Flaming Red Rabbi

:: Simple Child Loved (w_fade) ::

:: Flying On The Ground (w_fade) ::

:: Lullaby ::

I bought this record as kind of a joke, really. An obvious relic of the anything goes 60s, when even a 69 year old Rabbi could be hip. Look. There he is singing and shaking hands with John Lennon on the back cover. He's singing songs by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Dylan and the brothers Gibb. What gives?

By 1969, Rabbi Abraham Feinberg had a reputation as a peace activist. He'd been to North Vietnam a couple of years earlier and befriended Ho Chi Minh, which earned him the nick name Flaming Red Rabbi. But his penchant for activism went back to the rise of Nazism in the early 1930s, when Feinberg gave up a successful singing career (with his own New York radio show) to follow his beloved religion and fight fascism.

One day nearly 40 years later, he stopped in to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal to meet Ono and Lennon, having heard they were staging a "bed-in for peace". Feinberg wanted to see for himself if this staged event was merely a publicity ploy, or the real thing. After meeting the couple, he apparently felt it was the latter, and all three seemed to get along famously.

A couple of years ago, the estate of Beatles Press Officer Derek Taylor offered a piece of hotel stationary for auction. On it were Lennon's scribbled notes including the phrase, "All we are saying, is give peace a chance", and the phone number for Rabbi Feinberg. As the story goes, during the course of their conversations, the Rabbi said something like, "We have to find a way to give peace a chance", thus inspiring Lennon. Apparently impressed with his singing voice, Lennon invited the Rabbi to attend the recording sessions for the song in the same hotel room a few days later. Originally, the record was to be credited to "John Lennon and The Flaming Red Rabbi", but as word of the session got out, the room became filled with people happily joining in on the sing along choruses.

Luckily, Rabbi Feinberg (or Tony, as he was known to family and friends) was inspired enough to make this slightly weird album. What at first looks like a record by an old man riding the coattails of a much younger, hipper public figure turns out to be a decent aural artifact from a bygone era.

With the release of the film, "The U.S. vs John Lennon" and the recognition that we could use a John Lennon in these times, this record makes me wish we had a Rabbi Feinberg too.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008 8:42:00 AM

Maybe nobody else cares about this but I DO!


Monday, February 11, 2008 3:52:00 PM

This is a strange relic. I have two copies for mixing purposes.



Sunday, February 24, 2008 5:24:00 AM

i loved the cover of i shall be released have been trying for years to get a copy without success if you have an mp3 of it i would appreciate a copy of it yours geoff greenfield uk    

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 12:02:00 PM

Hi. My name is Geoff Hendry and I am an actor who lives and works in Toronto. I am currently portraying Rabbi Feinberg in a Toronto production of John/Yoko Bed Piece. He was a remarkable individual and it's been a treat to play the character. For more information about the play please visit www.draft89.com.    

Sunday, May 31, 2009 7:26:00 AM

In May 1969 I sneaked into Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto to try to meet up with Rabbi Abe Feinberg. From a hundred feet away I could see Feinberg who was on camera chatting with John Lennon of the Beetles, but CBC's Sheldon Turcotte was a prick and immediately called security to kick me out before the Beatles' interview ended. At the time I was the Chief Organizer for the Metro Tenants Association (MTA) and wanted to get the "Flaming Red Rabbi" to join with me and Mel Watkins to plan a media event. Alas, further bad news for the tenants movement - After I departed from my work with the MTA, the MTA was morphed into the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations (FMTA) in the 1970s by Norm Broody who was also President of The Toronto Communist Party. The problem with the FMTA today is that the FMTA's $600,000.00 funding comes from the City of Toronto, so the FMTA's leader for life Dan McIntyre cannot confront or attack the City with the tradition time tested tools for social change - demos and marches (civil disobedience - forget it.) That's why for decades Toronto tenants have been scratching their heads wondering why in over three decades of the FMTA's existence there have never been any "actions" against the Municipal or Provincial Governments. After Norm Broody's death when Dan McIntyre took over, his mantra was always "The FMTA represent ALL toronto tenants," Three Toronto tenant organizers (Bob Levitt, Paul York and Tim Roarke: http://www.qaz.ca/organisations.html ) independently tried to escape from the FMTA repression during the last ten years, but so far have failed to revive the vigor of the tenants movement. .... John(godhas4legs)Gilbert - 416-481-5668 - godhas4legs@gmail.com .    

Monday, June 01, 2009 11:27:00 PM

John(godhas4legs)Gilbert - 416-481-5668 - godhas4legs@gmail.com

Immediately above I spelled his name wrong. It is Norm Brudy.

Above I neglected to provide a prestigous citation to back up my objection to the FMTA being funded by the City of Toronto. Is the esteemed prof. James Petras good enough:

Thursday, August 27, 2009 8:39:00 AM

This is very entertaining.    

Monday, January 23, 2012 4:33:00 AM

Tim Roarke's website given in my May 31 post (above) is a dead link. You can access it here - http://www.qaz.ca/    

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 4:34:00 AM

Tim Rourke's websites are
http://www.causepimps.ca and

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 4:35:00 AM

Tim Rourke's websites are
http://www.causepimps.ca and

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