Can a rabbi and a Beatle make beautiful music together?
This was the question posed by the May 31st, 1969 publication of “The Montreal Gazette” in reference to John Lennon’s first solo single released while still with the Beatles – ‘Give Peace a Chance’. The album, recorded during Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Bed-In for Peace’ to protest the Vietnam War, featured rabbi and reform activist Abraham Feinberg (1899-1986).
Feinberg was an American born Jew who, after being ordained at Hebrew Union College in 1924, served in several American pulpits before leaving the rabbinate in 1929 to pursue a music career.
Feinberg returned to the pulpit in 1935 amidst the chaos of World War II. Through his career he spoke out for causes including the Joint Public Relations Committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith, the protest of the Vietnam War, and countless others. The idea to record came about when Feinberg visited Lennon’s bedside in a Montreal hotel room and the conversation turned to music. Feinberg and Lennon decided to set up shop and record the single of ‘Give Peace a Chance’ featuring dozens of journalists and celebrities.
The beautiful music of a Beatle and a rabbi is forever preserved on this EP found in Feinberg’s personal collection.