Chicago rabbi has little-known tie to presidential race

CHICAGO (AP) -- Another major religion is heard from in Barack Obama's family tree: Judaism.

During his campaign, the Democratic presidential nominee has defended his Christian faith, though disavowing his former pastor. And he's addressed false Internet claims that he's Muslim.

Now, it turns out that Rabbi Capers Funnye Junior, who leads a mostly black Jewish congregation on Chicago's Southwest Side, is Michelle Obama's first cousin once removed. Her paternal grandfather is the brother of the rabbi's mother.

While Obama has promoted his support of Israel in states with large Jewish populations, he hasn't mentioned his rabbi relative on the campaign trail.

Rabbi Funnye says he hasn't been involved in the campaign, except to donate money. But he says he's "very moved and very proud" of all that the Obamas have "become so far."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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