Singer Lenny Kravitz on His Jewish Upbringing: ‘It Was All About Tradition and Keeping That Alive’
American singer-songwriter Lenny Kravitz discussed how his Russian Jewish father made sure his upbringing was deeply rooted in Jewish tradition in a new interview with The New York Times.
The Grammy-winning artist, who recently released a memoir titled “Let Love Rule,” described his father, the late TV news producer Sy Kravitz, as “a self-assured Jewish man” whose parents refused to attend his wedding to Caribbean-American actress Roxie Roker, Lenny’s mother. Sty’s family came around only after Lenny was born and named after Sy’s deceased brother, Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz, the singer previously said.
“I am deeply two-sided,” the “American Woman” singer, 56, wrote in his new memoir. “Black and white. Jewish and Christian. Manhattanite and Brooklynite.”
When asked whether his father had an interest in educating him about Judaism, the singer told The New York Times, “No, he wasn’t that kind of a communicator with me. And he wasn’t religious. As with many Jews in my family at the time, it was all about tradition and keeping that alive, especially after what people in the family had gone through in World War II. But I still got exposed to it, from going to temple and spending the High Holidays with my family at their houses.”
Lenny’s father threw him out of the house when he was 16 and he had no stable home for a few years. The two made peace before Sy died in 2005, “but I can’t say that I understood everything, or accepted it,” the singer noted.
“In writing this book, I got to understand him as a man, instead of looking at him as my father who screwed up in different arenas,” he added. “I ended up liking and loving him even more.”