Elvis fans to head to Holy Land
The brainchild of a Toronto/Nashville-based tour organization called Israel Theme Tours, the 10-day Elvis tour caters to the fans who love the King’s gospel music persona. For just under $4,000, they can join three US singers who accompanied Elvis on tour and in the studio in the late 1960s – Joe Moscheo and Terry Blackwood of the Elvis Imperials, and Bill Baize – as they visit the Christian sites of Israel – Nazareth, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, a cruise on the Sea of Galilee and the option of being baptized in the Jordan River.
According to Israel Theme Tours co-founder Joe Amaral, the tour is being limited to 100 people in order to enable access to the stars, who will be performing in a boat on the Kinneret, and will likely break into impromptu performances and hold evening jam and gab sessions throughout the tour.
But for some, the highlight of the tour might be a stop at the Elvis Inn, near Neve Ilan outside of Jerusalem, to experience the kitschy but heartfelt Israeli restaurant/ shrine to the King, complete with a larger-than-life statue in its parking lot. On Elvis’s birthday, they usually have an Elvis impersonator contest, so it would be nice to have the Israeli and the American Elvises get to meet face to face.
They can discuss whether Elvis was a Christian, or really Jewish, as the 1998 book Schmelvis: Searching for the King’s Jewish Roots, claims. It cites the facts that his maternal great grandmother, Nancy Burdine, was Jewish, he always wore a chai (the Hebrew word meaning “life”) pendant; he put a Star of David on his mother’s headstone; and his tremolo vocal style may have been influenced by his upstairs Memphis neighbor, Rabbi Alfred Fruchter, singing cantorial music when Presley was a teen.
They can even have a Jewish Elvis vs. Christian Elvis singdown. Can’t wait.