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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘chicago’

Michelle Obama’s Cousin Named Head of Black Jews’ Movement

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

(JNi.media) Funnye Capers, first cousin of First Lady Michelle Obama, has been named as the “titular head of the worldwide community of black Jews.”

Funnye (pronounced Fun-Nay) is the spiritual leader of the Beth Shalom Bnai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew congregation in Chicago and the only black rabbi on the Chicago Board of Rabbis.

Rabbi Capers received his ordination from the Israelite Rabbinical Academy of New York. Raised in the African Methodist Episcopal church, Funnye Capers became involved in civil rights and black nationalism while studying at Howard University. Under the guidance of Rabbi Robert Devine, the leader of the House of Israel Congregation in Chicago, he accepted Devine’s teachings that Africans were descended from Biblical Hebrews and that Jesus was the Messiah and he was black.

Funnye Capers eventually rejected the Christian elements of the movement, and learned with Rabbi Levi Ben Levy in Brooklyn, who embraced the concept of African originalism, but whose approach to observance and belief were more in line with mainstream Judaism.

In 1985, Funnye Capers converted to Judaism at a Conservative Beit Din, but has told his followers that his decision to convert does not imply his followers need to follow suit. Rabbi Levy also ordained Rabbi Funnye Capers as a rabbi, although no mainstream denomination has accepted the title, or Levy’s right to confer it.

The issue mainstream Jewish movements have with the Black Israelites, distinct from race, is that they do not recognize their conversions, which, in some cases, involve similar rituals as mainstream conversions, such as immersion in a ritual bath and circumcision for males. Where they fall short is the part 12th century scholar Maimonides considers paramount: acceptance of the yoke of Jewish halacha and of the sages.

Funnye Capers said of the First Lady, Michelle Obama, “Our families were very close. All through my childhood, our families were in and out of each others’ houses celebrating holidays together, that kind of thing.”

Just as President Obama has been able to stimulate dialogue on race, given his role as President, Funnye Capers says he plans to use his title to create awareness and understanding about race in the Jewish world. He has already met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has discussed with him issues relating to the Ethiopian community in Israel.

Rabbi Capers told the Chicago Tribune, “Unfortunately, by and large, when you see any imagery of Jews in the United States, very seldom do you see members of my community … we have to promote that Jews have always been a global people.”

Chicago has been the backdrop to black/Jewish conflict, which reached a tense point in 1984 when Democratic Presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson referred to New York City as “Hymietown.” Although Rev. Jackson apologized for the comment, it deepened the rift between the communities.

Another Chicago black pastor, Jeremiah Wright, who used to minister to the Obama family, in 2008 blamed “them Jews” of keeping him and Barack Obama apart. He also suggested that “The Jewish vote, the A-I-P-A-C vote” was controlling Obama.

Jane Ramsey, then-executive director for the council of Jewish affairs, welcomed the contribution by Rabbi Capers in engaging the African American community: “He’s deeply religious and deeply devoted to Judaism and also deeply devoted to creating jobs and housing and addressing racism and anti-Semitism,” she said.

Mid-Air Crisis Forces US Flight to Make Emergency Landing in Buffalo

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

A United Express flight originating in Chicago was forced to make an emergency landing in Buffalo, New York on Wednesday due to a “pressurization problem,” Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials said.

The plane dropped 28,000 feet in three minutes, going from 38,000 feet to 10,000 feet and exceeding the recommended protocols within which passengers and pilots would have enough time to get their oxygen masks on.

The FAA confirmed the problem with depressurization, although SkyWest, which operates the airline, did not mention the problem in tweeting the news that a prior report about a problem with a cabin door was unfounded.

Flight 5622 departed from O’Hare Airport at 9:32 am local time, heading to Bradley International in Hartford, Connecticut. But about two hours later the pressure suddenly dropped in the plane, CNN reported.

One passenger lost consciousness and received medical attention before being released, according to SkyWest spokesperson Marissa Snow.

It’s not yet clear what prompted the incident. There were 75 passengers on board the aircraft at the time.

The incident is under investigation.

Rahm Beats Jesus in Chicago

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Rahm Emanuel was reelected mayor of Chicago, beating out his primary opponent Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

After failing to secure a majority in the first election against four other opponents in February, the city ran a run-off election between Emanuel and Garcia.

Emanuel received approximately 56 percent to Garcia’s 44 percent in the runoff.

Emanuel is Chicago’s 55th mayor, and its first Jewish mayor.

Emanuel was President Obama’s Chief of Staff in his first term until 2010.

‘‘Suspect in Synagogue Vandalism Wanted to Shoot Jews’

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The mother of a man charged with vandalizing a Greater Chicago synagogue said her son told her that he was going to “shoot Jews,” Illinois country prosecutors told a judge in a hearing on whether to revoke the suspect’s bail.

John White, 40, of Westmont, Ill., was charged last month with a hate crime, vandalism and illegal possession of a firearm after allegedly breaking seven windows and writing anti-Semitic graffiti on the Congregation Etz Chaim synagogue in Lombard, a Chicago suburb.

He pleaded not guilty.

White’s attorney on Monday asked Judge George Bakalis of the 18th Circuit Court of Illinois to reduce his bail from $5 million, while prosecutors asked that he be held without bail, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Prosecutors said in a bail petition filed Monday during White’s arraignment that his mother told police that before he left the house the day of the synagogue attack, he told her he was going to “shoot Jews.”

“The defendant has clearly expressed his intention to kill or cause harm to those of the Jewish faith,” Joe Lint, an assistant state attorney, wrote in the petition. “If he is admitted to bail he poses a real and present threat to the physical safety of any Jewish person.

A new hearing on reducing White’s bail is scheduled for Nov. 18.

During a search of White’s house following his arrest, police found thousands of rounds of ammunition, a shotgun, a rifle and four handguns.

He has been charged on four counts, including possession of a firearm.

Loyola U. ‘Suspends’ and Reinstates Students for Justice in Palestine

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Loyola University Chicago suspended and subsequently reinstated its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine following an anti-Israel protest this month by the SJP chapter that blocked an event promoting Birthright Israel.

The university informed the chapter on Sept. 19 that it was “temporarily prevented from hosting any on-campus activities or events until their leadership meets with University representatives and the group complies with stated policies and procedures that apply to all student organizations,” according to a statement released by Loyola.

After meetings with university officials on Sept. 25 and 26, the group was allowed to resume its activities.

The one-week suspension was enough time for the university to win accolades for the suspension of SJP. The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) commended Loyola for instructing SJP to temporarily stop hosting any on-campus activities or events.

It remains to be seen if SJP now will function without violating the rights of others.

The temporary sanctions on SJP came shortly after a member of the group and of the student senate, Israa Elhalawany, was censured by the judicial board of the student government on Sept. 16 for “several Facebook posts over the summer in response to the attacks on Gaza” that included “profanity or expletives.” The board noted that the censure was for the manner of the posts, not the content.

In a protest on Sept. 9, SJP members lined up in front of a table manned by Hillel students promoting Birthright Israel trips. A student news website, The College Fix, quoted Hillel chapter president Talia Sobel as recounting that students from SJP asked Hillel members, “How does it feel to be an occupier?” and “How does it feel to be guilty of ethnic cleansing?”

In March, Loyola’s United Student Government Association took two votes on divestment resolutions. The measure at first passed unanimously. In a subsequent vote, it passed narrowly before being vetoed by the student president.

The university’s president dismissed the resolutions as irrelevant.

JTA contributed to this report.

Israeli Lunar Mission and Chicago’s iCenter Join Hands

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

The Chicago-based iCenter, a national Israel education organization, has teamed up with SpaceIL, an Israeli non-profit seeking to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon, to develop a series of educational materials to engage North American Jewish students in Israeli science, technology, and space flight.

SpaceIL is the only Israeli team currently competing in the Google Lunar X Prize competition to become the first team to successfully land a robotic spacecraft on the Moon and send pictures back to Earth.

Anne Lanski, executive director of the iCenter, said in a statement that SpaceIL “represents an unprecedented opportunity to engage North American Jewish youth in an inspiring narrative of contemporary Israel.”

“At a time when Jewish educators and communal leaders are eager to connect youth with the richness, diversity, and sophistication of contemporary Israeli life, SpaceIL provides a unique portal, showcasing the leadership and ingenuity of Israelis in science and technology, and the Israeli spirit of overcoming long odds to accomplish great things,” Lanski said.

IDF Soldiers Trained in Underwear in Snow

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Elite combat soldiers in the IDF’s Maglan unit might be ready for duty in the Arctic cold in Chicago, having trained in their underwear after last month’s “once in a century” snowstorm swept through Israel.

The soldiers were caught on camera training in their military vests and underwear while carrying rifles.

The video of the stunt was posted on Israeli television, prompting charges that the IDF was guilty of abuse, but one of the men said it was the soldiers who came up with the idea

“Any claim that the activity was imposed from above is baseless,” an IDF spokesman said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-soldiers-trained-in-underwear-in-snow/2014/01/08/

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