Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Did Bob Marley have Syrian-Jewish roots?

With thanks: Michelle

Well I never. The late reggae legend Bob Marley had Jewish roots.


 The World Jewish Congress tells us so, so it must be true. In fact the WJC has gone to the lengths of making a video giving special mention to Bob Marley in a potted history of Jewish Jamaica, the Caribbean island where Marley was born.

According to the video, Bob Marley's father was a Jamaican called Norval. But Norval's mother was Ellen Broomfield, a (white) Syrian Jew.

Quite what a Syrian Jew was doing in Jamaica, the WJC does not tell us.

Hang on a minute! This website says that Ellen Broomfield was a coloured Jamaican. And this website says:

"There is unsubstantiated information circulating that Ellen was a Syrian Jew, but the name is not Syrian or Jewish and is an old Jamaican/English name.
A "wedding certificate for the marriage of Robert Marley [Bob's paternal grandfather] and Ellen Bloomfield [his paternal grandmother] lists him as 'white' and her as 'colored'."

Sorry to disappoint you, folks. The balance of probability is that Marley's grandmother was not Jewish. But take crumbs of comfort in the fact that Marley seems to have been a philosemite. And his own son Julian (below left) has visited Israel.


9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Marley’s son Ziggy is marred to an Israeli from Kfar Saba. Her family is originally from Iran.

by Davsil said...

I believe Bob Marley himself mentioned that he was of Sephardic ancestry.

Anonymous said...

Here it says Bob Marley's father was Jewish:
https://www.algemeiner.com/2012/02/06/bob-marley-and-the-jews/

Anonymous said...

More here about Ziggy:

https://www.algemeiner.com/2016/11/02/jamaican-reggae-great-ziggy-marley-on-mixed-marriage-blended-cultures-israeli-wife-introduced-me-to-felafel/

bataween said...

These articles recycle the notion that the Marleys have Jewish ancestry, but do not add anything more concrete about the so-called Jewish roots of Norval's mother.

Anonymous said...

It would be challenging to find a Jamaican who did not have some Jewish roots: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jamaica-virtual-jewish-history-tour
--malca

Anonymous said...

claims that broomfield is actually bloomfield
https://www.geni.com/people/Richard-Bloomfield/6000000011691448022
--malca

Anonymous said...

My error -- references to Jewish roots end up being circular, without documentary basis.
--malca

bataween said...

It could be that most Jamaicans have Jewish ancestry. Broomflied or Bloomfield has never been a Sephardi name, however.