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Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Marijuana Rebbe

Miriam over at Bloghead, who posted about the pot-smoking, driving-while-under-the-influence Rabbi first here (and received a lot of flak for her post - though I don't think she deserved it), pointed out the NY Times article that announces his reinstatement after only one month of paid leave. I, like Miriam, find the whole thing to be bewildering. The congregation has kept the Rabbi on because, the story goes, the Rabbi was loved by all, and the congregation wanted to use this opportunity to present a real-life example of Teshuva. I'm sorry, but it isn't like the Rabbi came to the realization of his misdeeds by himself. He was arrested. For posession of marijuana, and for driving while impaired by said illegal substance.

Now it is not for me to judge whether the Rabbi is on the road to repentance. He may well be. But I can't understand how the congregation is putting him back in his position of being a role model, and with so little in the way of consequences for his illegal, and dangerous, actions. What kind of message is this to send to the teenaged members of the congregation? That driving while under the influence is really not that bad? That it's only worth a minor slap on the wrist? Teenagers are one of the groups that are at highest risk for driving under the influence violations. Shouldn't a man who is ostensibly a major role model in their lives be a role model in that arena as well?

The nuttiest quote in the article came from an 87-year-old woman who is in favor of keeping the Rabbi on. She said:
"The man has done a stupid thing," she said, echoing a sentiment widely held on both sides of the issue. But, she added, "the crime that was committed was against our government, not against our people."
..."Who among us is perfect?" she said the next morning. "Who among you didn't take a little puff of marijuana? Who didn't get plastered and got behind the wheel, and didn't get caught? Who didn't take two cookies out of the supermarket and hand to your child?"
Miriam answers, "Um, me, me and me (to the last three...)". And, I would have hoped, the Rabbi of my congregation could say the same.

Just my two cents.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least now we have a rabbi we can ask the really important questions -- like, what is the bracha on pot brownies?

8:58 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

LOL. Good point. It's not even about the pot. That's illegal, but accepted, and not really dangerous. Driving under the influence of pot is another thing entirely. And for a Rabbi and role model? Apalling.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

Also - Stealing from the supermarket??
Clearly those people have low standards.

Still a community has to find a Rabbi which suits them. If they find a pot smoking, reckless driving (cookie stealing??) Rabbi to suit their needs they should go for it. Lord knows he'll have a heck of a time finding work elsewhere.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shifra, You are funny! Yeah, he's gonna have trouble finding work after this I think. But even the thieves and drunkards need a rabbi, right? ;)

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I should take this more seriously. It ain't right.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like they're talking about Rabbi Marion Barry

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mirty - It's still mezonot. But probably better to wash and say hamotzi on something else first, lest you forget to make subsequent brachot when you develop the munchies. :)

Also, Orthomom...you're not perfect? *gasp*

9:44 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Also, Orthomom...you're not perfect? *gasp*

Hey, I didn't claim to be imperfect, Miriam did. I quoted her, remember?? On perfection, and...uh..other things. My actions are not in discussion here. Only Miriam's, and the Marijuana Rebbe.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your posts and comments sometimes make me very happy. (and not in that I just smoked two joints kind of way, either)
Hooray for Orthomomma and her Blogging Bochur-ettes!

10:31 AM  
Blogger Y.Y. said...

which rabbi?

12:30 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

I don't think it's a big deal. I've never smoked a joint, but I know that things like beer are more addictive and more dangerous. And possesion of less than an ounce isn't even a felony.

In fact, a month's suspension strikes me as a little harsh for someone who has committed a traffic violation.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no, we're not starting another game of "I never" are we?

2:48 PM  
Blogger shleppy said...

he's not a real (orthodox) rabbi anyway so whats the difference?

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That comment by shleppy is appalling and disgusting.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

give me a break. this is weed, not alcohol. the worst that a stoner will do behind the wheel is go 5 miles under the speed limit. stoners don't kill. don't confuse stoners and alcoholics. i don't remember ever reading about a stoner killing someone while "under the influence.." that is just rediculous.
who knows the reasons that this rabbi smokes? what if he has a perfectly good reason? marijuana has been used by many (and yes, in ancient times, Jews too) for healing purposes.. i was just reading in a library book that it was even used to lessen childbirth pain..!
marijuana is not a big deal. i would be more worried if he was G-d forbid an alcoholic or a meth user or something.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This post has been included in Haveil Havalim #39, hosted by SerandEz - take a few minutes and check what it says. Shana Tova!

2:10 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

I caught up with this news item on Tzom Gedaliah so all I can add is that this seems one way to go "L'Eila uLeila" for the New Year.

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. y.y., aren't you afraid?

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And A Link Back To Your Web Site Excite You?

3:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

display your RSS feeds on their web sites for content.

1:33 PM  
Blogger miriam sawyer said...

the worst that a stoner will do behind the wheel is go 5 miles under the speed limit. stoners don't kill. don't confuse stoners and alcoholics. i don't remember ever reading about a stoner killing someone while "under the influence.." that is just rediculous.

Anon is wrong. Marijuana impairs judgment. Judgment is needed when operating a car. In traffic. Where you can kill or injure others.

Let the rabbi smoke whatever he wants in his own home. Just take away his license for a year.

4:58 PM  
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