“Am Yisrael High: The Story of Jews and Cannabis”
Long before people like Abbie Hoffman and Allen Ginsberg began protesting in favor of the legalization of marijuana, this popular plant had been a part of Jewish life for millenia. From the Bible to the present day, Jews have been buying, selling, and using cannabis for religious and medicinal purposes and as an intoxicant. This talk will detail the long history of Jews and cannabis – and will delve into aspects that range from religious texts to medieval manuscripts to contemporary artifacts, all of which reveal deep Jewish involvement in the science, the marketing, the legalization, and the usage of cannabis.
Eddy Portnoy, the Academic Adviser and Exhibitions Curator at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, is the author of Bad Rabbi and Other Strange but True Stories from the Yiddish Press. Portnoy earned an MA in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University and a PhD in Jewish History from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In addition to curating exhibits, he writes and lectures on Jewish popular culture. At Ashkenaz 2022 Portnoy will deliver multiple lectures, including the following: ‘Am Yisrael High: The Story of Jews and Cannabis’, ‘Follow My Nose: The History of Yiddish Cartooning’, and ‘The Scandals of Yiddishland: Sensationalism and Yiddish Journalism’.