Valentine or Valenstein?
Posted on February 12, 2012 - 19 Shevat 5772 by EditorShalom and welcome to the tribe. Enjoy your visit. Better still become a member of the tribe and subscribe
The most popular question around this time of the year is “ Can Jews celebrate Valentine’s day?”
Why does missing out on some chocolates and flowers and lots of schmaltzy heart filled cards create such angst?
The truth is that Jews have been involved with valentines and the day of love for years. I am not talking about the historical connections in some attempt to give some it participatory legitimacy.
Firstly Jewish tradition already has its own let’s get loving celebration. Tu B’Av, but more of that later.
Valentine’s day appears in the zodiac sign of Aquarius. Now we all know that the most famous days of Love, three of them in fact, happened in the Age of Aquarius, at a place called Woodstock. Three days of Peace and Music…the love was an added bonus.
Woodstock was conceived and created by a bunch of Jews. One of the promoters of that concert was Michael Lang, a Jewish guy from Brooklyn. Capitol Records exec Artie Kornfeld another Brooklyn/Queens Jew and two Jewish backers, Joel Rosenman and John Roberts
The four guys formed Woodstock Ventures in March, 1969.
The festival poster, designed by a Jewish artist Arnold Skolnik, read: “The Woodstock Music and Art Fair; An Aquarian Exposition/ 3 Days of Peace and Music
The venue that the team found for the Woodstock festival was a dairy farm near Bethel, N.Y., owned by Jewish farmer Max Yasgur (for more info on this read Nate Bloom “The Hidden Jewish History of Woodstock”)
One of the most played songs on Valentine’s day was Connie Francis singing “Stupid Cupid”, written by two yidden, Howard Greenfield and Neil Sedaka. Francis herself was not shy either when it came to singing Yiddish songs.
Francis, who had grown up in an Italian-Jewish neighbourhood in Brooklyn, spoke Yiddish fluently and was familiar with songs in Hebrew which prompted her to record an album of songs either entirely in Yiddish or Hebrew or bilingual with a few lines sung in English.
Neal later recorded Stupid Cupid himself.
Okay for those of you who want some religious connection we have the Festival of Tu B’Av
Tu B’Av is a holiday devoted to singles. In earlier times the young single women would go out to the fields dressed in white. Each woman would wear a dress borrowed from another so that those who were too poor to have dresses of their own would not be shamed. Then the men would come down to the fields and pick a bride.
Okay so this Festival is August, but then so was Woodstock. So the circle is complete.
If you want some really good facts about Valentines day and some jewish connection then please read an article by my good friend JanLee from last year. You can find it here.
Maybe St. Valentine was really Jewish and he changed his name from Valenstein. You know just to fit in.