The story of Jews and cannabis begins in ancient times and connects to religion, science, medicine and law.
Numerous Jewish texts, including the Bible and the Talmud, reference cannabis. Prominent rabbis have discussed it in their writings and it has been used by Jews in religious rituals and for medicinal purposes. Many Jews are at the forefront of scientific research and medical applications of cannabis. They have also been deeply involved in the counterculture and legalization movements, as well as the commercial aspects of the modern cannabis industry, from horticulture to distribution to paraphernalia.
The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research’s latest exhibit, Am Yisrael High: The Story of Jews and Cannabis, will explore the contributions Jews have made to the field of cannabis and showcase materials from medieval documents to contemporary artifacts.
It will be on view from May 5, 2022 through December 2022 at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, located in the Center for Jewish History building (15 West 16 Street, New York, New York). Opening night of the exhibition will feature a panel moderated by the exhibition curator, Eddy Portnoy, discussing the many connections of Jews to cannabis – religious and spiritual, historical, scientific and more.
Panelists include horticulturist, educator and legalization activist Ed Rosenthal, attorney Adriana Kertzer, Rabbi/Dr. Yosef Glassman and journalist Madison Margolin.
The panel will take place Thursday, May 5 at 7:00 pm ET at YIVO and will also be live-streamed on Zoom. To register for this free event, go to yivo.org/Cannabis
Commenting on the exhibit, Eddy Portnoy, YIVO’s academic advisor and exhibitions curator, told Benzinga, “Jews have made significant contributions to cannabis culture in a number of realms, among them business, science and medicine, and the legalization movements. While cannabis is for everyone, the unique contributions featured in this exhibit shine a light on the work done by Jews in this field and also how cannabis has been part of Jewish life since Biblical times.”
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