Izzy here. Welcome! The purpose of this group is to give you a place to meet, get to know each other, and talk about what you're learning at holylanguage.com. I want you to have a fabulous time with your new community, so please read these guidelines before jumping in.

1.  DO share on a personal level. We're looking forward to meeting you, so do introduce yourself! We'd also love to hear your prayer requests and praise reports. Or if you need somebody to laugh or cry with, come talk to us. We're that kind of community.

2.  DO check in after finishing a lesson and tell us your thoughts and questions. We want to congratulate you and encourage you to keep going. I also want to hear your honest responses, including your pushbacks and disagreements. I'm serious about this! This is a place where you can be yourself. We're a very diverse bunch (more on that later), and trust me there is room for you.

3.  DO make posts that are somehow related to our focus on "following Yeshua in a Hebrew way, together". (You can read more of what that means to us here.) What I'm trying to say is, no cat pictures. Along those lines,

4.  DO remember why most of our members have joined this group - because they want a place to discuss what they're learning at holylanguage.com. So please don't post content from other sources here. It's not that we're against other ministries of course, but this isn't the place for it. If you're not sure about whether to share something, ask yourself if it will help the members of this group focus on what they're learning at holylanguage.com, or take them away from it. We do have two exceptions to this rule - First Fruits of Zion is the first. We call them our "ministry crush" and highly recommend them. The other exception is if someone posts a question and you have a link that would be helpful. Feel free to share that in the comments to their post.

5.  DO be sensitive to the fact that when you make a post everyone in the group gets a notification. For that reason, please limit yourself to one post a day. It probably goes without saying, but this just applies to posts. When it comes to comments on other people's posts, comment away!

6.  DO be mindful of the fact that not everyone in this group sees things the same way. We come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and our diversity is one of the neatest things about us. At the same time, differences can feel threatening. If you find yourself feeling scared or offended by people with different views, please don't run away. Instead look to the Messiah, and remember that we're all here because of our desire to follow him more closely. And if the group's too much for you, that's ok. Just stick to the lessons on the website and enjoy the peace and quiet.

7.  DO stay respectful. For instance, when it comes to Judaism, we honour the Jewish people, and we value the rich contributions of the Rabbis. Some of us practice Judaism and some don't, and those of us who do may depart from traditional Judaism on some points. Whatever the case may be, we keep it respectful, and criticize reluctantly and carefully - as members of the family, or not at all. Similarly when it comes to Christianity, we respect the body of Christ and all its members. Of course we passionately dissent from some historic church doctrines, but we have those conversations the same way we talk about Judaism. We respect the sincerity and integrity of Christians throughout history, and we criticize reluctantly and carefully - as members of the family, or not at all.

8.  DO be aware that after much deliberation I've decided there is one topic that's off-limits. I mean, besides cat pictures. We've seen several debates about the Trinity, and I think they've done more harm than good. So if you're wondering about this, here's the official position of Holy Language Institute: I do believe in God revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but I don't use the term "Trinity" because 1. it's not a Biblical word, 2. it carries so much baggage for the Jewish people, and 3. Deuteronomy 6:4 teaches us to focus on the unity of God. Having said that though, if you are seriously trying to understand this sensitive and complex issue feel free to private message one of our admins and they'll be glad to help.

9.  DO stay positive and constructive. It's fine to express disagreements and debate ideas, and quite frankly I hope to see you doing that. Just make sure you don't end up making personal attacks or fighting dirty. You know, do your part to make this a safe neighborhood. One fun little way to picture the difference between friendly debate and street fighting is to look at the difference between question marks and exclamation marks. A question mark (?) resembles a little hook, and that's how it functions in dialogue - it attracts and engages people. An exclamation mark (!), on the other hand, resembles a bat, and that's often how we find it being used - to beat people with our points. If you do end up going all ghetto and the bats come out, don't say I didn't warn you when the cops show up and shut down the party!

10.  DO treat others the way you'd like to be treated. This is your community, and ultimately you'll get out of it what you put into it. So if it makes you feel good when we like your posts or comment on them, then do that for our posts too! If you enjoy being congratulated and encouraged when you finish a lesson, then own this thing and do the same for us. See how that works? :) All that to say, let's each do our part to make this an awesome community, and a tribe we can be proud of!


Technical notes:

There may be times when the cops - er, I mean admins - feel that certain conversations or posts aren't in harmony with these guidelines. In that event, there may be rare occasions where they remove posts or comments. If that happens to something you contributed, please don't be discouraged or take it negatively. We love you and appreciate your involvement, so please stay brave and keep posting and commenting!

You're a member of this group because you're actively supporting Holy Language Institute as a subscriber, donor, or volunteer. As long as you continue your subscription or volunteering activities, your membership in this group will continue. If you stop subscribing or volunteering, one of our admins will remove you from the group and you will suddenly wake up to find yourself on another planet!

:)