Well here is an interesting twist on this year’s presidential election. As the Jewish weeking Forward reports, Barack Obama is related (by marriage) to a rabbi:
While Barack Obama has struggled to capture Jewish votes, it turns out that one of his wife’s cousins is the country’s most prominent black rabbi.
Michelle Obama, wife of the Democratic presidential nominee, is a first cousin once removed of Rabbi Capers Funnye, spiritual leader of a mostly black synagogue on Chicago’s South Side. Funnye’s mother, Verdelle Robinson Funnye, and Michelle Obama’s paternal grandfather, Frasier Robinson Jr., were brother and sister.
Funnye (pronounced fuh-NAY) is the chief rabbi of the Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in southwest Chicago. He is well known in Jewish circles for acting as a bridge between mainstream Jewry and the much smaller, and largely separate, world of black Jewish congregations, sometimes known as black Hebrews, or Israelites. He has often urged the larger Jewish community to be more accepting of Jews who are not white.
. . .
Funnye converted to Judaism and was ordained as a rabbi under the supervision of black Israelite rabbis. He then went through another conversion, supervised by Orthodox and Conservative rabbis. Funnye has worked to connect his own congregation with the rest of Chicago’s Jewish community. He serves on the Chicago Board of Rabbis and is vice president of the Israelite Board of Rabbis, the rabbinical association for black Israelite rabbis.
. . .
“I think it tells us everything we need to know about modern America and modern Judaism that a biracial candidate has been nominated by the Democratic Party and he’s related to an African-American rabbi,” said Gary Tobin, president of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, which has worked for greater acceptance of Jewish minorities.
Read it all here.