Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge

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The ISUPK High Holy Day in Harlem, N.Y., Passover 2012.
The ISUPK performing in Washington, D.C., on October 10, 2014, at the corner of H and 7th Street N.W.

Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge (ISUPK) is a non-profit organization based in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, United States. The group is part of the Hebrew Israelism movement,[1] which regards American blacks as descendants of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.[2] The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the ISUPK a hate group, citing its "extremist" ideology and black supremacist rhetoric.[1]

Volume controversy[edit]

ISUPK has demonstrated many times at the corner of Seventh and H streets in Washington, D.C., since 2004,[3] but residents complain that the group amplifies its open-air preaching to more than 90 decibels and that its message is offensive.[4] Some homeowners say the group accuses white and gay people of destroying historically black neighborhoods, and at least one resident has complained of being called "cracker, slave owner, [and] white devil," but they reiterate that volume, rather than the group's speech content, is the problem.[5]

ISUPK and other groups' volume prompted Washington's municipal government to consider an ordinance to "resolve the issue."[6] The measure would have limited the volume of daytime noncommercial speech to 70 decibels, but it died because of free-speech concerns.[7] ISUPK's regional director, General Yahanna, defended the group, saying residents' real issue was not sound, but the group's message.[6] The group identifies its message as saving local residents' souls and discouraging people from drugs and crime; it regards its separatist teachings as the real objection residents have.[5]


  1. ^ a b "God and the General. Leader Discusses Black Supremacist Group". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Fall 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  2. ^ "History of Hebrew Israelism". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  3. ^ Seregi, Marianne. "How Loud is Loud? Across the District, Residents Are Seeking Relief From Jarring, Vexing, Headache-Inducing Noise". The Washington Post. Saturday, September 22, 2007. pp. B01. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  4. ^ Segraves, Mark (February 21, 2008). "Bring The Noise". WTOP News. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  5. ^ a b Sabar, Ariel (March 12, 2008). "In a Changing Neighborhood, the Gospel Falls on Achy Ears". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  6. ^ a b "Faith group hit for being too loud". The Washington Times. February 27, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  7. ^ Stewart, Nikita (February 20, 2008). "Measure Tabled Over Unions' Free-Speech Concerns". The Washington Post. pp. B02. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 

External links[edit]