The Messiahsez Returns to Brooklyn
On the Friday afternoon before Rosh Hashanah, Messiahsez walked through Borough Park attracting a crowd of Hassidic Jews. “Meshiah! Meshiah!” the children shouted as the Messiahsez sauntered down the side walk, dressed in robes, toting a shofar and guiding a white donkey. One man at the Russian baths recounted that “every Jewish man circumcised in the last 40 years” had seen or heard of the Messiah returning to Brooklyn.
“I went to Amsterdam and took a large amount of sacred medicine, also called mushrooms, and it changed me.” Messiah explained, “Actually what it really did was remind of who I really was because I knew all along, I just was hiding it.”
Dennis GRonim, properly known as “Messiahsez,” became internet famous in the second half of his life by deciding to be himself. The Internet personality of Messiahsez has thousands of followers who tune in daily to watch life tips, loving messages, and videos of Messiahsez banging his guitar while holding a Ka-bar between his teeth and dangling tea bags over his eyes. His purpose is simple, “I do it to make people happy. I don’t make any money, I don’t try to make money, and I refuse to make money. I do it specifically to make people smile.”
But GRonim was not always the jolly old Messiahsez. He used to be an angry, somewhat violent, businessman involved in sketchy Union work, the kind of Union work that got men killed. He was a product of what he called, “the world of the United States of America,” the world of “making a living, doing what was expected of someone going to college, getting a job, working hard, and making money.”
GRonim did not go into detail about the day that changed his life in 2007. But what started with playing guitar around the city of Amsterdam ended up in what he referred to as “a meeting with the elders of consciousness.”
After Amsterdam, the name “Messiah” was coined by his son whom found humor in his father’s newly realized self. GRonim's son created a one-page website with a picture of GRonim looking like a Jewish rabbi. The webpage said, “Messiah loves you, Messiah knows everything, ask Messiah a question.” When the words were clicked it spewed out a bunch of gibberish. This was what many people thought about GRonim after his return. “I had been a complete f---ing a--hole, I mean talk about something that you could hate,” GRonim said, “And now I went back Mr. Holy sh--.”
While GRonim is crazy, he is not stupid. Returning to the work place, GRonim was able to navigate a practical approach to applying Love as an approach to hostile environments. In 2011, GRonim retired from his job, invested in his webcam and subsequently became the full-time Messiahsesz. He now has 350,000 Reddit “Karmas,” 67,000 YouTube followers, 9,300 Facebook followers, and a full-length feature film coming out in 2019.
Messiah starts his day with Vipassana meditation and responds to every email, comment and message across his social media platforms. He heads to the East Village Russian and Turkish Bath’s around 11 a.m., then fills his evenings with tai chi, guitar, philosophy, comradery, and quality time with his wife. His wife, simply referred to as “Doc,” is a full time environmental activist leading the way in climate change awareness.
“The goal of life is to love," Messiah said. "But that is not so much the goal as it the purpose. I would also suggest it [love] is the essence of every aspect of the universe: the energy, the material, whatever it is that this is, is actually a flow of loving energy that comes from what we would say, 'before the big bang' or, if you're religious, 'before the garden of Eden.'”
Messiah’s plan for the future is to run for President of the United States in the upcoming 2020 election. Messiah’s platform is an eclectic variety of topics ranging from social reform and international disarmament to “the realization of perfection,” and “get naked and groovy.”
GRonim explains that, “God wants you to get naked and groovy without a question.”
According to Messiah, the first thing God told people to do in the Bible was, “Go forth and be fruitful.” At the end of the first day God said, “It was good, Ki Tov.” At the end of the second day, she [referring to God] said, “It was good, Ki Tov.” And at the end of the third day, she made pot and all the other psychoactive plants and mushrooms and said, “It was very good, Ki Tov-Ki Tov.””
Messiah said his platform is not too 'top of the mountain,' a term used to describe ideas too idealistic or spiritually lofty for practical application.
“Martin Luther King Jr., the day before he died on April 3, 1963, gave his last speech where he said, 'if I should die tomorrow,' and by the way, he knew that they were after him, said, 'If I should die tomorrow, I am not afraid. I have been to the top of the mountain and I have seen the Promised Land, I have seen my people walking in the land of milk and honey, free at last, free at last, great God almighty, free at last.' I have been there. I have been to that Promised Land, and I am not afraid. I have been known to say I will love the bullet that kills me.”
Messiah chuckled, ran his fingers through his beard and added, “I hope.”
On a more profound level, GRonim has taken what some understand to be a whimsical ‘new age movement,’ and revealed it to be an ancient and timeless gift. A curious and well-read individual, GRonim can trace his philosophical roots to ancient principles espoused in Vedic, Daoist and Judeo-Christian literature. More importantly, GRonim predicts a day when religion and religious texts will no longer be needed. He refers to this as the “realization of perfection.”
“That which is this universe, this planet, each particle of it, is actually perfect," he said. "And that perfection, which I also call love, is actually expanding, as is the awareness of it. Eventually human beings will be able to live with each other in love and not with hatred and not for need of these rules.”
For the time being, Messiah has gone ahead and decided to live life as if that perfection has arrived. His presence oozes kindness and love. His smile is like that of a child who is simultaneously both mischievous and innocent. A gadfly amongst his peers, Dennis GRonim is just doing his part in bringing about the change he wishes to see.
A previous version of this article stated that a short feature documentary was coming out in 2019. It was corrected to say a "full-length feature film."