Black Hebrew Members Fight To Keep Congregation Open


Harlem’s small and mostly African-American congregation with a very large name – The Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of Truth – has been ensnarled in court in recent years, after nine members sold their shul building, a sale opposed by a faction of the dwindling congregation.

The shul, housed in a townhouse on W. 123rd Street and Mount Morris Park West, was sold in 2007, and recently re-sold for $1.85 million to two writers who plan to use the townhouse as a residence. The sales were ruled valid by a judge in 2008, who nevertheless added that the transactions were questionable.

On June 1, oral arguments were heard in an appeal filed by David M. Dore, grandson of the congregation’s founding rabbi, Wentworth Arthur Matthew, who founded the congregation in 1919, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile the Chabad-Lubavitch of Long Island City is attempting to regroup following a devastating electrical fire June 4. No one was hurt and the Torahs were rescued. According to, one congregant, Dan Allen, said the fire had a bright side: “We’ve been needing a new building for quite a while now, and now we have no choice.”

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