The US presidential candidate from Democrat Party, Barack Hussein Obama, has had family ties with a rabbi.
His name Rabbi Capers C. Funnye Jr., leads a mostly Ethiopian Jewish congregation in the Marquette Park neighborhood of Chicago. He was a cousin of Michele, Obama’s wife. Her paternal grandfather is the brother of Funnye’s mother.
But Obama always keep a secret about that. He have not publicized the connection to Funnye during presidential campaign even at the beginning a lot of people doubted his commitment against Israel.
Funnye said he hasn’t been involved in the campaign. But he donated money for his brother in law’s campaign fund. “I’m very moved and very proud of all they have become so far,” the 56 year old rabbi told the Associated Press.
In chilhood, Funnye and Michele Obama’s families visited each other almost monthly. Funnye’s mother and Michele’s father, who were closer in age, had a good relationship. They never meet since Funnye attended Michele’s wedding in 1992. Those reconneted about a decade ago when Funnye started working at a social work organization based near the University of Chicago, where Michele Obama worked.
Funnye said he met Obama shortly before he married Michele. “He was very caring, alittle skinny, and very sincere,” he said. He sees Obama occasionally at family gatherings. But the first black presidential nominee have never attended at the synagogue of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken led by Funnye.
According to Michele’s spokeswoman, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Obama haven’t mentioned about Funnye as respected for the privacy of their large extended family. The Forward, a Jewish newspaper, first reported the relationship. “It was a total surprise to me,” said Ira Forman, the executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC).
Associated Press/Faisal Assegaf