About Rabbi Michael Stepakoff:
Michael Stepakoff was born in 1965 and grew up in Atlanta, the middle
child of three boys, in a conservative Jewish home. Beginning in 2nd grade, Michael attended Hebrew school three times a week, in addition to regular American school. From age 8 until his Bar Mitzvah in 1978, he was schooled in the customs, tradition, language and the rich religious heritage of the Jewish people. Growing
up in a very tight-knit Jewish community, Michael attended Jewish summer camp, frequented the local Jewish community center and was
active in B’nei B’rith Youth Organization. His high school years brought a fascination with Bob Dylan, a Jewish folksinger, who did several albums about his faith in Yeshua. A creative writing major at Florida State, Michael traveled to Italy and parts of Europe, seeking inspiration and answers to the deeper questions of life. In college, his spiritual quest led Michael to explore Eastern philosophy. He also became a "Dead Head," or devoted follower of the Grateful Dead band. After graduating from law school, searching for spiritual things, Michael became involved with orthodox Judaism and Kabbala. In 1992, at the age of 26, Michael began reading the New Testament, and became a believer in Yeshua as Messiah. Soon after, he began attending a messianic synagogue in Tampa, and became active in the messianic Jewish movement.
Just one week after becoming a Messiah-follower, Michael met Tara, his wife. Tara is from a mixed Jewish and Gentile background. Michael and Tara grew together on the same messianic Jewish path. Together they are the parents of four children – Ruth, Joseph, David, and Rachel. Here they are pictured at the Jefferson home in Monticello, Va. As a Jewish-American family, the Stepakoff family deeply appreciates U.S. history and values of freedom. The family enjoys visiting the State of Virginia to tour battlefields, national monuments, and historical treasures, as well as hiking in the magnificent mountains of the Shenandoah National Park.
Michael is currently the Senior Rabbi of Temple New Jerusalem, in Dunedin, Florida, which he founded in 2002. The congregation is a spiritual home for Jewish and Gentile people called to the modern-day revival of Israel. TNJ is a charter member of the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (www.iamcs.org) and Rabbi Michael is ordained by the IAMCS. Rabbi Michael serves on the Steering Committee of the IAMCS, and also on the Executive Committee of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA), and is a significant figure in the affairs of the worldwide messianic Jewish movement.
Rabbi Michael is an accomplished messianic Jewish songwriter, having co-written many songs with Ted Pearce, and other messianic recording artists. Rabbi Michael is also the published author of messianic Jewish books and key articles pertaining to messianic Judaism. A regular speaker at messianic Jewish events, his weekly webinars and podcasts are followed by people all over North America, and beyond, who know him as "Rabbi Mike." An outdoors enthusiast, Rabbi Mike enjoys hiking, skiing, jogging, the beach, and playing pick-up basketball. He is also well-known locally in the community as "Coach Mike," having been actively involved as a head coach of youth sports, in both tackle football and basketball for over ten years. (You may contact Rabbi Mike directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Temple New Jerusalem