The first ever Grateful Yid gifts were given out with apples and honey at the Grateful Dead’s Shoreline Amphitheater shows before Rosh Hashanah in 1991. This year we celebrate that by the launching Grateful Gifts online with the first ever Grateful Yid kippahs made by the famous iKIPPAH in Brooklyn, NY.
The Grateful Yid movement began in the 1980’s, when Jewish Deadheads hooked up with Rabbi Langer and Bill Graham’s “taking it to the streets” model of outreach.
“There are thousands of Deadheads that happen to be Jewish. I think it’s because, inherently, the Jewish people have been searching, striving for a higher purpose, and it seems that the music Jerry helped create was also involved in this search,” said Langer to the SF Chronicle when Jerry Garcia passed.
Jerry Garcia allowed Chabad to use “Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right…”.
In 1975 a local miracle that happened in San Francisco when Bill Graham, the world-famous concert promoter and mensch responded to a request by Chabad leaders by creating a 22-foot mahogany Menorah. Bill supported its annual lighting until his death in 1991. The City of SF has declared that the first Sunday of Chanukah each year will forever be “Bill Graham Menorah Day. The Grateful Yid Rabbi continues to pass the torch and spread the light every year.
“Grateful Yid Shabbos,” was started with the famous Chanukah flyer given out at the Kaiser New Year’s shows, when Friday night Dead tickets were traded for Sunday shows (plus an invite to Chabad House for Shabbat dinner).
Rabbi Langer continues to bring the torch to the people – promoting the light in San Francisco and worldwide from ‘75 until the present, including: the shofar blowing at Woodstock ‘94 with “Schwartzie” of the Chai Center and Woodstock ‘99, the 1st Purimpalooza with Perry Farrell in 1999, 2005’s with Matisyahu, Perry lighting the menorah in 2018, and the 45th anniversary of the Bill Graham Menorah internet broadcast in 2020.