Chicago, IL – “Obama’s Rabbi” Tells President: Free Pollard Now


    AP File - Rabbi Capers C. Funnye Jr., of the Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation stands in the sanctuary of the synagogueChicago, IL – As the effort to gain clemency for Jonathan Pollard continues to grow, the Chicago-based Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, Jr. wrote to President Obama and called upon him to free Pollard.

    What makes Rabbi Funnye’s call for clemency so unique is that Funnye is related to the President. Rabbi Funnye’s mother, Verdelle Robinson Funnye, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s paternal grandfather, Frasier Robinson, Jr., were brother and sister, which makes Funnye and Michelle Obama first cousins, once removed.

    Rabbi Funnye is a Jewish African American who serves as the chief rabbi of the Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in Chicago, which is one of the largest black synagogues in America. He is a co-founder of the Alliance of Black Jews and a Senior Research Associate for the Institute of Jewish and Community Research, located in San Francisco, California. Rabbi Funnye is the first African-American member of the Chicago Board of Rabbis.

    “Jonathan Pollard has served over 25 years in prison for a crime that he has expressed great remorse publicly and privately for committing against our country,” wrote Rabbi Funnye in his letter to the President. “I write to add my voice to the many voices that have appealed to you for clemency by commuting Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served.”

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