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Black Hebrew Israelites (also Black Hebrews, African Hebrew Israelites, and Hebrew Israelites) are diverse groups of people mostly of Black African ancestry who believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites.
Black Hebrews adhere in varying degrees to the religious beliefs and practices of mainstream Judaism, but are not accepted as Jews.
Many Black Hebrews consider themselves — and not mainstream Jews — to be the only authentic descendants of the ancient Israelites.
Black Hebrews have no central authority, and the beliefs and practices of Black Hebrew groups vary considerably.
At the extremist fringe some groups of Black Hebrews are said to promote black supremacy.
Many of the groups are polygamous and many have authoritarian leaders along with cult-like characteristics.
Many of the sects that identify themselves as part of this movement are considered racist hate groups.
They are generally not accepted as Jews by the greater Jewish community, and many Black Hebrews consider themselves — and not mainstream Jews — to be the only authentic descendants of the ancient Israelites. Many choose to self-identify as Hebrew Israelites or Black Hebrews rather than as Jews.
Dozens of Black Hebrew groups were founded during the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. In the mid-1980s, the number of Black Hebrews in the United States was between 25,000 and 40,000. In the 1990s, the Alliance of Black Jews estimated that there were 200,000 African-American Jews, including Black Hebrews and those recognized as Jews by mainstream Jewish organizations.
One sect is the infamous Miami based sect which was started by Yahweh Ben Yahweh, otherwise known by the authorities as Hulon Mitchell, Jr. This sect will be discussed in greater detail later in this article. Other sects include the Commandment Keepers, The Law Keepers, House of Judah, and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (just to list a few). Ben Israel, originally named Ben Carter (from the south side of Chicago), started the latter sect, The Kingdom of Yahweh, around 1967.
Ben Israel impressed upon other blacks the belief that African-Americans descended from the biblical tribe of Judah. He led others to believe that because of this, Israel was the true land of their birthright. He is said to have received a vision in which the angel Gabriel revealed that the time had come for the biblical Israelites among the African-Americans to return to Israel (the promised land) and to establish the kingdom of God on earth. As a result about three hundred and fifty people from Chicago, along with Ben Israel, journeyed to Liberia, West Africa on their way to Israel. In 1969 they made it to Israel and set up what they believe to be the foundation for the kingdom of God.
Unfortunately, despite all the promotion of building the kingdom of God and “righteousness” the B. H. I.s members in Ben Israel’s sect were later engaged in criminal activity. In 1986, Ben Israel and his aide, Prince Asiel Ben Israel were convicted of trafficking stolen passports and securities and forging checks and saving bonds. While in Israel, Ben Israel’s community had a counterpart sect forming in the United States. This sect was being led by Yahweh Ben Yahweh and was called the Nation of Yahweh. Those who followed Yahweh Ben Yahweh viewed him as the Messiah.
Yahweh Ben Yahweh (Hulon Mitchell, Jr.) was born in Oklahoma, 1935. He founded N. O. Y. in 1979. He originally tried to base his teachings on twisting Christian doctrine. In recent years, the N. O. Y. was involved in a large amount of conflict with the people and government of Miami, Florida where it was founded. The N. O. Y. is an offshoot of the sect created by Ben Israel. Members of the N. O. Y. were convicted in 1990 of conspiring to commit RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization statute), and although they were not found guilty of the RICO charge, Yahweh was sentenced to serving an eighteen-year sentence for another crime. In conjunction with the negative view of this sect, Yahweh and his followers are referred to as a “killer cult,” notorious for their violent background.
There are many other branches of B. H. I.s that come from the perverted biblical beliefs and teaching of Ben Israel’s misunderstanding of the Holy Scriptures. In spite of many obvious errors in interpreting the bible, those who practice this religion in any form perceive their history to be exceptionally divine.
The Black Hebrews believe they are descended from one of ancient Israel's 10 lost tribes by way of Africa and the slave routes to America, an account most scholars dismiss as myth.
According to the teachings of their leader, Ben Ammi Ben Israel, the cruel chapters of their history were part of God's plan to lead them back to their homeland -- Israel.
That belief sprang from a vision that Ben Ammi says he had in 1966 when he was a Chicago foundry worker named Ben Carter. In the dream, archangel Gabriel told him that many African Americans were descendants of the lost Israeli tribe of Judah.
Carter's epiphany led him to gather 30 followers in 1967 and move to Liberia -- a country founded by freed American slaves in 1847 -- for a two- year "cleansing period" on the way to the Promised Land.
Upon arrival, Israeli authorities directed the newcomers to the remote desert town of Dimona while their claims of Jewish heritage were assessed.
Black Hebrews believe the descendants of American slaves and the indigenous peoples of the Americas make up the 12 tribes of Israel. They expect to some day return to Israel (which they call "Northeast Africa"). Adherents reject black Africans, who are usually seen as ''traitors'' who sold their black brethren into slavery.
The origins of the Black Hebrew Israelite religion may stretch back to before the Civil War. By 1896, "Prophet" William Crowdy founded a sect in Kansas. The religion permitted polygamy, forbade birth control and decreed strict dietary laws similar to Judaism.
By World War I, there were congregations in several major cities. By the 1980s, others had appeared in Israel and several other countries.
"he racism, paranoia and millenialism that they have is very flammable," says Suliman Nyang, an expert at Howard University. "They want to take on the entire system, the entire world that they think is evil and against them. The line between reality and imagination doesn’t exist for them."
Their story begins with the Patriarch Abraham (2117-1942 B.C.), a native of the Sumerian city of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia. Archaeological discoveries have proven that the earliest inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia were members of the ''Brown Race,'' i.e., the Negroid branch of humanity.
It has been confirmed that the ancient Sumerians were akin to the modern Black Dravidians of India. The Sumerians also had an affinity with a people known as the Elamites, the very first Semitic group mentioned in the Bible (Gen. 10:22). The Elamites were a black-skinned and woolly-haired people as the colorful glazed artwork on the royal palace walls of the ancient Persian city of Susa clearly show.Thus Abraham, the native of Sumerian and the founding father of the Israelite nation, was a black man. The black racial origins of the Patriarchs is not based on mere conjecture, it is in complete agreement with the picture one gets from examining the identity of the earliest inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia.
This truth is grossly neglected, suppressed, and distorted in most European and American historical texts which are flavored with race prejudice. Fortunately, however, there are enough well authored and highly researched works by Black historians that challenge the Eurocentric revisions of history and correct the various erroneous views regarding the ethnic identity of the Hebrews.
Biblical history relates that the descendants of Abraham, namely Jacob (Israel) and his twelve sons and their wives, 70 in all, migrated from Canaan to Egypt around the year 1827 B.C. During their sojourn in Egypt the Children of Israel multiplied from being a family of 70 souls to a nation of over 3 million people at the time of the Exodus which took place in 1612 B.C.
This astounding number of people in so short a time can only be adequately explained by intermarriage between the family of Jacob and the native Egyptian populace. It is an established fact that the ancient Egyptians were a black African people. Thus, even if the Hebrews were not black before they arrived in Egypt, which is unlikely given Abraham's background, they were definitely black by the time they left Egypt under Moses
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We do not embrace the Greek writings also known as the New Testament.. nor its teachings of human sacrifice or a triune godhead, and do not embrace JC/Yeshua as our saviour following the admonition found in Exodus 6:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" and Isaiah 43:11 "I even I, am YHWH and beside me there is no saviour" We are here to herald forth the truth concerning our GOD YHWH and his "peculiar people" who have been scattered in the lands of their captivity as of this day, specifically to the nation of Yisrael in the "Valley of DryBones" who have lost their identity as a nation.
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