Paul McCartney, or rather Sir Paul McCartney, was known as “the Cute One” of the Beatles. Word has it that this cutie pie is contemplating converting to Judaism. In fact, he attended Yom Kippur services and subsequently told his friends he'll be completing his conversion studies next year. Sir Paul, on behalf of the Jewish People, let me be the first to wish you mazal tov! Heck, mazal tov in the sky with diamonds!
Mazal tov in the sky with diamonds!
What might all this mean for Paul, for the world, for the Beatles, for us? Wow, I was going to ask the same questions, but you beat me to it. First of all, it’s got to be great public relations for us Jews when one of the most famous musicians in the world, from one of the most famous bands in the world, and a knight at that, chooses to come over to the Judaic side.
A Jewish Paul McCartney boggles the mind. “Jew” and “Beatle” don’t ordinarily go together. Especially when you consider what the Beatles may have been like as Jews. Yarmulkes on top of their Beatle haircuts. Refusing to perform on Friday nights. Contract demands for kosher food backstage and keeping the meat and dairy separate. The Beatles once got into trouble for stating that they were more popular than Jesus. Perhaps if they were Jewish, they would have said they’re more popular than Moses.
And let’s not forget that someone else very important to the Beatles was Jewish – their first (and perhaps most beloved) manager, Brian Epstein. In fact, Paul McCartney once said, “If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian Epstein.”
Of course, the crux of the Beatles’ popularity and acclaim is their amazing body of material – the songs. Surely, if the Beatles had been Jewish, this might have been reflected in a number of their songs, both as a group and individually. Consider:
As a Group
Can’t Buy Me Love – Retail
Love Me Nu?
I Want to Hold Your Blintz
All You Need is Torah
Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Bubbe
Got to Get You Into My Shul
Happiness Is a Warm Kreplach
If I Fell, I’d Sue
I’m Happy Just to Whine With You
Baby You Can Drive My Car – But Not On Shabbat
George Harrison Solo
While My Accountant Gently Weeps
Isn’t This Brisket a Pity
My Sweet Lard
All Kidney Stones Must Pass
Living in the Wholesale World
Paul McCartney Solo
Maybe I’m Amazed I Found a Great Bagel
Chai Chai Chai
Live and Let Nag
Moyle on the Run
Silly Cantor Songs
John Lennon Solo
Give Borscht a Chance
Imagine There’s No Sales Tax
Whatever Gets You Through the Audit
Cold Turkey (Would Adding a Little Stuffing Kill You?)
Watching the Wheels (On My Portable Torah)
Ringo Starr Solo
Tzimmes Don’t Come Easy
You’re Sixteen You’re Beautiful, and You’re Going to Hebrew School
Beaucoups of Jews
Oy My My
Well, you get the idea. Once Paul converts, we’ll be able to claim him as yet another of our world-class Jewish musician/singer/composers, along with Bob Dylan, George Gershwin, Kinky Friedman… Okay, granted, some are more world-class than others. Perhaps we’ll run into him at shul and if we’re lucky that day, the cantor will let Paul sit in and do a number or two. If that was the case, not only would there be no empty seats in shul, but there’d be lines around the block and hundreds gathered outside waiting for Sir Paul to crowd surf. Perhaps shul officers would have to start giving out numbered wristbands the day before services.
After Paul converts, we’ll no doubt be subjected to all the TV entertainment tabloid shows airing footage of Paul captured doing Jewish things:
- Having Ringo and Barbara Bach over to break the Passover fast
- Enjoying a group davening session with his band before a show
- Attending a grandchild’s bris
- Entertaining at a Miami condo for seniors
It’s even conceivable that Paul could find himself becoming extremely pious. After all, it’s happened to others, such as Cat Stevens with Islam. I’m not saying that Paul would become a Torah scholar, though stranger things have happened. But enough about Sarah Palin’s Vice Presidential campaign.
In “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye longs to be rich, expressing:
“If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack
To sit in the synagogue and pray.
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.”
Well, Paul is a rich man, so he conceivably could do all of that. Or he could fund Jewish hospital, school or shul wings. Donate to or do benefit concerts for Jewish charities. Even be a spokesperson for worthy Jewish causes. Like JDate or the All Brisket Food Bank.
And so, if I may be so bold, I’d like to get Paul started with a little conversion gift – my new version of the Beatles’ “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You” song, reflecting his new-found Judaic faith and the importance of food in Jewish culture:
“I’m Happy Just to Eat With You”
Before this meal is through
I think I'll be a Jew
I'm so happy when you eat with me
I don't want to buy or eat some bacon
I keep kosher now and I’m not fakin’
There is really nothing else I'd rather eat
'cause I'm happy just to have kosher meat
Just to eat with you
Is everything I need
Before this meal is through
I may have heartburn too
But I'm so happy when you eat with me
Welcome to the Tribe, Sir Paul!