Talk about a great Rosh Ha Shanah gift for the Jewish world!
Bruce Springsteen is giving strong consideration to playing in Israel.
And, in a great demonstration of Jewish hospitality, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is saying to the Boss: Baruch ha-ba (welcome!)
Bruce Springsteen is, of course, not Jewish — despite the fantasies of those who are sure that his name is really Spring-stein. Bruce is Catholic. I remember being at a seminar at Notre Dame and hearing one of the Catholic scholars in attendance suggesting that Bruce is actually the most prominent Catholic theologian in America.
No less a personage than the late Father Andrew Greeley thought along similar lines. Check this article out as well. A course on the subject was even offered at Rutgers University in, of course, Bruce’s home state of New Jersey.
It is easy to think so. Springsteen’s music is filled with the hopes and dreams of America’s urban and suburban working class, most of whom are ethnic Catholics, and their visions of spiritual and social redemption.
Maybe this is why the entire “Born to Run” album continues to bring tears to my eyes.
But, having touted Bruce’s Catholicism, perhaps there is more “Jewish” to him than any of us had previously thought.
That is why I am happy to say that Bruce has already assembled his set list.
And, because there are no secrets in the Jewish world, in an exclusive to Martini Judaism, we have gotten our hands on that set list.
Here is the good news: Most of the songs are Jewish.
What will Israel be hearing?
- “It’s so hard to be a saint in the city.” Clearly, it’s about Tel Aviv. It is easier to be a saint in Jerusalem, or in Safed. But Tel Aviv? Not so much.
- “Brilliant Disguise.” It’s about Purim, of course.
- “Prove It All Night.” It is about what happens when you attend the all-night study session on the eve of Shavuot — tikkun leil Shavuot — and everyone wonders how knowledgeable and how erudite you really are. And that’s what you have to do.
And then, there are those songs in the Bruce catalog that are so clearly about Israel and Zionism that, frankly, I cannot believe that we had not noticed it.
- “Land of Hope and Dreams.” Zionism 101?
- “Working On A Dream.” Zionism 201?
- “We Are Alive.” It’s about Jewish survival after the Shoah, isn’t it?
- “Independence Day.” As everyone knows (?), it is about Yom Ha-Atzmaut.
- “The Ties That Bind.” About Israel and Diaspora Jewry. Isn’t it?
- “We Take Care of Our Own.” Obviously, a love song to the eternal value of tzedakah.
Enough joking around. Let’s be happy that Bruce Springsteen wants to play in Israel. In this, he is far from alone.
But, the larger message is this: Every rock star who plays in Israel is a musical retort to the BDS movement, that would want to impose every kind of boycott on the Jewish state — not least of which is a cultural boycott.
And so, what song will Bruce play that will sum up the fight against BDS, which is actually a fight for Israel?
Shanah tovah, Bruce.
Thanks for being the mensch that you are.