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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
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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

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.


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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…

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