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Walking in the Footsteps of Giants by Chief Rabbi Funnye (
Category: History
Tags: Black Jews Rabbi Capers Shmuel Funnye Jr. Hebrew Israelites chief rabbi Rabbi Simozu Africa Jews International Israelite Board of Rabbis

Walking in the Footsteps of Giants

Chief Rabbi Capers Shmuel Funnye

ראש הרב קפרס שמואל ‘פוננ’



The International Israelite Board of Rabbis, convention held in New York City was a tremendous success. I want to extend a heartfelt Todah Rabah, to Beth Shalom for hosting our Erev Shabbat Service and to B’nai Adath, for hosting our Shabbat morning service. The work of the Israelite Vision Council was outstanding. Last, but not least, I extend my appreciation to every congregation from around the county and to Rabbi Gershom Simozu, for joining us from Uganda.

In October of 2014, I was nominated for the position of chief rabbi of the International Israelite Board of Rabbis, Inc. I was deeply moved by being nominated and humbled by the fact that there were no other nominations for the position. As I took my seat for the installation service in October of 2015, I realized that I would be walking in the footsteps of giants. The giants are those men who occupied the office of chief rabbi before me: Chief Rabbi Wentworth A. Matthew and Chief Rabbi Levi Ben Levy, this list must also include Rabbi Hailu Paris, Rabbi Yirmeyahu Ben Israel, Rabbi Yhoshua Ben Yahonaton , Rabbi Abihu Ben Reuben, and so many other men and women, who forged our community.

In December of 2015, I along with Rabbi Baruch Yehudah, Rav Zuridan Israel, and Cecil Knight, made a trip to Nigeria to visit with our brothers and sisters of the Ibo Jewish community. We took a Seifer Torah with us to donate to the Nigeria Jewish community, which numbers several thousands of people. Hashem smiled upon us and provided excellent weather and he opened many doors for us on our trip. We flew to several cities and visited many congregations throughout the country. I will never forget the warmth and hospitality of all of the synagogues that we visited.

 In April of 2016, I and  members of the  International Israelite Board of Rabbis, (IIBR) met with representatives of the New York Board of Rabbis, to being the process of seeing how our communities might work more closely together in New York city.

These were wonderful first steps on our path to building bridges to our people in the United States and in West Africa. But, there is much work that lies before us; we must now reach out to other Israelite communities around the country, to build personal relationships with the leadership of these communities. The prophet Zephaniah  admonished us to “Gather ourselves together, yea, gather together, oh nation not desired.”  We have often been a divided and shunned people. The question today is: Are we ready to be one people who worship one God?

I truly believe that now is the time for our gathering and our rising.  The Israelite convention demonstrated that we are entering a new and glorious period in our history.  It is a blessing to see the growing unity among Jews of African descent from the throughout the United States,  Jews from around the continent of Africa, and Jews of all races from around the world. Now is the time for us to sign our “Declaration of African Israelite Peoplehood,” which will give us a platform from which we can build unity for our people around the world!


Inauguration of Chief Rabbi Capers Shmuel Funnye by the International Israelite Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Sholomo Ben Levy, President of the IIBR, President Spiritual Leader of Beth Elohim Hebrew Congregation. Friday Evening/Erev Shabbat Service at Beth Shalom Hebrew Congregation, 730 Willoughby Street, Brooklyn. Saturday, Shabbat Morning/Inauguration Ceremony at B'Nai Adath Kol Beth Yisrael, 1006 Greene Avenue, Brooklyn, led by Rabbi Baruch A. Yehudah, Spiritual Leader. Guests: Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, Chief Rabi of Uganda, Shmuel Legesse, Ethiopian Delegate.

Chief Rabbi Capers Funnye, Jr.


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Weekly Torah Portion:
Our Sabbath Readings
This Week's Torah Portion
Yom Kippur Torah Readings
Posted by RastafariGroundation

Yom Kippur Torah Readings

Yom Kippur | יום כיפור | "Day of Atonement"

Yom Kippur Torah Readings:





Brit Chadashah

Sept.  29, 2017
Tishri 9-10

Kol Nidrei

Kol Nidrei Recitation [before sundown on Tishri 9]


After sundown (Tishri 10); half-Kaddish; the Shema; the Amidah; Confession (al chet); Selichot and Piyyutim (poems)

Sept.  30, 2017
Tishri 10


Lev. 16:1-34
Num. 29:7-11

Isa. 57:14-58:14

Rom. 3:21-26;
2 Cor. 5:10-21


Memorial service for departed family members


The [musaf] Amidah; retelling of the Yom Kippur service at the Temple; the priestly blessing (birkat kohanim)


Lev. 18:1-30

Jonah 1:1-4:11;
Micah 7:18-20



Thought to symbolize the "closing and sealing" of the Book of Life, when the "great shofar" is sounded.

Portion Commentary

Holiest Day of the Year

Thought for the Week:

According to the writer of the book of Hebrews, Messiah has become our High Priest. He entered into the Holy of Holies in heaven,��the actual throne room of God,��and applied His own blood for atonement. He entered into the presence of God for us so that He might usher us in as well (Hebrews 9:11,��12). Messiah is our High Priest, ,��a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the LORD pitched, not man,�� (Hebrews 8:2). Therein He applied His atoning blood. Therefore, the ceremony of the Day of Atonement uniquely patterns the work of Messiah: His death, His sacrifice and the atonement of His blood. We boldly enter the presence of God because the blood of Messiah covers us. Today He stands interceding on our behalf before the throne of God, just like a high priest.


The LORD said to Moses, ,��Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.,�� (Leviticus 16:2)

After the deaths of the two sons of Aaron, the LORD warned Aaron not to enter the Holy of Holies but once a year. On that day, Aaron alone (or the high priest after him) was to enter in order to make atonement for Israel, the holy place and the altar. The day on which the high priest entered the Holy of Holies was called the Day of Atonement. Even then, Aaron was to enter only with blood and under the cloud of incense. Leviticus 16, the Torah reading for the Day of Atonement, describes the Tabernacle/Temple ceremony of the Day of Atonement: the two goats,��the sin offering and the scapegoat,��the incense, the sprinkling with blood and the high priest,��s entrance into the Holy of Holies. In Leviticus 16 we read about the intersection of three spheres of holiness. On the holiest day of the year (the Day of Atonement), the holiest man in the world (the high priest of Israel) goes into the holiest place in the world (the Holy of Holies). The high priest had to enter in order to make atonement for Israel, atonement for the Holy of Holies, atonement for the Tabernacle and atonement for the altar. Because these things remained continually in the presence of God, they needed to be atoned for. Without atonement they could not remain in the presence of God.

The Day of Atonement is the holiest day of the year. All of God,��s appointed times are holy to the LORD, but the Day of Atonement is the holiest of all. It is set apart even from the other holy days.

All other Sabbaths and holidays are times of feasting and celebration. However, on the Day of Atonement, everyone is commanded to afflict himself through fasting and abstinence. The LORD says, ,��If there is any person who will not afflict his soul on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people,�� (Leviticus 23:29).

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