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House of Israel set to host vacation Bible school

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 5, 2014

To the casual observer walking or driving down historic Washington Street, it might seem odd that House of Israel Hebrew Culture Center, which prominently displays the Star of David and other traditionally Jewish symbols, is flying a banner advertising vacation Bible school starting later this month. 

“Most people who inquire about the House of Israel are tourists,” said Rabbi Ahmetahee Malachi Yeroozedek ben Israel.

But for anyone who has ever attended a service there, teaching the full Bible makes perfect sense.

“We’re not one of those groups who take on part of the book and disregard the other part,” ben Israel said

That’s why the center is hosting vacation Bible school from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. July 14-17 and its annual summer revival at 7 p.m. July 14-18.

The Hebrew center’s belief is based in scripture and historical accounts, ben Israel said. In a nutshell, the belief is that blacks who were sold into slavery were Israelites rather than native Africans.

“We are a people here trying to resurrect a culture,” ben Israel said. “We are of the tribes of Isreal. We’re claiming a culture of lost people of this Earth.”

Services of the center resemble also resemble Judaism. A grand blue ark houses the Torah used in services at and members study Hebrew and wear tradition head coverings and subscribe to dietary laws.

“We go to the word of God and see what’s right,” he said.

Children who attend the Bible school will learn a bit of Hebrew, have arts and crafts activities and study scripture and learn about the Israelite culture, ben Israel said.

The House of Israel also offers community outreach, and this past week members were giving away clothes in front of the center.

“We’re here to serve the community,” ben Isreal said.

Services at House of Israel Hebrew Culture Center are at 11 a.m. on Saturdays. The center also offers Bible study at 5 p.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Wednesdays.