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May 7, 2015 / 18 Iyar, 5775
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Amb. Oren’s Wife Was Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane Groupie

Sally "played Frisbee with the Grateful Dead and served as Jefferson Airplane’s muse."
Sally Oren

Sally Oren
Photo Credit: Cynthia Cumming

Sure, you have every reason to doubt a Rock n’ Roll story from The Jewish Press only a couple of weeks after our beloved editor Yori Yanover gave the world his Purim prank about the Rolling Stones defying the BDS’ers to perform in Israel. But this story doesn’t come from us, it’s been published by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic Monthly.

According to Goldberg, Sally Oren, wife of Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, who today is in her early 60s and plays the role of diplomat’s spouse with distinction and grace, was a free spirited Rock n’ Roll groupie in San Francisco a mere 45 years ago.

Sally “played Frisbee with the Grateful Dead and served as Jefferson Airplane’s muse,” reports Goldberg, who was told by her daughter, Lia: “Jefferson Airplane wrote a song about my mother.”

So Goldberg, ever the dedicated journalist, confronted the mother: “Did Jefferson Airplane write a song about you?” and she, “somewhat abashed,” answered, “Two songs, actually.”

“We were kind of mascots for the bands,” Sally Oren explained. “I was too naive to know if anything else was going on.”

Sally and Bob Weir, the Grateful Dead guitarist, played Frisbee in Golden Gate Park, she told Goldberg. “I would sit with these guys on Sunday afternoons at the Fillmore dance parties. I was so shy, and Jerry Garcia wouldn’t talk a lot either. We just sat there eating hot dogs.”

By the Summer of Love, in 1967, Oren, then 16, was on a first name basis, practically, with Cream, the Doors, and the Who. “I didn’t meet Jimi Hendrix, but he was fantastic.” She had only a nodding acquaintance with other artists. “With Jim Morrison it was sort of a ‘Hi, hi, how are you?’ sort of thing,” she said.

Boys and girls, read the whole article “Six Degrees of Sally Oren – Just one woman links Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Bibi Netanyahu.” It’s fun.

And the Stones? They’ll come if we all close our eyes really tight and ask.

About the Author: Tibbi Singer is a veteran contributor to publications such as Israel Shelanu and the US supplement of Yedioth, and Jewish Business News.


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