High Country: A New Cannabis Infused Seder
For Portland-based couple Roy and Claire Kaufmann, the Seder plate used during the Jewish holiday of Passover needed an extra space. Thanks to the co-founders of Le’Or, a cannabis-themed Haggadah now exists and encourages “high-minded Jews to spark up Seder table conversations” at the ceremonial dinner that marks the beginning of the spring festival, which begins at sundown March 30 (and ends April 7).
Hebrew for “to light,” the drug-policy reform nonprofit was founded in 2014 and advocates for legalization with a Jewish perspective. After hosting its first adults-only cannabis Seder in Portland in 2015 — sponsored by the organization’s biggest backer, Dr. Bronner’s — Le’Or set out to explore the spiritual connection to the plant, making it an accepted part of Jewish religious practice. This year, the Kaufmanns will host their third annual Le’Or Cannabis Passover Seder for Peace in Los Angeles.
It’s an invite-only event as organization and legalization continues to expand, but the marijuana-minded, modernized text of the historical prayer book is also available to use at your own Seder table. The Official Cannabis Passover Seder is available to download for free at http://www.leor.life.
Over the past few years, Judaism has emerged as one of the more accepting religions of cannabis culture, whether its chosen people are hosting “Pot Shabbats” in Los Angeles, curing infused lox in Denver or growing Kosher-certified flower in Canada.
“It was a collaborative writing experience between my husband and I. The idea came to us because we wanted to provide an avenue of approachability to discussing the Drug War and as an opportunity to spark real dialogue about all freedoms,” Claire Kaufmann says. “Freedom is what we celebrate on Passover, so it was the perfect occasion to incorporate cannabis.”
The 30-page text of the Official Cannabis Passover Seder is not endorsed by a rabbi, but it does contain all of the elements found in a standard Haggadah that guides the order of Seder rituals commemorating the Jews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt.
“It was really important to us that it be a Kosher Seder with all of the time-honored text intact. We just added the fun of cannabis. And just because you’re adding fun doesn’t mean you’re not taking it seriously,” she says.
An opening letter along with legal disclaimers (i.e. consume at your own risk, adults only, drive sober) and tips for what type of music to play, how much cannabis to provide and social media sensitivity sets the tone. And while a traditional Seder always starts with the lighting of the candles, a group song and blessing of the first cup of wine, at this Seder it is only after the “B’samim: Blessing the First Bowl of Cannabis” when Passover truly begins.
Katie Shapiro is a high-minded Jew. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed around high country @kshapiromedia.
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