January 8, 2010, - 1:33 pm
Even though much of the world, today, is focused on this afternoon’s detention hearing in Detroit, featuring Northwest Flight 253 Islamic terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, that hearing will be a quick formality at which nothing of note will happen. And, since it’s Friday, I’m taking a brief break (not completely) from the Islamic terrorism and hard political stuff.
Elvis Wearing Jewish “Chai” (“Life”) Necklace)
After all, today would have been Elvis Presley’s 75th Birthday. And much of Las Vegas and the rest of the strange but campy Elvis-lovin’ world is celebrating. That gives me this chance to repeat something I like to brag about as a proud Jewish American. While he was outwardly a practicing Christian, under Jewish law, “The King” was a Jew and he knew it. Yup, I’m sure that’ll give a huge heart attack to many in the White supremacist crowd. But he was one of us, not one of you. He even did what people stereotypically claim Jews do: Elvis got a nose job (for the record, no-one in my family has had this procedure).
Below is an excerpt of a Jewish Week article on Elvis Jewish heritage, which was reposted on Jeff Swope’s my space page. The original, to which I used to link, is no longer online. Elvis knew of his Jewish heritage, but his parents told him to keep it quiet. He donated lots of money to Jewish charities and put a Jewish Star/Star of David on his mother’s original tombstone. He carried a yarmulke and often wore a “Chai” (“life”) necklace, which is a Jewish good luck charm and symbolizes the tree of life and the number 18, which is a good number in Judaism.
Elvis Presley has Jewish Heritage through direct descent from the Jewess Martha Tacket.
Elvis’s mother, Gladys Love Smith’s mother was named Octavia “Doll” Marsell by her mother who was a Jewess named Martha Tacket who lived from 1852-1887.
Under Jewish law, a person is of Jewish descent if his mother is Jewish. All Jews come through the lineage of their mothers.
All mothers in Elvis Presley’s birth line run uninterrupted from the Jewish grandmother, Ms. Tacket, and then through all of his descending mothers and grandmothers. Therefore, Elvis himself is legally Jewish under the Jewish law of succession through mothers.
This information is found in the book entitled “Elvis and Gladys (Southern Icons Series),” by historian and biographer named Elaine Dundy.
Dundy writes in her book, “… Nancy Burdine was married to Abner Tacket. Nancy was of particular interest to Gladys for her Jewish heritage, often remembering Nancy’s sons for their Jewish names Sidney and Jerome. Nancy and Abner had a daughter, Martha (Tacket), who married White Mansell. The daughter which they named Octavia nicknamed Doll who was Elvis’ maternal grandmother.”
After Elvis’ mother, Gladys, died, the King designed her tombstone with a Star of David on it to honor her Jewish ancestry, which was something Gladys was proud of.
After a break in on August 29, 1977 to steal both Elvis’ and Gladys’ bodies, they were buried in Graceland where their security could be guaranteed.
Elvis learned the Hebrew alphabet and wore a piece of jewelry called a “Chai” which contained Hebrew words and the Star of David during 1977, the last year of his life. When asked why he wore both a Christian Cross and the Star of David, Elvis said he didn’t want to miss out on Heaven thru a technicality.
Elvis was told by his parents not to mention his Jewish ancestry as many persons hated Jews. At one point in his life, Elvis lived in an apartment below a Jewish Rabbi with whom he would meet and confer on occasion.
Elvis gave money each year to Memphis charities. One year, Memphis Jewish Welfare sent a delegation to Elvis. He wrote them a check for $150,000. Elvis also donated a room to the old Memphis Jewish Community Center.
Happy Birthday, Elvis. Mazel Tov.
Tags: 75th birthday, chai, Elvis, Elvis Presley, Gladys Love Smith, Gladys Presley, Jew, Jewish, Jewish Star, Martha Tacket, Nancy Burdine, Octavia "Doll" Marsell, Star of David