Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation

Beth Ha-Tefilah Headquarters Synagogue


8 I have set the LORD always before me;

surely He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Tehillim (Psalms) 16:8

25 Sivan 5775 (June 12, 2015) - present

Shabbat Nachamu (Shabbat of Consolation) 

Fri, 16 August 2019 at sundown (16th of Av, 5779)

Nachamu, Nachamu, Nachamu ami:

be comforted, be comforted, be comforted my people... 

(Yeshayahu (Isaiah): 40:1)

Tthe haftarah speaks of "comforting" the Israelite people for their suffering.

It is the first of seven haftarahs of consolation

leading up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Israelite New Year.

On Tisha B'Av 5779
"I have set YHWH before me always" Psalm 16: 8

We Remember

A Day Of Synagogue Mourning.

8th of Tevet, 5764, Friday, January 2, 2004

(The break in that changed Commandment Keepers’ jurisdictional history)

view:  full / summary


Posted on September 4, 2019 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

6 Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near; 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts; and let him return (i.e., shuv) unto the LORD, and He will have compassion upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon(i.e., selichah).  Yeshayahu - Isaiah 55:6-7


Selichot is recited each day during the month of Elul beginning from the eve of the second day of Elul until the eighth of Tishri (the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) on weekdays (except on the night before the New Year "Rosh Hashnah"). The best time to recite Selichot is between nightfall and dawn, for it is during this time when mercy is awakened.


The month of Elul is dedicated to teshuvah, which means to return. 


It is through introspection and repentance that we can remove chaos from our lives, and balance the accounts that remain open between ourselves and others. 


We know that spiritual transformation is like a garden, we can’t simply plant the seeds and expect them to grow. We must also water and tend them. Likewise, we must dedicate time to our transformation.


It is important to remember that YHWH has no need of our prayers, but through them we sense the Light within and our purpose in the world. Our intentions must be coupled with the proper intentions. Without proper intention, "kavanah," our actions are meaningless.


5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed: 'The LORD, the LORD, God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; 7 keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and unto the fourth generation.' 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9 And he said: 'If now I have found grace in Thy sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I pray Thee, go in the midst of us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Thine inheritance.' Exodus (Shemot) Chapter 34:5-9 (Parashat Ki Tisa)

"Pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Thy heritage." Merciful YHWH, remember unto us the covenant with Abraham Thy beloved, for Thine infinite mercy...

Tehillim (Psalm) 27

Reciting this psalm demands that twice a day we struggle with ourselves and our faith, in expectation that we will arrive at the Days of Awe ready for repentance, ready to celebrate on the holiday with a full heart before YHWH.

1 [A Psalm] of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh, even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise up against me, even then will I be confident. 4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the graciousness of the LORD, and to visit early in His temple. 5 For He concealeth me in His pavilion in the day of evil; He hideth me in the covert of His tent; He lifteth me up upon a rock. 6 And now shall my head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me; and I will offer in His tabernacle sacrifices with trumpet-sound; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. 7 Hear, O LORD, when I call with my voice, and be gracious unto me, and answer me. 8 In Thy behalf my heart hath said: 'Seek ye My face'; Thy face, LORD, will I seek. 9 Hide not Thy face from me; put not Thy servant away in anger; Thou hast been my help; cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.10 For though my father and my mother have forsaken me, the LORD will take me up. 11 Teach me Thy way, O LORD; and lead me in an even path, because of them that lie in wait for me. 12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine adversaries; for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out violence. 13 If I had not believed to look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!--14 Wait on the LORD; be strong, and let thy heart take courage; yea, wait thou for the LORD.

"And the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the Lord.  And the Lord passed before Moses and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord, God compassionate and gracious, long suffering and abundant in mercy and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, and absolving.'"  Shemot (Exodus) 34:5-7

Three daily chapters of Tehillim (Psalms) in Elul 

From the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul it is customary to recite three chapters of Tehillim a day. We start from the first chapter, each day moving forward another three chapters. The final chapters are recited on Yom Kippur. 

If one missed the three chapters of a given day, then he should first recite the current day’s three chapters and make up the chapters he missed on a later occasion.

"Pardon Thou our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Thy heritage." - Merciful God, remember unto us the covenant with Abraham Thy beloved, for Thine infinite mercy...

Tisha B'Av "These are the journeys..." Av 9-10, 5779/August 10-11, 2019

Posted on August 9, 2019 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

What future does Israelites have predicated on falsehood?

Look at the bridge before you cross over it!

Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omed

(“Know Before Whom You Stand”;)

Tisha B'Av 2019: “These are the journeys…”

Av 9-10, 5779/August 10-11, 2019


“These are the journeys of the people of Israel who went out from the land of Egypt…” (Numbers 33:1)

Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the month of Av, begins sundown Saturday, August 10 and ends sundown Sunday, August 11, 2019. Tisha B'Av marks the date when Israel tragically believed the evil report of the spies and were sent into exile. (Numbers 14:28-35) Tisha B’Av bespeaks the destruction of both The First Temple (by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.) and The Second Temple (by the Romans in 70 C.E.) resulting in the exile of the Israelites. The Babylonian Talmud, Taanit 29a, states that: “when we enter [the month of] Av, our joy is diminished.” This is because of the number of tragedies associated with Israelite History. In somber recognition of these tragedies, we observe Tisha B’Av as a fast day for mourning.

So, how does the evil report of the spies along with the destruction of both temples (586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E.) connect Israelites to Tisha B’Av on 10 Av 5779, Sunday, August 11, 2019 in the twenty-first century?

On Tuesday, April 15, 1919, (Passover season) Yoseh Ben Moshe Ben Yehuda “Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew zt”l” (1892 - 1973), founded Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living God, The Pillar and Ground of Truth and the Faith of Jesus Christ a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living G-d Pillar and Ground of Faith, a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living God Pillar and Ground of Truth, Inc., a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living God Pillar & Ground of Truth, Inc. a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation – Beth Ha-Tefillah Headquarters, a.k.a. Congregation Commandment Keepers a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Congregation a.k.a. The Commandment Keepers a.k.a. Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, Inc., collectively “Commandment Keepers,” in Harlem, New York City. Despite the 25 riots; mob violence, 97 recorded lynching’s; a three-day long massacre in Elaine, Arkansas, and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, across the south, Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew zt”l found a synagogue in Harlem, New York City.

In the midst of domestic and global change, Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l and his valiant congregation became a beacon of hope. Together they purchased their synagogue in 1962; a synagogue that became a symbol and beacon of light for Torah; the lifeline for Israelites. Torah was important to Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l.

It was this respect for Torah, and YHWH, that made Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l the leader of the “Falashas” in the Western Hemisphere. In other words, Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l left his mark on the world; a tremendous and impressionable legacy of freedom.

Approaching his last days in December 1973, Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l did not appoint a successor to further lead the Israelite congregation into their destined journey of return. Instead, he died on Monday, December 3, 1973; possibly thinking, his congregation was coming to learn Torah; the positive seed of learning he planted before his death. But how could he know that his failure to select a successor would be the negative seed planted within the congregation in 1974, shortly after his death. A negative seed that would undergo various stages of reproduction, pollination and transformation, and finally a seed that erupted into the twenty-first century break-in on Friday, January 2, 2004 by Commandment Pillar?

It is apropos on 10 Av 5779, Sunday, August 11 to remember and mourn Friday, January 2, 2004, break-in of 1 West 123rd Street, also known as 31 Mount Morris Park, Harlem, New York City “synagogue;” as well as subsequent synagogue break-ins planned and initiated by: Yehudit Bat Shumel aka Judith Samuels Thomas aka Emah Yehudith Samuels, co-chairperson and speaker on the Mission, and personal reflection (of Commandment Pillar) along with Khaye Baker, Community Liaison both currently on the 2019 Israelite Centennial Committee (of the International Israelite Board of Rabbis); Gvt. Sheba Riley Jackson; Rabbi W.A. Matthew Commemoration Committee; and Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living God Pillar & Ground of Truth, Inc. (commissioned by the International Israelite Board of Rabbis); collectively purporting to be “Commandment Keeper;” (under the guise of Commandment Pillar) the individual(s); group(s); or organization(s) that allegedly broke into the synagogue on Friday, January 2, 2004; and subsequent break-ins that led to the Saturday, April 21, 2007 Exodus of Commandment Keepers from Harlem to Newark.

Commandment Pillar, by their own actions on the eve of Shabbat, desecrated the synagogue coupled with subsequent violations on Shabbat by making every effort to prohibit the peaceful ingress and egress of Commandment Keepers to the synagogue by blocking the synagogue’s entrance. Because of Commandment Pillars’ desecration, promotion of disruptive behavior, harassment, intimidation, cursing and boisterous outbursts, and creation of a hostile environment, Shabbat after Shabbat from the 8th of Tevet, 5764 up to and including the 3rd of Iyar, 5767, Commandment Pillar is solely responsible for the redirection of Commandment Keepers synagogue on the 3rd of Iyar, 5767.

On the eve of Shabbat, where was the Commandment Pillar’s respect for the place where the name of the Holy One, blessed be He had been placed by Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l? Whatever fueled their intentions in the past, was even more certainly at the forefront of their mission on the 8th of Tevet, 5764. Commandment Pillar lacked fear of YHWH. Encouraged by the yetzer hara; the inclination to do evil, they violated the will of YHWH by making a willful choice to “cross over the line,” seeking their own individual gratification by breaking off the lock of the synagogue door. Such “Evil” inclination gave them a sense of reverence and invincibility. Woe unto them who have desecrated the Name of the Holy One blessed be He by casting strange fire inside of the synagogue on Shabbat!

What type of “mindset” or “psychological profile” or “spiritual degradation” did Commandment Pillar undergo to stoop to a level of breaking into the sacred space of Commandment Keepers synagogue founded by Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l the Rabbi and Founder that Commandment Pillar is commemorating from August 12 – 19, 2019?

The ancient Temples (586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E.) stood for the spiritual truths of Torah - justice, equality, and respect for life. The Temples’ visibility enabled YHWH's immediate presence to be felt in every moment of every Israelite's life. The Temple(s) served as a vibrant, indispensable source of morality and clarity for the Israelites as well as the entire world. The destruction of both Temples removed from the Israelite people the vital contact with the Divine and caused discord in humanity - a loss of moral clarity and direction.

Similarly, the Friday, January 2, 2004 break-in and subsequent break-ins in the twenty-first century by Commandment Pillar unknowingly ushered in moral ambiguity. Commandment Pillar lacked moral clarity in ethical decision-making. In other words, they lacked the capacity to deal with an issue, situation, or question that required moral or ethical fundamentals. The morally correct action to take was distorted, either due to conflicting principles, a break-down in ethical systems, or situational perspectives.

Ironically, Commandment Pillar’s immoral, pre-mediated activities planned in the twentieth century and carried out from 2004 – 2007 led to Commandment Keeper’s Exodus on Saturday, April 21, 2019. Just as the Babylonians and Romans caused destruction and the Temples’ visibility to disappear, so too, Commandment Pillar has caused in the twenty-first century the relocation, from Harlem to Newark, of one of the most visible symbols and universally recognized buildings that represented a legacy of freedom left behind as testimony to his life’s work in Harlem by Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l.

Because of the senseless acts of breaking into the synagogue building, Commandment Pillar has to use the Aloft Hotel of Harlem; Harlem State Office Building Art Gallery; Beth Shalom Hebrew Congregation; Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture; Garfield Synagogue; Congregation Beth Elohim; and the Alhambra Ballroom collectively “other venues,” other than the synagogue purchased in 1962 by Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l and those dedicated congregants, because Commandment Pillar broke into the synagogue causing Commandment Keeper’s Exodus on Saturday, April 21, 2007 from Harlem to Newark.

Tisha B'Av, a season of mourning, calls out to the highest level of moral clarity. Similarly, in theology Divine decisions are made on Rosh Hashanah, when all of humanity stands in judgment; and decrees are sealed on Yom Kippur. Tisha B’Av renders a physical decree and Divine verdict to Commandment Pillar and those in collaboration. How so, because they are NOT conducting their events in the synagogue building duly purchased by Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l and congregants in 1962. Instead, the Divine verdict on the purported 100 year anniversary in August places Commandment Pillar commissioned by the International Israelite Board of Rabbis in Divine pronouncement that Commandment Pillar and all their associated individual(s); group(s); and organization(s) has NO synagogue belonging to Commandment Keepers but must rent government space: i.e., the Art Gallery in the Harlem State Office Building; a building that embodies: “Separation of church and state.”

In furtherance of Divine pronouncement, Commandment Pillar and all those associated are spread out like disjointed limbs of a body without a head or Godly image; i.e. the synagogue proper. The synagogue building; the place where spiritual energy is channeled down from heaven into the material does not exist within the events they have planned. Though corporeal, the human form corresponds to the Torah and reflects the highest levels of spirituality. Each part of the body corresponds to a different spiritual concept; and emanates a spiritual power which channels Divine creative life force or consciousness through the God-head (synagogue proper); absence of the God-head, loses its royal origins, i.e., Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l synagogue purchased in 1962. “All my limbs shall declare, ‘God! Who is like You?” (Psalms 35:10) – “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace…” Zechariah 8:16

Commandment Pillar can band together under different names, event themes, event slogans, 100 year celebrations, commemorations or even under the guise of honoring “our late founder and elders of blessed memory;” but, it will NEVER remove the fact that Commandment Pillar broke into the synagogue on Friday, January 2, 2004; and subsequent break-ins resulting in the Saturday, April 21, 2007 Exodus of Commandment Keepers from Harlem, New York City to Newark, New Jersey.

Truth doesn’t make for popularity; “If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” Mark Twain

Israelites can bury the truth of the Friday, January 2, 2004 break-in by basking in the past deeds of elders, but the fact is Commandment Keepers synagogue founded on Tuesday, April 15, 1919, and later purchased its synagogue building in 1962, was broken into by Commandment Pillar on Friday, January 2, 2004; which has altered the synagogue’s jurisdictional history with senseless acts of harassment and breaking into the synagogue!

Commandment Keepers remains a separate entity; and each synagogue collaborating with Commandment Pillar are entities with separate dates of establishment with separate centennial dates, constitutions and bylaws, i.e.: Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation (established 1918 B'nai Adath Kol Beth Yisrael (established 1954); Congregation Beth Shalom (established 1968); the International Israelite Board of Rabbis (established 1971); and Congregation Beth Elohim (established 1985).

Not only do we recall the Friday, January 2, 2004 break-in on Tisha B’Av, but we also recall many other tragedies for Israelites to remember and never forget. For example, in the 17th and 18th centuries where an estimated 6 to 7 million slaves were imported to the New World during the 18th century when Africans were kidnapped from the continent of Africa, forced into slavery in the American colonies and exploited to work as slaves and labor in their production of crops such as tobacco and cotton. Historically, slavery comes to North America in 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 African slaves ashore in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia, events befitting of a 9th of Av tragedy. America turned from indentured servants (mostly poorer Europeans) to a cheaper, more plentiful labor source: enslaved Africans.

African-Americans continued to fight against racial injustice through various mediums: writing editorials, publishing news, literary and scholarly journals, as well as organizing peaceful protests as African-Americans began to expose the ills of segregation not only to the United States, but the World. This fight against racial injustice was all around the country as Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l courageously founded Commandment Keepers in 1919; no easy feat!

Traditionally, Tisha B'Av is a day set aside for mourning. However, this year in 2019, Israelites throughout the world should extend their mourning into the month of Elul; the time of repentance, Teshuva “Return” and the recitation of Selichot “penitential/forgiveness prayers” in preparation for the culmination of the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The Hebrew word “Elul” is an acronym for the phrase “Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li” – “I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine,” a metaphor for the love Israelites have for YHWH (Song of Solomon “Shir HaShirim” 6:3). Elul is a time to search one's heart and draw close to YHWH in preparation for the coming Day of Judgment, Rosh Hashanah, and Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

The last two portions of the Book of Numbers (Mattot and Masei parashiot read on 2 Av 5779 – Saturday, August 3, 2019) are always read during the “Three Weeks of Sorrow.” The sages say these readings were selected at this time to ultimately comfort us as we look forward to the “apportioning of the land,” i.e., the ultimate fulfillment of YHWH’s promises to Israel. The month of Av – despite the sorrow of the loss of the ancient Temples and the loss of Commandment Keeper’s synagogue building in Harlem–is sometimes called Menachem Av – the “Comfort of the Fathers.”

Menachem Av may also mean the “comfort of Aleph-Bet” (Av). The prophet Jeremiah, who witnessed the destruction of the Temple (as Israelites have witnessed the break-in on Friday, January 2, 2004 in the twenty-first century), later wrote Eicha (the scroll of Lamentations) to commemorate the tragic time. During the Three Weeks of Sorrow until the Fall High Holidays, the Haftorah readings change. There are three haftorot of punishment (leading up to Tisha B’Av), then seven of comfort (for the seven weeks until Rosh Hashanah), and finally one of repentance (for the Sabbath before Yom Kippur).

Sabbath, August “Av” 3, 2019 (5779) combined parashiot Mattot “tribes” with Masei “journeys” (“Tribes-Journeys of”;) and begins with YHWH giving instructions regarding the making of vows “nedarim” (either to do something or to abstain from doing something). Any pledge made by a man in the name of YHWH must be fulfilled. Parashiyot Mattot-Masei read before Tisha B’Av sets the tone for the “tribes-journeys.” Parashiyot Mattot-Masei begins:

“Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the Lord has commanded.” (Numbers 30:1)

Vows “Nedarim” – the words we use are important and represent our characters. Lying and deceptions are indicative of unbelief. Making a promise to do something – making a vow – is a serious matter – whenever we give our word, we are expected to keep it; just as Israelite’s associations is too a serious matter. The Torah states plainly: “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth” (Numbers 30:2). What nedarim has the International Israelite Board of Rabbis taken as they commissioned Commandment Pillar? Have they turned a blind eye to Commandment Pillar’s actions on Friday, January 2, 2004; and subsequent break-ins? Does their commission of Commandment Pillar mean they endorse the Friday, January 2, 2004 break-in and subsequent break-ins that led to Commandment Keeper’s Exodus on Saturday, April 21, 2007?

Three Haftarot that are read during the Three Weeks of Sorrow, collectively are sometimes called “the Haftarahs of Rebuke (musar). The Hebrew term Musar, is from the book of Proverbs 1:2 meaning moral conduct, instruction or discipline. The Haftarahs of Rebuke warn Israelites about imminent judgment from heaven, and therefore the religious liturgy evokes teshuvah (repentance).” In all three haftarahs, Jeremiah describes punishment that will befall the Israelites if they do not return to YHWH, but also promises redemption if they do. The choice, “free will,” is up to Israelites.

Tisha B’Av is surrounded by remembrance of the destruction of Temples. Since the Temple was destroyed and Israelites were ultimately taken into captivity, it is interesting to read a key verse from the Haftarah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed in light of the overarching sovereignty of the Lord? YHWH determines EVERYTHING, but Israelites still have the responsibility to make choices. The sages explained this paradox in Pirke Avot 3:15 – “All is foreseen, yet freedom of choice is given. God judges the world according to the good, yet everything depends on the majority of what has been done.”

During the period of mourning for the ancient Temple(s); and mourning for the Friday, January 2, 2004 break-in; and subsequent break-ins that led to Commandment Keeper’s Exodus on Saturday, April 21, 2007 from Harlem to Newark, is an opportunity to look at our own lives and seek teshuvah – repentance. We are responsible for the choices we make, the associations we collaborate with, and our turning from the truth as to why the synagogue is no longer in Harlem – whether we turn to YHWH or to continue to idolize our selfishness – YHWH has the last word in the destination of our lives. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). How you reconcile this paradox will reveal a good deal about your own personal relationship with YHWH.

There is no final destination. The place where we find ourselves today, the culmination of all we have experienced and achieved in the past, is but the jumping off point for our next journey, our next destination. But to truly know who we are today we need to know from where we have come. We need to know all the places we have been before. It is imperative that we record this roadmap of our souls, lest we find ourselves permanently adrift in a spiritual wilderness. This is why YHWH commanded Moshe to record all the desert way-stations, as we read, “Moshe recorded their starting points for their journeys according to the word of YHWH, and these were their journeys with their starting points,” (ibid 33:2) and, were it not for YHWH's concern for Israel's continued well-being, these forty seven verses which record Israel’s forty two desert destinations would simply not appear in Torah.

Our own life journeys begin where the previous generation’s journey ends, and this is the case throughout all the generations. This means that our own personal journeys began long ago, “along the Jordan from Beit Yeshimot (A Journey of Names) to Avel Shittim (the final headquarters of Joshua before he crossed the Jordan), in the plains of Moav,” (ibid 33:49) Israelite’s final point of departure in the wilderness. Together we entered into the promised land, and together we settled the land, and together we built the Holy Temple and together we went into exile. Each one of us, as individuals, chart our own life paths based on these coordinates of previous generations. Just as our pasts are intertwined, so are our futures, so long as we don't stray from the path of Torah.

There are three ways with which to calibrate our journeys: by geographical distance, by the passage of time, and by spiritual growth. Israelite's forty two desert destinations dutifully record Israelite's physical journey from Egypt in the west to Israel in the east, from day one in the wilderness to forty years later, and from a band of frightened slaves to one nation, united under one Torah and one YHWH, fearless and ready to take on its destiny and all the responsibilities which that entails. Only by recording their previous destinations can the nation guarantee that it will never forget its past and never forsake its future.

The fourth book of the five books of written Torah, recorded by Moshe, came to a close on 3 Av 5779. The fifth book, Deuteronomy, consists of Moshe’s reflections on the past and concerns for the future. But from this point onward, that is, beginning with the final words of the book of Numbers, (“36:13 These are the commandments and the ordinances, which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.”;)  recording our own journeys, our own comings and goings, our own past and future dreams, is our responsibility. We all are commanded to record the starting points and termini (and starting points again) for all our life’s journeys “according to the word of YHWH.”

We each bear in our souls the map of Israelite’s travels throughout the millennia, across the four corners of the earth, and across the vast expanses of a staggering spiritual journey of insights and revelations, of the knowledge of YHWH’s presence in our lives and in our world. Our ancestors’ journey is our journey, and only by fully accepting upon ourselves the awesome responsibility of “properly” seeking our next station along the way of Israelite’s journey can we insure that all the journeys of the past were not for naught but were a necessary part of a great Divine plan. Today, in the midst of mourning and reflection concerning the destruction of the Holy Temple(s) which took place nearly two thousand years ago, mourning and reflection on the Friday, January 2, 2004, and subsequent break-ins into the synagogue; the holy temple; the next station in our journey through time, space and spirit, is crystal clear. Now is the time to take that next step - together!

More importantly, we must be careful to remember that YHWH will call each person into account for the words he or she has spoken - Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omed (“Know Before Whom You Stand").



Honorable Chief Rabbi Matthew 127 Anniversary

Posted on June 24, 2019 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Tribute to the late

Honorable Chief Rabbi

Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l

“We believe the people Moses led out of Egypt were black” –

( Honorable Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l April, 1968 )

Sunday, June 23, 2019 marks the Honorable Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew’s, zt”l (Chief Rabbi Matthew zt”l) one hundred and twenty-seventh birthday; he was a prince of the House of Lewi, and a servant of his people. The only rabbi with credentials from Ethiopia. It is from Addis Ababa that I derive my authority as head of the Black Jews in the United States. His legacy and teaching reach far beyond the centennial (On Mount Horeb, God appeared to Moses as a burning bush, revealed to Moses his name YHWH. YHWH commanded Moses to return to Egypt and bring his chosen people (Israel) out of enslavement and into the Promised Land (Canaan); approximately 1446 BC when Moses received the Ten Commandments - (Hebrew: עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת, Aseret ha'Dibrot), also known as the Decalogue.) of his founding of the Commandment Keepers (The Ethiopian Hebrews (Falahas) in the Western Hemisphere) synagogue on April 15, 1919.

We celebrate one hundred and twenty-seven years of his birth as an occasion for memorial, reflection, revitalization, renewal and spiritual connection to Chief Rabbi Matthew’s zt”l core ideologies and beliefs. Chief Rabbi Matthew emphasized the importance of living our lives in accordance with Torah; and never should we forsake its basic principles.

Chief Rabbi Matthew zt”l was born, June 23, 1892 (1892-1973). He was the Chief Rabbi of the Ethiopian Hebrews in the Western Hemisphere. “He came to America in 1912 via the West Indies. He says he has pursued his rabbinical studies in Berlin and Heidelberg in Germany and claims a doctorate in metaphysics. He also studied mental telepathic experiences. One of his major abilities, however, appears to be a talent for organization and the executive and creative power that makes something out of nothing. It involves skill, patience, knowledge of purpose, tenacity, belief and self-denial. Only this way could the former little boy from the African Gold Coast build up a growing Falasha community in a raw, hostile and suspicious environment…It took him decades – but he succeeded. They are Jews who take their religion seriously – and do not spare effort and material sacrifice to build the congregation…” (April 1968 Sepia magazine, p. 30)

In April 1968, 51years ago, Sepia magazine covered an article entitled, “Black Jews of Harlem,” and asserted the following: “…Rabbi Matthew believes the long line of Ethiopian rulers from Menilek down to and including Haile Salassie “The Lion of Judah,” had been Hebrews… The 10 tribes of the kingdom of Judah were scattered largely into Africa. We believe the people Moses led out of Egypt were black…Chief Rabbi Matthew zt”l had close contact with Emperor Haile Selassie and with the Falasha Hebrews in Ethiopia. He was among those who founded the Ethiopian World Federation and, in 1954, when the late Emperor came to America, Rabbi Matthew was invited to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to greet him.” (Sepia magazine, p. 30; Rabbi Yhoshua Ben Yahonatan, October 1983 Ascent, p 9)

In the Hebrew Bible the term Israelites is used interchangeably with the term Twelve Tribes of Israel. Although related, the terms Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews are not interchangeable in all instances. "Israelites" (Yisraelim) refers specifically to the direct descendants of any of the sons of the patriarch Jacob (later called Israel), and his descendants as a people are also collectively called “Israel.” (“Black Hebrews and Their Heritage” By Rabbi Yhoshua Ben Yahonatan)

“ACCORDING TO TORAH (HOLY SCROLLS) and ancient biblical history, all Hebrews began with the Patriarch Abraham in what is now the Middle East…What is not so commonly known is the history of those Hebrews who were scattered into Sub-Sahara Africa. The more that is learned through anthropology and archaeology, the more certain it appears that dark-skinned Hebrews spread their religion into many areas, especially into East and West Africa. In doing this, they had an impact that most white historians prefer to gloss over or deny. Considering recent discoveries about Phoenician voyages to the Western Hemisphere more than two millennia ago, it may well be asked: “Were there free Black Hebrews in America long before the Marranos who sailed with Columbus and the slaves who were shipped there from West Africa?”

“It was in West Africa that the strands of history came together for most of the Hebrew Israelite people living in the Americas today. It is a known fact that Black Hebrews were in Africa 1500 years before Islam and that everywhere the Arabs traveled in Africa, they found Hebrews…Fortunately, there has been a great awakening among many Black Americans as to the nature of the lies put forth by the slave owners, their descendants and many of the Christian churches that supported them. Many Black Americans are now realizing and acting on the knowledge that they are descendants of the early Hebrews. The major forces behind the development of this awareness were the first pioneers for modern Black Israel in America, those Black Hebrew immigrants who came to the United States from Ethiopia, other parts of Africa and the Caribbean Islands.

Notable among these were Rabbi Arnold Josiah Ford, a man who was Marcus Garvey’s choir director and who preached that Black people in America were really children of the House of Israel. Such teachings aided some of the so-called “Negroes” to reclaim their Hebraic heritage.”

“Another leader during this crucial period was Rabbi Wentworth A. Matthew who was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1892, and who came to the U.S. by way of the Caribbean…”(“Black Hebrews and Their Heritage” By Rabbi Yhoshua Ben Yahonatan)

The Exodus (The Exodus Begins (approximately 1446 BC) [Exodus “Shemot” 13-18]; 1446 BC The Israelites at Mount Sinai [Shemot 19]; 1446 BC Moses Receives the Commandments [Shemot 20]; 1446 BC Moses Receives the Law [Shemot 21 – 24]; 1446 BC Preparations for the Tabernacle [Shemot 25 – 31]; 1446 BC The Golden Calf and Moses' Anger [Shemot 32]; 1446 BC The Journey Resumes [Shemot 33 – 39]; 1445 BC The Tabernacle is Erected and Filled [Shemot 40]; has cultural significance in that it is at the center of Israelite identity. Chief Rabbi Matthew zt”l embraced the faith of his Israelite ancestors and taught that we are a part of one of the most ancient of all religions and peoples. We are Israelites with a heritage that extends back to the coming out of Egypt; standing at Mount Sinai; and a birth of a Nation. Chief Rabbi Matthew’s message to Israel is that we were delivered from slavery by YHWH and therefore belong to YHWH through the Mosaic covenant.

The Torah is unequivocal: the Israelite people were chosen by YHWH to be His nation. The Israelite has a special relationship with YHWH and has a unique calling among the nations of the world. We are the people who came out of Egypt from under the enslavement of Pharaoh; we are the people who were liberated through the hand of YHWH and stood at the foot of Mount Sinai. – We are YHWH’s chosen treasure. “You are a holy nation to the Lord, your God; the Lord, your God, has chosen you to be for Him a treasured nation from all of the nations which are on the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy (Devarim) 7:6

Three separate biblical verses record the Israelites’ acceptance of the obligations that the Torah will impose on them, but only the last of these contains the phrase “na’aseh v’nishma.”(We shall do and we shall hear - The Vow of Shavuot.) When Moses first ascends to Mount Sinai, YHWH commands him to tell the people that if they accept the covenant, YHWH will make them a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” ( Shemot 19:6 ). Upon hearing these words, the people respond, na’aseh v’nishma “All that YHWH has said, we will do” ( Shemot19:8 ).

Later in the text, after Moses relates specific divine rules to the people, they again say, “All of the things that YHWH has said, we will do” (Exodus 24:3). A few verses later, after Moses writes and reads aloud the words of the Torah, the people utter the phrase “na’aseh v’nishma,” “We will do and we will hear” (Shemot 24:7).

The people Moses led out of Egypt were black; Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, after which they based themselves at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Aseret ha'Dibrot; and the Israelites became a Nation (Birth of Israel approximately 1446). We the people – Israelites – are older than 100 years; we are expansive in our legacy.

“…We are the bloodline descendants from the biblical Israelites. We are not black jews, black Israelites, black Hebrews, Hebrew Israelites, colored jews, negro jews, African jews, jewish people or any other kind of jew or Israelite with an adjective before or after our correct and official name. We are plain and simply the Israelites or people of Israel or the tribes of Israel. We are not Israelites because of the colors or complexions of our skin, but only because we are bloodline descendants by father or mother from the twelve tribes of Israel. No matter what we may look like in features or what the shade or complexion our skin may be, that does not change our nationality. We are who we are because of from whom we are descended. Since our forefathers and mothers were Israelites that makes us Israelites also. We cannot help or change the fact of who our forefathers or founding fathers were. There is no possible way for us to change that fact of history through all eternity…

The tribe of Dan left the land of Israel nearly 2700 years ago. They passed through Egypt on their way to the land of Cush (Ethopia)…In time they left the land of Cush and migrated onward to the land of Havilah called West Africa today…

The culture and heritage of the majority of the tribes and clans of West Africa is Israelitic. The peoples on the continent of Arabinya (Africa) such as the Ashanti…Yoruba…These are the tribes and clans that were subjugated and brought into the western world during the great enslavement period, from 1550 to 1850. Since the people who were brought to the western world were Israelites, then their descendants here today are Israelites…


In our sacred writings called by us the Tanak and by the gentiles the bible, God spake through Zephaniah the prophet, saying: “From beyond the rivers or borders of Cush (Ethiopia) in the distant Sudan (West Africa is the western Sudan) my scattered people Israel, will again bring offerings to Me. Zephaniah 3:10. The Eternal, the Holy One of Israel said, that the greatest portion of the nation of Israel were located on the continent we call Africa today, and that they resided beyond the land of Cush (Ethiopia). The vast bulk of the Israelite nation migrated over the continent called Africa by the Europeans (Edomites); but known from ancient times by the Israelites and other nations of antiquity as the land of Arabinya. The moslem writer, historian and traveler Ibn Batoutah who visited West Africa in the middle of the fourteenth century C.E., stated in his writings that “West Africa is the land of the Jews.”

The great enslavement period from 1550-1850 was the wholesale destruction of the Israelite tribes and clans of West Africa by the Christian and Islamic world, during which time 300 million Israelites were destroyed and enslaved. European historians admit that 200 million of our people were dumped into the Atlantic ocean, and another 100 million were enslaved or perished in North and South America and the West Indian islands…” (Jerusalem Calling Newsletter 3225 Shevat/February 1990 Who And What We Are And Who And What We Are Not from a circulating “Chain Letter,” Author unknown)