Fred Flintstone was Jewish

I grew up watching the Flintstones reruns.  It put a twinkle in my eye when I recently read that Alan Reed, the voice of Fred Flinstone, was a Jew.

Fred FlintstoneReed, born in 1907 as Edward Bergman, grew up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan in New York City.  He learned quickly how to mimic any of the neighboring nationalities.  He even landed his first job in show business cast as a typical Italian wise guy.   According to an article in Tablet Magazine, Alan pulled much of his Flintstone voice from the mannerisms of his Galitzianer grandfather, and the quarrels he would have with this Litvak father (mixed marriages didn’t go well in those days…).

There was something ephemeral about Fred Flintsone’s voice.  It had pathos and empathy but joyful, loyal, and with authority when needed.   It’s no wonder the Flintstone’s where the first animated series prime-time television success.  With great story-telling, interspersed with spice from current events (Cary Granite…), there was always something to see.  It was good family fun, without curses, inuendo, or failed parent-child relationships.

Alan Reed had the perfect voice for his character. The deep baritone was reassuring and comforting, allowing the story to develop naturally. 
You can buy the complete seasons of the Flintstones on DVD.

UN Sends Jewish Goldstone to Investigate Israel Warcrimes

“A United Nations team headed by a veteran war crimes prosecutor has begun its probe into possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas militants during Operation Cast Lead. ”

Israel has not accepted this probe and questions the validity of a UN-led team, with its known anti-Israel bias.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said “This committee has been instructed to find Israel guilty no matter what and there is no point in cooperating with such a masquerade.”

Goldstone in Gaza to Probe Possible Israel Warcrimes - Source: Haaretz
Goldstone in Gaza to Probe Possible Israel Warcrimes - Source: Haaretz

The commission is headed by a Jew, Richard Goldstone, a South African judge. The irony is not lost on this author that even in this day and age a Jew and non-Israeli would be willing to lead a commission that investigates Israel in a world forum.

Israel said last week that it will not cooperate with the UN team.

Adam Lambert is Jewish – Singing in Hebrew

Does anyone really think that Adam Lambert wouldn’t have won American Idol had it been voted on by talent judges,  rather than as a popularity contest?

Well, here’s another reason to like Adam.  Aside from his incredible talent, he’s also a member of the Tribe (MOT – the Tribe of Jews that is…).

Here’s Adam singing a heart-warming rendition of Shir Lashalom (Song for Peace) in Hebrew. ??? ?????

Adam Lambert Singing Shir Lashalom

Here’s a beautiful duet with Nora Dori singing “The Prayer” – what a voice!

I am sure he will go on to tremendous success with his great talent.

Rockiah – A New Jewish Rock Group in Ramat Bet Shemesh

Those who attended the Shemeshfest Sukkot festival last week at the Bet Shemesh ampitheater were treated to a talented local rock group named “Rockiah” – the English name of the band is a play on their Hebrew name ???? (The Earth’s Firmament), and their American rock music roots.

Rockiah are Yehudah David (vocals, guitars), Zvi Newman (bass), and David Epstein (drums). Eli Krantman joined them on backing vocals.

Yehudah, Zvi, and David all live in Ramat Bet Shemesh and are olim from the USA.

I spoke with Zvi about the origins of Rockiah and what they hope to accomplish. Zvi told me they are all married with kids and come from different backgrounds, but their music speaks one language.

“Rockiah is about fusing the raw power of rock music with the spiritual inspiration of the Jewish mekorot (written sources). Yehudah is influenced by Van Halen and other power-pop artists, so his guitar playing is among the wildest on the scene. Dave’s drumming is influenced by punk, so we have a harder-driving sound in our shows – and his aggressive fills make you take notice. I’m influenced by John Entwistle of The Who, so the bass surprises the crowd with “stolen” solos that bubble up from underneath. And Yehudah’s singing overflows with pure heart and soul.”

“Rockiah’s music is written entirely by Yehudah, while the lyrics are straight out of the Psalms and various prayers. It’s meant to be lively and catchy for the audience, and it’s challenging for the musicians – the chords change every few seconds, so we have to be on our toes. Also, we love to improvise solos off the top of our heads – but all of this is meant to augment the uplifting, danceable essence of the songs. You can drive, work, jog, or clean the house to Rockiah, and come out of it very inspired.”

“At the end of the day, we try to give a fresh and energetic musical foundation to the experience of the holy as espoused by the lyrics. The Jewish content takes rock to a higher plane.”

Rockiah - Bonei Yerushalayim
Rockiah - Bonei Yerushalayim

Rockiah is now promoting its new CD and plan to join the performance circuit.   Their debut album, Bonei Yerushalayim, was released just a couple weeks ago and is available online at shemeshmusic.com and at GalPaz stores. You can hear sample tracks at shemeshmusic.com before purchase. You can also learn more about Rockiah on their Facebook and Myspace homepages.

We wish them much success!

Bet Shemesh Sukkot Jewish Rock Festival

As a citizen of Bet Shemesh for the past 14 years, I can tell you that nothing swells our civic pride more than the awesome Jewish Rock Festival that Jonty Zwebner has brought, along with the Bet Shemesh municipality, to our fine city.

Moshav Band Performing at Bet Shemesh Festival in 2003
Moshav Band Performing at Bet Shemesh Festival in 2003

It began about a decade ago as a one night event with five or so groups playing in front of a couple thousand locals. It has blossomed more recently into a big two night festival with many thousands (perhaps 15,000, maybe more?) jamming into the outdoor amphitheater with most of the top names in Jewish Rock, such as Moshav Band, Soulfarm, Adi Ran, Reva L’sheva, Lenny Solomon, and many, many more. As a result, the national media have taken notice.

Here is the Festival’s homepage for links to all the performers and more information.
ShemeshFest Website

Yom Kippur – Day of Awe, Go Mobile

This is the Golden Age…Everyone’s gone mobile!

Is it Awe or the Atonement that gets us nervous?  Either way, this Thursday is the most special day of the year.  It’s the day above all others when G_d is listening and expecting you to fess up.  What better way to prepare for this day than with a visit to the holy sites in Jerusalem?

I visited the Kotel yesterday.  The Western Wall is on the top five list of the Jewish people’s holiest places.

This wall was built over 2,000 years ago towards the end of the 2nd Temple era.  It was one of the retaining walls that surrounded the Temple which sat atop what is today the Al-Aqsa Mosque (with the golden dome).

A well-known Jewish custom is to place notes to G_d in the cracks between the bricks. This man decided to go mobile and phone in his prayers 🙂

Western Wall - Jewish custom - notes to G_d are placed in the cracks.
Western Wall – Jewish custom – notes to G_d are placed in the cracks.
Mobile Prayers - phoning in to G_d
Mobile Prayers – phoning in to G_d