The Israelite Academy

 

 

 

 Chief Rabbi Levy Teaching Student Rabbis
Chief Rabbi Levy Teaching Students c. 1977

 

I.         History of the Israelite Academy

 

The Israelite Academy traces its origin back to the Ethiopian Hebrew Rabbinical College that was established by Chief Rabbi W. A. Matthew in 1925. As explained in the essay “Who are we?” during the early decades of the twentieth century the term Ethiopian was used in its classical sense to refer to the entire continent of Africa and not just the country of Ethiopia. Therefore, in contemporary terms the title meant black or African American. In 1970, under the leadership of Chief Rabbi Levi Ben Levy, the Ethiopian Hebrew Rabbinical College was renamed the Israelite Rabbinical Academy and established under the charter of the Israelite Board of Rabbis in New York City. For the next thirty years the I.R.A. existed to train and ordain qualified rabbis for service in black communities throughout the United States and the Caribbean. During the summer of 2001, the members of the Israelite Board of Rabbis voted at its International Convention in Chicago to transform the I.R.A. into an institution that would offer courses in Judaic / Israelite education to the general public—not just to aspiring rabbis. This change has allowed for women, laypeople, and those new to the faith to acquire knowledge in a friendly and welcoming environment without the four-year commitment required to enter the rabbinic program and without the prohibitive fees or condescension often found at other institutions.

 

Thus, for over seventy-five years the Israelite Academy has been a beacon of light to a people struggling to break the chains of darkness. We have brought back more Israelites to the worship of the one, true God of Israel whose ancestors were formerly scattered among the nations of Africa and then slaves in the western hemisphere than any other institution, movement, or organization. We continue our mission today through our affiliated congregations and through our schools. The chart below is a record of our achievement. Following the chart, you will find a list of all the black rabbis—living and deceased—who are recognized by the Israelite Board of Rabbis, Inc.

Chart of Black Rabbis in America

Text Box: Source: IRA Archives

 

 


List of Black Rabbis in America

 

Living Black Rabbis

Rabbis of Blessed Memory

Baruch Yehudah

Abihu Ruben

Benyamin B. Levy

Amasiah Yehudah

Bezallel Ben Yehudah

Arnold J. Ford,  First Rabbi

Calib Yehoshua Levy

B. Alcids

Capers Funnye

C. Harrel

D. Yachzeel

Curtis Hinds

David Dore

C. Woods

Daton Nasi

Eliezer Levi

Chaim White

Eliyahu Yehudah

D. Small

Hailu Paris

David Levi

**James Hodges

E. M. Gillard

James Y. Poinsett

E.J. Benson

K.Z. Yeshurun

G. Marshall

Lehwi Yhoshua

H.S. Scott

Nathanyah Halevi

James Bullins

Richard Nolan

Jonah

Shelomi D. Levy

Kadmiel Levi

Sholomo B. Levy

L. Samuel

Yehoshua B. Yahonatan

Levi Ben Levy, Chief Rabbi

Yeshurun Eleazar

Lazarus

Yeshurun Levy

M. Thomas

Zacharia Ben Levi

Matthew. Stephens

Zakar Yeshurun

Moses

Zidkiyahu Levy

Patiel Evelyn

 

Raphael Tate

Text Box: *   Rabbis who studied with other institutions
** Honorary  Titles

 

Walcott

 

Wentworth A. Mathew, Founder

 

W. O. Young

 

Yirmeyahu Ben Israel

 

 

 

 

We understand that there are teachers of Torah whose names are not on our list. Some of these individuals use the title rabbi. The public should not assume that every black rabbi or black person who calls himself an Israelite, Hebrew, or Jew is associated with us. We can only vouch for the character, integrity, and training of those rabbis listed above who are affiliated with the Israelite Board of Rabbis.

 

II.      Studying At The Israelite Academy

 

The Israelite Academy invites applicants from people of any background who are sincerely interested in learning about Israelite history, culture, and practice. Our primary responsibility is to the members of our own community, but we welcome others who wish to study with us if there are sufficient resources to accommodate them and that those individuals conduct themselves in a respectful manner. We have recently opened our doors in this way to meet the growing demand we have received from our constituents and from the general public. While we are interested in meeting this legitimate thirst for knowledge, we realize that some individuals may be more interested in proselytizing, criticizing, and merely engaging in doctrinal debate for the purpose of advancing their own views. Individuals who may fit the latter description should seek other forums to air their beliefs. Perspective students should apply with the understanding that we are a private school with defined positions just as Orthodox Yeshivas, Catholic Seminaries, and Christian Bible Colleges. We encourage you to be a student; learn what we teach and then draw your own conclusions.

 

Students may enroll in one of following programs: 1. The Independent Study Program; 2. General Education Program; 3. The Rabbinic Masters Program.

 

The Independent Study Program is open to anyone who meets the minimal requirements explained above. Students in this program make take any course offered to the public at any of our sites or, if available, online through our distance-learning center. It is an entirely self-designed program where students may take as many or as few courses as they wish. Therefore, students in this program have the option of just taking courses that interest them with no further obligations. If there is a prerequisite—such as in a two-part course—students will be expected to take the courses in sequence. The rational for this program is to help students with their personal spiritual development. As such, it does not grant a degree or certificate; however, any credits acquired in this program may be applied to one of the degree programs, should a student decide to continue their education with us.

 

The General Education Program requires a minimum of two years of study with us and completion of a core of course in Hebrew, Tephilah (Prayer), Torah, and History. At the end of the program successful men and women are award a certificate of completion that establishes their qualifications to teach in most Talmud Torah Schools operated by synagogues within our community.

 

The Rabbinic Program within the Israelite Academy is open to those who are already believing and practicing Israelites. Candidates for this program are expected to be devout laypeople in a recognized congregation who have the moral character, academic ability, and spiritual calling to become a leader and teacher of the faith. It is not for people who merely posses an intellectual curiosity nor is it for those who wish to add our knowledge to their own belief system. The Rabbinic Program exists solely to train rabbis who will serve our community. Each application will be reviewed by our admissions committee. Acceptance into the program is determined by the candidate’s level of academic preparation, the strength of his recommendations, and an interview conducted by designated faculty of the Israelite Academy. Those who complete all the graduation requirements will receive a masters degree in Rabbinic Doctrine. Ordination (conferring of Smecha) usually takes place at the same time of graduation; however, graduates may defer until such time that they are ready and the Dean of the Academy may withhold ordination from any student who failed to uphold the honor or principles of the Academy.

 

III.   Course Catalog 2003-2007


 Israelite Academy

“ A Light to the Nation

                                                        2003-2007 Catalog

 

Course Title

Semester Offered

Instructor

Campus

Time

Status

Israelite History 101

This course traces the history of the Israelite people from Biblical times to the Destruction of the Temple in 70 A.C. E.

Fall 2003

Rabbi Eliyahu Yehudah, Rabbi Yehoshua Lewi, Rabbi Funnye

 All New York Sites & Online

Mon

6:30-8:00

Open to the public

Introduction to the Talmud

This course explains the origin of the Talmud, its composition and contributors, and begins a methodical study of its content.

Fall 2003

Rabbi Paris, Rabbi Zechariah Levy

 All New York Sites

Online

Wed

6:30-8:00

Rabbinic Students  / or permission

TaNak: The Hebrew

Bible I

This course  starts with a history of how our scriptures were canonized. It proceeds to cover all the major sections with an emphasis on biography, chronology, and narrative or poetic structure. Overview of other relevant text: The Apochrypha and the Book of Jasher.

 Fall 2003

Rabbi Baruch Yehudah, Rabbi Benyamin Levy

All New York Sites

Online

Tue

6:00-7:30

Open to the Public

The Israelite Home

This course explores a variety of family matters that are necessary to living a healthy and happy Israelite life. Topics include: (A) The concept of family in the Israelite tradition (roles and responsibilities); (B)  Maintaining the Home Environment; (C) Shabbat and Festivals in the home; (D) Raising Israelite children; (E) Laws of Puirty.

 

Recommended for new members and individuals with children or considering marriage

 

Fall 2003

.

Rabbinet Yahonatan, & Rabbi Benyamin Levy

This course will have frequent guests speakers, films and activities

All New York Sites & Chicago

Mon

6:60-8:00

Open to the Public

Conversational Hebrew Level 1

Intended for the adult beginner (or as a refresher), the course starts with fundamentals of the language and then quickly moves into some basics discourse. Class sessions concentrate of drills. Required materials included tapes and workbooks.

Fall 2003

Rabbi Shalomi Levy, Rabbi Zedkiyahu Levy

All New York Sites, Philadelphia and Online

6:00-7:30

Open to the Public (not intended for rabbinic students)

Israelite History 201

This course traces the history of the Israelite people from the Destruction of the Temple to the present with an emphasis on modern Israelite History.

Spring 2004

Rabbi Eliyahu Yehudah, Rabbi Yehoshua Lewi, Rabbi Funnye

 All New York Sites & Online

Mon

6:30-8:00

Open to the public

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talmud Rabbinic Literature

This course continues the systematic study of selected sections of the Talmud

Spring 2004

Rabbi Paris, Rabbi Zechariah Levy

 All New York Sites

6:30-8:00

Rabbinic Students  / or permission

TaNak: The Hebrew Bible II

This course picks up from where the fall course ended.  It focuses on the “greater” and “minor” prophets as historical figures,and the Tehillim (psalms), and the Songs of Solomon as a poetic form.

 Spring 2004

Rabbi Baruch Yehudah, Rabbi Benyamin Levy

All New York Sites

6:00-7:30

Open to the Public

The Israelite Home II

This course explores a variety of family matters that are necessary to living a healthy and happy Israelite life. Topics include: (A) The concept of family in the Israelite tradition (roles and responsibilities); (B)  Maintaining the Home Environment; (C) Shabbat and Festivals in the home; (D) Raising Israelite children; (E) Laws of Purity.

 

Recommended for new members and individuals with children or considering marriage

 

Spring 2004

 

Rabbinet Yahonatan, & Rabbi Benyamin Levy

This course will have frequent guests speakers, films and activities

All New York Sites & Chicago

Mon

6:60-8:00

Open to the Public

Conversational Hebrew Level 2

This course builds on the language skills developed in the first half by expanding vocabulary and including more situation and topics.

Spring 2004

Rabbi Shalomi Levy, Rabbi Zedkiyahu Levy

Philadelphia and Online

6:00-7:30

Open to the Public (not intended for rabbinic students)

The Art of Prayer 101

The course explains our unique method of prayer, the structure of our siddur, and the purpose of such prayers as the Kaddush, Shema, Amidah, etc.

Fall 2004

Rabbi S. Levy , Rabbi Zidkiyahu Levy, Rabbi Funnye

All New York Sites & Online

6:30-8:00

Open to the Public

Biblical Hebrew I

This is the first course in our Biblical Hebrew program which is intended  for those who wish read Torah with comprehension without relying on faulty English translations. Students in this course will acquire the grammar and vocabulary necessary to reach this goal.

Fall 2004

Rabbi Zidkiyahu Levy, Rabbi Eliazer Levy

Queens, Chicago & Online

Thurs

6:30-8:00

Open to the Public

TaNak: The Hebrew

 Bible III

This course  begins with exploring the book of Genesis; Creation to the deluge; the families of the earth; the life and times of the patriarchs: Abraham, Issac, and Jacob; their travels, their involvement in the associated nations and their politics.

 Fall 2004

Rabbi Baruch Yehudah, Rabbi Benyamin

Brooklyn

TBA

Open to Rabbinic Students  / or permission

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

The Art of Prayer 201

This course builds on concepts learned in Prayer 101. Students are taught how to davin (chant) the prayers with Kavanah (effectiveness) and they learn to recite most of the blessings. Tapes are included. These courses are essential for new members and those preparing for Bar Mitzvah.

Spring 2005

Rabbi S. Levy , Rabbi Zidkiyahu Levy,

All New York Sites & Online

6:30-8:00

Open to the Public

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biblical Hebrew II

This course is the second part  of the Biblical Hebrew program for those who wish to read Torah with comprehension without relying on faulty English translations.

Spring 2005

Rabbi Zidkiyahu Levy, Rabbi Eliazer Levy

Queens, Chicago & Online

6:30-8:00

Open to the Public

 

Comparative Religions

This course is intended to educate students about the major religions of the world. In addition to Christianity and Islam, Eastern Philosophies, and West African belief systems will also be considered.

Spring  2005

Rabbi Benyamin

Levy & Rabbi Eliyahu

Yehudah

Queens

Chicago &

 Online

6:30-8:00

Open to the

 Public

 

 

TaNak: The Hebrew

Bible IV

A continuation of the fall course going into the books of Exodus and Leviticus. Using maps; charting the migration of the Israelites upon release from Egypt .

 Spring 2005

Rabbi Baruch Yehudah, Rabbi Benyamin Levy

Brooklyn

TBA

Open to Rabbinic Students  / or permission

 

Kabbalah / Mystics I

This two-part course is concerned with understanding ancient forms of Israelite mysticism. In the fall we  learn the history, philosophy and general methods of practicing Kabbalah..

Fall 2005

Rabbi S. Levy

Queens &

Online

6:30-8:00

Rabbinic Students permission

 

 

Biblical Hebrew III

This course is the third part  of the Biblical Hebrew program for those who wish read Torah with comprehension without relying on faulty English translations

Fall  2005

Rabbi Zidkiyahu Levy, Rabbi Eliazer Levy

Queens,

Chicago & Online

6:30-8:00

Open to the Public

 

 

TaNak: The Hebrew Bible V

This course continues with exploring the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy. Focusing on the difference between the given laws and the ordinances of the latter. Giving historical perspective to time frames of events.

 Fall 2005

Rabbi Baruch Yehudah, Rabbi Benyamin Levy

Brooklyn

TBA

Open to Rabbinic Students  / or permission

 

Kabbalah  Mystics II

This part of the courses journeys into a deeper study of the Etz Chaim, meditation, and higher consciousness..

Spring 2006

Rabbi S. Levy

Queens &

Online

6:30-8:00

 

 

 

TaNak: The Hebrew

Bible VI

This course picks up in the book of Joshua going through the books of Kings I and II. This course will integrate content into who we have learned as the historical figures of these books.

 Spring 2006

Rabbi Baruch Yehudah, Rabbi Benyamin Levy

Brooklyn

TBA

Open to Rabbinic Students  / or permission

 

 

Biblical Hebrew IV

This course is the third part  of the Biblical Hebrew program for those who wish read Torah with comprehension without relying on faulty English translations.

Spring  2006

Rabbi Zidkiyahu Levy, Rabbi Eliazer Levy

Queens Chicago & Online

6:30-8:00

Open to the Public

 

Hamadrikh 101

Ceremonies and Rituals

The course covers all the ceremonies and rites that a rabbi must perform including weddings, funerals, redemption, etc.

Fall 2006

Rabbis Shalomi Levy, Rabbi Zechariah Levy &Rabbi Funnye

Queens & Chicago

6:30-8:00

Rabbinic Students  / or permission

 

The Counseling Process

This course is designed to prepare rabbis for their roles as counselors and advisors. The content includes both psychological and spiritual approaches.

Fall 2006

Rabbi Eliyahu Yehudah, Rabbi Zidkiyahu Levy, Rabbi Funnye)

Queens, Chicago, & Online

 

6:30-8:00

 

 

 

TaNak: The Hebrew

 Bible VII

This course follows with the content of the books of the “major” and “minor” prophets

 

 Fall 2006

Rabbi Baruch Yehudah, Rabbi Benyamin Levy

Brooklyn

TBA

Open to Rabbinical Student  / or permission

 

 

Hamadrikh 201

Ceremonies and Rituals

 

The course covers all the ceremonies and rites that a rabbi must perform including weddings, funerals, redemption, etc.

Spring 2007

Rabbis Shalomi Levy, Rabbi Zechariah Levy &Rabbi Funnye

Queens & Chicago

6:30-8:00

Rabbinic Students  / or permission

 

 

Public Relations 101

This course covers a range of topics that are useful to future rabbis: the art of public speaking, etiquette, parliamentary procedure, and techniques of congregation building.

Spring 2007

Rabbinet Yahonatan

Rabbi Shalomi Levy

TBA

6:30-8:00

 

 

 

TaNak: The Hebrew

Bible VIII

The conclusion of the 4 year series dealing with the “Katuvim” or writings i.e. Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Wrapping up concepts and completing the connections discovered throughout the series.

 Spring 2007

Rabbi Baruch Yehudah, Rabbi Benyamin Levy

Brooklyn

TBA

Open to Rabbinical Students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courses Subject to Change

Based on 

Enrollment

Register

Early

 

         Special permission is required to enroll in courses reserved for rabbinical students.

         Campus sites are as follows: Queens = Beth Elohim, Manhattan = Commandment Keepers, Brooklyn = Beth Shalom, Chicago = Beth Shalom Bnai Zaken, Philadelphia=Beth’El. Sites can be added if there is sufficient interest.

         Details about Online courses, registration, tuition, etc. contact us at:

 

 

Israelite Academy

189-31 Linden Blvd.

Saint Albans, NY 11412

(718) 712-4874   www.blackjews.org