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Bill Graham and Fillmore East

Promoter Bill Graham (born Wulf Wolodia Grajonca) opened the Fillmore East in New York’s East Village on this date in 1968, with a concert that featured Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin). Graham was born in Berlin in 1931. At age 8, not long after Kristallnacht, he was placed in an orphanage by his Russian immigrant […]

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The First Human Be-In

The 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 […]

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June 14: Guitarist with Country Joe and the Fish

Barry “the Fish” Melton, guitarist and co-founder of Country Joe and the Fish and a lifelong progressive activist, was born to a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father (a merchant seaman who shipped out once with Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston) in Brooklyn on this date in 1947. The band was the most politically radical of […]

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Judaism as a Counterculture

Testifying Against Idolatry by Lawrence Bush   The Almighty Dollar. Rugged Individualism. Shock and Awe. Illegal Aliens. Supermodels. Boob Jobs. Face Lifts. American Idol. The Pepsi Generation. Drill Baby Drill. Kill It and Grill It. Lock Them Up and Throw Away the Key. I’d Rather Be a Conservative Nut Job than a Liberal with No […]

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June 3: Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg, the author of “Howl,” “Kaddish,” and numerous other stunning poems that brought Jewish and homosexual content, as well as outrage at the inhumanity of modern American capitalism, to the forefront of American intellectual consciousness, was born (first name Irwin) in Newark, New Jersey on this date in 1926. Ginsberg became the most enduring […]

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From the Archive: Just Say Maybe

A Discussion about Psychedelic Drugs, Healing and Politics From the November-December 2005 issue of Jewish Currents In January of 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave rare approval of a research project examining the possible usefulness of MDMA, an illegal (Schedule 1) psychoactive drug, for alleviating anxiety among terminally ill cancer patients. The study, […]

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