POLITICS
05/07/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Rabbi Capers Funnye: President Obama's Cousin!

Rabbi Capers Funnye celebrated Martin Luther King Day this year in New York City at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, a mainstream Reform congregation, in the company of about 700 fellow Jews -- many of them black. The organizers of the event had reached out to four of New York's Black Jewish synagogues in the hope of promoting Jewish diversity, and they weren't disappointed. African-American Jews, largely from Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, many of whom had never been in a predominantly white synagogue, made up about a quarter of the audience. Most of the visiting women wore traditional African garb; the men stood out because, though it was a secular occasion, most kept their heads covered. But even with your eyes closed you could tell who was who: the black Jews and the white Jews clapped to the music on different beats.

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