Blue Suede Jew?
August 27, 2014 2:34 PM Subscribe
In Memphis in the early 1950s, young Elvis Presley would sometimes help out the upstairs neighbors, Rabbi Fruchter and his family, by acting as a "Shabbos goy," -- that is, by doing tasks that Jews may not do on the Sabbath. (The rabbi's son Harold, then a toddler, recalls the arrangement in an audio interview.) Yet Elvis knew he had some Jewish forebears. Tablet Magazine notes that his "great great maternal grandmother was Jewish and had a daughter who had a daughter who had a daughter that was Elvis’s mother." Though he embraced Christianity, he often used to wear a Chai necklace (sometimes paired with a cross), saying "I don't want to miss out on going to heaven on a technicality." In that spirit, a Hasidic Elvis impersonator named Dan Hartal, aka "Schmelvis," recently recited Kaddish at Graceland and traveled to Israel to plant a tree in Elvis's memory.
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