Unlike 2004, when just about everyone running for president except George W. Bush was producing a Jewish relative of some sort, the two nominees, John McCain and Barack Obama, aren't pretending to be members of the tribe.Actually my cousin, John Kerry, really did descend from a Jewish family. It was his paternal grandfather who converted to Christianity. (Now apparently he isn't my cousin anymore, as his claim that he was descended from the Maharal is doubtful.)
Anyway, it turns out that Michelle Obama has a Jewish first cousin. Not just Jewish, but a 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.(h/t the Spine)
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.
Thanks to my blogging pals My Right Word, Rubicon3 and Oyvay Blog for posting about this. What can I say, Funnye you don't look Jewish.
Yes it's a pretty universal reaction.