Perry Farrell isn’t a very Jewish name, is it? And most lovers of rock know Perry Farrell as the charismatic frontman of the band Jane’s Addiction, and as the creator of Lollapalooza, the popular music festival.
But wait! Perry Farrell started out as Peretz Bernstein — he was born in 1959 in Queens and, yes, of course he’s Jewish. And he’s been one of the more prominent celebrity proponents of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism.
And he seems to have moved on. These days, Farrell is really into the writings of the late Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the influential leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. (Who as an instance of things turning full circle is buried in Queens.) “Really into” might be an understatement for full-on obsession; he told Rolling Stone in an interview earlier this month that he studies Schneerson’s teachings through most of the night.
“One of my heroes currently is the great Schneerson. His writings and his teachings are amazing. I’ve been reading them like crazy lately,” he said when asked by interviewer Brian Hiatt about his heroes.
Hiatt asked Farrell if he calls himself a Lubavitcher.
“I’m a love-bavitcher,” Farrell replied. “I don’t know what you call it. I’m just in love with the study. I study through the night. I don’t sleep more than three hours at a time. I’d like to change that.”
It’s not new for Farrell to be interested in his Jewish heritage. He has ties to the Jewish community of Los Angeles. In 1999, he joined in a party there called Purimpalooza and he went to a public Chanukah menorah lighting in 1998.
“God’s existence is verified in the existence of his servants,” he said there, MTV News reported.
JTA Wire Service