Rabbi Ben Levy, Leader of Black Jews, Dies at 64

Rabbi Ben Levy, chief rabbi of New York’s Black Jews died last Friday. He was 64. A Queens resident, Rabbi Levy was Chief rabbi of the Israelite Board of Rabbis for the New York metropolitan area and the Western Hemisphere, which represents tens of thousands of Black Jews in North and South America.

Rabbi Ben Levy founded synagogues in Brooklyn and Queens. His son Shlomo, is also a rabbi, leading congregation Beth Elohim in St. Albans, Queens.

Black Jews in the United States say they are descended from black Hebrews mentioned in the Bible. Some factions are virulently anti-white and anti-mainstream Judaism, such as the self-styled Black Israelites who preach on Manhattan street corners. But David Pollock of the Jewish Community Relations Council reportedly said that “everyone whom I know who has examined [Rabbi Ben-Levy’s] group has concluded that they are part of the Jewish community.”

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