How long does it take for a joke to become an earnest Jewish non-profit initiative?
About a decade.
In 2005, one of the key plot lines in the Passover comedy film “When Do We Eat” was the pater familias’s accidental ingestion of mind-altering drugs as he led the seder.
Now, Le’Or, the non-profit formed by Roy and Claire Kaufmann to promote Jewish support of marijuana legalization, has issued a cannabis-themed haggadah which, according to its press release, “urges high-minded Jews to spark up seder table conversations.”
“We hosted the inaugural Cannabis Seder last year here in Portland,” Claire Kaufmann said. “The seder was such a fun, powerful, and uplifting experience for all of us there that we wanted to share it with our community worldwide.”
The 30-page haggadah promises to provide “a familiar and fun venue to have a new, often-uncomfortable conversation about marijuana prohibition, race, and justice.”
And yes, it adds a leaf of marijuana to the seder plate, replacing the lettuce used for maror.
“Attending [Le’Or’s] cannabis seder last year, I realized just how far we have come bringing an amazing life-affirming plant out of the shadows,” said Adam Eidinger of Dr. Bronner’s, the event’s main sponsor.
As topical haggadot go, this is probably the first to begin its “Tips for a great seder” section with the admonition “Be social-media sensitive.”
Noting that “cannabis consumption is a sensitive issue,” it cautions that “If you are going to photograph your seder and post to social media, get explicit permission from attendees first.”
The haggadah follows the outline of the traditional seder, except that with each cup of wine there is a complementary bowl of cannabis consumed. (The authors recommend drinking grape juice rather than wine to avoid excessive intoxication.)
It includes less than joyful reflections on the drug war, such as this one from Michelle Alexander’s book, “The New Jim Crow”: “Nothing has contributed more to the systematic mass incarceration of people of color in the United States than the war on drugs…. There are more people in prisons and jails today just for drug offenses then were incarcerated for all reasons in 1980.”
You can download the haggadah at jews-and-weed.myshopify.com for, of course, a tax-deductible donation of $4.20. (420 is the number that’s come to be code for pot.)