May 3, 2004

by Reb Yudel
Naming Dylan's Rabbi

The Washington Post, apropos of Dylan's recent Victoria's Secret ad, interviews A. Mark Neuman, 41, who serves as Victoria's Secret's trade counselor in Washington and lets us Jewish Dylan fans in on a major secret:
"Turns out Neuman has another odd Dylan connection: "My dad tutored Bob Dylan for his bar mitzvah." Rabbi Isaac Neuman, a Holocaust survivor, helped 12-year-old Bobby Zimmerman (Dylan's real name) study Hebrew back in Duluth, Minn., in the mid-1950s. Bobby's mother drove him from their home in Hibbing for the lessons, Mark Neuman explains.

Another of Rabbi Neuman's students, this time in Cincinnati, also became famous: Jerry Rubin, the late Yippie-leader-turned-marketer. "The rabbi recalls that he kicked him out of class on the first day," says Neuman. Who knew!

No surprise that this contradicts Dylan's own, far more romantic story of a wandering rabbi who got of the bus in Hibbing in time to tutor the Zimmerman boy....