Saturday, February 2, 2013

Larry King Jewish ?

Just in case you wonder: "Is Larry King Jewish?", the truth is that King, 79, is 100% Jewish.

To be more specific, American television and radio host Larry King (real name: Lawrence Leibel Harvey Zeiger) was born in  Brooklyn, New York City, to an Austrian immigrant Edward Zeiger, a restaurant owner and defense plant worker, and his wife Jennie (Gitlitz), a garment worker, who emigrated from Belarus. Both parents were Orthodox Jews.

To take things from the very beginning, King recalls how his dad had prayed for a boy and blessedly Larry was born. He was a gift from God to parents who just a year earlier had buried their first-born son, Irwin, when he passed away from appendicitis. 

Larry, then called by his Jewish name, Leibel (which means a "lion" in Yiddish) would go everywhere with his father. They had a great relationship and in Larry's eyes his dad was nothing less than a god. 

One day, when little Larry, aged 9 1/2, was coming home from the library lugging a pile of books, he saw a policeman coming down the stairs of his house. The police officer approached Larry, swept him up in his arms and broke the crushing news to him - his beloved father, who was only 43 years old, had suffered a fatal heart attack. Larry's hero was gone forever. 

"My father was a guiding force in my life," King was quoted as saying. "I took his death very badly because I took it as him leaving me. My father was my life." 

It has to be noted that Larry is very proud of his Jewish roots and remains still a Jew. He claims that he goes to Temple every Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur out of respect to his parents. He states that culturally he really enjoys being Jewish and loves Jewish food and Jewish humor. Oddly enough, the one thing that he still maintains is not mixing milk and meat together. "I'll eat bacon," King reveals "but bacon with a glass of milk - I'll faint."

Even though King goes to synagogue he is not absolutely certain that God is hearing him. King, in a book he co-authored with Rabbi Irwin Katsof entitled "Powerful Prayers" explains the only thing he's ever prayed for was for the Dodger's to win a game. Though he just can't seem to find faith, King admits that the many rabbis he's met in his life have affected him profoundly. What King especially likes about Judaism, which he does not find in other faiths, is that it forces people to continually question things, which is very characteristic of King's curious nature.

Needless to say that King considers Jerusalem his favorite city in the world. He becomes absolutely excited about seeing street signs in Hebrew. "I loved the flavor of the city," King reveals. "I felt like I had a home." In 1994, King received the Scopus Award from the American Friends of Hebrew University.

On the other hand, King doesn't appear optimistic about peace in the region. King believes that although 90% of the people on both sides want peace, it's the extremist 10% that is damaging the future of the region. He disagrees with Golda Meir's words that there would be peace if the Palestinians learned to love their children more than they hated Jews. "I've never met any mother who wanted to lose her son," King claims. "No mother ever sent her kid off to war saying I hope you die."

Sources: Wikipedia and The Jewish Virtual Library

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