web analytics
August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



My Arik Einstein Moment

He was bigger than life.

Arik Einstein was bigger than life.

Arik Einstein was bigger than life.
Photo Credit: Alona Einstein

In the winter of 1970, superstar pop singer Arik Einstein gave a concert in the gym of my high school. Arik was tall and skinny, with a squinty-eyed feline face that made everyone who saw him swoon, boys and girls alike (the squint was the result of his severe near-sightedness, which later deteriorated to near-blindness). He was your dream big brother, your fantasy friend, your imaginary uncle. His voice was imbued with that sexy groan, just this side of hoarse. He was as hip and as beautiful as Paul McCartney, but with the harsher edges of John Lennon.

He was bigger than life. Indeed, his success at the cash register, spanning six continuous decades, did not have a whole lot to do with superior singing talent. No one would argue the fact that Yehoram Gaon, who co-sang with him in several bands, including an IDF entertainment band, had a deep and delicious voice and a range that far outclassed Arik’s. And, unlike Arik, Gaon could sing in key effortlessly. But Arik’s je nais se quoi was astonishing.

The standard intro for the Yarkon Bridge Trio, an early ’60s vehicle featuring Gaon, Einstaein and late troubadour Benny Amdursky, had Benny saying, “I’m Amdursky,” then Gaon quipping, “I’m Gaon,” which in Hebrew also means, “I’m a genius.” And Arik would punchline, “If you’re a genius, then I’m Einstein.”

The joke was simple enough and always got the laugh, but it also offered an insight into the difference between those two very gifted singers, Gaon and Einstein. Yehoram Gaon was the finest scion of a lyrical tradition spanning centuries of Jewish and then Israeli life in Jerusalem. Arik Einstein, although he often dabbled with traditional Israeli music, was all Tel Aviv, all about ushering in the spirit and rhythms of foreign rock n’ roll and jazz. From his first and last names, both of which could pass for non-Israeli sounding, to his choice of material, to his anarchistic sense of humor (supported by his life-long friend, comedian-filmmaker Uri Zohar, who later became a distinctly unfunny Orthodox rabbi), Arik offered us a vital connection to Euromerican culture.

You must understand that in those years, cultural claustrophobia was the primary driving force for most Israelis my age. Isolated geographically, barred on all sides by hostile Arab countries and the Mediterranean, we were raised with the constant anticipation of the three years of military service at the end of our high school stint. All our cultural choices were measured against their effect on our patriotism and ability to serve, when enlistment day comes. Only two non-communist countries refused to let the Beatles in for live concerts: Israel and South Africa. You think it was tough being a hippie in America? We looked at pictures from Woodstock and San Francisco and salivated—spiritually.

In fact, Arik Einstein even tried his luck in Abbey Road-era London for a while, as part of the High Windows Trio, with singer-composer Shmulik Kraus and American-Israeli female vocalist Josie Katz. It was a disaster; the London pop critics rejected Arik et al for the same reasons we adored them back home: we appreciated their ties to our cultural heritage; the Brits found them a trifle archaic.

Back in 1970, my romanticized consciousness was at peek emergence. I was in love all the time, experimented with organic and chemical mind altering substances, was forever trying out new strategies for getting nookie and—my most profound characteristic of all—wrote between ten and twenty poems a day, every day. Some of them were not half bad, although none ever got published or sung. I had a file folder which I barely managed to keep from bursting with the aid of a large rubber band. In it I had stashed close to a thousand notebook pages and growing daily. Incidentally, one day an enterprising singer friend asked to borrow my folder and never returned it, thank God. I don’t believe there would have been any other way for me to stop that nauseating creativity.

So, when I found out Arik Einstein was performing in my school gym (it’s how artists make a living in small countries—they may be famous, but to survive they can’t possibly rely on album sales), I picked my best ten lyrics and took them along to the concert.

Arik was magnificent onstage. He sang whatever it was we all wanted him to sing back in 1970, I suppose a quick search online would reveal what those numbers may have been. It didn’t much matter. What we wanted was his presence, the tantalizing closeness of celebrity on a grand scale, the nearness of the most dense charisma in a region that also featured Moshe Dayan and Jordan’s King Hussein.

When he was done, perspiring heavily and barely standing, I used my connections inside the student council entertainment committee to go backstage. And there was a moment there, when Arik Einstein and I were all alone, he sweating bullets, dying to go home for a shower, and I, just turned 15, with a stack of hormonally induced lyrics. I handed him the pages, dumb with awe.

He gestured for a pen. I realized he thought I wanted an autograph.

I was deeply offended by the most attractive creature in the Near East. How humiliating is this?

Then I managed to whisper, “They’re songs…” and he waved me away with a frown and said, “Not now,” already fleeing into the safety of the parking area and his ride.

That was my 1970 brush with greatness. I hated Arik for a few days. I sulked. Then his wonderfully liberating movie Shablul came out, or maybe his TV show, or maybe it was this or that song which just precisely described my life. I don’t recall the particulars, search the Web. How long could I sulk, anyway? I probably wrote a poem about it. Life seemed so terribly romantic in 1970, three whole years before the war that decimated my generation.

Originally published at RadioHazak.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “My Arik Einstein Moment”

  1. Lovely story, it captures youth and idolizing and the injured ego…I can relate, having grown up in Los Angeles which is filled with celebrities. It's almost safer to keep the adored one at arms length. I appreciate and had a crush on this man, as well. Love your writing.

  2. Eran Spiro says:

    I knew arik in the early sixties sitting in cafe Casit on Disengoff street in Tel Aviv.
    Heard him play in the Army, loved him like a lost brother. He was very complex man extremely talented and a lover…of life. His music will live for ever as it embodies our formative years in the State of Israel. Yehaiya Zichro Le'Bracha !

  3. S Rivka Levy says:

    I was in san diego and LA. Celebrity memories don't count anymore. No one knows them yet!

  4. Wonderful story! And to think in this otherwise very small world, I had never heard of Arik Einstein! I shall now try to retrieve songs on YouTube…

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
It is believed that this is a photo from the Friday afternoon execution outside a Gazan mosque.
UPDATE: Hamas Executes 21 Arabs in Gaza
Latest News Stories
Rockets landed in the middle of Be'er Sheva on August 22, 2014

3:26pm Ashdod 3:25pm Ashkelon 3:25pm Yad Mordechai / Netiv HaAsrah, Ashkelon 3:25pm Zikim / Carmiya, Yad Mordechai / Netiv HaAsrah, Ashkelon 3:25pm Zikim / Carmiya, Ashkelon 3:09pm Kissufim, Nir Oz / Ein HaShlosha 3:06pm Kfar Aza / Saad 2:30 pm Eshkol 2:12 pm Rocket explosions heard in Tel Aviv. Hamas claims to have launched a […]

Living in Israel is an open ticket against intermarriage. Above: MK Tzipi Hotovely and Or Alon at their wedding last year.

If you are worried about your child marrying a non-Jew, and you should be, then move to Israel.

It is believed that this is a photo from the Friday afternoon execution outside a Gazan mosque.

Hamas publicly executed 21 people they accused of collaborating with Israel. Unlike ISIS, they didn’t behead them.

Kurdish women have take up arms to join the war against ISIS Islamic State terrorists.

One woman fighter is enough to scare away 72 virgins.

Israel remains a lone outpost for those who know that talking to liars is not a diplomatic solution.

Obama, who is sure the “peace process” will make Hamas safe for democracy, now has crowned himself an expert on radical Islam.

There were soldiers inside the attacked Hebron building, but they managed to get out in time.

On Thursday, the Israel Air Force hit a motorcycle transporting 2 terrorists in Rafah.

Temple University’s SJP claims the pro-Israel Jewish student harassed and provoked them into assaulting him.

The White House has unblocked the weapons shipment to Israel that they had recently blocked.

10:58pm Negev 10:32 pm Eshkol 9:38 pm Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ashkelon Coast 8:47 pm Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, and area. Iron Dome Interception. 8:46 pm Beit El 20:00 pm  Iron Dome downs two rockets over Be’er Sheva; three others explode in open areas. 19:42 pm     Two warnings of rockets in Be’er Sheva, warnings of rockets Hatzerim , site […]

The IDF readies what it does not want unless there is no alternative – a deep ground invasion of Gaza. Hamas also is ready.

If “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” Diaspora Jews are in big trouble.

The security cabinet authorised Thursday the emergency call-up of 10,000 IDF reservists. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel would continue to pursue Hamas leaders anywhere and at any time, and added that the current campaign would “take time.” Ya’alon called on the Israeli public to display patience and strength while the army deals with the […]

The Jewish community in Belfast, Northern Ireland is bracing for violent backlash as the city prepares for an appearance by radical British MP George Galloway on Saturday night. Last month, Palestinian supporters smashed windows twice at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation following a pro-Palestinian demonstration in the city. Now, representatives for Galloway say the 1,000-seat Ulster […]

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/my-arik-einstein-moment/2013/11/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: