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Top: Jewish Entertainment: Elvis Presley's Jewish Ancestry

Elvis Presley's Jewish Heritage

A Brief Analysis of Elvis Presley's Jewish Ancestry
By Frank Weltner, Librarian

Is Elvis Jewish?

It seems that Elvis Aron Presley is Jewish by parentage according to a book by Elaine Dundy. In fact, the King's middle name "Aron" is a misspelling of Aaron, the brother of Moses in the Bible.

The book by Dundy claims that Elvis Presley has Jewish Heritage through direct descent from the Jewess Martha Tacket.

Elvis's mother, Gladys Love Smith's mother was named Octavia "Doll" Marsell by her mother who was a Jewess named Martha Tacket who lived from 1852-1887.

Under Jewish law, a person is of Jewish descent if his mother is Jewish. All Jews come through the lineage of their mothers.

All mothers in Elvis Presley's birth line run uninterrupted from the Jewish grandmother, Ms. Tacket, and then through all of his descending mothers and grandmothers. Therefore, Elvis himself is legally Jewish under the Jewish law of succession through mothers.

This information is found in the book entitled Elvis and Gladys by historian and biographer named Elaine Dundy.

Dundy writes in her book, "... Nancy Burdine was married to Abner Tacket. Nancy was of particular interest to Gladys for her Jewish heritage, often remembering Nancy's sons for their Jewish names Sidney and Jerome. Nancy and Abner had a daughter, Martha (Tacket), who married White Mansell. The daughter which they named Octavia nicknamed Doll who was Elvis' maternal grandmother."

After Elvis' mother, Gladys, died, the King designed her tombstone with a Star of David on it to honor her Jewish ancestry, which was something Gladys was proud of.



After a break in on August 29, 2021 to steal both Elvis' and Gladys' bodies, they were buried in Graceland where their security could be guaranteed.

It is reported that Elvis learned the Hebrew alphabet and wore a piece of jewelry called a "Chai" which contained Hebrew words and the Star of David during 1977, the last year of his life. When asked why, Elvis said it was to insure going to heaven by fulfilling every possible technicality.

Elvis was told by his parents not to mention his Jewish ancestry as many persons hated Jews. At one point in his life, Elvis lived in an apartment below a Jewish Rabbi with whom he would meet and confer on occasion.

Elvis gave money each year to Memphis charities. One year, Memphis Jewish Welfare sent a delegation to Elvis. He wrote them a check for $150,000. Elvis also donated a room for to the old Memphis Jewish Community Center.

Elvis is legally Jewish by having been born of a Jewish mother, and he did have some interest in this aspect of his inheritance, but his personal religion was Christian.

Elvis and his family sporadically attended the First Assembly of God in both Tupelo, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee.


Dundy, Elaine, Elvis and Gladys, Southern Icons Series.
Goldstein, Jonathan & Wallace, Max, Schmelvis: In Search of Elvis Presley's Jewish Roots.


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