Bro. Mekahel Ben Israel (Herbert Michael Johnston) was born February 24, 1949, to the late Herbert and Kathleen Johnston in New York, New York, and fell asleep June 22, 2022.
He received his schooling in New York and shortly after high school, moved to New Haven, CT. It was in New Haven where Bro. Mekahel caught the acting bug and became active in the theater world. He met Ms. Carol Penney who became not only his acting coach, but also a dear friend. He was an actor, playwright, and poet. He enjoyed producing and directing plays through the Alliance Theater in and around New Haven and in various tabernacles. He was a drama teacher in the New Haven Public Schools where he worked with middle schoolers. He loved teaching and directing young people and never missed an opportunity to impart some knowledge and/or lead a discussion – on anything!
After leaving the school system in 2012, Bro. Mekahel formed a seniors’ theater group and had senior citizens on stage acting for the community. He was co-narrator in “BlackNativity” for many years with his dear friend, Ms. Gloria Richardson.
Bro. Mekahel became a Hebrew Israelite in his twenties and after searching for a religious home, he became a member of the Church of God and Saints of Christ in 1998, where he met his wife, St. Arline. He was very knowledgeable about the scriptures and never passed up the opportunity to testify of God’s goodness and blessings. He remained active in the New Haven Tabernacle until his health began to fail. Bro. Mekahel was an advocate for justice and equality and always rallied for the oppressed. He was the life of the party and was never at a loss for words.
He leaves to mourn his wife of sixteen years, St. Arline Benson-Johnston; his children: Keba Johnston of San Diego, CA, Deidra Johnston of Hamden, CT, Anita Johnston of North Prince George, VA, Stepchildren: Elder Anthony Benson of Mt. Rainier, MD, Zemirah Benson of Gretna, NE, Beryl Benson of New Haven, CT; a sister, May of New Jersey, a brother, Donald of New York; eight grandchildren – Bryant versus soul, Nisha, Nunu, Jocelyn, Isaiah, Xavier, Ryan, Joshua and Michael (Benson); one great-grandson, Joshua; cousins Wayne, Elpidia, and Caorlee; his “adopted brother” Elder Charles N. Watson of Middletown, CT; family and friends.
A virtual memorial service via Zoom will be held Thursday, June 30, 2022, at 4:00 pm EST. Please use the following Zoom Meeting ID and Passcode: Meeting ID: 844 2927 4313 Passcode: 126048