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Wishin' us a Grateful Chanukah!-2

"Sometimes the light's all shining on me...Other times I can barely see..." (Truckin' in the wilderness...)

Part 1 contains great music and information about this Festival of Lights.

See link at bottom.

It concluded with:

The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication”...

...Let's see what happens when we add an "a" between the "e" and the "d"...

"There's a Grateful Dead song for every occasion..." says my friend Steve B - a VW owner, fellow surfer and fan of the band...Steve also taught me how to repair my VW Bus..which started me on my CAReer path. Thanks, Steve!

--a scholarly exploration of the lyrics...

On his Facebook page:

The Secret Jewish History of the Grateful Dead

In case you don't pass this way again, here's a cool article that's sure to help you appreciate why I'm so passionate about these wandering-in-the-wildreness Merry Pranksters...How they are SO INCLUSIVE..As they invite EVERYONE to join them in "Playing in the Band..."

"The group, led by Jerry Garcia, inspired ‘Jews for Jerry’ and ‘Blues for Challah.’"

[selections 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.

In The Grateful Dead’s 30-year-career, the band recorded only about a dozen studio albums. These formed the basis for the group’s live performances, which were The Grateful Dead’s raison d’être. The manner in which the basic tracks on their studio albums turned into their legendary group improvisations are relatively analogous to the role that the Written Torah and the Oral Torah have played in the evolution and perpetuation of Jewish law and wisdom.

When the band was still mostly a Bay Area phenomenon in the mid to late 1960s, they were heavily involved in community action, playing free concerts and taking part in efforts to feed and house those in need, in acts of what modern Jews might term tikkun olam. repairing the world.

While there are numerous stories about how the group happened upon the moniker The Grateful Dead by chance, the term itself stems from folktales in many cultures about dead people repaying kindness to those who pay for their burial. These tales all closely align with the Jewish commandments of Livayat HaMet and Chesed shel Emes to watch over the dead and with accompanying a dead body to the grave.

As everyone knows, Jewish ice cream makers Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield immortalized Jerry Garcia in the ice-cream flavor Cherry Garcia.

One of the greatest Grateful Dead concerts of all time was the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen in upstate New York in 1973, which featured just two other bands besides The Dead — the Allman Brothers Band and The Band. The festival set an all-time record for attendance. The crowd numbered 600,000 — the same number of attendees at the original rock festival, where Moses gathered his tribe to Mount Sinai to receive the Word of God.

Seth Rogovoy is the author of “Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet” (Scribner, 2009). He totally doesn’t get the appeal of The Grateful Dead, and can’t bear to listen to the live album, “Dylan & the Dead.”

Seth Rogovoy is a contributing editor at the Forward. He is the author of Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet (Scribner, 2009) and the forthcoming Within You Without You: Listening to George Harrison (Oxford University Press).

This book was a gift to me from my sister-in-law Deb who lives with her husband Jim in the aforementioned Berkshires. Here it sits in my "study" on my multicultural...multifaceted bookshelf...along with the first and the last license plates from my 1965 VW Bus...

"Jews for Jerry"

[from this article] Many a Deadhead during the years has likely remarked offhandedly that a particularly deep “Dark Star” jam or a searing peak in “Morning Dew” amounted to a religious experience.

For Jews who’ve found a spiritual home within the sphere of the Grateful Dead, that just might be true. The perceived overlap between the worlds of the Dead and Judaism has proven to be a fertile subtopic among fans, writers and academics who are used to scouring the Grateful Dead experience for bits of debatable theory. But what’s the essence of the connection?

“Deadheads felt like outcasts in America, yet we were outcasts who built a very strong and vital and joyful community,” observes Steve Silberman, a writer who earned gold records for co-producing the So Many Roads (1965-1995) box set and penning liner notes for re-releases of Workingman’s Dead and Europe ‘72. “There’s a wink-wink understanding that we’re always in the same tribe. It’s a feeling of being both outcast and deeply inside. You’re deeply inside something that the uninitiated do not understand. It gave you a place to be special in a world in which you were told that you were less than ordinary.”

(continues in the article)

SHALOM...Beyond the Maccabees...there is another way...

Holidays are times for remembering...

Other Posts in this Series


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