Cousin of Michelle Obama Nominated to Lead Black Jews

Cousin of Michelle Obama Nominated to Lead Black Jews

A cousin of First Lady Michelle Obama, Rabbi Capers Funnye, of Chicago, was nominated to serve as the first Black chief rabbi, leading a community of Black Jews worldwide.

Published July 14, 2015

Clearly leadership runs in the genes of Michelle Obama's family. A cousin of the first lady, Rabbi Capers Funnye, of Chicago, was recently nominated to serve as the first Black chief rabbi, according to BlackJews.org.

His role would involve building closer connections between communities of Ethiopian Jews to those throughout the world including the Caribbean, Nigeria and South Africa. Funnye has previously worked to build acceptance of Black Jews throughout the wider Jewish community by meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The nomination comes from the International Israelite Board of Rabbis. Funnye, who currently leads the Beth Shalom Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, is expected to begin his position in the fall. He will be the first Black chief rabbi of the 21st century to hold the position. 

Funnye is also the only Black rabbi on the Chicago Board of Rabbis.

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(Photo: Sally Ryan/ZUMA Press)

Written by Natelege Whaley

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