Obama’s Jewish apologists are having a party ! Last week one of the President’s official mouthpieces, the NY Times ran a report about Capers Funnye, Michelle Obama’s cousin and a Rabbi. “You See”, They say, “Obama has a cousin that is Jewish, he HAS to be pro-Israel. There is only one problem, while Funnye has converted to Judaism, he is not preaching Judaism. According to the website of the congregation they are a Hebrew-Israelite congregation. While Funnye has been trying to get the “Black Jewish” congregations integrated into mainstream Judaism, their theology runs contra to Jewish theology.
The Hebrew-Israelite theology takes many forms. Some of them are Christian, they believe that Jesus was the Messiah, they believe that today’s “white” Jews are not the true descendants of the faith. They believe Jews are descended from Khazars nomads who ruled the steppe area of central Asia for parts of the for parts of the 7th-9th centuries And converted to Judaism in the eighth century. Ironically this is one of the charges that Arabs use to deligitimize the Jewish claims on Israel.
The “Black” Jews have many versions of their Jewish Origins. Some believe that they are from Edom, the nation formed by Jacob’s brother Esau. In traditional Jewish theology, Jews were descended from Jacobs 12 sons, it is Rome that was descended from Esau (but some think the Rome claim is just a swipe at the Roman Empire for destroying Jerusalem). Others believe that they are the decedents of the “missing 10 tribes,” exiled by the Assyrians almost 2,600 years ago.
Either way, Rabbi Funnye is Jewish, his congregants who have not converted, are not Jews, nor are they descended from Jews. They believe that they are a complete and separate people that split off from the religion, 3,000 years ago. Actually the term “Jew” derives from the name of one of the two ancient Biblical Kingdoms, Judah. The ONLY connection that the Hebrew-Israelites have with the Jewish people is that they have adopted some of the traditions of Rabbinical Judaism (Modern Judaism).
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Please note that none of this makes Funnye a bad person, nor do I know if he is Anti-Israel, like his cousin Barack. But this story in the NY Times about Michelle Obama’s cousin being Jewish is just that…a story.