Day before wedding, Sir Paul goes to shul

Paul McCartney married his American Jewish fiancee, Nancy Shevell, in a civil ceremony Oct. 9 in London. But the day before, he went to shul with her on Yom Kippur.

However, most of the 900 people worshiping at St. John’s Wood’s Liberal Jewish Synagogue on Yom Kippur were unaware until afterward of the famous guest who had joined them.

A handful of LJS officials knew of the visit in advance, after the ex-Beatle’s office ordered 15 tickets for  Shevell and members of her family, who were in England for the wedding.

“We knew her family were coming,” said Peter Abrahams, head of LJS security, “but we weren’t sure if he was coming until an hour before he arrived.”

Nancy Shevell and Paul McCartney photo/ap/jonathan short

Even emeritus Rabbi David Goldberg had no idea of the celebrity entourage sitting in the balcony when he officiated at the service. “[I’m at] the stage of eyesight when I am grateful to see beyond the third row, never mind the balcony,” he explained.

Some congregants might have caught on that something was afoot from the paparazzi outside the synagogue. They had followed McCartney from his nearby home on Oct. 8 in the late afternoon. But despite their best efforts, the photographers and reporters were unable to slip past synagogue security.

The family left as quietly as they came, after roughly 75 minutes, not staying to break the fast with tea and honey cake at the synagogue. Reports that they had received a blessing from the congregation were mistaken.

It is not the first Jewish event that McCartney, 69, has attended with Shevell, 51. He made a surprise entrance at a Chabad house dinner in New Jersey in December, honoring her father, Myron, who had donated $500,000 for a Torah program. And it is said to be Shevell’s influence that led him to play in Tel Aviv last year.

McCartney’s first wife, American Linda Eastman, who died in 1998, was Jewish. His second wife, former British model Heather Mills, is not, although she does sell a range of vegetarian products supervised by the Manchester Kashrus Authority.