Hanukkah – the fake news, the real news and the kosher message

Many Jewish people have a hard time figuring out what Christmas is about. When I was a young Jewish kid growing up in Catholic-Protestant Quebec, I loved the winking tree lights, the holly and the ivy wreaths, the fact that many people were getting tipsy and acting especially friendly to each other. As a musician, […]

The Marx Brothers, the sanity clause and ‘the Jewish problem’

In the Marx Brothers’ 1935 smash hit “A Night at the Opera,” Fiorello (Chico) and Otis B. Driftwood (Groucho) are in the thick of a business transaction regarding an opera singer’s contract. Fiorello points to a line in the contract and asks “Hey, wait, wait! What does this say here, this thing here?” Driftwood answers, […]

Running with the chariots

On July 6, 1924 a non-descript Scotsman approached the pulpit on 17 rue Bayard in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.  The building was L’église écossaise de Paris (The Scots Kirk, Paris), and the preacher was Eric Liddell, the ‘Flying Scot’ and great Olympic hope of the United Kingdom. He chose not to run that day […]

The earth is polluted by its inhabitants

In 1966 Randy Wolfe, a fifteen year old Jewish kid and brilliant guitar player, stepped into Manny’s Music on West 48th in Midtown Manhattan. There he bumped into a guitarist by the name of Jimmy James (‘and his Blue Flames’). Jimmy (who soon changed his own name to Jimi Hendrix) invited Randy down to the […]

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