The JSI Staff

Rabbi Mordecai Silver, Ph.D.

Rabbi Mordecai Silver, PhD, was the founder and spiritual leader of Etz Chayim-Tree of life Messianic Congregation for over 25 years until his retirement in November of 2020. He is also the President of Tree of Life Messianic Ministries, a prison outreach. Mordecai has written 15 books available on Amazon in print and kindle. He is one of the founders of JSI-Judaic Studies Institute and the President and CEO. He is an instructor and oversees the direction of JSI with the rest of the staff. Mordecai teaches the Semicha or Rabbinic Ordination aspect of the degree course. Mordecai received his PhD in 2014 in the Discipline of Ancient Hebraic Studies. Mordecai has been the Rosh/Head of various Beit Din’s/Rabbinic Courts over the years and has served in leadership in Hebraic and Messianic organizations. Since his retirement from congregational leadership, Mordecai has put his energy into building up JSI with Rabbi Deborah Brandt, Ph.D. as well as continuing his work through his Prison Outreach. Mordecai is considering writing two new books when retirement affords him the time. Retirement does not mean doing nothing, rather the contrary. Mordecai lives in New Mexico with his wife Sharan, two grown children and three grandchildren, who all live within easy distance of one another.

Rabbi Deborah Brandt, Ph.D.

Rabbi Deborah Brandt Ph.D. has a doctorate in Philosophy with the discipline in Judaic Studies of the Tanakh and New Testament.  She has over 40 years of ministry experience, which includes working in various aspects of ministry such as Street & Prison Ministry, Singles Ministry, Pro-Life Outreaches and Teaching The Word of God including Conferences and other outreaches.  She founded Deborah’s Messianic Ministries over 22 years ago and also started a local Messianic Congregation along with her husband Minister Scott Brandt, over 16 years ago called DMM Teaching, Training and Worship Center, The Way of Messiah.  Minister Scott works alongside Rabbi Deborah as an Evangelist within the ministry.  She has written over 27 books, along with weekly Shabbat podcasts and Videos via their Website  and  leading a local Congregation.  She is an experienced leader and teacher in the Body of Messiah.   As part of the Team of JSI, she serves as Vice President, Student Advisor, Curriculum Developer, and Instructor.  Scott and Debra live in the Chicago area and have 1 grown son Scott Jr., who is a successful businessman and lives in the Chicago area as well.  Her desire is to see His people trained for the work of the ministry so they can become all that The Almighty has called them to be for His Kingdom and His Glory.  

Rabbi Philip Hammond, Ph.D. and Debra Hammond

Rabbi Philip Hammond and his wife Debra. They live, down under, in Australia...(more to come)

Philip and Debra bring 50 [in truth a little longer] years of knowledge and life experience to the table. 


They are passionate about helping families, and individuals, impacted by the present climate. 


Serving into a small assembly in country Victoria, Australia, encouraging discipleship as a key ingredient to spiritual growth.

Before semi-retiring, Debra was a Registered Nurse, Midwife and Mental Health nurse, who has specialized in Aged Mental Health and working in Parent and Infant Units.


She has a Graduate Diploma in Counseling, and loves to see people grow in their spiritual walk through the foundations of scripture.

Debra serves alongside Philip in the local assembly, especially in the role of ministering to women.


Philip is a Doctor of Philosophy – Having a PhD in interdisciplinary studies.  He serves as a Messianic Rabbi, and writes for a living.

Philip also served as President of the Judaic Studies Institute for a time, and was on the board.


He comes from a farming background, and understands the role of a shepherd.


Together they make a great team focusing on the spiritual growth of families and individuals. 


The Judaic Studies Institute is excited to have Philip and Debra on board, and we encourage students to take advantage of their experience and knowledge.   

Professor Michelle Johns, M.A.

Michelle Johns, M.A.


Michelle was water immersed into Messiah Yeshua in 2006, and six months after her immersion, she began walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. She has attended Messianic, Reformed, and Conservative synagogues over the years; Currently, she attends B’Nai Zion Temple in Shreveport, LA.  For 15 years, Michelle has been a lover and observer of Torah.


Michelle Johns is an alumna of: Bossier Parish Community College where she received her Associates of Arts in General Studies with a History focus, Judaic Studies Institute where she received her Associates of Judaic Studies, Louisiana State University at Shreveport where she received her Bachelors of Arts in General Studies with a social science focus, and University of Louisiana at Monroe where she received her Masters of Arts in Criminal Justice. Over the next five years, She plans to work towards obtaining her PhD in Judaic Studies.


Michelle is currently an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at Louisiana State University at Shreveport and a Test Coordinator for Bossier Parish Community College. She is passionate about the things of Hashem and teaching; it is a combination of these two passions that led her to an Instructorship at JSI.