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PASSOVER 2023: Shalom Sesame

I DEADicate this post to my wife Eileen who earlier today found these Shalom Sesame Passover videos.

"Why is this night different?

..."because tonight we are celebrating Passover on Sesame Street..."

"Toto, we're not in INDIANA anymore..."

Old Testament microwave oven:

She was in such a rush to leave that the dough didn't rise...and she was left holding...the matzah...

It reminded me of those Saturday morning TV or movie house serial features...

With a little "Twist & Shout" while counting out...



[from this article] Matzah, the cracker-like bread, round or square, made by hand or machine, that we eat on Passover. True enough, say the Jewish mystics, but there's much more than that: matzah is the "bread of faith."1 How so?

The Hebrew word matzah is composed of three letters: mem, tzadi, and hei. The first and last letters of the word comprise the Hebrew word mah, which means "what." Mah is central to Divine worship. Speaking for himself and Aaron, Moses said, "Va'anachnu Mah?"—"What are we?"2 His was a rhetorical question. What are we? We are but nothing!

The mah is a question mark, but rather than leaving us with a question it leaves us with a silence that answers all questions. The answer itself need not be stated, merely implied. It is beyond articulation, but clearly intuited. Only G‑d is something. Before Him, what are we?

Mah thus connotes humility; recognizing our place in the context of G‑d. It is interesting to note that mah is also a key component of the Hebrew word chochmah, which means wisdom. When we explore the etymological root of the word chochmah, the words koach mah, "power of what," emerge. Wisdom is our profound ability to gaze beyond the veil and see the simple, but essential truth about ourselves. Koach mah. The power [to acknowledge that we are but] what.

(more at the above link)


“Life is about rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythm machine, that’s what we are.”

—Mickey Hart

[from this article] For a group with a significant Jewish following, there was never much on the surface that was Jewish about The Grateful Dead. Over the course of the band’s 30-year existence from 1965 to 1995, at least a dozen musicians held positions in the band, but only one member, drummer/percussionist Hart, was Jewish. Born Michael Steven Hartman on September 11, 1943, in Brooklyn, and raised in the heavily Jewish Five Towns area of Long Island, Hart is best known for bringing non-Western rhythms and time signatures to the band from Asia, Africa and Latin America, but these never included any Jewish nuances.

Still, Jews were, and to this day remain, a visible presence among the fanatical followers of the Dead, who are known as Deadheads. In the tent villages that popped up around arenas and stadiums wherever the band was playing, there was often a contingent of “Jews for Jerry” integrating their own version of Jewish practice with the rituals of Deadheadism, including wandering around, following their Moses-like leaders to an unknown destination, often in search of a “miracle” in the form of a concert ticket or manna from heaven — a decent meal.

Today, “Jews for Jerry” lives on as a Facebook group and has given birth to annual events such as “Blues for Challah” at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in the Berkshires, an ingathering exploring whatever Jewish influences participants can find in the music and culture surrounding the Dead. (Full disclosure: I presented a session at the second “Blues for Challah” retreat, albeit one focused on Bob Dylan, whom the members of the Dead themselves worshipped as a prophet and as a provider of songs). A similar gathering, “Unleavened Dead,” took place at a Jewish summer camp outside St. Louis last summer.

(More at the above link)


--tonight's music & serious and fun-filled reflections fit for Passover. Includes visits with Mel Brooks, Allan Sherman, The Grateful Yid (a.k.a., Rally Rabbi, Frisco Kid), Jerry Garcia and Alice Cooper.


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