International Israelite Board of Rabbis
Declaration of African Israelite Peoplehood
Article I We affirm our brotherhood with and membership in the Jewish people of the world.
Article 2 We affirm that all Jews are part of one glorious people without regard to race, nationality, or ethnicity.
Article 3 We affirm our African origin only as a means of identifying our historic connection with the Biblical Israelites. The Torah teaches us that God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his descendants. Jacob and his 12 sons settled in Egypt. There in Africa over the next 400 years we became Bnai Israel, “The Children of Israel,” or simply Israelites. At the time of Moses, these Israelites—who were all African people by birth for centuries—were delivered by God who led them through the wilderness, gave them the Torah, and brought them from Africa to the land of Israel. Given this oft repeated genealogy, no true Israelite can deny the deep African roots of our people.
Article 4 We accept and embrace those Jews who by reason of migration, dispersion, exile, slavery, or immigration have settled in and created beautiful Jewish communities on the continents of Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Article 5 We strongly affirm the Biblical prophecies contained in the Torah (Deuteronomy 28) and revealed by the prophets that foretold of a time when the Children of Israel would be scattered across the face of the earth, returned to slavery, carried in ships to foreign lands, lose knowledge of their true identity, and come to serve false gods until a time that the Creator shall chose to bring them back. Our existence is literal proof of these prophecies.
Article 6 We affirm that the Divine promise of the return of “lost Jews” is being fulfilled now by the spiritual awakening of dispersed people to their true Israelite heritage. The Torah refers to this Divine act as Shuvah (return). Those who are returning to their Israelite identities should not be treated like aliens (Gier) or strangers (Goyim), who must be converted. Instead they should be greeted as our long lost brothers and welcomed back into Kahal Yisrael following a process of purification, circumcision, education, affirmation of the oneness of the God of Israel, and a commitment live according to the laws of Torah. Although many of these steps are identical to a Halachic conversion, the distinction between Israelites who are returning to their faith and foreigners who wish to join the Jewish people for the first time is preserved. Following either method of induction, all Jews should be considered equal.
Article 7 We affirm that each Jewish community is unique and entitled to maintain distinctive traditions that collectively represent the true diversity of Jewish culture as long as these practices or beliefs are not in conflict with the fundamental tenants of Torah. No single branch of Judaism should exercise hegemonic control over any other. Each should be free to learn, borrow, and develop as their leaders deem appropriate.