Passover…and Wandering the Desert…


Grateful Blog: Day 98: Last night was Passover. I celebrate it every year but not because I’m Jewish but because my dear friends are and I’ve been honored to have been invited to celebrate that Holy night with them for 15 years or more, as long as I can remember. It’s a special night, as much for the ceremony as for the company of friends. Our host calls it the ‘Jewish Thanksgiving’. Others call it the Last Supper. I’m just Grateful to be part of it.

The thing is, we read the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. In some ways the story is specific and in some ways universal. There was a passage in the book that we read from, the Haggadah, where it says something to the effect of ‘standing up against injustice and celebrating freedom’ and it was beautiful and I wish I could remember it because it a manifesto of sorts not only for the Israelite slaves in Egypt but for people everywhere. When you celebrate a tradition that is thousands of years old and realize that their hopes and dreams were no different than ours, one begins to have a greater appreciation of why we struggle with the difficult questions of modern day life, and how the against the backdrop of history our answers must be informed.

Then of course there are the rituals: The bitter herds, the unleavened bread or matzah, the lamb and the four cups of wine. I won’t pretend to understand the theology behind the Jewish faith or any faith for that matter, but I do know this, a faith that celebrates by inviting their close friends to partake in their sacred holiday is a blessing, for the food, the company, the atmosphere and the window into the past and the future. It’s simple, ancient, and unpretentious and I’m Grateful to once again have been part of that.

The nicest moment of the whole night was when our host, my friend Dennis, went around the table and spoke from his heart to each and every one of us, to why they were special to him. It was unscripted and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. There’s that thing, that anticipation when you know your turn is coming and you suddenly begin focusing in a deeper way than you ordinarily would and there’s a palpable feeling that overtakes you. Call it ‘being present’ or just being alive and fully in the moment. Anyways, it was like that. It was inclusive, heartfelt and special beyond the words I could type.

I don’t care what religion or God any my friends believe in. I believe in them and we believe in each other. Passover’s like that for me, an affirmation that we are all one as a people, no race, no creed, no nationalities or boundaries. We’re ALL wandering the desert the desert trying to figure out the meaning of our lives and what happens next. On Passover, surrounded by friends, there’s no need to wonder or worry, the moment and the celebration is enough, and Moses parting of theRed Seais just the icing on the cheesecake.


About Dan Weber

Award Winning songwriter Dan Weber has been described as “The Classic Mid-Life Overnight Sensation” after bursting onto the festival scene in 2010 to a standing ovation at the Sisters Folk Festival for his engaging set in the Dave Carter songwriting contest. Since then he’s toured extensively across the country becoming a rare 3 time finalist in the legendary Kerrville ‘New Folk’ competition, had 2 top finishes in the Woody Guthrie songwriting contest and in 2015 won the prestigious Winfield, Kansas ‘NewSong’ contest for Oh Woody, his anthemic tribute to Woody Guthrie, that rose to #2 on the Folk charts in 2015. An ex-Park Ranger, Eagle Scout, Altar boy and lifelong ‘Deadhead’, he left his hometown of Rochester, NY in 1989 in a beat-up primer grey ‘78 Pontiac Trans-Am with ‘a guy named Joe’ he’d met in a bar the night before, and never looked back. Living first in Seattle during the ‘grunge era’, then off the grid in a sheepherder’s trailer in Utah’s remote Canyonlands National Park, Weber eventually moved back north to Portland, OR, and settled in a 1948 Kaiser shipyard worker’s house in Vancouver, VA. Along the way he picked up stories and hitchhikers and eventually, picked up a guitar and began writing songs. Weber began performing later in life at age 40 but being a gifted storyteller, he quickly won over audiences with his natural charisma, upbeat performances, authentic songwriting, and off-the-cuff hilarious stories from the many roads he’s traveled. None other than legendary Folk troubadour Ramblin’ Jack Elliott said “I love Dan’s songs and he tells really good stories.” His songs have been described as “Guthrie-esque and reminiscent of early John Prine” and “A rare combination of wit, emotion and Harry Chapin-esque imagery” and the UK’s Maverick Magazine said: “4 Stars: The touch of a true Master Craftsman songwriter.” There’s also been recognition from DJ’s: “Hank and Jesus is easily the best folk song I heard last year” and The Victory Review wrote “Weber's writing is as strong as any in the Contemporary Folk community. Goodbye to Dad is one of the best original tunes that I have heard in a long time.” After the success of 2015’s release of What I’m Lookin’ For, a 14 song CD of classic Folk and Americana that climbed to #6 on the charts and included Oh Woody as well as the breakout hit (I Deal with) Crazy ALL Day, an everyman’s anthem and crowd sing-a-long favorite, Weber is currently working on his first live recording and new material for an upcoming CD. If his phenomenal growth in such a short period of time is any indication, it promises to be his best work yet.
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3 Responses to Passover…and Wandering the Desert…

  1. It sounds like it was a meaningful night for you. Nice!

  2. Jackie Inzinga says:

    Nicely written, Dan. My sentiments exactly.

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