced their education as they have come with different backgrounds and perspectives but with a unified calling to Jewish ministry.
The location of the Feinberg Center in Brooklyn, New York, is by design. Where else in America can students interact with Jewish people from every conceivable kind of Jewish culture? Students have already been able to minister in various ways in their Field Education assignments under the supervision of those with experience. The Lord provided a wonderful building on Coney Island Avenue which has a large chapel, three classrooms, living quarters for 11 students, a community room, and office space for faculty and missionaries of Chosen People Ministries. Two congregations which provide opportunities in which students may worship and minister also meet in the Brooklyn facility.
The Feinberg Library of 12,000 volumes was acquired at the outset of the program and is now housed in the lower level of the building in Brooklyn. Students also have access to Talbot’s library holdings and online resources, as well as to the numerous New York area libraries.
A committed and called student body, a dedicated and excellent faculty, a purposeful partnership between Talbot and CPM, and a superb administrative team have characterized the relatively short history of the Feinberg Center. The future looks bright as we search for others who want to join us in educational ministry for such a time as this.