February 20, 2019

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Did Bob Marley have Syrian-Jewish roots?


With thanks: Michelle

Well I never. The late reggae legend Bob Marley had Jewish roots.

 The World Jewish Congress tells us so, so it must be true. In fact the WJC has gone to the lengths of making a video giving special mention to Bob Marley in a potted history of Jewish Jamaica, the Caribbean island where Marley was born.

According to the video, Bob Marley’s father was a Jamaican called Norval. But his mother was Ellen Broomfield, a (white) Syrian Jew.

Quite what a Syria Jew was doing in Jamaica, the WJC does not tell us.

Hang on a minute! This website says that Ellen Broomfield was a coloured Jamaican. And this website says:

“There is unsubstantiated information circulating that Ellen was a Syrian Jew, but the name is not Syrian or Jewish and is an old Jamaican/English name.
A “wedding certificate for the marriage of Robert Marley [Bob’s paternal grandfather] and Ellen Bloomfield [his paternal grandmother] lists him as ‘white’ and her as ‘colored’.”

Sorry to disappoint you, folks. The balance of probability is that Marley’s mother was not Jewish. But take crumbs of comfort in the fact that Marley seems to have been a philosemite. And his own son Julian (below left) has visited Israel.

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