Apr 08

The Lost Sheep of the House of Israel

The African Hebrew Israelites have lived in Dimona for three generations, claiming their history brought them back to this land. Members of the tribe? Israel is not convinced

By Debra Kamin April 7, 2014, 11:59 am 47
An 89-year-old elder of the community. (photo credit: Debra Kamin/Times of Israel)

DIMONA — If you ask Ahmadiel Ben Yehuda where in the world Israel is located, he will give you a mega-watt smile and tell you that without a doubt it sits in Northern Africa, that the Middle East is actually geographically on the African continent and that he and you and everyone else around you are, in fact, African. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 08

Ahkvah Students Win Regional Chess Competition

Fifth grade students from Akvah, our community school, recently demonstrated how possessing discipline, obedience, and the spirit of Yah make winners.

On March 21, 2014, six boys and one girl were examples of how focus and humility brought home a victory in one of the most challenging intellectual games in the world: chess. They swept the ten other schools from the southern region and brought home a trophy, medallions and honor to Akvah School.

Members of the chess team

Members of the chess team

The victory was so complete and overwhelming that we were jokingly told by the other schools, “Don’t bring these children back here! They are the professionals!”  Everyone wanted to know, “How old are they?” and “Is this their first year of chess instruction?”  The students participated in their school uniforms, and looked different.  Yet, under such an intense spotlight, the students remained a unified and coherent group. The sponsors even brought us vegan food for lunch.

 “I was proud of these young people because they maintained a high standard of performance under pressure,” said their coach, Ahk Ammishuv Ben Israel.  “For three years we were denied any recognition as we learned the proper rules and scoring methods they used, but this year we mastered the entire game on the board and in the back room, and look forward to the nationals in June.”

The Winners' Medallion

The Winners’ Medallion

Our students followed their instructions “to the T,” followed the protocol of shaking hands before, and after each game, and were dominant on the board; even correcting the errors of their opponents…while in play!  Our children were exceptional in every way.  They practiced the rules and lived it.


Here are their names and scores:


Students:      Game 1              Game 2           Game 3        

Elivahav          +                              +                   +

Yochai             +                              0                   +

Elichai             +                              +                   +

Shai                  -                              +                   + 

Osher               +                              -                    +

Efrat                 -                              +                   +    

Yohasiel           +                             +                   + 


+ = win    – = loss       0 = draw

Apr 01

Time to confront and tame the ‘R word’

Ignorance and insensitivity must be unlearned and replaced with understanding; it cannot be imposed or legislated.

03/31/2014 21:29

Klu Klux Klan

Klu Klux Klan Photo: REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Earlier this year in the UK, Conservative MP Aidan Burley was compelled not to seek reelection for another term after revelations surfaced of his involvement in obtaining a Nazi uniform for a stag party. The groom who wore the uniform was prosecuted and fined in France, where the wearing of such is illegal. In 2009, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem called for Romanian mayor Radu Mazare to resign after he and his teenage son wore Wehrmacht uniforms to a fashion show.

A decade earlier, the mere rumor that Tom Green, a popular MTV host, had attended a masquerade party in Gestapo costume led to his show being canceled and skyrocketing career derailed.

But in response to the wearing of KKK Purim outfits by Israeli high school students in 2014, those that would be expected to weigh in on this most grievous offense have been essentially mute. Imagine the outcry that would have arisen should the children have shown up in the costumes of the executors of the Holocaust! This appalling choice of costume was not an isolated incident, as a similar scene was witnessed at a high school in Dimona.

The historical experience of slavery and of the post-slavery reconstruction era in America – wherein lynching at the hands of vicious, marauding Klansmen was a constant terror – is unique to the African American experience. Masked invaders would come in the middle of the night; at midday African Americans were hung and burned alive for the carnival amusement of thousands, while some took home body parts as macabre souvenirs and other dispatched postcards of the gruesome scenes. This was part of our “holocaust.”

Racism is alive in Israel. And it is even more discouraging when it is exhibited by those expected to be the enlightened among us, like rabbis and mayors – with their disparaging of black basketball players with the epithet “kushim.”

Should our next ranks of children to enter the IDF be concerned with possibly being assigned to units alongside these anonymous hooded revelers? That would seem prudent of them. Do these partygoers understand the vile and offensive nature of their masquerade? Doubtful, at best.

In an earlier op-ed critical of Israel’s African migrant worker/refugee (“infiltrator”) policy, I was advised not to use the word “racist” too often. Israelis would likely recoil at my message, the editor warned.

Thinking it to be a prudent suggestion I obliged, and substituted “biased” in a subsequent reference.

But episodic flare-ups of clearly racist expressions – both conscious and unconscious – have firmly convinced me that Israel must soon come to terms with this evil.

So where do we go from here? Is this a “teachable moment”? Perhaps.

But can these students dare be reprimanded, when public opinion polls show a majority of Israelis harboring racist sentiments? The principal saw their behavior as merely “a platform for discussion.”

Then let the discussions begin, in earnest. They need firm teachings about the sanctity of human life and dignity. They need responsible guidance and instruction. They need to know the dangers of denial.

An Ethiopian proverb is appropriate here: “He who conceals his disease cannot expect to be healed.” In that spirit, the African American novelist Jesmyn Ward wrote: “There is a power in naming racism for what it is, in shining a bright light on it, brighter than any torch or flashlight.

A thing as simple as naming it allows us to root it out of the darkness and hushed conversation where it likes to breed like roaches.

It makes us acknowledge it. Confront it. And in confronting it, we rob it of some of its dark pull. Its senseless, cold drag. When we speak, we assert our human dignity.

That is the worth of a word.” (“The cold current of racism,” International Herald Tribune, Friday, August 9, 2013) Her words serve as a poignant confirmation of my thinking here.

The social construct of race – widely misunderstood to be a biological construct – and racism are an undeniable and omnipresent reality in our global society. To have ignored its symptoms here in Israel has only complemented its ability to covertly ravage our social health much as modern viruses have developed their stealth capability.

Like any doctor would warn of the danger of ignoring symptoms, observers of history know the harbingers of a society’s decline and eventual collapse. Not to characterize racist behavior for what it is – a sociopathic rot – is to watch it metastasize into the vital organs of our society.

The calling out of a pattern of insensitivity and outright ignorance where race relations are concerned – accompanied by a sincere acknowledgment of the transgression – are merely the first steps toward our prescribed healing. The decency with which these matters must be addressed can only be countered with education at a fundamental level. Intensive sensitivity training needs to be implemented immediately in the core curriculum across the educational spectrum.

For the simple fact of the matter is that we are all only doing what we’ve been taught. Clearly, we need new teachings or new teachers – or both.

Racism is far too common today, thus there is no monopoly on suffering.

Our students in Dimona have visited Auschwitz as well as the slave dungeons of Elmina in Ghana as witnesses of humanity’s darkest hours. We can ill afford to forget any of these horrific chapters in our history.

Today we face a new opportunity.

Ignorance and insensitivity must be unlearned and replaced with understanding; it cannot be imposed or legislated.

Neither can we return to “business as usual.” Our experience can provide keys for successfully overcoming this challenge and informs us that only men and women of goodwill and strong character can shape a positive outcome from our current moral morass. Let us rise and be doing, for there are far greater challenges confronting humanity that lie ahead… less we forfeit any presumed moral authority we retain as “the chosen people.”

The author is spokesperson for the Hebrew Israelite Community of Dimona.

Mar 23

Hebraic New Year – April 1st

High Holy Days 2014And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” - Exodus 12:1-3

Also , Be in tuned with the spirit of the season please downland and print adjacent High Holy Calendar for 2014.

Mar 23

The New Breath of Life Oxygen & Aromatherapy Bar

Introducing the “Breath of Life Oxygen & Aromatherapy Bars”, a new Life promoting entrepreneurial venture conceived and founded for the benefit of “the Whole”. 

This life regenerating, rejuvenating, and relaxing experience is now offered here in our community by Natanel ben Israel, in effort to enhance the health and welfare of all who partake.

90% of our energy comes from oxygen and 10% comes from food and water. Just a 20 minute session on our oxygen bar displaces harmful free radicals, neutralizes environmental toxins, and destroys anaerobic infectious bacteria, parasites and microbes. Oxygen gives the body the ability to rebuild itself, detoxifies blood, increases circulation and strengthens the immune system. Oxygen will heighten concentration, alertness and help fight off depression.

What is an Oxygen Aromatherapy Bar?

note: Right now you are breathing 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen and 1% inert gases.

A Breath of Life Oxygen and Aromatherapy bar is a free-standing bar which people sit or stand at to breathe over 90% pure oxygen and aromatherapy from a disposable nasal cannula (nose hose). These modular bars can service anywhere from one to 6 people simultaneously, based on your desired configuration, and they are usually manned by one or two bartender/technicians. The oxygen is not kept under pressure nor is it administered from a tank. Our oxygen is produced by oxygen concentrators (generators) which take the ambient air that we normally breathe and separates the nitrogen from this ambient air with a molecular filter. Most of the nitrogen is expelled during this cycle and the oxygen is concentrated and pushed out of the machine through a tube which is attached to the Aromarizers which sit on top of the bar. It is there that the bartender/technician controls the flow of the oxygen to the individual bottles that hold water and the all-natural, essential, therapeutic grade aromas. In turn, the bottles bubble when turned on and oxygen is forced through the other opening of the bottle which has another open ended tube on it. It is there that the bar patrons connect the nasal cannulas while breathing normally.

*Note: Oxygen is a very dry gas and needs to be “humidified” and this is one of the two reasons why it is passed through the water. The other reason is to have it pick up the pleasant scent. Visitors to the bar can choose from a menu of different scents and switch to any of them at any given time during their session. For optimum benefits, a session at the bar should last from 10 to 15 minutes. Bar patrons can choose from our most popular flavors which are Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon grass, Peppermint, Citrus Delight and Cinnamon.

A human being can live weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without oxygen!

Go to breath-of-life.com for more information

Feb 16

The Village of Peace Trailer

The film, which was produced and directed by Ben Schuder and Niko Philipdies, with executive producers Jack Madigan, Aaron McCreary and Amar’e Stoudemire, chronicles the African Hebrew Israelites, a community who migrated from Chicago to Israel in the late 1960s, and intertwines the story of four villagers to provide an in-depth and moving view into the community. The film made its world premiere Jan. 31,2014 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival before continuing to other film festivals, and, eventually, a TV or cable broadcast premiere.

Feb 16

Exploring the African Presence in the Promised Land: The Sacred Visitation Experience

Wading In The Jordan River

Wading In The Jordan River

Tens of thousands of African and African American visitors to Israel come and go without an inkling of information that affirms their intimate links to this ancient land and its people.  

For starters, they are never even told that they are in Africa, walking and riding on the African tectonic plate.   Aside from possibly seeing a few Ethiopian Jewish residents, it is unlikely that they will ever see any of the thousands of people of African origin who have lived continuously for centuries in this crucible of culture and conflict.Because of these intimate historical and cultural connections, we are not tourists!  Sacred Visitation excursions hosted by the African Hebrew Israelites examine these organic links with this land, and reconnect you with your land and people… with yourselves!

Walking In Jerusalem

Walking In Jerusalem

The standard two-day Sacred Visitation (from Dimona in southern Judea to Jerusalem via the West Bank cities of Hebron and Jericho, with an overnight stay in Tiberias, where the second day explores the Galilee region and the Jordan River) is designed to give the participant a comprehensive experience, while by no means intended to represent the vast range of sites that the Holy Land has to offer.  Longer itineraries are available, as are custom-designed schedules geared to the individual’s interests.  We have also conducted dozens of excursions to the neighboring sites in the region, for example Petra in Jordan and, of course, the pyramids in Egypt.  The Sacred Visitation is designed to provide you with the essential keys to understanding the major issues – past and present – that impact upon our perception of the Holy Land: a look at its basic geographical location and geological makeup, its geopolitical importance, the historical context critical for understanding the biblical record and the major events in the ministry of Yeshua, and more.

Tourism is a major industry in Israel, but there is nothing comparable to the Sacred Visitation experience.  While our focus is often on “Exploring the African Presence,” that is merely one facet of our Truth-centered explorations.  More than once, eavesdroppers from other groups have expressed their appreciation for the information being shared that was not part of the groups they were with.

The Sacred Visitation experience is a dynamic and exciting way to see the land of Israel, with each journey as unique for the guide as well as for our guests.  As such, we make the Holy Land and the Bible come alive!

Feb 09

African Hebrew Development Agency in Kenya


AHDA is proud to be an officially registered Local NGO in the Republic of Kenya. We have developed partnerships with African Boreholes Initiatives, Ltd., Darko Orphans and other agencies in an effort to mitigate drought and food security issues, offer bio-organic agricultural training and education, and regenerative health workshops.

Jan 25

Press Release of MEADUC

Dimona, Israel – A coalition of African Bedouin, African Palestinians, Ethiopians, Hebrew Israelites, and Eritreans have established the Middle East African Diaspora Unity Council (MEADUC). MEADUC is the first non-profit organization to be established by the diverse African communities living in Israel and the Middle East.

The chief mission of the Middle East African Diaspora Unity Council is to organize these various communities of African origin throughout the “Middle East,” in compliance with the invitation from the African Union (AU) and join them as official members. By working in conjunction with the worldwide African Diaspora, under the AU’s “African Diaspora Sixth Region Policy,” MEADUC members and other selected groups from the African Diaspora will become voting members of the AU.

MEADUC is committed to helping resolve conflicts that may be unique to the African Diaspora in the Middle East. National and local governments may be unable or unwilling to undertake measures to combat illiteracy, poverty, famine and AIDS.  MEADUC can address these and other social ills through education and the raising of awareness of the causes of these conditions.

Coming together from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, MEADUC members agreed to set aside their differences and create a common vision of economic and social sustainability, through principled unity, trust and integrity as their priorities.

Since the beginning of recorded history, the Middle East has been the geographic crucible of civilization. As much as war and conflict has penned the pages of Middle Eastern history, the populace of these lands has given the world some of our most spiritually transforming, life-regenerating and socially redeeming ideas. Following in this tradition, MEADUC will strive to be among the “New Voices and Visions for Peace,” helping to bring a peaceful and harmonious reality for the inhabitants of the planet, as part of an ideal human civilization.

Jan 14

Israelite Youth Expect another Success at 2014 Biannual International Conference Themed Around Restoring Value to the African Village

Armed with the success of their first confere2012 International Youth Conference_Seminarnce in 2012, the youth of the African Hebrew Israelite Community in Dimona, Israel deeply anticipate their upcoming International Youth Conference, scheduled for July 8 – 27, 2014. This year’s conference, spearheaded by the Youth on the Move, the international non-profit juvenile division of this community whose stated goal is to positively influence, involve and activate the minds and the character of the youth globally, promises to be a progressive, fun-filled event.

2012 International Youth Conference SeminarThe members of the Youth on the Move (YOM) are busy setting the stage and rallying around a conference theme based on “The Restoration Village”, inspired by the visionary, detailed formula put forth by the community’s anointed spiritual leader, Ben Ammi Ben Israel. This formula lays out how to revitalize the African village as a center to produce sound leadership for the human family and to be the light for a new ecologically-sound social order. This life-centered village utilizes the Village of Peace, as the African Hebrew Israelite Community is known, as its working model. The international youth participants will have the chance to gain vivid vision and understanding of the Restoration Village, as well as share ideas for realizing its beauty and benefits.

The 2012 conference was attended by a large group of youth from Texas and some also from Atlanta and Chicago jurisdictions of the Hebrew Israelite Community, along with youth from the Youth Visions youth organization based on the U.S. east coast. They all plan to return, with the addition of youth from Kenya, recently befriended by YOM members who traveled there this past summer as a part of the Youth Award Project in Israel. Youth are also expected from Ghana and other parts of the world.

The conference will include a full array of activities, such as round-table discussions, visitations to the different sites and people of interest in the land of Israel, exquisite dining and plenty of fun recreational and sports events. The unified spiritual and intellectual flavor expected to blossom from this upcoming conference has both youth and adults excited and focused on the preparations for success.

Zvenah E. S. Elyashuv

Shaleak Ben Yehudah Writers’ Guild

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