September 24, 2007

by Reb Yudel
Bob Dylan Yom Kippur sighting, 2007

An email I received today:
Since you have a web page on the subject, here’s a sighting if you’re interested -

Bob Dylan on Yom Kippur/Shabbat 5768 (Sep. 22 2007) in Atlanta, GA -

He had a show that night at an arena just outside of town and ours was the Chabad shul most convenient to his hotel.

He had the 5th Aliyah (he had asked for one) and left after Yizkor.

His Rabbi in California called my Rabbi the day before to make arrangements and was very specific.  He said, and I quote verbatim what I was told by one who was present during the call, that “he hates people” and wanted to be left utterly alone.  He didn't want anyone coming up to him and saying anything... not "Welcome," not "Shabbat Shalom," nothing.  Not even the Rabbi was to come up and say hello.  He wanted 3 reserved seats out of the way in the back for himself, his road manager and personal manager (though some say one was a bodyguard).

But he asked for the Aliyah nonetheless and wore a large black knit ski/pimp hat instead of a kippah.  There was no way the cat didn't stand out in the crowd.  When he had his Aliyah you could hear a pin drop, but he muttered so softly that only the guys on the bima could hear him.

Some details that only a Jewish Dylan fan would appreciate:

    •    He was seated in the midst of Israelis, none of whom had a clue who he was.

    •    Dylan’s Hebrew name as he gave it on the bima is Zushia ben
Avraham, not Shabtai Zisel.  Why the difference, I don’t know... either the latter has been wrong all these years or he changed it, but what he said was absolutely clear to everyone who heard him.

    •    When a Mi Sheberach was made after his Aliyah, he gave the names of four kids.  The Gabai asked, “Any other children?”  He said, “I have a lot of kids, just go ahead.”

I told my Rabbi, “If he ever comes on a different Shabbat or Yom Tov and you invite him for a meal without inviting me as well, you and I are through.”  He laughed and said, “I’m told he only comes to shul on Yom Kippur, so don’t hold your breath.”

The world held its breath.

Posted by: Yori at September 24, 2007 8:26 PM

Wow- talk about lashon hara - now I have in my mind that Bob hates people.

Posted by: David at September 25, 2007 2:35 PM

Interesting point about lashon hara... but I think Dylan's dislike for people has been evident in his lyrics for several decades now.

Posted by: Reb Yudel at September 25, 2007 2:45 PM

After reading your article i must say it made me feel so sad for Bob Dylan. How can he expect God to love him if he hates people. After all God created us all in his own image & likeness. I think he needs all our prayers as he must have seen the worst side of human nature. He must be so unhappy. I do hope & pray that one day he will come to realise that we are not all hateful human beings.

Posted by: joan at September 25, 2007 3:19 PM

I do not know your source's source, but if he/she accurately related information that his rabbi received from another rabbi on behalf of Bob, then one of these rabbis has been, at the very least, professionally irresponsible for sharing this information. Information like this is shared with rabbis in confidence. If the rabbi cannot keep it, he/she should find a different line of work.

Posted by: defrockedrabbi at September 25, 2007 5:47 PM

Come on folks. This is someone who was in the room when someone else was on the phone who told someone else via email. Don't get all literal about Bob hating people.

I think he could afford to go hide somewhere rather than play 70 shows this year (traveling full time) if that was really the case.

Can you imagine one-millions of what it's like to be Bob Dylan (for 45 years no less) and wanting to come to shul without being made the center of attention? And since people virtually attack him he needs his people to ask others to have some respect and allow him some slight privacy? Think hard about it and you'll feel sorry for him (in this one respect). What if you had to plan and scheme to go to a public place for an hour? Leave Bob alone. He gave at the office.

Posted by: DPAM at September 25, 2007 9:26 PM

Bob does not hate people.
Heloves them!
Why, he´s been making them hapy for the last 5 decades now.
He is wealthy enough to make a high range kind of living for the next 7,000 years. And he´s out there on the riad giving himself out to people. Night after after city. The man is going to die wheather in his tour bus; in a hotel room in west europe or in the middle east or right on the stage hoding a mic.
A lot for someone who does not need anything else out of life, isn´t it?
Any doubts?

Posted by: Eleot O´grabart at September 25, 2007 11:45 PM

According to he located the synagouge using the "Chabad center finder" on

He has been sighted in past years as Chabad shulls in Minnesota, Long Island NY, etc.

Posted by: Editor at September 26, 2007 7:00 PM

It's not entirely impossible that Robert Zimmerman, Blind Boy Grunt and Jack Frost could be Zushia ben
Avraham and Shabtai Zisel.

Posted by: David H. at October 2, 2007 1:41 PM

What ever you want to say or think, at least the man came to Shul on Yom Kippur. There are many jews that don't. Give the man credit for that and let him be well.

Posted by: Richard H at October 18, 2007 7:23 PM
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