Black Rabbis

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This page contains information related to the International Israelite Board of Rabbis. Some of the information and documents here are open to the public. Private areas are only accessible to rabbis who are members of our Board or registered students in our school, the Israelite Academy. Below you will find biographies of some of the leaders of the International Israelite Board of Rabbis dating back to 1919


Matthew Torah LargeRabbi Wentworth Arthur MatthewRabbi Matthew founded Commandment Keepers Congregation in Harlem, NY in 1919. His students created the Israelite Board of Rabbis and the Israelite Academy. Most Black rabbis in the United States trace their origin back to him.
Rabbi Ford 1Rabi Arnold Josiah Ford
Rabbi Ford was the first Black rabbi in the United States. He was a leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association founded by Marcus Garvey. He was the founder of Beth Bnai Abraham in Harlem before emigrating to Ethiopia.
Chief Rabbi Levy Portrait SmallRabbi Levi Ben Levy
Rabbi Levi Ben Levy was the second Chief Rabbi of the Israelite Board of Rabbis. He was the founder of two synagogues: Beth Shalom E.H. in Brooklyn and Beth Elohim Hebrew Congregation in Queens.
Rabbi YisraelRabbi Yirmeyahu Ben Israel
Rabbi Israel was the founder of Bnai Adath Congregation in Brooklyn, New York
Rabbi Paris by Chester Higgins 4Rabbi Hailu Paris
Rabbi Paris was an Ethiopian born rabbi who served as the senior rabbi at Mt Horeb in the Bronx and at Beth Shalom in Brooklyn. A graduate of Yeshivah University who was also a scholar and professor at the Israelite Academy.
Rabbi Funnye 7Rabbi Capers Shmuel Funnye
Rabbi Funnye is the current Chief Rabbi of the International Israelite Board of Rabbis. He is also the leader of Beth Shalom Bnai Zaken E.H Congregation in Chicago.
Black Jews/HebrewsRabbi Sholomo Ben Levy
Rabbi Sholomo Levy is the President of the Israelite Board of Rabbis, the leader of Beth Elohim Hebrew Congregation, and Associate Professor of History at Northampton Community College.
Rabbi Gershom largerRabbi Gershom SizomuRabbi Sizomu is the Chief Rabbi of Uganda and a member of the International Israelite Board of Rabbis.

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