arts & entertainment
A Jewish Perspective
The religious allure of the Beatles.
Special to the Jewish News
ust as Judaism is an ethical and
spiritual lighthouse — so, too,
were the Beatles.
Most religions have their roots in spiri-
tual awakening. The Beatles had a power-
ful appeal to a generation in calling forth a
spiritual bonding. They sought out wonder,
meaning and innocence in their lives and
Similar to Judaism, the religious allure
of the Beatles was a vital factor in allowing
the group to endure.
The Beatles were spiritual apostles that
evangelized a kind of gospel that resonated
with tens, if not hundreds, of millions of
people across a broad spectrum of the
planet. Their own personal search for a
meaningful spirituality was a major part of
Joining the Beatle religion was nothing
more than a matter of "belonging to the
community" of like-minded people who
enjoyed their music and agreed with its
idea, tone, focus and message.
The Beatles preached a fantastic gospel
through music. Just as Jews benefit from
belonging to the Jewish community, a large
Beatlemania from page 51
On Jan. 21, as part of the 50th anniver-
sary of the Beatles' conquest of America,
Capitol Records released a box set, The
Beatles: The U.S. Albums.
The 13-CD collection includes the
12-track American versions of the British
14-track albums — now considered the
standard discography of Beatles releases
— from the 1960s.
In addition to different track sequenc-
Special to the Jewish News
The Winter Olympics will be held Feb.
6-23 in Sochi, Russia. Israel is sending
a five-member team.
So far, I know of
one Jewish athlete
on the American
team and one on
the Canadian team.
The American is
figure skater Simon
Shnapir, 26, who has
competed in pairs
skating with his part-
ner, Marissa Casteilli, 26, since 2006.
February 6 • 2014
part of the global community became part
of the "Beatle community" by listening to
their songs, loving what they stood for and
following their incredible lives.
With no formal rituals, the gospel
according to the Beatles is a story of spiri-
tual and personal exploration. The central
concern of their simple message was their
unfolding philosophy, which always piv-
oted on freedom of one type or another
— political and spiritual. The human prob-
lem, in their eyes, was one of limitations
and constraint. We can't reach our full
potential if we are inhibited.
In the same way, the Jewish idea sug-
gests that we need to free ourselves from
the limitation and entrapment of our
physical world — at least once a week on
Shabbat. This weekly time-honored Jewish
practice of "freeing ourselves so we can
embark on a more spiritual path" is exactly
what the Beatles projected to the world.
There are theological parallels between
the Beatles and Judaism, as well.
The Beatles spent exactly seven years
together: from August 1962 when Ringo
joined the group until August 1969, when
they completed the recording of Abbey
Seven is a key number in Judaism.
es, different mixes sometimes appeared
on these early American albums. Capitol
also released extra albums — made up of
leftover album tracks and added singles
— that had no direct British counterpart.
The box set includes Meet the Beatles,
The Beatles' Second Album, A Hard Day's
Night, Something New, The Beatles' Story,
Beatles '65, The Early Beatles, Beatles
VI, Help, Rubber Soul, Yesterday ... and
Today, Revolver and Hey, Jude. Later
albums that were identical in the U.S. and
The duo won the 2013 and the 2014
U.S. championship in their event.
The Canadian is
figure skater Dylan
Moskovitch, 29, a
who competes in
pairs with his partner,
21. The duo has won
the Jewish-sounding Gracie Gold nor
Mikaela Shiffrin is Jewish.
Opening ceremonies are on Friday,
Feb. 7; on Thursday, Feb. 6, a new
event, team figure skating, will take
place. NBC's coverage starts at 8 p.m.
the world in
seven days; the
The Beatles with their Jewish manager, Brian Epstein, center
recorded 12 studio albums. Twelve is a
ers, bringing honor to God's sovereignty.
number also signifying perfection. There are
There is no doubt the Beatles reached the
12 divisions of heaven called the mazzaroth,
masses with a message of love, peace, per-
which God uses for signs and seasons —
sonal fulfillment and happiness. They were
hence the 12 symbols of the zodiac.
taking the first step in implementing tikkun
Another way the Beatles and the Jews
olam — a call to make a better world.
are linked is that the direction of the
The Beatles' historical legacy certainly
group's music changed on June 1, 1967,
provided the backdrop for a "spiritual
when the Sgt. Peppers album was released
renewal" in the last half of the 20th cen-
and changed music and pop culture forev-
er. Seventy-two hours later, on June 5, the
The question remains: Were they "given"
Six-Day War broke out, forever changing
seven years to help us to spiritually free
Israel and its place in the world.
These two major events occurred in the
span of just 72 hours, which is 4 times 18
Israeli business and economics journalist
(18 being the number for "life").
Joel Benjamin is the author of two research
The Beatles left a lasting legacy of tik-
studies, Beatle Musings and Beatle Song
kun olam, a phrase signifying that as man
Profiles, on the musical and historical legacy
shares a partnership with God, humanity is of the Beatles (www.ArjonPublishing.com).
instructed to take the steps toward improv- He can be contacted for lecture inquiries at
ing the state of the world and helping oth-
Britain are not included.
In November, Capitol released On Air
Live at the BBC, Volume 2, a follow-
up to 1994's The Beatles Live at the BBC.
On Air's 63 tracks, none of which over-
laps with the first BBC release, include
37 previously unreleased performances
and 23 previously unreleased recordings
of in-studio banter and conversation
between the band's members and their
BBC radio hosts. Both albums also are
available in a new box set.
Last week, French choreographer
Benjamin Millepied, 36, told an
Israeli newspaper he is converting
to Judaism. Millepied wed actress
Natalie Portman, 32, last year in a
Jewish ceremony; the couple have a
Opening on Friday, Feb. 7, is
Monuments Men, based on a real-life
American Army unit that was tasked
with finding and rescuing the works
of art the Nazis had looted from all
across Europe (a large percentage of
the art was stolen from Jews).
The film was directed and co-writ-
ten by George Clooney and co-written
by Grant Heslov, 50, Clooney's pro-
The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, Feb. 9,
ducing partner. The
real names of many
unit members are
used in the film;
Clooney stars as
real-life unit head
George L. Stout.
About half of the
real-life members of
the unit were Jewish,
including James Rorimer (1905-
1960), who went on to become direc-
tor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
(played by Matt Damon), and Preston
Savitz (played by Bob Balaban, 67).
Rorimer worked very closely with the
real-life Rose Valland (played by Cate
Blanchett), a French art curator. ❑