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LOS ANGELES, Calif -- Bob Dylan is recording his first Christmas album, Bullypulpit.com has exclusively learned and has been quietly compiling a collection that includes both Christmas carols and modern songs. At least four songs have reportedly been recorded for the album including, “Must Be Santa,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas" and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”Dylan's spiritual pendulum swings back and forth. In 2007 Dylan went to Chabad Lubavitch for Yom Kippur, where he got an aliyah to the Torah. JTA Reported back then:
The recording sessions have been taking place at fellow recording artist Jackson Browne's Groove Master’s Studios in Santa Monica, California, where Browne produced his album, "I’m Alive."
Prominent media expert and best-selling author Michael Levine said the move by Dylan was "completely consistent with his longstanding tradition of doing the unexpected. Concerning Bob Dylan literally nothing would surprise me which of course is part of his lasting appeal. He confounds like no other pop artist ever."
The inclusion of “O Little Town of Bethlehem," written by an Episcopal priest named Phillips Brooks in 1867 after a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, is likely to fuel speculation about Dylan's religious beliefs that have swirled ever since he publicly converted to Christianity in 1979, recorded explicitly religious material on three subsequent albums and for a time refused to play his old songs. Religious references on subsequent recordings became less overt after 1981's "Shot of Love."
The other three songs, “Must Be Santa” by Hal Moore and Bill Fredricks, “Here Comes Santa Claus” by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Buck Ram, Kim Gannon and Walter Kent were all written between 1943 and 1960.
"A Christmas album by Bob Dylan in the pipeline doesn't really shock me," said Scott Marshall, author of a forthcoming book on the singer, "God and Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life". "At first glance it may sound bizarre, but I don't think Dylan cares much about what his detractors might make of it. Dylan still sings songs from "Slow Train Coming" to this day and he's both never renounced being Jewish or renounced his experience with Jesus some three decades ago. He remains enigmatic and this will probably be talked about for years to come."
Bob Dylan's religious odyssey took a turn home on Yom Kippur.As always be sure to see my friend Larry Yudelson's Tangled Up In Jews site for more background on the Jews and Jewishness connected with Bob Dylan.
The folk legend attended services at the Chabad-Lubavitch of Atlanta... Dylan was born Jewish but has dabbled in several faiths.
He arrived at morning services wearing a ski cap and a tallit, and stayed for the duration, the Web site said. Dylan was called to the Torah for an aliyah by his Hebrew name, Zushe ben Avraham, according to the Chabad outpost's rabbi, Yossi Lew.
Dylan was in Atlanta for a concert following the holiday.
...I do not use the traditional Yeshiva approach to designing a "syllabus", i.e., start on page 2A and learn as much as time permits in the tractate. I also do not emphasize the notion of the texts as part of "the Halakhah." This concept is a relatively modern construct, composed of many strata of texts, commentaries and codes. Some would argue it is a tool of those who foster rabbinic authority rather than a purely intellectual asset of our rabbinic heritage.Please see my article for more details. /repost from 8/5/06/
The Morality of Meditation
By DAVID DeSTENO
MEDITATION is fast becoming a fashionable tool for improving your mind. With mounting scientific evidence that the practice can enhance creativity, memory and scores on standardized intelligence tests, interest in its practical benefits is growing. A number of “mindfulness” training programs, like that developed by the engineer Chade-Meng Tan at Google, and conferences like Wisdom 2.0 for business and tech leaders, promise attendees insight into how meditation can be used to augment individual performance, leadership and productivity.