Tablet Magazine

The Conservative Movement Moves on Cannabis

A recent vote found overwhelming halachic support for medical marijuana—and narrower, qualified support for recreational use

In December, the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards—which sets halachic (Jewish law) policy for affiliated rabbis and the Conservative/Masorti movement worldwide—approved a teshuva (responsum) called “Medical and Recreational Cannabis Usage” that addresses social, legal, and medical issues around cannabis, and incorporates Jewish legal principles about balancing personal safety and health with the mandate of preserving life. (A teshuva is meant to serve as a teaching tool, providing guidance to Conservative/Masorti rabbis and their constituents worldwide on key issues.) “Two of the most important and significant principles in Torah are that we should choose life and protect life,” said Rabbi Pamela Barmash, CJLS chair and professor of Hebrew Bible and biblical Hebrew at Washington University in St. Louis. This teshuva represents the first time that the Conservative movement has ruled on cannabis usage. “Until recently there was no point of talking about cannabis because it was illegal,” said Rabbi Elliot Dorff, rector and distinguished service professor of philosophy at the American Jewish University. “But now that many [countries] have approved cannabis, including Israel, it’s important to understand what Jewish tradition says to us. Just because something is permitted in civil law doesn’t mean that Jewish law should allow it.”...

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Jewish Disabilities Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month

February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month. Read here for Tablet’s roundtable discussion with Jews with disabilities about physical barriers, attitude adjustment, and how to be more welcoming as a community.

Tablet Magazine



Encyclopedia

Zionism (and anti-Zionism)

[ˈzaɪ-əˌn-ɪz-əm] noun

Zionism is the political movement to establish Jewish self-rule in the historic Jewish homeland, Israel. The Jewish religious and cultural a...

Tablet talks about Judaism a lot, but sometimes we like to change the subject. Maggie Phillips covers religious communities across the U.S.—from Christians to Muslims, Hindus to Baha’i, Jehovah’s Witnesses to pagans—to find out what they’re talking about.

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Unorthodox

We Can Help

Ep. 401: AJC CEO Ted Deutch on antisemitism in America, a visit to a Brooklyn school welcoming Ukrainian refugees, our new favorite children’s book, and a visit from Kosha Dillz

February 22, 2024

Zionism: The Tablet Guide

The definitive guide to the past, present, and future of modern Judaism’s most fantastical and magnetic idea—and the West’s most explosive political label.

Read more, and click here to order the book.


On Abortion

The Tab

The Tab is our curated weekly digest for members that collects recent articles, recipes, an insert from The Scroll, and more. Become a member and enjoy!

Roundtables on the state of the American Jewish community, bringing together people from a shared demographic or background—everyday people with personal opinions, not experts who earn their salaries discussing these issues.

Photographic illustration by Barry Downard/Debut; portait of Black: Nechama Jacobson; original photo of Bob Dylan © Barry Feinstein Photography, Inc. Used with permission from The Estate of Barry Feinstein
Photographic illustration by Barry Downard/Debut; portait of Black: Nechama Jacobson; original photo of Bob Dylan © Barry Feinstein Photography, Inc. Used with permission from The Estate of Barry Feinstein
The New Jews

A montage of iconic moments from the Jewish past points the way to a Jewish future—one driven by a generation of new voices

At least Ruth didn’t have to fret about social media. The only thing this Moabite woman, arguably the world’s first convert to Judaism—and ancestor of one King David—had to do was hold on to her mother-in-law and promise to go whither the older woman went. She wasn’t expected to share photos of her challah rising on Instagram, defend Israel on Twitter, bare her soul on Substack, or cultivate small communities of followers on Facebook. Her journey was decidedly private, intimate, all but forgotten if it weren’t for the Bible’s author peeking in and recording the grandeur of her experience for posterity. Today, we have a new class of Ruths, only this time many of them are trying to negotiate some of the most profound and pressing questions facing Jews—about identity and belonging, about money and politics, about making friends and losing faith—along with public or semipublic profiles. They are new Jews, but—if we are lucky—they will be among the most important Jews in the coming years. To illustrate the role we believe Jews-by-choice are increasingly playing in the American Jewish future, we matched each of our interviewees with an iconic image from the recent American past. Because every religious evolution is a conversion—every day brings with it the possibility of changing in ways until now unexpected—the stories these men and women tell us are particularly meaningful, and their wisdom so keenly appreciated. There are, to be sure, many more who share their trajectory, but here, in their own words, are some thoughts from these visible and inspiring people making their journey back home to Judaism. ...

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An ‘Unorthodox’ Celebration of Conversion

Listen to five years of deeply moving personal stories, audio diaries, and reported segments about Jews by choice around the world

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National Jewish Book Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the National Jewish Book Awards! Tablet profiled author Julia Watts Belser, who took home this year’s prize for contemporary Jewish life and practice for her book Loving Our Own Bones. And author Elizabeth Graver, who took home the prize for Sephardic culture for her book Kantika, was featured in a Tablet piece about her writing.

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