Rabbi Ties Jewish Faith to Medical Marijuana
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Rabbi Ties Jewish Faith to Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on September 24, 2013 at 05:21:05 PT
By Susan Donaldson James 
USA -- Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn spent his 30-year career educating others and helping to ease human suffering, leading Jewish congregations in Australia, Illinois, his hometown of Miami and New Jersey. Now, he is practicing his faith in different line of work: Kahn runs a dispensary for medical marijuana. Call it a mitzvah -- or one of God's commandments. "From the Jewish perspective, nothing is more important than the concept of healing and bringing sufferers relief," said Kahn, 61.
"I was a congregational rabbi during the worst days of the AIDS epidemic and saw up-close and personal what people living with AIDS were dealing with and finding relief with medical marijuana," he said. Just last month, Kahn and his wife, who works as a nurse at a long-term acute care hospital, opened the Takoma Wellness Center on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., where they are legally allowed to dispense medical marijuana. So far, they only have three customers, who must meet state criteria and suffer from one of five diseases: HIV, AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis or glaucoma. "The cannabis plant was created by God on the second day of creation when God created all the other plants, and touching this one isn't forbidden," Kahn said in a June interview with New Voices, a national magazine for Jewish college students. Stephanie Reifkind Kahn, 59, has decorated the dispensary with "hamsas," a Jewish and Arabic symbol to ward off evil. "They are Middle Eastern for healing and protection," she said. "It's something the Arab and Israeli communities agree upon. It is our shared connection." The Kahns are able to offer their for-profit services under the district's Medical Marijuana Program that launched Aug. 1. All proceeds will go to HIV/AIDS charities, according to the Kahns. Rabbi Kahn comes from the liberal stream of the Jewish faith, but he is not alone in his support of medical marijuana. The Jewish Advocate just recently reported that the regional co-director of the Chabad of Eastern Massachusetts, which is part of the orthodox stream, had applied for a medical marijuana dispensary license, one of 181 in that state. The rabbi, Chaim Prus of the Beth Menachem Chabad of Newton, told that he would be unable to comment until the licensing process is complete. In 2003, the Union for Reform Judaism passed a resolution supporting medical marijuana and called its congregations to support legalization for medical purposes. But that nor any of the other Jewish denominations support widespread legalization of recreational marijuana. Twenty states and the District of Columbia allow its regulated therapeutic use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California was the first, in 1996. Congress had blocked legalization in the nation's capital until 2010 with a "very well-regulated law," Kahn said. "We knew this could be done well and we know how to do this right," he said. "It's important to know the risks. But we are bringing healing and relief to people." Legal risks are still real, because any use of marijuana is still banned under federal law, but Attorney General Eric Holder eased fears recently saying he would respect local, regulated programs. A 2003 report by the Institute of Medicine found that cannabinoid drugs like marijuana, which has the active ingredient THC are effective for the treatment of pain, nausea control and appetite stimulation. The psychological benefits include anxiety reduction, sedation, and euphoria can influence their potential therapeutic value But the institute also noted that smoking marijuana is a "crude" method that delivers harmful substance. After their children left home, the Kahns left the United States to live in Israel, where their younger son was serving in the combat military and where medical marijuana is used legally and "robustly," he said. Stephanie Kahn's father had been ill with multiple sclerosis for 50 years. "In the 1970s he was going from doctor to doctor to try to find relief and couldn't find anything until someone suggested he try marijuana," said Kahn. "It gave him significant relief." But the man never lived to get marijuana "safely and legally," according to Kahn. In 2009, the couple came home to the U.S. because of transitions in their family --- they were to become grandparents and Stephanie Kahn's mother fell ill with lung cancer. They settled in Washington, D.C., where their older son lived. "She was going through very aggressive chemotherapy and radiation and her doctor in New Jersey had recommended medical marijuana, but she wasn't able to find it," he said. "She wasted away and lost 40 pounds in a few months." Ending suffering trumps all other Jewish laws, according to Kahn. A sick patient is not expected to fast on Yom Kippur; Jews have a responsibility to help the sick even when they are supposed to be praying. "God would never forbid the need to go to a hospital," Kahn said. "We put people in the ambulance and treat them with all the medical equipment -- even the orthodox do." In addition to marijuana, which the Kahns obtain from 10 warehouses around the District of Columbia, the dispensary provides a large selection of equipment, including a "magical butter machine" that converts the drug to butter, oil or tinctures. But Kahn also finds more traditional ways to bring comfort to his patients. "I find so much of my time is spent counseling people and speaking to people on the phone," he said. "I can't say that everybody facing illness likes to have someone to talk to. But lots of people do and I am using my rabbinical skills -- and that's really great." Source: (U.S. Web)Author: Susan Donaldson James Published: September 24, 2013Copyright: 2013 ABC News Internet VenturesWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #26 posted by FoM on October 01, 2013 at 06:05:10 PT
It is wonderful seeing you. I agree with your comment.
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Comment #25 posted by fight_4_freedom on October 01, 2013 at 02:13:28 PT
love this
"The cannabis plant was created by God on the second day of creation when God created all the other plants, and touching this one isn't forbidden," Kahn said in a June interview with New Voices, a national magazine for Jewish college students.
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Comment #24 posted by museman on September 27, 2013 at 10:52:33 PT
" museman, Guess what, "th'al'Lah is God". Yes, Dr. Freud also discovered that the Arabic word for Gawd sounded like the English phrase "the law". The phrase "Intsh Allah" (God willing) is suspiciously similar to English "It's the law!"That ignorance ignore-ance is not my problem. Don't make it that way. I refuse to contend with word games, the truth is sufficient for me.I share what I know. I have learned the hard way about the difference between words typed on a two dimensional surface, and the meanings in a persons heart. Sometimes an astute observer can detect these things, but most often those who have need of being on top, or social recognition ( and I've been there) are contentious about anything they can deride or put down.There are those who appreciate my perspective, and those who don't. Yet as Hope has said, we all manage to hang together in this space. I don't need to be patted on the back continuously (though it is nice once in a while :). I am not concerned with pleasing the status quo, in fact that messed-up fake reality can kiss my ass.A word to the wise; Trolls die daily.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #23 posted by mexweed on September 26, 2013 at 10:06:58 PT:
This term refers to a Jamaican-style long-stemmed chillum, which you can read about how to make at articles "How to Make Smoke Pipes from Everyday Objects" (we're gonna change the title so it reads VAPE TOKE) and "How to Convert a Wasteful Big Bowl Chillum into a Long-Stemmed One-Hitter" (titles quoted from memory, google should help you find the articles).
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Comment #22 posted by mexweed on September 26, 2013 at 10:00:24 PT:
Yes I do check later comments, sorry about the misunderstanding about "haw + spittle" etc. I'm actually sorta pround of that story.Jesus was young (about 30?) and made some mistakes so we lost him early like Franz Peter Schubert. Imagine what kind of music czar Schubert could have been by 1864, how much assistance and confidence he could have given the young Bruckner, etc.I let my "feelings" carry me into the music context, what I want to offer is, the great symphonies and string quartets are lying there ready to be used "Inspirationally" (after a toke) as the words-only Holy Scriptures have been for centuries, but with something additional-- the exercise-plus-education pay-off of synchronized two-track experience-- (1) reading the score (visible track) and (2) hearing/thinking/humming/singing/instrumentizing the sound track. Mentally combining what you see and the sound too, while you keep a finger moving along (left to right on the page) so you don't get lost-- that's the most profoundly educating thing I ever did after cannabis tokes (except for some handwork things). At International Music Scores Library Project (website) you can find scores to read while headphone-hearing a record or something scheduled on the Good Music radio station. Since chamber music scores (few parts) are easier to read than orchestra, I suggest you start with Schubert's Quartet No. 15, D-887 (with the "major--->minor motto" harmonic progression at the beginning that Mahler borrowed).
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on September 26, 2013 at 08:32:23 PT
What does this mean, Mexweed?
Now I have to tell people about the Choomette?Dang.I'm not sorry that I expressed to you my concern about making fun of people's, in this case, many of your actual allies in this struggle, beliefs, including my own, but I didn't mean for you to jump ship about it.
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on September 26, 2013 at 08:26:18 PT
As hard as things are for them right now ... and they are hard, they are blessed to have found you and Stick for good friends before all this came down on them.In the middle of all this devastation, they did get some real love from the universe... from that power, that spirit that seems to care about us, that's subtle but huge... that's everything, that "We live and breathe and have our being in", when they were guided into the circle of your friendship.I know how you can be... the gift that you have...solace, comfort, and direction. 
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on September 26, 2013 at 08:18:05 PT
I didn't mean to run you off.I'm sorry. 
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on September 26, 2013 at 07:00:46 PT
John Tyler and Hope
Thank you. Dave is still with us but he is no longer conscious. Robin came over to our house last night and we sat outside for a long time and talked while the dogs played in the yard. It was a good but a very sad visit. 
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Comment #17 posted by John Tyler on September 25, 2013 at 18:51:51 PT
cannabis spiritual connection
Anyone who has used cannabis with an open mind will have experienced that special cannabis - spiritual connection that has been expressed in so many ways through out history. Thanks for the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission comment Garry Minor. It was quite profound.FOM, so sorry to hear about your friends. I wish you the best.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on September 25, 2013 at 17:43:14 PT
"a solace in discomfort"
Comment 13.
Garry Minor. Thank you! That's great. I don't remember ever hearing or reading that before, as part of the Indian Hemp Commission study.  FoM. I like the term Boss, but if you don't like it, I'll go with Web Mistress. Or Cannabis News Staff. You are in a hard place right now, FoM. All I can think of, and I know you are doing that already is "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. He will make your path straight." 
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Comment #15 posted by The GCW on September 25, 2013 at 10:19:42 PT
Gary Minor,
Cannabis helped Me get to know the spirit of truth more than anything else in My life.It seems like the more cannabis becomes RE-legalized, more people will also have similar experiences.Further, the way cannabis was legalized for medical usage and that in turn brought about questionable antics... I'm ok with the laws not changing just for spiritual / religious use because of the potential associated scam that would come with it. When it's RE-legalized and people choose to use it for spiritual usage it will be more honest.-And use it for spiritual usage whether or not it is legal.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on September 25, 2013 at 08:36:43 PT
I am not a boss at all. I never liked being a boss. I like to blend in with everyone and not disagree with anyone. I cannot focus very well right now. Robin is having a very hard time and I am trying to help her accept what could happen at any minute. I can't figure out what I should do or not do. I can't get my mind around anything but Dave and Robin. I might need to go to sit with her today. I am not sure yet.
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Comment #13 posted by Garry Minor on September 25, 2013 at 08:12:04 PT:
The Ancient Tie That Binds!
From the early Sumerians, Egyptians, Chinese, Japanese, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Jews, Christians and Islam, though thousands of miles and even years apart, all knew the Mystical, Spiritual qualities of Cannabis.However, .... obviously, reading the comments here and other places, not everyone has these experiences with the Magic Herb! Especially not in today's censored, hylic, self centered, artificial world. Just reading the Zend Avesta you see how important the Plant of Truth was to the Zoroastrians, and, why they considered It the Tree of Life! Thousands of years later, a hundred years ago, this was written, not by a Zoroastrian, but it may as well be!A Word from the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission"To forbid or even seriously to restrict the use of so gracious an herb as hemp would cause widespread suffering and annoyance and to large bands of worshipped ascetics, deep-seated anger. It would rob the people of a solace in discomfort, of a cure in sickness, of a guardian whose gracious protection saves them from the attacks of evil influences, and whose mightly power makes the devotee of the Victorious, overcoming the demons of hunger and thirst, of panic, fear, of the glamour of Maya or matter, and of madness, able in rest to brood on the Eternal, till the Eternal, possessing him body and soul, frees him from the haunting of self and receives him into the Ocean of Being. These beliefs the Musalman devotee shares to the full. Like his Hindu brother, the Musalman fakir reveres bhang as the lengthener of life, the freer from the bonds of self. Bhang brings union with the Divine spirit. "We drank bhang and the mystery I am he grew plain. So grand a result, so tiny a sin.""In his devotion to bhang, with reverence, not with the worship, which is due to Allah alone, the North Indian Mussulman joins hynming to the praise of bhang. To the follower of the later religion of Islam the holy spirit in bhang is not the spirit of the Almighty, it is the spirit of the great prophet Khizr, or Elijah. That bhang should be sacred to Khizr is natural; Khizr is the patron saint of water. Still more, Khizr means green, the revered color of the cooling water of bhang. So the Urdu poet sings, "When I quaff fresh bhang I liken its color to the fresh light down of thy youthful beard." The prophet Khizr, the green prophet, cries, "May the drink be pleasing to thee." Nasir, the great North Indian Urdu poet, is loud in praises o his beloved Sabzi, 'the Green One.'Compared with bhang spirits are naught. Leave all things thou fool, drink bhang.From its quickening the imagination, Mussulman poets honor bhang with the title Waraq al-Khayal, 'Fancy's Leaf.' And the Makhazan or great Arab-Greek drug book records many other fond names for the drug. Bhang is the Joy-Giver, the Sky-Flier, the Heavenly-Guide, the Poor Man's Heaven, the Soother of Grief."J.M. Campbell
Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report, 1893-1894 I've read some interesting things here at Cannabis News, but, nothing compares to the selflessness, wisdom and knowledge of certain men thousands of years ago, and, even a few today that have had the Spiritual experience!
Whether called Shemshemet, Haoma, Ma, Taima, Kaneh bosm, cannabis, etc., etc. If this Plant can't bring us all together, what can?
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on September 25, 2013 at 07:05:12 PT
Didn't mean to act like I'm the boss
or anything. I'm not. FoM is. And yes, so much is going on that's hard to deal with right now in FoM's life. For sure.I'm not easily offended... except by trolls, of course and even then, I give them a chance when I probably shouldn't. And I don't mean to be jumping you out, Mexweed. You are very welcome here and your comments are interesting and worth while. You have quickly become a regular commenter and a part of C-News. Just part of your comment sounded like mocking and I just wanted to say something like ... let's take care not to spill the vitriol we might bring here, on each other.Something like that.Please.
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Comment #11 posted by ekim on September 25, 2013 at 07:03:52 PT
its been said we come in alone we go out alone
thanks again F0M for the example that not all is cut 
in stone.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on September 25, 2013 at 06:49:14 PT
Yes... that's our Runruff.
Snide, but fair. And we love him.Well some of us do.:0)Linda loves him for sure.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on September 25, 2013 at 05:06:42 PT
I agree with Hope that we all have different beliefs and they should be respected. I can't add more because our friend Dave is in his final hours of life and I can't sort things out right now. Thank you Hope.
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Comment #8 posted by runruff on September 25, 2013 at 03:24:34 PT
runruff mocks runruff...
...and most established institutions. Individuals, however, are taken on a one to one basis. I am often snide but fair. I have never personally attacked anyone here in the last 14 years or so except for an occasional troll that passes through. Those I beat up worse than a red headed step child!Belief systems? Everyone's got them. I believe we all go through life looking for a reason to be here and We go about looking for a creator to validate our existence, and a savior to save us from an eternal sleep.Whether any or all of these things really exist is not provable so why get hung up over it. Have your belief, I do not mind what-so-ever. For the most part, religion seems to be a part of the human experience. As for me you could not melt down a religion and pour it on me! I would be unhappy if anyone tried to kill me over their religious beliefs. That is where I definitly draw the line! So go, be human, I do not care. Humor is also a part of the human experience, the part I trend toward. No malice intended.Fear the creeper not the reefer!
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on September 24, 2013 at 19:20:42 PT
Except Runruff.
He mocks everything. Well, I don't think he's mocked any of us personally. And that's the point. Don't mock your ally. Please.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on September 24, 2013 at 19:18:56 PT
Your tone in that comment is mocking, Mexweed.
We that comment and read here have different feelings, attitudes, and opinions about what we believe or don't believe about a lot of things. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don't, but we don't mock each others beliefs, religious, or otherwise. You may not agree with some of the religious beliefs expressed here. That's fine. But we don't mock each other or each others faith or lack thereof. We are a small group of people of a mind to change the world for the better. To end an injustice. We are on the same side and we are allies in this and we will stay that way. Part of that happening is respect.As Aretha said..."R E S P E C T"
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on September 24, 2013 at 19:08:50 PT
Haven't ya'll noticed?
God only worked seven days in his life. About seven thousand years ago he worked on some massive construction job, afterward, he hasn't worked a day since. Talk about a strong union? I would love to belong to the Deities Local Union!He doesn't even answer his own door since he hired Peter.
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Comment #4 posted by disvet13 on September 24, 2013 at 18:44:19 PT:
arguing with God
context...once and for ALL, or ONCE and for all. Christ died, then he arose. there is only Christ. Hear Ye Him? that is the answer. you can argue with God on judgement day. of course most people choose to argue with Him every day of there life.
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Comment #3 posted by mexweed on September 24, 2013 at 17:09:38 PT:
Diversify Law, God
 "But that nor any of the other Jewish denominations support widespread legalization of recreational marijuana."Here again the narrowing focus onto two possible justifications for use of cannabis, "medicinal" and "recreational" (pronounced as in "wreck", for that you have the drug alcohol). What about "Inspirational"-- to help anyone achieve a breakthrough idea, solution to a life problem, etc., you'd think churches would be interested in that?-- or "Occupational"-- inventors, handworkers, artists, landscapers etc. whose work has an improvisational, invent-as you go quality requiring a dynamic attention capacity.I am not denying the value of medicinal, or hospital. The first famous hospital reformer was Jesus of Nazareth, who applied "haw" (lots of hot air about Gawd, the Fawther) and "spittle"-- he spat on some special clay, rubbed it forming a gooey substance which he applied to the eyes of the blind man who picked up his hammer and saw-- another great CARPENTER added to the ranks. museman, Guess what, "th'al'Lah is God". Yes, Dr. Freud also discovered that the Arabic word for Gawd sounded like the English phrase "the law". The phrase "Intsh Allah" (God willing) is suspiciously similar to English "It's the law!"
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on September 24, 2013 at 17:06:25 PT
Re-legalize that which is good.
Marijuana the "next great American industry," investor group says"The legal marijuana industry in the United States could mint multiple billionaires in the next decade, a Colorado cannabis business mogul predicted Tuesday."Cont. or bad, this is another reason why cannabis will be RE-legalized.
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Comment #1 posted by museman on September 24, 2013 at 08:22:48 PT
this is the "Law"
"But the man never lived to get marijuana "safely and legally,"" recommended medical marijuana, but she wasn't able to find it," he said. "She wasted away and lost 40 pounds in a few months.""God would never forbid the need to go to a hospital,"My friends, the "Law" is not God."No man can serve two masters."Which is it gonna be, the "Law?" or God?.I made my decision a long time ago, and I'm not confused into thinking that YHWH's suggestions and guidelines are "Law."LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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