As Americans and Israelis besiege the White House with calls for freedom for Jonathan Pollard, an individual who might have a little more “pull” than the rest of us had gotten on board: Clergyman Capers Funnye is the first cousin of Michelle Obama, once removed, and he in recent days sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting that Pollard be released.
The man who was dubbed "Obama's rabbi" by the New York Times, wrote the following to the President recently: “Jonathan Pollard has served 25 years in prison for crimes for which he has since shown great remorse, publicly and privately,” Rabbi Funnye's letter said. “With great humility and familiarity with your feelings on matters of justice, I ask you to seriously consider a commutation of Jonathan Pollard's sentence.”
Funnye is only the latest in a long line of politicians and public figures who have been seeking freedom for Pollard. Among those who have expressed support for his release are former CIA head James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former Deputy Attorney General Philip Heyman, former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini, and Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Clergyman Funnye is the spiritual leader of Chicago's Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, which has over 200 members, many of the African-Americans. He is also a member of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, serves on the boards of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and the American Jewish Congress of the Midwest, and is active in the Institute for Jewish and Community Research.