This summer, Boaz Michael and his wife, Amber, are going to be traveling around the USA to visit with FFOZ Friends and Torah Club Leaders.
We are calling this the "Shalom Tour.” In the conversation below, Boaz and I discuss this tour and why it will be an important time of connection.
Ryan: What inspired you to plan the Shalom Tour?
Boaz: Actually, we have done this before. In the mid 2000s, my family spent two years on the road in a motor home assessing the Messianic Jewish movement. The impact and impressions from that trip were transformative. However, the intent and purpose of that trip was much different from this coming trip.
Paul said of his mission:
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. (1 Corinthians 3:10)
In two and a half years our Torah Club community has grown exponentially. In city after city Torah Clubs are present. They are creating a physical presence of learning and community for disciples of Yeshua. Thinking of the verse above, we can say something similar of Torah Club, “By God’s grace that he has given us, we’ve laid a foundation as wise builders, and now someone else is building on it. Each one should build with care.”
We have created the foundation. Now we need to make sure that foundation is sound, strong, and effective. Our mission objective with the Shalom Tour is to encourage and strengthen our FFOZ Friends and Torah Club network throughout the United States.
Ryan: Tell us about the practical side of this. How many cities are you planning on visiting, and when will this be taking place?
Boaz: It is going to be an intense trip. My older brother is allowing us to use his fifth-wheel camper. We will be living in that for about three months. This will allow us to accomplish this tour in a cost effective and efficient manner. We are scheduling 70 meetings. These will be local “meet & greets,” where will be going to an central area and inviting FFOZ Friends and Torah Club Leaders. Each day we will be driving to a new city. We will rest on Shabbat—but Sunday through Thursday will be packed. We are excited. We know it will be a challenge. But with God’s help we will have strength.
Ryan: Why such an aggressive schedule?
Boaz: We have a sense of urgency. The world is changing, and we feel the values that Torah Club represents form a critical foundation for our message to get rooted and strengthened. Honestly, I am unsure with how rapidly things are changing if trips like this will be possible in the future. So, while it will be difficult, we want to make this trip as effective as possible.
Ryan: What will happen at each Shalom Tour visit?
Boaz: My wife and I see this trip primarily as a learning opportunity for us. We will meet our FFOZ Friends and Torah Club Leaders, but it will be equally important for them to meet each other. We expect to come away from this trip strengthened as we meet the amazing people who share in this work. We want to connect our like-minded leaders with one another locally, to give them a sense of the partnership we share in this mission.
We will do a lot of listening, investing in relationships, and while I will not be focusing on teaching, per se, I will be sharing and reinforcing our mission, vision, and attempting to further instill our organizational values into our local Torah Club Leaders.
Ryan: Who can attend these gatherings? Is this for Torah Club Leaders only?
Boaz: With many states having different restrictions concerning gatherings due to Covid-19, we knew that our best option would be to keep them small. For this reason, we desire the Shalom Tour to be primarily focused on connecting with FFOZ Friends and Torah Club Leaders.
We also want to encourage FFOZ Friends to invite a guest to attend. We call this a "Plus 1" individual or couple.
Why "Plus 1"? Because we want our FFOZ Friends to be thinking about growth. When you invite one guest or one couple, you can be proactive in sharing the resources, vision, and community that come with FFOZ and Torah Club.
Ryan: What do you hope to inspire or communicate during these meetings?
Boaz: I am still prayerfully thinking through that. I sense that we are in a significant “birth-pain” of Messiah. We are in transformative times. Coming out of COVID, a lot will change. I want to be ready to address those changes and strengthen our community. I want to prepare us all for the challenges we face in a world that is so divided—a world that seems like it is rapidly shifting away from biblical foundations, trust in God, and uncompromised passionate discipleship.
More than anything I want people to feel connected. I want us all to have a sense in the important kingdom work we are part of and how God is using us in these times.
Ryan: What are you most looking forward to about getting out on the road for the Shalom Tour?
Boaz: I am not looking forward to being away from my home and life in Jerusalem. I am not looking forward to the time I will lose with my family and grandchildren. But it will be nice to be on the road, seeing the amazing people who share in this mission.
To answer your question—I am most looking forward to strengthening and encouraging our local leaders and in return becoming further strengthened and encouraged in this mission myself.
We are calling this the “Shalom Tour” because “Shalom” is a deep value of mine. I feel “Shalom” is the central value of our mission. It comes from one of my guiding verses, “A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” I think it is fair to say that every FFOZ Friend and Torah Club Leader want to see, in our day, a “harvest of righteousness.”
Ryan: How can FFOZ Friends and Torah Club Leaders find out where you will be stopping on the tour?
Boaz: Right now, we are just beginning the development of the schedule. We hope to have most of the schedule in place by the end of March. At that point, we will be communicating through the FFOZ Friends newsletter, and we will be putting a schedule and event registration site online.
Our newest staff member, Jon Schussman, is coordinating the Shalom Tour for us. He will be reaching out to FFOZ Friends and Torah Club Leaders to announce the route, and will be looking for local hosts to help arrange the meetings in particular cities.