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(Corrected to) January 14: The Gathering of the Tribes

Lawrence Bush
July 14, 2010
pictureThe first Human Be-In brought more than 20,000 people to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on this date in 1967, as a prelude to the Summer of Love. Among the key organizers of this “Gathering of the Tribes” was Allen Cohen, a founder of the San Francisco Oracle, who had teamed up with the psychedelic artist Michael Bowen to create a “Love Pageant Rally” a few months earlier in protest of LSD being made illegal. “Without confrontation,” said Cohen, “we wanted to create a celebration of innocence. We were not guilty of using illegal substances. We were celebrating transcendental consciousness.” Performers at the Be-In included Allen Ginsberg and the (nearly all-Jewish) Jefferson Airplane; speakers included Jerry Rubin, Lenore Kandel, Jack Weinstein, and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass). “Now. . . The humanization of the American man and woman can begin in joy. . . A new concert of human relations being developed within the youthful underground must emerge, become conscious, and be shared so that a revolution of form can be filled with a Renaissance of compassion, awareness, and love in the revelation of the unity of all mankind. The Human Be-In is the joyful, face-to-face beginning of the new epoch.” —organizers’ call

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.