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The man in the first slide image is Mordecai Herman who is recorded by historians as the reformer of the Harlem-based Moorish Zionist Temple. However this group was ORIGINALLY founded by 19th century Rabbi Leon Richlieu who established the Moorish Zionist Temple in Brooklyn, New York before Herman moved it to Harlem (Marcus Garvey) and Newark, New Jersey (Noble Drew Ali). Many internet pages, with no verifiable sources, say that Richlieu started the temple in 1899. However the Encyclopedia of African American Religions edited by Larry G. Murphy, J Gordon Melton and Gary L. Ward, says that this Moorish Hebrew sect was founded in 1889. The encyclopedia is published by Routledge Press which produces University textbooks across the globe. The book sells for $192 on Abe Books. The 1889 founding year is significant because it is nearly a decade before European Jew Theodore Herzl had the first Zionist conference in 1897 to work on establishing the state of Israel. Most people associate the term “Zionist” with the European political organization, but the term does not inherently imply that. Richlieu’s Moorish Zionist Temple also predated Noble Drew Ali’s Moorish Science Temple established in 1913. Richlieu maintained that he and his temple members were the true descendants of the Biblical Hebrews. Some research indicates that Herman, who took over the Moorish Zionist Temple after Richlieu, was once a follower of Marcus Garvey’s UNIA which also had strong ties in Harlem, New York. According to the New Orleans Museum of Art, Herman fused Judaism with Pan Africanism. The “Star of David” was not a religious symbol of the biblical Hebrews, although the 6-pointed star had symbolic relevance to the Hindus of India (Star of Vishnu) and various people in the Near East. Within a purely Hebrew cultural context, the star is an innovation of medieval Europe. During medieval times many white Europeans started identifying as Jews to neutralize themselves in conflicts between Christians and Muslims. .

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