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Bob Marley’s Jewish Father

On what would have been Marley’s 68th birthday, a look at his roots

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Bob Marley With Chai (Photo © Kim Gottlieb-Walker, from her book "Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae")

This past August, The Scroll made the startlingly discovery that Elvis Presley, the King of Rock, was in fact halakhically Jewish. Would lightning strike twice on Bob Marley’s 68th birthday?

The love affair between Jews and Bob Marley is one of the world’s worst kept secrets. For some, it has to do with Marley’s music as some kind of aural accompaniment for smoking pot. For others, it has to do with the attribution of Jewish wandering (“Exodus”) or the defiance and prideful yearning for home (“Iron Lion Zion” and “Redemption Song”) in Marley’s songs. For others yet, it’s less cliché more inchoate.

So when we learned that Marley’s father, Norval, from whom Marley was estranged, was the son of Ellen Broomfield, a white Jewish Syrian Jamaican (beat that!), it made some sense. Norval Marley was born in Jamaica in 1885 (although the record is disputed) and, by the time he paired up with Marley’s mother Cedella, he was said to have been 60 years old. Norval Marley’s relationship with Cedella didn’t last long and he died of a heart attack when Marley was 12.

Does this mean we can claim Bob Marley? No, probably not. But if we did, here are some Marley tracks that I’d love to see.

“I Shot the Shochet”
“Do Worry”
“Buffalo Schleper”
“Could You Be Lourved?”

Got any others?

Earlier: Elvis: Jewish King of Rock

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“Three Little Philby’s Partridges”

“Schmear it up”

    Sparkicus says:

    Very interesting article. And yet, to be honest, completely irrelevant to this thread.

      Lynne T says:

      typical yevka. I thought he found greener pastures a long time ago for his promotion of BDS, etc.

Review of the film, “Marley”

“A notable and somewhat heart wrenching moment in the film was a portion with Bob’s half-sister Constance.

“Bob had tried to get help from his fathers side of his family in the late 60′s.

“This was of course the European side of his family whom had a thriving business on the island.

“The family that was truly Bob’s and who he had approached turned him down and the family did not even believe Bob and his claims of who his father was.”

Bob Marley was an SY. That means it was more like,
“I Paid Off Sheriff”
“Could You Be Safted”
“No G, No Cry”
“Electronics Store Soldier”

arktikwolf says:

“No Woman, No Pie”

“Trenchtown Lox”

“I Shot the Shadkhn”

“Wake Up and Daven”

“So Much Things To Eat”

“Get Up, Sit Down”

“This Is Love?”

he didn’t “pair up” with Cedella, they were married.

    Sparkicus says:

    They were married, true, though by some accounts this was a result of feigned honor. He married the poor girl then promptly disappeared. Some claim he actually forced himself upon Cedella (though she is quoted as saying “I believed he loved me, yes.”)

Neither Bob Marley nor Elvis Presley were Jewish at all. The Marley thing is some web rumor that has been gaining steam over the web in recent years. Previously the claim was that the “Marley” line were Syrian Jews. Now it’s his paternal grandmother? A genealogy of Bob Marley shows nothing remotely Syrian Jewish.

As for Presley, his alleged Jewish ancestor wasn’t Jewish, and more so, she probably wasn’t even his ancestor (long story). This bit covers some of the Elvis stuff, but there is more of the same.

    Jesternator says:

    You should read the websites you cite. The one on Marley’s Ancestry starts out clearly stating: “The following material on the immediate ancestry of
    Bob Marley should not be considered either exhaustive or authoritative, but
    rather as a first draft.”

      Jesternator, do you have a more accurate, up-to-date, second draft?

        Jesternator says:

        No I do not, nor do I care. You miss my point that YOU are quick to make a point with a questionable source. When I looked online I found several citations that said Bob Marley’s grandmother was Jamaican Syrian Jew. I do not know if these are true, but they didn’t start with a disclaimer. YOU seem quite determined to disprove the heritage cited as though you take some offense that a lot of people who aren’t Jewish have Jewish ancestors. I suggest that you go hide in a cave then because recent genetic testing and historical research is finding that a great number of people have Jewish ancestry but didn’t know it because someone hid the family’s original religion to escape persecution, etc. Look at John Kerry, the recent U.S. Secretary of State: their family name wasn’t Kerry and they’re not even Irish. His (great?) Grandfather was an Austrian (Jew) named Otto Kohn who changed his name before leaving Europe for America. And while we’re on the subject of hidden Jews and Jews in Jamaica, I suggest you read “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean” because it appears there is a long history of “hidden” Jews on that island that may have been a sanctuary for Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition.

    Don’t wish to burst your bubble but those of us who grew up near Tupelo during the Elvis years ALL knew that he really was Jewish, and his father really didn’t understand the ramifactions of marrying a Jew (Gladys); not only was she Jewish but grew up in a strict Orthodox family). Elvis always wore his Chai (with his cross as his dad made them hide the Jewishness (which was probably smart in the 50s South). His brother (who died at birt Aron was nearly always a Jewish name back then, and Gladys made it Elvis’ middle name at birth. Elvis’ headstone has a very large Star Of David at the top. The interfaithfamily is a nice article, but there are many more books and scholarly article that have confirmed what most Mississippians knew for years and years (and were in on the Presley secret).

      Lynne T says:

      Bob Dylan, on one of his theme time radio hour shows on XM radio talked about Presley wearing a cross, a Star of David and the letter chai, because he (Presley), didn’t want to miss out on getting into heaven over a technicality.

Would have been interesting to see Marley on the streets of Tel Aviv via@youtube

elvidge says:

his father was English original from Essex London.

Just another trick by the black man to steal old whitey’s thunder that we own ROCK AND ROLL and the rights of the jew to be called GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE .

    What a sicko racist comment

    Jesternator says:

    Wow, you just keep showing how stupid, ignorant of history, and racist you are.

    Sparkicus says:

    Were I you, I would be ashamed to show the world how proud I am of my own ignorance. Rock & Roll comes EXCLUSIVELY from music by black people. Even the white hillbilly music (which is a partial source for rock & roll) comes from “negro spirituals.” You really need to shut up and READ UP.

Go make up your own history ….like your people imvented thr wheel or something , quit tring to steal everybody elses .

I think white people invented jazz , my great , great , great , great grandmother ‘s uncle ‘s cousin ‘s , brother ‘s , sister ‘s aunt ‘s , great , great , great . great grandmother ‘s uncle ,,,,,,ugh told me I think .

No Woman No Kvetch

I didn’t know Bob Marley’s father was Jewish. I do know that Captain Norval Sinclair Marley, Bob’s father, was a bigamist who abandoned his black wife and their son. Is he, the Captain, really one we want to make an effort to lay claim to? Rastafarianism draws heavily from the Hebrew Bible, which is why images of the Exodus and Zion and the Lion of Judah are so prominent in Rastafarian Roots Reggae. It is also why devout Rastas are brutally homophobic. You know that part of the Torah we read every Yom Kippur about the types of relations that are forbidden? Rastafarians take that pretty seriously. This article is disrespectful and offensive. I Shot the Shochet? Buffalo Schleper? Grotesque.

Is there a time delay on the posting of comments, or was mine removed?

Check out this scene in the Marley documentary where Marley’s family discusses Norval’s rejection of Bob as illegitimate. The movie, earlier on, also discusses Bob’s start singing in a church choir.

    Sparkicus says:

    Yes, yes, this “documentary” is a lot of propaganda from Island Records head Chris Blackwell.

Shared a photo Essam Elwakil by Essam Elwakil.
February 5
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the sky from one of the parties يضن in the other hand is how be
the Son of Man on back, but he must first of many to suffer pain and
rejected by this generation and, as happened in the time of Noah, so
will happen in the time of the Son of Man) Luke 17

More: # ixzz2JyoAzuDr
In the name of God the Merciful
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Like · · Participation

Elvis truly was Jewish. I grew up very near Tupelo during the Elvis years and those are not just rumors (on Gladys/maternal side). His grandmother was very strict orthodox….Thats fun news about Bob (Marley). Being from a Sephardic Jewish family, I know a lot about the Jamaican Jewish Community; most are my maternal ancestors (and several are still there). There is a fun book about them on Amazon called “Jewish Pirates Of The Caribbean”. Has some slow moments but most of it a great read. Former USA Today Reporter the late Eddie Kritzler moved there before writing it.

Does it really matter. I don’t know why anyone want to claim a dead person as theirs. Isn’t that a little strange? Do Jewish people need more validation. There have been so many successful and talented Jews throughout history. Neither of these two men were practicing Jews, so why try to put them in the success collection.

    Sparkicus says:

    Wow. You’re pretty serious. “Burn one down” and try again.

Sparkicus says:

Rastamensch Vibration.

jolly says:

How can he be Jewish when he is not killing Palestinians.

    Lynne T says:

    Jackass, Ziggy Marley is married to an Israeli, and the Arabs, great slave traders that they were during the glory days of the Caliphates, weren’t exactly kind to black people, were they, nor are they now (ever heard of Darfur)?

      jolly says:

      We were worse.

      Subject: [tabletmag] Re: Bob Marley’s Jewish Father

Today Marley’s father would be called a Paedophile. Which is apt since Cedella was 14 0r 15 years old when she was impregnated by the 60 year old Norval Marley.

Obeta Innocent says:

If Jewish claim about Marley is right, it further confirms that racism is a tradition that runs in their blood from inception, and that their in-dept hatred for blacks didn’t start with the present Jews.

James Cannings says:

According to Bob Marley’s documented history unless his English father who was an English appointed overseer was Jewish. this article is false mainly based on the false fact that it claims that his father was a born Jamaican.

“No mohel, no cry.”

Roy Moskowtz says:

“I shatnez sheriff”.

The odd thing about this article is that it fails to mention Bob Marley and his songs are a part of an actual religion, Rastafari. Why is that?
The article actually asks, “Does this mean we can claim Bob Marley? No, probably not.”
Of course not. Unless you are actually a Rastafarian.

Audrey Layne says:

Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Derek says:

I’ve never heard a Syrian with a surname Broomfield…sounds more like an Ashkenazi surname,,so maybe she married an Ashkenazi which would be the only thing that makes sense

Stephan Santerre says:

No news that he had Syrian blood, it didn’t affect Bob Marley in any way.

As you know, Rastafarians have turned the Bible inside out. When Bob or any Rastafarian mentions Zion he believe it’s Ethiopia, not Israel. And Marley’s Exodus is a repatriation of all Afro-Americans to Africa, when Africa is united and lasting peace is established there by Jah (God).

Black supremacy against Whites, Chinese, Arabs, Malays, Jews (!) and all other non-blacks will also be in effect in New Zion and New Eden, Africa.

This comes after Judgment Day (Armagiddeon). All evil (including evil blacks) will be wiped out by Jah Rastafari. Among the remaining is the authentic, unspoiled, spiritual African – ie, the Rastafarian men and women most suited to sit in God’s government on Earth. The wise Rastas will provide for all.



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Bob Marley’s Jewish Father

On what would have been Marley’s 68th birthday, a look at his roots

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