Black Hebrew Israelites (also Black Hebrews, African Hebrew
Israelites, and Hebrew Israelites) are groups of people mostly of
Black African ancestry situated mainly in the United States who
believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites. Black
Hebrews adhere in varying degrees to the religious beliefs and
practices of mainstream Judaism. They are generally not accepted as
Jews by the greater Jewish community, and many Black Hebrews
consider themselves - and not mainstream Jews - to be the only
authentic descendants of the ancient Israelites. Many choose to
self-identify as Hebrew Israelites or Black Hebrews rather than as
Jews. Dozens of Black Hebrew groups were founded during the late
19th and the early 20th centuries. In the mid-1980s, the number of
Black Hebrews in the United States was between 25,000 and 40,000.
In the 1990s, the Alliance of Black Jews estimated that there were
200,000 African-American Jews, including Black Hebrews and those
recognized as Jews by mainstream Jewish organizations.
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