Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Black Rabbi Chants Kaddish To Mourn Chicagoans Killed By Police

During a community meeting on police accountability in Chicago, a prominent African-American rabbi read the names of individuals killed by the police and chanted the traditional mourners kaddish in Hebrew.

Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in Chicago, was speaking at a community event hosted by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, where he is also president. More than 200 gathered on Sunday at KAM Isaiah Israel, Chicago’s oldest synagouge, to address police reform and violence in Chicago, according to social media reports.

A member of Funnye’s largely black congregation named Cydney Wallace also took the stage and said she lived in “constant tension” because of police.

Funnye was ordained at the Israelite Academy, a rabbinical school for Hebrew Israelites and is now chief rabbi of the International Israelite Board of Rabbis. Funnye is also cousin to former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Email Sam Kestenbaum at [email protected]

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.