Religious Cultures Under the Radar: Jews of African Descent

Judith Weisenfeld On October 4, 2015, the International Israelite Board of Rabbis, a body overseeing a group of congregations of Jews of African descent, voted to elevate Capers Funnye, rabbi of Chicago’s Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation and first cousin to Michele Obama, to the position of Chief Rabbi. Installed on October 24 at a ceremony in his home synagogue, Funnye became the third Chief Rabbi in the history of the Israelite Board, which has its origin in the Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation founded in Harlem in the early 20th century by St. Kitts native Rabbi Wentworth Matthew and the first Chief Rabbi.