Rabbi Capers C. Funnye
As an African-American rabbi, Capers C. Funnye Jr. not only leads his Chicago congregation, he also works to bridge the racial divide among Jews. He is the spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in Chicago, which was founded in 1915. The congregation, like most of what were once called Black Jewish congregations, believes the ancient Israelites were African. Traditionally, African-American Jewish congregations have remained somewhat apart from the rest of Jewish community. Funnye, on the other hand, has been involved with other Jewish organizations and even attended the White House Hanukkah party. In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he said, "It's important for me, on a very personal level, for my children and for other Jews, to see Judaism is beyond any racial group."