Below are some frequently asked questions regarding B’ney Yosef North America.
Response: BYNA exists to assist the emergence of the reconstituted people of Northern Israel – the House of Ephraim, or Yosef (Joseph). As our name indicates, we seek to do this on behalf of and in cooperation with that part of the returning House of Yosef located on the continent of North America. In time we hope to develop community and commercial structures, but for now, our vision is limited to the educational function of promoting Ephraimite awareness, and the spiritual function of nurturing repentance and reconciliation among the fragmented elements of our people. In accomplishing these twin functions, we seek to establish and strengthen ties with all of YHVH’s people, including the various streams of Hebrew Roots and Messianic fellowships, as well as the traditional Christian church and non-Messianic Judaism. Ephraimites may be found in all of these elements, and each plays a role in the completion of the Almighty’s plan of redemption for the Whole House of Israel. BYNA works to cultivate good relationships wherever and whenever possible while maintaining our core belief in the promises of YHVH that He will restore all Twelve Tribes of Israel, and that many people of the returning Lost Ten Tribes of Yosef/Ephraim are now found within the Christian church and the emerging Hebrew Roots Movement.
Response: BYNA’s expansion is not according to an established plan, but we have considered the possibility of serving as an umbrella organization for fellowships, congregations, and other organizations. Our intent is to facilitate building connections among existing entities rather than creating something new to replace or duplicate them. We would like to promote connections to the Land and people of Israel and to the Jewish community in North America through participation in or support of initiatives like Lev Haolam, HaYovel, and the Taglit Birthright program. BYNA may, in time, develop programs like these on our own, but for now, we see the wisdom in working through existing organizations like the Messianic Covenant Community (MCC), Hebraic Roots Network, Hebrew Nation Radio, and Alliance of Redeemed Israel to promote, assist, and help grow the services already offered. Our most ambitious vision may be the establishment of a Chamber of Commerce to encourage the economic development and networking of Hebrew Roots fellowships, congregations, and communities. It will take time to reach that goal, so our initial expectations are more modest. For now, we are content to serve as a forum for making connections and a facilitator for removing barriers to cooperation among the many different elements of the Hebrew Roots Movement in North America.
Response: The Family Gatherings are the main vehicle for BYNA’s growth. This happens not by establishing membership procedures, but by setting aside a time when believers from across the spectrum of Messiah’s Body can join together as part of His covenant people, Israel, to worship our King on the day He sanctified. The Family Gathering initiative does not seek to compete with any local fellowships or congregations, but rather enhance the work of local fellowships by promoting unity and facilitating connections among individuals and organizations. These connections are already beginning in many areas, often thanks to a similar vision. We welcome the opportunity to connect with fellowships and congregations working toward city, state, province, or regional unity to see if they would want to affiliate with the Family Gathering initiative.
Response: The first thing individuals, fellowships, and congregations can do is to ask questions and offer ideas in the interest of promoting our mutual identity as Israelites of the returning House of Yosef/Ephraim. By embracing that identity, our people will come together as a distinct people. There is room for doctrinal differences and diverse practices of Torah observance based on the many valid forms of Scripture interpretation. Diversity should not be a cause of division, but a vehicle for unity as we seek to understand one another and the parts each of us play in the Almighty’s Kingdom plan. As Ephraimites, we share a love of the Torah given by YHVH through Moshe, and a devotion to Messiah Yeshua, Who lived out that same Torah and taught His followers to imitate His example. We also share a love for our brethren of Yehuda (the Jewish people) and a desire to be reunified with them when Messiah Son of David makes the Two Sticks one in His hand (Ezekiel 37:15-28). Any difference of opinion or practice which does not contradict these things we hold in common should not serve as a means of division. It remains to be seen whether we can pass that test and learn to live together in love as Torah requires and as our Messiah and His apostles taught. If individuals and fellowships/congregations can do so, then they will not only be helping to unify BYNA but will be fulfilling the greater purposes of our King in unifying His people worldwide.
Response: There is a desire to interface with official and private entities within the State of Israel, but how that will happen is yet to be seen. Currently, there is no official BYNA outreach to the Government of Israel or to other organizations, but BYNA leaders have been blessed with the beginnings of relationships with Jewish counterparts in the Land. We anticipate that this “behind the scenes” relationship building will be the Almighty’s means for us to establish credibility and trust with our Israeli brethren and with the Jewish community at large. This is the example we have seen in the work of organizations like HaYovel and the Kibbutz Beth-El Christian community in Israel. We seek to work with and learn from organizations like these so that we may join them as part of the bridge YHVH is building between the two parts of His people. As we do so, we will be on the alert for doors that open to Jewish organizations looking for the return of the Ten Tribes or seeking to promote interfaith dialogue with Christians and Messianic/Hebraic believers, and also to officials of the Government of Israel.
Response: Thanks very much for your question. In brief, Judah and Ephraim are the two tribes designated in Scripture as the leaders of all the nation. That is why the prophecy of the Two Sticks in Ezekiel 37 refers to Judah and Ephraim as each having tribes of Israel joined with them. That prophecy also specifies that Ephraim has the stick of Joseph, and thus is the chief tribe of the House of Joseph and the tribes aligned with Joseph. In other words, “Ephraim and Judah” is simply a shortened (and biblically correct) way of referring to all the tribes of Israel as they are divided among the Two Houses, as you see here:
Eze 37:15 And the word of יהוה came to me, saying,
Eze 37:16 “And you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it, ‘For Yehuḏah and for the children of Yisra’ěl, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Yosěph, the stick of Ephrayim, and for all the house of Yisra’ěl, his companions.’
Eze 37:17 “Then bring them together for yourself into one stick, and they shall become one in your hand.
Eze 37:18 “And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Won’t you show us what you mean by these?’
Eze 37:19 say to them, ‘Thus said the Master יהוה , “See, I am taking the stick of
Yosěph, which is in the hand of Ephrayim, and the tribes of Yisra’ěl, his companions.
And I shall give them unto him, with the stick of Yehuḏah, and make them one stick, and
they shall be one in My hand.” ’
Eze 37:20 “And the sticks on which you write shall be in your hand before their eyes.
Eze 37:21 “And speak to them, ‘Thus said the Master יהוה , “See, I am taking the
children of Yisra’ěl from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and shall gather
them from all around, and I shall bring them into their land.
Eze 7:22 “And I shall make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Yisra’ěl. And one sovereign shall be sovereign over them all, and let them no longer be two nations, and let them no longer be divided into two reigns.
Eze 37:23 “And they shall no longer defile themselves with their idols, nor with their disgusting matters, nor with any of their transgressions. And I shall save them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and I shall cleanse them. And they shall be My people, and I be their Elohim,
Eze 37:24 while Dawiḏ My servant is sovereign over them. And they shall all have one shepherd and walk in My right-rulings and guard My laws and shall do them.
Eze 37:25 “And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Ya‛aqoḇ My servant, where your fathers dwelt. And they shall dwell in it, they and their children and their children’s children, forever, and My servant Dawiḏ be their prince forever.
Eze 37:26 “And I shall make a covenant of peace with them – an everlasting covenant it is with them. And I shall place them and increase them and shall place My set-apart place in their midst, forever.
Eze 37:27 “And My Dwelling Place shall be over them. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.
Eze 37:28 “And the nations shall know that I, יהוה , am setting Yisra’ěl apart, when My
set-apart place is in their midst – forever.” ’ ”
Eze 37:15-28 TLV
Regarding your other question, there are elements of all thirteen tribes of Israel in the United States, and in the rest of North America. When we identify ourselves as part of the returning House of Joseph/Ephraim in North America, we are making use of the biblical precedent that refers to Ephraim as including all the Ten Tribes and others affiliated with them.
We have a number of articles and links that might be helpful. One is “Where is Ephraim? And Where is He Going?” Angus and Batya Wootten originally published that article in 1995. It’s reposted on our website at this link:
Our website was created to encourage you and provide useful Biblical resources as you walk this walk.