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October 3, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 3, 2014 By Tom Tugend LOS ANGELES (JTA) -- It was 6 a.m. on Aug. 19, 1964 when the phone rang in the LosAngeles apartment of Ivor Davis, the young West Coast correspondent for London's Daily Express, circulation 4 million. On the other end was the paper's foreign editor, who told Davis to drive to the airport and catch the 11 a.m. flight to San Francisco. His assignment was to cover that evening's gig at the Cow Palace by a hot British pop group called the Beatles. For Davis and the band, it would be the start of a hysteri- cal 34-day, 24-city tour across the United States and Canada. "I had unfettered access to the boys... I lived and ate with them, played cards and Mo- nopoly until the early hours of the morning," Davis recalled. "Iwas therewhen they popped pills, talked candidly about their passions.., and how they copedwith the revolving door of women that was the inevi- table result of their perch as global sex symbols." It has taken 50 years, but Davis, 76, otherwise-a quick and prolific journalist and author, has finally put together the highs and lows of the memorable tour in a lively new book, "The Beatles and Me." In it, he writes of the pressure, adulation, booze, drugs and girls in the lives of the group. Davis, who was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in East London, devotes Consid- erable space to the influence of the "Fifth Beatle," Brian Samuel Epstein, manager of the Fab Four and a frequent target of the stereotypical Jewish cracks of that time and environment by some of "the boys." Asked why he delayed writing the book for such a long time, Davis told JTA, "I never expected their fame and legacy would last this long." Neither did the Beatles themselves. In a 2013 in- terview with Rolling Stone magazine, Ringo Starr said that John Lennon expected the group's style and music to endure for about four years, that Paul McCartney planned on awriting career and George Harrison wanted to open a garage. Ringo's ambition: to run a hair salon. Davis attributed the instant success and enduring mythol- ogy of the Beatles in part to timing. "For one, the Beatles came and lifted American spirits depressed by the assassination of President Kennedy," he told JTA. "For another, Lennon and McCartney proved to be really talented composers. "It seems unlikely that Beyonce or Justin Bieber will be remembered this way 50 years from now." Epstein was born in Liv- erpool on Yom Kippur into a well-to-do merchant fam- ily. Without any managerial experience, he more or less appointed himself as manager of the largely unknown band after hearing it play at a local cellar club. The Beatles took on Epstein partially in the conviction that "Jews are good with money," as McCartney reportedly put it. Despite his lack of mana- gerial acumen, Epstein, or "Eppy;" successfully trans- formed the stage presence of his charges. The rough working-class lads wearing black leather and perform- ing in the basement of a converted warehouse became nice middle-class chaps clad in neat, dark business suits. "Epstein changed the boys into clean-cut lads whom he could take home and intro- duce to his Yiddishe mamma," Davis explained in an inter- view. "If he were to try the same with the Rolling Stones, they would have burned down the house." Under the outward appear- ance of a perfectly groomed, well-spoken and somewhat aloof Englishman, Epstein wrestled with the burden of being closeted as a Jew and gay at a time when engag- ing in a homosexual act was considered a criminal offense in Britain. Of course, the boys knew all about the skeletons in Epstein's closet, as illustrated by an exchange during a late- night drink. Epstein mentkmed that he h id just finished his (ghost- written) autobiography. Len- non, who enjoyed getting under Epstein's skin, asked for the book's title. "A Cellarful of Noise," Ep- stein replied. "How about 'A Cellarful of Boys,' "Lennon countered. Getting into the spirit, Epstein offered "A Cellarful of Goys," though he wasn't sure the Beatles knew the meaning of the term. "No, no," said Lennon,"I've got the perfect title-- 'Queer Jew.'" When Lennon was record- ing "Baby, You're A Rich Man," he occasionally switched the lyrics to "Baby, You're A Rich Jew," to the anguish of the group's producer. At his most provocative, Lennon often addressed Epstein to his face as a "rich fag Jew." Despite such provocations, Davis does not believe that Lennon was an outright anti- Semite. "John was extraordinarily bright and had a nasty, warped sense of humor," Davis said. "He knew how to get a rise out of people." Epstein rarely talked to the press and had hardly exchanged a word with Davis during the first four weeks of the national tour. Sowhen the group arrived in New Orleans and checked into a hotel before the performance, Davis was startled when he was sum- moned to Epstein's suite. "It's Yore Kippur tomor- row," Epstein informed Davis. "I wonder if you know anyone who could arrange for me to pop in at the local synagogue," adding quickly, "I won't be able to stay all day, of course." Davis called the synagogue, and without mentioning Ep- stein's name or who he was scored two free tickets. The noble offer was in vain, since in the end neither Epstein nor Davis showed up for the services. The Beatles popularity would outlive Epstein; he died Ron Joy-Belle Schwartz Estate Brian Epstein horsing around at his 30th birthday party. in 1967 at 32. The coroner listed the death as accidental and probably caused by pro- longed overuse of the sedative carbitrol. "The Beatles and Me" cites a few other Jewish aspects of the 1964 tour: When the band performed in Montreal, a caller to the hotel threatened to "kill the Jew Ringo"-which he wasn't, although his father-in-law was. At a news conference, a reporter asked the Beatles if they thought Jews played too influential a role in show business. Sensing an obvious provocation, the foursome skipped on to the next ques- tion. McCartney had an affinity for Jewish wives. His second spouse, Linda Eastman, was Jewish; she died in 1998. His current wife, Nancy Shevell, also is Jewish. Throughout his far-rang- ing writing career, Davis, in collaboration with his late wife Sally Ogle Davis, has reported on Hollywood stars, headline trials, natural disasters and politics for the Times of Ron Joy-Belle Schwartz Estate Author Ivor Davis, standing, doubled as ghostwriter for Beatle George Harrison. London, Daily Express, New York Times Syndicate and American magazines. Now living out his golden years in the California beach- front community of Ventura, Davis is now working on two new books-- one about mov- ies, the other a true crime story. Every day that you're outside, you're exposed to dangerous, but invisible, ultraviolet (UV) sunlight. Left unprotected, prolonged exposure to UV radiation can seriously damage the eye, leading to cataracts, skin cancer around the eyelid and other eye disorders. Protecting your eyes is important to maintaining eye heaith now and in the future. Shield your eyes (and your family's eyes) from harmful UV rays. Wear sunglasses with maximum UV protection, ~ THEVISlONCOUNOL The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has launched its new college Campus Fellows pro- gram that will help to better promote Israel at a time of growing anti-Semitism and resentment towards Israel witnessed world-wide during the recent war in Gaza. The 20 JNF Campus Fellows are students at America's best universities and from a wide geographical area. Some are alumni of JNF programs at Alexander Muss High School in Israel, the Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorashim-JNF Israel Adventure, and Alternative Spring Break (ASB). To qualify for the fellowship each student had to make application, sub- mit references, and interview with JNF leaders. "As a representative on campus I really hope to not only bring awareness about Israel and the situation to my fellow students, but allow the different Jewish groups on campus to intermingle more, said Ryan Hight, a student at the University of Central Florida. "I hope that I can not only spread support for Israel but each other here locally." "After spending a gap year in Israel and then time on my university's campus, I've realized how important it is be educated for a time in Israel and how valuable it is to spend time there as more than just a tourist," remarked Abby Newman, a sophomore at University of Florida. "For me, the biggest connection to the land is through volunteerism and dedicating time to a cause you believe in. I am beyond excited to be a campus fellow and having the opportunity to talk to my peers about a country I adore." "We're so proud of this first-class group of JNF Cam- pus Fellows, all of whom are huge supporters of Israel," said Mara Suskauer, director of Israel Advocacy & Educa- tion at JNF. "Each student is a leader on their respec- tive campuses and we look forward to seeing them use the fellowship to share the highly regarded Positively Israel program and the other events and programming that JNF runs on campuses across the country." The Fellows will be re- sponsible for planning and executing on-campus Posi- tively Israel programs (www. positivelyisrael.org), the Tu Bishvat Across Campus pro- gram (www.jnf.org/tbsac), and to recruit a team to par- ticipate on JNF's Alternative Spring Break (www.jnf.org/ break). Each will be required to complete administrative tasks and complete regular progress reports and all will be supervised by a JNF Israel Advocacy & Education area director. JNF Campus Fellows will use the resources of local Alpha Epsilon Pi chapters, alumni of JNF's Alternative Spring Break, Taglit-Birthright Israel, JNF Caravan For Democ- racy Missions, Alexander Muss High School in Israel, and Faculty Fellows. They are expected to work col- taboratively with campus professionals from other organizations including those at Hillel and Chabad, and to build good relation- ships with college faculty and administration. For more information on the program visit www.jnf. org/fellows.