In memory of Marc Chopinsky – Pioneer of Messianic Jewish Music

Marc Chopinsky leading worship at Tents of Mercy Messianic Congregation in Israel (Photo: screenshot YouTube)

Marc Chopinsky left to be with the Lord  Oct. 21, 2018.

Today, during a bris [circumcision ceremony] for dear friends who were part of our congregation, Beth Messiah in Maryland, we received word that Marc Chopinsky had died.  It was only in the last spring that we celebrated his birthday up north. It was quite amazing. Here we were entering this infant into the Covenant of Abraham, and then right after it we got the news on Mark. The passing of a giant was announced just after we believed that this infant would become a spiritual giant. I am terribly sorry that Patty and I are sailing on a ship back to the United States and cannot be at the memorial service.

I was Marc’s pastor for 16 years. He and later his wife Leah, were a blessing to my life that cannot be put into words. When Marc came to us at Beth Messiah, he was leaving a career as a rock musician. He believed that God spoke to him to put his guitar away and not give himself to music for the next season until he knew that this was not the basis for his meaning in life. When Marc believed that God spoke to him to again take up the guitar, it was in a new direction, to glorify HaShem and his Son Yeshua. Marc met Leah in our congregation. I was part of the marriage preparation and then officiated.

Marc was part of Israel’s Hope, the amazing worship group that laid foundations for Messianic Jewish worship for the whole Messianic Jewish congregational movement in the United States. Paul Wilbur was more prominently known, a great worship leader and powerful singer. But many did not know that Marc wrote most of the songs. He was genuinely humble and did not tout his accomplishments. In our congregation he led worship in alternation with Paul Wilbur in the times that Israel’s Hope was not traveling.  After ten years Paul Wilbur left our congregation for an opportunity in Chicago. He parted with the words that Marc would more than adequately fulfill our need for worship leadership, but would be excellent. I already knew this.

So it was wonderful to have several years of his unique ability to lead people into the Presence without calling attention to himself. His skill and sensitivity were amazing. The congregation continued to grow. I have never worked with a more selfless leader. When renewal in the Spirit came to our congregation, which led later to many going into full time ministry, Marc was easily able to lead us and guide us in the times of renewal in worship.

When he left us for Israel and to serve our beloved Eitan Shishkoff and the new congregation in the Krayot, north of Haifa, Marc again was a foundational leader, and led people into the Presence. He became an elder as well. He also became the worship leader at national gatherings of leaders in Israel. I indeed was able to enjoy these times. We were sad to lose him, but what a gain he was the Kingdom for these last decades in Israel.

He and his wife Leah also gave themselves to leading a chavurah in our congregation in Maryland. They trained in marriage ministry and became a key couple for healing marriages. Leah also served selflessly and wonderfully. Marc and Leah are on my short list of those who were the greatest blessing to us in serving with us in His Kingdom.

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Dr. Daniel Juster, founder and director of Tikkun International, has been involved in the Messianic Jewish movement since 1972 and currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel, from where he serves and supports the Messianic movement worldwide. Dan was the founding president and general secretary of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations for 9 years, the senior pastor of Beth Messiah congregation for 22 years, and a co-founder of the Messiah Bible Institute in several nations. Dr. Juster serves on the board of Towards Jerusalem Council II, provides oversight to 15 congregations in the USA as well as overseeing emissaries in Israel and the Former Soviet Union. Daniel has authored about 20 books on topics ranging from theology, Israel and the Jewish people, eschatology, discipleship, and leadership.