B'nai Adath Kol Beth Yisrael has been a fixture in the Israelite community since 1954 and in Bedford-Stuyvesant since 1967.
Our congregation was founded by the late Rabbi Yirmeyahu Ben Daniel Ben Levi Ben Yisrael, z’l’, as a kehillah kedoshah (a holy community) within the Israelite or Black Jewish movement under the auspices of the Israelite Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Yirmeyahu Ben Yisrael was the student of the late Chief Rabbi Wentworth A. Matthew, z’l’ the founder of our movement. From its founding, B’nai Adath has been a beacon of pride to the Israelite movement, a place of worship for and home to its congregants, and a place of welcome for its neighbors and friends.
Founded in 1954 on Lenox Avenue in Harlem, the congregation quickly outgrew its initial location and moved to 131 Patchen Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn in 1956. Within ten years it had outgrown that space as well and moved to our current Synagogue building at 1006 Greene Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Throughout our history, we have served our many members, sister congregations and neighborhood. B’nai Adath provides its congregants with worship and support throughout their life cycles. Our current rabbi, Baruch A. Yehudah, not only experienced his own Brit Milah within the walls of our building but is himself a Mohel serving the needs of his growing congregation. We observe holy days as prescribed by Torah and gather together for full day Shabbat experiences of worship, music and community. Our community Seders and Sukkot dinners are especially joyful. We offer Torah education and Bar Mitzvah training to our youth, as well as weddings to our members, and funerals and shiva support when they are needed. Our Rabbi is also our schochet.
Like our Chasidic neighbors we believe that our music creates a special Hebraic path to the Divine. “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Psalm 98:4 Like our Black ancestors drumming forms an essential element of our musical lives. “Praise Him with the loud-sounding cymbals; praise Him with the clanging cymbals.” Psalm 150:5 Our worship services are known for their hospitality and the music we make as we fill our sanctuary and lives with joyful song and drumming.
B’nai Adath also boasts of helping sponsor the formation of other Israelite congregations across the country and the world. Indeed, when our former rabbi, Rabbi Knaizadek Ben Zadok Ben Levi Ben Yeshurun moved to Atlanta, Georgia, he started an extension of B’nai Adath there. Our Rabbi Baruch Yehudah is currently working with a congregation based in South Africa as they begin to build their own synagogue. Other congregations, particularly within New York City, are led by people who were raised and learned within B’nai Adath and who have become leaders in our Israelite community.
Our congregation is composed of many of the children and grandchildren of our founders. With great resolve, this generation of B’nai Adath Kol Beth Yisrael, has sworn to build upon its great legacy and history, and though we have some immediate goals, we do not expect to ever be contented, as Chief Rabbi Levi Ben Levy z’l’ said: “Content not thyself with satisfaction, always strive for perfection. Mark the man of integrity and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace. ”
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