Were Europe’s great rabbis a bunch of potheads?

Marijuana is "great for praying," says author Yoseph Needelman. "The best way to use it, spiritually, is to share it." (Photo credit: CC BY/Pablo Evans via Flickr.com)

NEW YORK (JTA) — After graduating from a Modern Orthodox high school in New York, 30-year-old author Yoseph Needelman moved to Jerusalem to explore the use of marijuana in Jewish tradition. For eight years he bounced between religious institutions, interviewing spiritual leaders to find out whether there was indeed a place for drugs in the Jewish world.

The result of his research is compiled in “Cannabis Chassidis,” a book that explores the Jewish use of marijuana. The book was published originally in 2009 under Needelman’s pen name, Yoseph Ibn Mordachya.

Popular views of the drug are rapidly evolving — a change reflected by the success of recent ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Needelman’s book may find an audience among those seeking religious and practical advice on the use of marijuana. 
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