Kayte, thank you ever so much for taking time to entertain these questions! Yahweh & Yahshua bless you, your husband Luke, Max, and your loved ones! 🌟
1. Shalom Kayte. May we start at the beginning? Where were you born and raised, and how were you first introduced to The Holy Scriptures? 📖
Kayte: I was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Adelphi (a suburb close to University of Maryland) and Silver Spring, Maryland. They were great places to grow up. Close to nature. Close to cities. Close to family. And super diverse, which I realize now is a special thing!
My parents are strong, passionate believers and God was part of my life since the womb. I was in church the first Sunday of my life and never went to Sunday school because I wanted to sit in on the sermons and hear what the adults were talking about 🙂
At home, we’d have family Bible studies, learn scriptures through songs, pray about EVERYTHING (… even where I put my crayons, if I couldn’t find them) and I got to watch my parents live out a vibrant relationship with God every day.
At school (I attended a small Christian school from kindergarten through 12th grade) I was blessed to have Bible woven into every subject, theology classes every year, and even apologetics, ethics and church history classes.
2. Have you always read Scripture with a twinkle in your eye, or did you occasionally challenge and question your faith?
Kayte: I’ve always loved studying the Word and seeing how it connects to every aspect of life – from potato chips to where we choose to live to how we treat homeless people. If anything, when I graduated high school and headed off to Columbia (in NYC) for college, I was chomping at the bit to put everything I’d learned into practice. And to have juicy conversations with Hindus and Jewish people and agnostics and Muslims … which I did! Because I’d gotten such a solid framework for my faith, and had spent a lot of time studying the underlying presuppositions of other world views, nothing I came across in college (or since!) has made me question what I already understand.
I never had a wild or rebellious streak growing up. I joke now that getting excited about Torah is my “crazy” phase – at least it’s the first time I’ve had a theological / ideological departure from my family or any of the community I grew up around. And the first time my life choices mean noticeable differences in my every day habits.
3. When you first had the epiphany and revelation that Torah is to be wholly obeyed, and you began following Yahshua, how did your family, friends and congregation react?
Kayte: My husband (we’d gotten married a few months before I had a dream that changed everything) was already seeing the blessings and relevance of Torah in our every day lives. He was totally psyched! A few friends were probably puzzled, haha, and asked “the name” of what I was doing now. To which, the only answer was “Well … some people call it Hebrew Roots … but don’t Google that … ha. You’ll find all sorts of stuff online that I don’t actually think is Biblical.”
Luke & I were so excited about what we’d learned (and how it made everything seem to click into place) that we barraged my parents with 1,000 page emails in outline structure with millions of verses and long, enumerated points. I see now how much of an assault that probably felt like to receive. At the time, we were just trying to show what we were seeing, and how it’s scriptural. We had some heated debates early on, but they wanted to be respectful of our marriage and the fact that we were in agreement about this. Which was awesome and very kind at a time when I’m sure they were worried about whether we’d gone off and joined a cult. Ha.
4. May we talk about The Way Documentary? I think it’s a beautiful piece of art. For me, it does a good job at demystifying and humanizing the Body of Yahshua. May you please walk us through the genesis of The Way Documentary? What was the impetus behind creating it, and what is the impact that you would aspire this doc to have on people who watch it? 💿
Kayte: Wow! Thanks so much.
The Way started as a kernel of an idea in Luke’s heart. He’s a journalist, super inquisitive and great at finding (and telling!) a story. “Discovering” Torah and unlearning some of the paradoxes we’d unknowingly grown up with was revolutionary in his life – and mine – and when he realized how many others were on a similar faith journey, he knew he had to tell the story.
When he first shared the idea of doing a doc with me though, I was hesitant. I was just getting my footing and wasn’t ready to “come out of the closet” and announce to the world that we were freaks now! Ha. But as we moved forward, I realized that it was God’s perfect timing for us to try to tell this story and to hopefully encourage lots of believers along the way.
Making this film was the hardest thing either of us had ever done (except maybe now building a tiny house … or child-birth. Ha!) But it was a miraculous year and half of new friendships, new discoveries and hundreds of answered prayers as God shaped the film and seemed to pour Miracle Grow on our efforts.
As far as the effect I pray the doc has – I hope a lonely person sees it and thinks, “This is MY story! I’m not alone in this.” And I hope someone else sees it and thinks, “Weird. Why IS it that the only commandment that starts with “remember” is the one we’ve forgotten?” I hope people get a glimpse of the timeless wisdom in God’s instructions to us, rather than thinking we’ve evolved beyond needing them. I hope it sparks a desire to pattern our lives more closely after the only person who’s ever lived perfectly. And I hope it makes people want to read their Bibles 🙂
5. In The Way Documentary, there is a scene in which you are singing You Are My Hiding Place. (Please correct me if I’m off). This was a pleasant surprise lol. When did you first realize your singing voice/vocal acrobatics, and what is your favorite praise or worship song to sing? 🎼
Kayte: That’s right! Growing up, I was in a mother/daughter organization where us girls went around to nursing homes and fairs putting on musical variety shows. At first, my “talent” was playing violin, until one day I told my mom I’d like to sing a song. After that, I was hooked.
Later in and after college, I spent time as a traveling singer/songwriter, performing original folky, country songs. It was such a fun season.
Right now my favorite worship song to sing is “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons & Daughters.
6. In another interview I heard you mention that you received comments from a sect of black Israelites. Do you think it’s important to know who the true Biblical Israelites are? Also, what has been the overall tone of the feedback you have received from people who watch The Way?
Kayte: Yes, absolutely. I think all believers lives will be transformed when they realize that they ARE the people God’s speaking to in His word, from the front of the book to the back!
From what I see in scripture, “true Israel” is anyone who has Yeshua as Savior and walks in covenant with God. I find it kind of baffling that anyone spends time trying to either trace genetic lines back to Israel, or to “bogart” the title of Israel based on their race, when ALL over scripture, the gospel has always been international good news.
God’s promise to Abraham was that ALL the families of the earth would be blessed through his seed. And later, the Great Commission was to make disciples of ALL nations.
And feedback about the film has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve heard stories of it bringing families together, churches switching to Sabbath day services and even formerly uninterested teens seeing the practicality and goodness of serving God! It’s been pretty awesome. Of course there are lots of people who disagree with what’s presented in the film – who think it’s heretical or unbiblical and tell us so … and that’s to be expected when you’ve taken a different stance from all of mainstream Christianity 🙂
7. Are there any future projects or documentaries that you would like to curate? Regarding the Body of Yahshua, what would you like to encourage us to improve on?
Kayte: Yes! There are lots of projects we hope to take on in the future – we see good stories all over the place. We’re in production on another doc now that we can share more about later!
One encouragement to believers is to enjoy your life and your relationship with God! I can’t tell you how many angry, combative believers are confused when the people they’re debating / witnessing to don’t jump on board with what they’re saying. It’s possible to make a great point and still be ignored because the person you’re talking to doesn’t want to be like you. But when it’s clear that we’re experiencing life more abundantly – and when we’re “covered” in the fruit of the Spirit – the gospel becomes that much more attractive.
And my last challenge is one I personally think about a lot: find a way to be an answer to prayer, every day, to someone you interact with. 🌟
Kayte Abaffy: @Kaytegracemusic (Instagram)