Get us in your inbox


Am Yisrael High: The Story of Jews and Cannabis

  • Things to do
  1. Menorah bong
    Photograph: Courtesy of YIVO
  2. Hashish document
    Photograph: Courtesy of YIVO
  3. Seder plate
    Photograph: Courtesy of YIVO

Time Out says

Most New Yorkers probably don't know that the relationship between Jews and weed is a long and intricated one that spans generations.

"Am Yisrael High: The Story of Jews and Cannabis" seeks to explore that history at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research inside the Center for Jewish History (15 West 16th Street). It will be on view May 5 through the end of the year.

The show will take a look at the references to the plant that appear in the Bible, and other Jewish texts, while dissecting how cannabis has been used by Jews in religious rituals and for medical purposes throughout the years.

On a more contemporary subject, the project will shed light on the Jews that have recently been at the forefront of scientific and medical research surrounding weed, exploring more commercial aspects of the business, including horticulture, distribution and paraphernalia.

Expect a variety of medieval documents, more contemporary artifacts and even menorah bongs to be on display throughout the space.

"While activity in the many realms of cannabis involves all kinds of people, not only members of the tribe, many Jews have played significant roles in a number of aspects related to cannabis and their connection warrants inquiry," said Eddy Portnoy, the academic advisor and exhibitions curator at YIVO, in an official statement. "The story of Jews and cannabis begins in ancient times and connects to religion, science, medicine and law. It's a story that continues to evolve."

The exhibit is completely free to attend.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan


You may also like