This Is Your Song Too: Phish and Contemporary Jewish Identity
The rock band Phish has a diehard fan base and a dedicated community of enthusiasts—called Phishheads—who follow the band around the country, some fans attending every show. What may be surprising is that a significant percentage of Phishheads are Jewish. Two members of the band—bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jonathan Fishman—were raised in Jewish households, and Phish has been known to play Hebrew songs in concert. At live shows, many attendees, some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Phish” written in Hebrew letters, express feeling something special—even distinctly Jewish—during their performances. This event celebrates the publication of the book This Is Your Song Too: Phish and Contemporary Identity, which was co-edited by JSSJ faculty member Dr. Oren Kroll-Zeldin. The book argues that Phish is one avenue through which many Jews find cultural and spiritual fulfillment outside the confines of traditional and institutional Jewish life. In effect, Phish fandom and the live Phish experience act as a microcosm through which we see American Jewish religious and cultural life manifest in unique and unexpected spaces. Joining Kroll-Zeldin in conversation are co-editor Dr. Ariella Werden-Greenfield, Associate Director of the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History and Special Advisor on Antisemitism at Temple University as well as book contributor Rabbi Dr. Joshua Ladon, Director of Education for the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.
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