In 1919, the late Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew founded the Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living G-D, Pillar and Ground of Truth in Harlem, NY. The Israelite Academy traces its origin back to the Ethiopian Hebrew Rabbinical College that was established by Chief Rabbi W. A. Matthew in 1925. From 1925 to 1970, Chief Rabbi Matthew served as Dean and Rosh Yeshivah and produced over 30 rabbis. Spiritual and intellectual giants were grown from this simple root.
The college acquired a new name in 1970 – The Israelite Rabbinical Academy. Rabbi Levi Ben Levy served as the Dean of the Academy and the work continued. In 1977, Rabbi Levy was elected the next Chief Rabbi of the community and in 1978, he appointed Rabbi K. Z. Yeshurun to succeed him as Dean of the Academy. In 1992, Rabbi Sh’lomo Levy became the Dean of the Academy. The current Deans are Rabbi Baruch Yehudah and Rabbi Malchah Netanyahu. During the summer of 2001, the members of the Israelite Board of Rabbis voted to transform the Israelite Rabbinical Academy into an institution that would offer courses in Judaic/Israelite education and secular subjects. This change has allowed for women, laypersons, and those new to the faith to acquire knowledge in a friendly and welcoming environment without the five-year commitment required to enter the rabbinic program. Rabbi Baruch A. Yehudah and Rabbi Malchah Netanyahu are the current Deans of the Israelite Academy.
The predominant mission of the Israelite Academy is to provide a place of learning for those who thirst for the knowledge of Torah. Our aim is to create leaders for the Israelite world who are able to integrate the covenant of our ancestors with the creative and intellectual insights of contemporary society by educating spiritual leaders, intellectual leaders, and laypersons who will foster Israelite causes, serve the greater Israelite community, and the world. Born primarily as an institution for the training of rabbis, the Israelite Academy has expanded its horizons to offer to the general public a comprehensive set of classes which will instill in the men and women of the Academy the driving need to create and lead lives filled with substance and meaning.
The Israelite Academy articulates a vision of Judaism that is Torah authentic, culturally relevant, pluralistic, historically accurate and grounded in Israelite oral and written history. Our curriculum constantly mediates Israelite texts and experiences with goals grounded in Torah tradition. We are committed to generations past, present and future.
A Cord of Three Strands is Not Easily Broken
והחוט המשלש לא במהרה ינתק
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves A cord of three strands is not easily broken (Qohelet 4:12)
GOD TORAH ISRAEL