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The groups who feel this way prefer the term Hebrew or Israelite because they believe it avoids a connection with "whiteness," or conversely, implies a connection with "blackness." It is with these two caveats concerning "race" that I use the term Jew as a de-racialized description of people who are neither Christian nor Muslim but who profess to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

No offense is intended by my choice of terms and I hope that none will be taken.

Estimates for the total number of Black Jews in America range from 40,000, reported by the Encyclopedia of Black America, to 500,000 as stated in a feature story about Black Jews in Ascent magazine.

Unfortunately, none of the sources reveal how they arrived at their figures.

The problem of determining a reliable estimate of the number of Black Jews in America is made more complicated by the difficulty of determining who is a "Black Jew." For instance, Arthur Huff Fauset in his pioneering study, Black Gods of the Metropolis, used a Philadelphia-based group called the "Church of God" as the basis for a chapter about "Black Jews." If one simply took an affinity with the Old Testament and the observance of a few customs as a definition of being Jewish, as do Fauset and others, then one's figures could be quite high; though very inaccurate because they would count as Black Jews segments of what is usually considered the Black Church.

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Estimates for the total number of Black Jews in America range from 40,000, reported by the Encyclopedia of Black America, to 500,000 as stated in a feature story about Black Jews in Ascent magazine.Unfortunately, none of the sources reveal how they arrived at their figures.The problem of determining a reliable estimate of the number of Black Jews in America is made more complicated by the difficulty of determining who is a "Black Jew." For instance, Arthur Huff Fauset in his pioneering study, Black Gods of the Metropolis, used a Philadelphia-based group called the "Church of God" as the basis for a chapter about "Black Jews." If one simply took an affinity with the Old Testament and the observance of a few customs as a definition of being Jewish, as do Fauset and others, then one's figures could be quite high; though very inaccurate because they would count as Black Jews segments of what is usually considered the Black Church.(function(l,f){function m(){var a=e.elements;return"string"==typeof a? a.split(" "):a}function i(a){var b=n[a[o]];b||(b={},h++,a[o]=h,n[h]=b);return b}function p(a,b,c){b||(b=f);if(g)return b.create Element(a);c||(c=i(b));b=c.cache[a]? (c.cache[a]=c.create Elem(a)).clone Node():c.create Elem(a);return Have Children&&! b.cache)b.cache={},b.create Elem=a.create Element,b.create Frag=a.create Document Fragment,b.frag=b.create Frag(); a.create Element=function(c){return! b.create Elem(c):p(c,a,b)};a.create Document Fragment=Function("h,f","return function(){var n=f.clone Node(),c=n.create Element;Methods&&("+m().join().replace(/\w+/g,function(a){b.create Elem(a);create Element(a);return'c("'+a+'")'})+");return n}")(e,b.frag)}function q(a){a||(a=f);var b=i(a);if(CSS&&!

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This essay attempts to bear witness to true diversity that exists within the Jewish world.

Though the focus is necessarily on those communities that I am most family with, I attempt to give a broader insight and offer some analysis of the unique dynamics that are at work.

It is also important to remember that not all of these groups accept the terms used to describe them.

Some, in fact, reject the term "Jew" precisely because it connotes, in the minds of most people, a white ethnic group.

Therefore, the use of this appellation could be misinterpreted as a desire to be white or a denial of African heritage.

In either case, its application could be regarded as an affront by some.