Dylan Pausing Summer Tour for Jewish Day of Mourning

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Bob Dylan is packing in the dates tightly on this summer’s segment of his Never Ending Tour, hardly pausing a single night to travel or take a day off.

From July 24 to August 20, 2011, Dylan is scheduled to perform nearly every night.

One of the very few nights that Dylan is not scheduled to perform sticks out in particular, and that is the evening of August 8, upon which this year falls the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av, a holy day of mourning that is akin to the better-known holy day of Yom Kippur.  Music of course is forbidden on Tisha B’Av, as is eating, and observant Jews will generally spend the night and day in reflective contemplation, studying the Book of Lamentations and the Book of Job, and refraining from washing and marital relations.

The fast of Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 656 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date (the ninth of Av, which is the literal translation of “Tisha B’Av).  Many other significant calamities have befallen the Jewish people on this date throughout history, giving it the moniker “the saddest day in Jewish history.”

BBC Radio Program on Bob Dylan’s spiritual journey

Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Bob Dylan in Jerusalem for his son's bar mitzvah

Bob Dylan in Jerusalem for his son's bar mitzvah

Writing in the Jewish Chronicle, Simon Round reports on Blowing in the Wind: Bob Dylan’s Spiritual Journey, a production that aired on BBC Radio on May 24, 2011, on Dylan’s 70th birthday, and one in which I took part. Round calls it:

a brilliantly put together and thought-provoking radio documentary, presented by Emma Freud, assessing his journey from barmitzvah boy to evangelist Christian, to synagogue attender. It was a story which made perfect sense – and you can’t say this about many aspects of Dylan.

Multimedia Presentation @ Univ of Rochester

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

University of Rochester

Multimedia program with live music and booksigning

Evening, place and time TBA

Bob Dylan’s Hometown Synagogue for Sale

Monday, October 11th, 2010
The former Agudath Achim Synagogue in Hibbing, Minn., where Bob Dylan became bar mitzvah.

The former Agudath Achim Synagogue in Hibbing, Minn., where Bob Dylan became bar mitzvah.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, the building that formerly housed Agudath Achim Synagogue, at 2320 W. Second St., in Hibbing, Minn., the Orthodox shul where the Zimmerman family worshipped and where 13-year-old Bobby Zimmerman marked his religious coming of age by chanting the haftarah when he became bar mitzvah, is up for sale.

The white building with four golden stained-glass windows and a three-color circle with the Star of David at the south peak is listed for sale on the website Craigslist and is being shown by Perella & Associates as a possible single-family home or duplex, and the asking price is $119,000.

So Is He Christian or Jewish? Who knows?

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

My friend and colleague Harold Lepidus, who writes the Bob Dylan column for examiner.com, addresses a recent news report that refers to Dylan as a “devout Christian” here. Harold interviewed me on the question of Dylan’s religious affiliation, a question often addressed to me for obvious reasons, given the theme of my book.  Read Harold’s report.