Baht Rivka Whitten is an Israeli-born musician, accomplished recording artist and worship leader. Her artistic style fuses current and traditional melodies and employs powerful Middle Eastern instruments and vocals, along with rhythms from around the world. Her worship cds incorporate both Hebrew and English lyrics and have reached audiences worldwide through radio, television and internet. Her recent singles, “Rise Up” and “Heal Our Land,” are part of a fourth music project she is hoping to release later this year.
Baht Rivka was born in Israel on the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Her great-grandparents built one of Israel’s first moshavs (a cooperative farm village) called Ain Ganim, which has over the years become Petach Tikva. Her mother’s family has been in Israel for five generations, her father’s family, four generations. While some of her family are from Orthodox religious backgrounds originally, many have assimilated into the more secular modern Israeli culture.
Baht Rivka describes how she was very outgoing as a young child. She loved people and made friends easily. But things changed for her following her parent’s divorce and moving with her mother to a kibbutz.
Her mother, an Israeli artist, later met and fell in love with an American Jewish artist who was visiting Israel at the time. She decided to return with him to the United States. They married, and Baht was adopted by him. She and her mother became naturalized citizens of America, holding dual citizenship with Israel.
“There were many hardships for us to work through in acclimating to a whole different language and culture. My parents were hippie artists and we always lived in poor parts of town. They struggled to put food on the table and keep the electricity on. I was brutally bullied in school just for being Jewish, and different,” Baht Rivka explains. It was an emotionally difficult and confusing time for her.
“There was a short period of time that I would sleep over Saturday nights with this one Catholic friend of mine from school. When they went to their church on Sunday morning, of course I would go with them. When my ‘open-minded’ parents, found out I was going with them to church, they were very upset. ‘Jesus was forbidden to Jewish people,’ they told me,” Baht explains. Her curiosity was sparked as she wondered why other beliefs were accepted within the Jewish community but Jesus was forbidden.
For years, Baht Rivka wrestled with the idea of Jesus being the Messiah, as she started reading the prophecies pointing to Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures. She later went on to read about Jesus’ life in the New Testament. “I just couldn’t deny the love, humility and wisdom of this man called Jesus. I was also impressed by those who followed him, a few in particular who prayed for me for three years, meanwhile showing me the type of unconditional love that only could have come from God. When my eyes were finally opened, I began to worship in song,” she says. Though Baht grew up with various kinds of music, she never studied, nor thought she had any ability to sing. Nevertheless, as a new believer, she joined a worship team at a small church and this booming, powerful voice came out.
Over the next years, Baht went on to minister in music with a number of well-known Jewish ministries and music teams, and eventually began to record and produce music of her own. To her surprise, this grew into a full-fledged music ministry, which she labeled “Lazman Hazeh Music” (For such a time as this, in Hebrew). Her music has been used in events and gatherings all over the world as well as in movies and on secular Israeli radio.
Baht Rivka eventually met and married her husband George Whitten, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and radically saved in 1996. He is Founder and Director of well-known, pro-Israel Christian news site, Worthy News and has developed a number of related websites designed to reach seekers, disciple new believers and bring insight on how to pray, especially regarding prophecy and current events. George and Baht have seen many miracles first hand. Among them, seeing their parents all come to faith.
The Whitten’s two kids, both homeschooled, have experienced full-time ministry since the day they were born. Elianna (now 19) is currently at Christ for the Nations in Dallas, studying Counseling. She was born in their small apartment in Jerusalem and they soon discovered she was blind, with a rare condition in infants. Despite the surgeons warning that if she didn’t undergo a complicated surgery, she would never see like a normal child, George and Baht decided to wait. They began to fast and pray and saw Elianna completely healed within weeks. Obadiah (now 15) was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome in the womb and the Whittens were strongly encouraged to abort him by three doctors. He was born perfectly normal, even extraordinarily outgoing and smart. He is still with his parents, finishing high school studies and helping with the ministry.
Together the Whittens pioneered an Erev Shabbat (Friday evening) outreach from their Negev home, to which all are invited. As Baht Rivka describes it: “We invite anyone who doesn’t have a place to go for Shabbat to come on Friday nights, weekly.”
“We prepare an extravagant meal of salads, meats, side dishes, wine and desserts. Participants are encouraged to come with their musical instruments and to eat together and ‘jam,’ sometimes till the wee hours of the morning. George usually presents a timely word concerning current events and prophecy. Many times, we’ve had 60+ people come. Eighteen years later, this shabbat dinner outreach is still thriving, and much fruit continues to come from it,” Baht Rivka shares. In addition to opening their home, they travel locally in the Land to perform music at celebrations, schools, cafes and organized events for new immigrants, victims of terrorism, and Holocaust survivors. They also support a number of ministries and individuals in need in the Land.
Baht Rivka and family travel worldwide regularly to speak at congregations, conferences and outreaches both to sing and raise awareness and understanding about Israel and how to pray. They bring with them a message of hope, truth, joy and blessing. Along the way, Baht continues to write, record and release new music. “Our life is ministry. We do it wherever we are and wherever He takes us. That is what we’re about,” Baht Rivka says.
Her latest release, “Rise Up” is an uplifting warrior song, calling upon the Lord to Rise Up according to Scripture, and for us join Him in the Battle. For a limited time, the song can be downloaded free of charge, as a blessing to the Body of Messiah. Baht encourages listeners to proclaim the words over their families, homes, health, communities and cities.
For booking, and to learn more about Baht Rivka’s ministry, visit lazmanhazehmus