Stations in Bob Dylan’s spiritual journey
5 Jewish stations in Dylan’s spiritual journey
Bob Dylan’s spiritual identity search has taken a long journey – including a period in Christianity. But he completed is his journey as a believing Jew – and that is often reflected in his music.
The exhibition Forever Young – Bob Dylan at 75 is on display until November 2017
Dylan poetically rewrites a father’s blessing over his children at the Sabbath table, invoking the story of Jacob (“May you build a ladder to the stars /And climb on every rung”) to connect it to his own youngest son, who would grow up to be a rock star, outselling even his father.
“Talkin’ Hava Nagilah Blues”
Bob Dylan accompanies son-in-law Peter Himmelman and Harry Dean Stanton in this unorthodox rendition of “Hava Nagila.” for a telethon.
“With God on our side”
Years before “Schindler’s List,” Dylan takes to task “the Germans” for having “murdered 6 million… in the ovens they fried” in this 1963 protest song.
“Highway 61 Revisited”
A midrashic retelling of the sacrifice of Isaac (“Oh, God said to Abraham, ‘Kill me a son!’ / Abe says, ‘Man, you must be puttin’ me on”) by the son of Abe Zimmerman, who was born just a few miles from U.S. Highway 61.
“All Along the Watchtower”
The 1967 song, which continues to be a cornerstone of Dylan’s live performances to this day, may be best known in its Jimi Hendrix version, but its narrative and imagery are basically a rearrangement of material cribbed from Isaiah 21.