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Menorah Illuminates (Sammy) Davis Jr.’s Judaism

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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-24-09 12:13 PM
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Menorah Illuminates (Sammy) Davis Jr.’s Judaism
This is a fascinating and interesting article about Sammy Davis Jr.'s spiritual journey in the midst of adversity.

Menorah Illuminates Davis Jr.’s Judaism

By Rebecca Dube
Published May 20, 2009, issue of May 29, 2009.

If you want to buy Sammy Davis Jr.’s menorah when goes up for auction next month, it will cost you a bit more than a song.

The bidding will start at $10,000, and Brooklyn-based auctioneer Jonathan Greenstein says the silver menorah could fetch upward of $15,000.

But even more than its monetary value, both as celebrity memorabilia and as a piece of Judaica, the sale of Davis’s menorah opens a priceless window onto a time a half-century ago, when the popular African-American entertainer became one of Judaism’s most high-profile converts.

Davis’s conversion was played for jokes — often by Davis himself, who seldom refused a laugh at his own expense. (Here’s a favorite, recounted in his autobiography: “What’s your golf handicap, Sammy?” “I’m a colored, one-eyed Jew — do I need anything else?”) But his spiritual journey to Judaism was, according to those who knew him well, entirely sincere.

“He was very, very serious about it,” said Burt Boyar, Davis’s friend and biographer, in a telephone interview from his home in Los Angeles. “He converted to something he believed in and felt for.”
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