It’s Official: Elvis Presley Was Jewish (christiansfortruth.com)
“There was a lot of mystery surrounding it,” said Angie Marchese, Graceland’s vice president of archives and exhibits, and the one who came up with the idea of unveiling Gladys’ headstone on the 60th anniversary of her death, partly to dispel doubts about Elvis’ Jewish lineage. “The star is on it, so it answered a lot of questions that were out there.”
Marchese says Elvis’ maternal great-great-grandmother was a Jewish woman named Nancy Burdine. Little is known about Burdine, but it’s believed her family immigrated to America from what is now Lithuania around the time of the American Revolution. According to Ancestry.com, Burdine was born in Mississippi in 1826 and died in 1887.
Burdine’s great-granddaughter was Gladys Love Smith, who married Vernon Presley in 1933. Two years later, Gladys gave birth to Elvis in Tupelo, Mississippi. The family moved to Memphis when Elvis was 13.
The Presleys once lived in an apartment directly below the family of Rabbi Alfred Fruchter, the first principal of the Memphis Hebrew Academy. The rabbi’s son, Harold, who now lives in Maryland, said that Elvis actually served as the Fruchters’ “Shabbos goy,” a non-Jew who performs household tasks for observant Jews that are normally forbidden on the Jewish Sabbath. Fruchter said his parents “never had even an inkling” that Elvis had Jewish roots.
Elvis was especially close to his mother, who died of heart failure in 1958 at the age of 46. Initially Elvis had her buried in a public cemetery in Memphis. Her headstone was marked with a cross.
But Marchese says that six years later, Elvis replaced the headstone with one designed to his specifications. The new marker featured a Star of David on one side and a cross on the other along with the words “Sunshine Of Our Home” engraved between.
What prompted Elvis to include the Star of David on his mother’s headstone? Marchese isn’t exactly sure, or even when Elvis learned of his mother’s Jewish heritage. But she says “the Jewish faith gave him comfort when he was seeking answers”
to help him deal with her passing.
Following an attempt to steal Elvis’ body from a Memphis cemetery, Vernon Presley had the remains of his son and wife moved to Graceland for security reasons. Gladys’ grave marker with the Star of David went into storage. And there it remained until Marchese suggested it be put on public display.