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University Series- Rabbi Capers Funnye

University Series at CRC is an ever-changing educational opportunity taught by our rabbis, members, or special guests.

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April University Series: Spiritual Enrichment
(Monday) April 26th- Rabbi Capers Funnye
What do you know about Black Jews and their history?”

This will be a presentation on the history of the Black Jews in America, from 1919 to the present. We’ll examine how the community began, who founded the community and look at the life of Chief Rabbi Wentworth A. Matthew, and his successor Chief Rabbi Levi Ben Levy.

Guest Bio: Rabbi Capers is the spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, a 200-member merger of several former congregations located in the Marquette Park area of Chicago. Besides African-Americans, the diverse congregation — Jews for generations and new converts — includes Jews originally from Mexico and other Latin American countries, Africa, the Philippines, bi-racial couples, and Ashkenazi Jews who have adopted African- American children. He describes the congregation as a “composite of what someday the entire Jewish world will look like.” Designated as Traditional in the directory of Chicago congregations, the community uses an Orthodox siddur and women sit separately from the men, but services are egalitarian, with women able to read from the Torah and girls celebrating becoming a bat mitzvah. Born in South Carolina, Rabbi Capers became interested in religion as a student at Howard University, where he began his journey toward Judaism. He traces his interest in rabbinical leadership to a meeting in New York in 1979 with Rabbi Levi Ben Levy, the previous chief rabbi of the Israelite Board of Rabbis. “He put the idea in my head. He told me that we need young men to carry on,” explained Rabbi Capers. Enrolled in the Israelite Rabbinical Academy, Rabbi Capers studied online for the most part. At the same time, he was a student at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago (where he also had a position as a business manager). This dual association exemplifies Rabbi Capers’ commitment to building bridges between historic white Jewish institutions and formerly marginalized Jewish communities of color.

Note: If you miss the session, email Autumn for a link to the recording.


Mon Apr 26 2021


7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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