Did you know that Frank Sinatra was a devoted friend to the Jewish people and a lifelong supporter of the State of Israel? Growing up in Hoboken, New Jersey, Sinatra’s Jewish neighbor, Mrs. Golden, often babysat while his mother was out working. She spoke to him in Yiddish and served him coffee cake and apples. He was so touched by her kindness that for many years, Sinatra wore a mezuzah charm that she gave him.
In 1943, he performed in Ben Hecht’s “We Will Never Die” pageant at Madison Square Garden to raise awareness of the Holocaust. He also starred in short films about antisemitism and religious intolerance.
In 1962, Sinatra traveled to Israel for the first time. He performed seven concerts, including one for Israeli troops. He also sang at the official Independence Day event in Tel Aviv and was seated beside Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and General Moshe Dayan on the reviewing stand during the IDF parade.
In 1995, he marked his 80th birthday with a trip to Israel on his private plane. He was accompanied by several close friends, including Lee Iacocca and Walter Matthau. The group spent time in Eilat, Jordan, and Egypt. Sinatra’s love for Israel and the Jewish people remained constant throughout his life. He passed away at the age of 82 on May 14, 1998, the 50th anniversary of Israel’s independence.
Photo: Frank Sinatra watching the Independence Day parade in Tel Aviv, 1962 (Government Press Office)