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    Little Richard

    Jew Score:
    7

    I1

    O2

    K4
    (Richard Penniman)
    December 5, 1932 – May 9, 2020

    Did Little Richard convert to Judaism?

    You know, if only the answer was so simple... We could have just slapped a "Jew" or "Not Jew" verdict, make fun of his mustache, and move on with our lives. And yet, it's not simple at all.

    Back in 1986, it was reported that Little Richard, rock and roll pioneer (as well as owner of that mustache), converted to Judaism. Well, "announced" he was converting to Judaism. Notice the subtle difference.

    As the story goes, he was in a car crash and was visited in the hospital by the one and only Bob Dylan. Apparently, that was during Dylan's back-to-Judaism phase, and somehow that was enough to set Richard on a path to becoming a Jew!

    Or not. Because when asked directly a year later if he was now Jewish, Richard's response was "There's something I prefer not saying." Apparently he kept Shabbat, kept kosher, and attended synagogue.... but did he really convert? Unless some rabbi out there can provide us with evidence, it looks like Little Richard took his secret to his grave.

    So, no "Jew", but also no "Not a Jew"... "Barely a Jew" will have to do.

    Verdict: Barely a Jew.

    January 13, 2023

    See Also

    Nell Carter

    Sammy Davis Jr.

    Bob Dylan

    Lenny Kravitz

    Ike Turner
    © Jew or Not Jew, 2006-2023.