While many of my posts mock people in the Messianic movement, this one is dead serious.
MJTI (Messianic Jewish Theological Institute) recently began offering a two-year cantorial arts program. For $8400 plus a required internship and various administrative fees, you too can learn how to read Torah and perform other basic liturgical functions in the Messianic movement.
Let’s put aside the fact that the program is a blatant ripoff for now. Instead, let’s focus on Cantor Peter Gordon, one of the two instructors in the program. According to his biography:
Cantor Peter Gordon… has served Reform, Conservative, Reconstruction, and Traditional congregations throughout the United States. He came to faith and started serving Messianic Judaism as an adult and has served congregations in Las Vegas, Nevada and currently at Beth Emunah in Agoura Hills, California.
This is a surprising background for someone in the Messianic movement, no? Why did someone who sounds very involved with Judaism end up adopting Jesus as his savior?
Answer: Cantor Peter Gordon, formerly known as Cantor Joel Gordon, left organized Judaism in disgrace after he and his wife Alison Ginsberg pleaded guilty to running a prostitution ring in 2001.
The Awareness Center, a volunteer organization dedicated to fighting sexual abuse in Jewish communities, has collected a series of newspaper articles about Peter/Joel Gordon with all the grim details and photographic evidence that the two Gordons are in fact the same person. Oh, and Gordon worked with a couple Christian congregations in Nevada using the name “Peter Andrews” around 2010.
(For the record, a quick online search for some of the article headlines and for “Cantor Peter Gordon” confirms that the information on the site is correct.)
The articles collected at the Awareness Center further reveal that Gordon served “congregations throughout the United States” because he kept having to leave them—and this was well before the brothel allegations. For example:
At Temple Sinai in Atlanta, Rabbi Phil Kranz said of Gordon, “We knew there was a problem. He was given a few hours to pack and be out and he left in the dark of night.”
Given Peter/Joel Gordon’s history, I strongly suspect that he became a “Messianic Jew” simply because he needed a new group of people to exploit. And his super-brief incarnation as the openly Christian “Peter Andrews” raises additional questions.
If you are involved in the Messianic movement (especially with Beth Emunah or with MJTI), please be extremely careful in your interactions with Peter/Joel Gordon; don’t let his musical abilities lull you into complacency. And please do not hesitate to contact the proper authorities, including law enforcement, if something illegal or suspicious occurs. Whatever my feelings are about your movement, I sincerely do not want to see any of you exploited.