When Sammy Davis Jr Visited Israel
I knew Sammy Davis Jr converted to Judaism; what I never knew was he was a huge fan of Israel.
Thanks to the Humans of Judaism Facebook page, this great photo of Sammy visiting IDF soldiers in 1969 has come to my attenton:
And there’s more. From JTA, 1969:
Sammy Davis, Jr., the Negro American entertainer who is a convert to Judaism, arrived here Saturday for a one-day trip. He told hundreds of fans at Lydda Airport, as tears poured down his cheeks, that he could not “find words to express my satisfactions at being in Israel, the mother country of my spirit and my religion.” He visited the Western Wall, met with male and female soldiers, and returned to London where he is shooting a film. He told his admirers that he might return in September.
He said that he had been looking forward to visiting the Wall since his conversion in 1955. He placed a note containing a wish in a Wall crevice and told newsmen: “Like every Jew, my feelings at the Wall were deep and personal. This is my religious home. It’s great here. A great thrill. It is a kind of oneness I have with Israel and the Jewish people.”
It would be fair to say if Sammy was alive today, he’d be incredulous at the idea that anyone would suggest Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital. Or that there are people like Linda Sarsour trying to exploit feeling of disenchantment among some in the African-American community to advance an anti-Israel agenda.