Shabtai Zisel ben Avraham sings Christmas

Since we’ve been discussing issues around Jewish identity for the past week, particularly with reference to intolerance of Jews who have converted to other religions, perhaps now is a good time to pose a question about the religious and cultural identity of one of the world’s most visible, articulate – and confusing – Jewish personalities.

Which post-Jewish messianic group has Bob Dylan joined. And why has he made a Christmas album? You can hear some of it in Gene’s post in the Arts section.

Actually, he joins a long line of Christmas albums by well-known Jewish artists, like Neil Diamond, Babra Streisand, Sammy Davis Jr, Phil Spector and  Mel Tormé. There are probably others I haven’t thought of.

And let’s not forget that one of the most well-known Christmas song of all time – White Christmas – was written by the very Jewish Irving Berlin… while another Jewish songwriter, Johnny Marks, wrote “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Anyway, back to Dylan. It is well known that he converted to evangelical Christianity in the late 70s, with what some might describe as “over-enthusiasm”. His current ‘spiritual status’ is less clear. But that said, I think I’ll finally get round to reviewing his Christian albums for the Arts section this week. I’m digging out “Slow Train Coming” as we speak…


I’ve now listened carefully to Slow Train Coming and posted my thoughts in the Arts section.


I’ve just posted my review of Saved in the Arts section.