Black Hebrew Israelites , byname of the Original African Hebrew Israelite Nation of Jerusalem , African American religious community in Israel , the members of which consider themselves to be the descendents of a lost tribe of Israel. Black Hebrew Israelites hold religious beliefs that differ from those of modern Jewish communities in Israel. Black Hebrew Israelites permit polygamy and forbid birth control. Leaders decide who will marry and whether marriage annulments will be permitted, and they perform wedding ceremonies. Black Hebrew Israelites are vegans , avoiding the consumption of meat, dairy, eggs, and sugar. Members adopt Hebrew names to replace names they believe could be derived from slavery.
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Two verses in Leviticus Leviticus and Leviticus express unequivocal condemnation of male homosexual sex although it is not clear whether what is referred to is intercourse or all sexual acts between men. As evident by its language, the biblical prohibition does not extend to female homosexual acts, though later commentators disapproved of lesbianism. One rabbinic source associates female homosexuality with the activities of the Egyptians and Canaanites, from which the Jews are supposed to abstain. Other authorities describe lesbianism as lewd or promiscuous, but do not consider it a capital offense. The Leviticus verses also imply that it is the act of homosexual sex, not the homosexual person, that is abhorred.
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To varying degrees, Black Hebrew Israelites incorporate certain aspects of the religious beliefs and practices of both Christianity and Judaism , though they have created their own interpretation of the Bible. Black Hebrew Israelites are not associated with the mainstream Jewish community, and they do not meet the standards that are used to identify people as Jewish by the Jewish community. They are also outside the fold of mainstream Christianity , which considers Black Hebrew Israelism to be heresy. In the late 19th century, Cherry's and Crowdy's followers propagated the claim that they were the biological descendants of the Israelites,  and during the following decades, many more Black Hebrew congregations were established.
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