Leonard Cohen moves concert after Jewish Chronicle story


Could it be that Leonard Cohen is planning to mark the high holy days in the traditional manner this year?

To the delight of his Jewish fans, and in a decision that would no doubt have pleased his talmudic scholar grandfather, the Canadian star has changed the date of his upcoming London concert so that it no longer clashes with Yom Kippur.

Out of respect, according to his tour promoter, the singer also asked for his performance in Leeds to be moved from second-night Rosh Hashanah to the following Saturday evening.

The move comes after the JC published a story highlighting Jewish fans’ unhappiness at the clash of dates.

A spokesman for tour promoters AEG explained: “When he learned that two of his UK concerts were scheduled on days of solemn religious observance, he respectfully asked to move the dates.”

“We hope and trust that the reasons for the changes will be understood.”

Mr Cohen was due to take to the stage at the O2 on the evening of September 14, meaning that he would have been performing his first number around the same time as the neilah service.

Jonathan Sacerdoti, a dedicated fan who, in last week’s JC, expressed his disappointment at not being able to see his hero, said he was delighted the concerts had been rescheduled.

“Last time I saw Leonard Cohen it was indeed a spiritual experience. But even Leonard can’t trump Yom Kippur for spirituality.”

“It’s great news,” added fellow fan Michael Harris, who now plans to buy tickets for the show. “I’m really delighted Leonard has changed the date. Last year’s concert was so memorable and I can’t wait to see him again.”

Although the singer was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1996, his ancestors on both sides were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and his paternal grandfather helped establish the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Performing in Israel in 2009, Mr Cohen recited the birkat cohanim — the blessing of the priests — on stage.

The decision to move the concerts means the singer is now free on Yom Kippur and might wish to follow in the footsteps of another music legend, Sir Paul McCartney, who two years ago attended the service at the St John’s Wood’s Liberal Jewish Synagogue.

“We would be delighted to have Leonard Cohen here,” said LJS’s Rabbi Alexandra Wright. “He would be assured of a very fine tradition of music here. And we encourage all our members and guests to join in.”

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