Religion: Phish & Judaism – Going to Synagogue at MSG [Huffington Post]

For Phish fans, New Year’s Eve is a High Holy Day. And in Phish lore, Madison Square Garden is a sacred temple — perhaps the most sacred.

So what happens if you’re diehard for both Phish andJudaism and one never-miss-it concert falls on the Sabbath? Do you skip synagogue? God forbid.

Yerachmiel Altizio, 35, is a devout Jew who has seen Phish perform more than 200 times, but because a live concert on the Sabbath presents a number of Jewish legal issues (traveling, carrying and listening to live music are prohibited) he was not able to attend the New Year’s Eve extravaganza in Manhattan.

Perhaps now I should give full disclosure: I’ve seen Phish 12 times and though my standards for observance aren’t exactly the strictest, I would also call myself a devout Jew.

It’s in this context that I raise the question: Is the mind-altering environment of a Phish concert an appropriate place for a devoted Jewish seeker? And further: Is it, even on the holy Sabbath, perhaps the ideal environment?

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