Dylan the Jew


In Friday’s post, I said Bob Dylan “grew up as a non-participating Jew.”

Leave it to my friend, the sage of Jewish celebrity trivia, Nate Bloom, to correct my error. Turns out Dylan was quite a bit more Jewishly involved than I thought, according to this email message from Bloom:

Bob’s parents were practicing Jews. A rabbi was brought in at his parents’ expense to the cold “Iron Range” to tutor him for his bar mitzvah. He had a bar mitzvah. He was sent to Jewish summer camp in Wisconsin (Camp Herzl)Bob’s kids with his Jewish ex-wife were all bar/bat mitzvah–with one exception. That’s a lot more practicing than half of American Jews.

The one exception is a child he fathered with a black back-up singer, a religious Christian, he secretly married and stayed married to for a few years in the ’80s.

His Chabad thing, in terms of close contact, ended in the late ’80s–although each year he goes to a Chabad synagogue near where he is on Yom Kippur and goes to the service.

Bottom line on Bob’s beliefs: he is clearly somewhat obsessed by religion. Some people make a plausible case that he has never given up being a Christian–based on the songs he plays–etc. But that he got turned off to organized Christianity. The bottom line is that nobody will probably ever know–he’ll probably go to his grave keeping his innermost beliefs to himself. And I don’t think he will really care if a rabbi presides at his funeral–no matter what he thinks about Jesus on his deathbed.

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