New community havdalah events mix tokes with tikkun olam

NEW YORK (JTA) — Marijuana entrepreneur Catherine Goldberg was working on an event with the Orthodox founders of Mitzva Herbal, a company that makes kosher-certified cannabis-infused edibles, when she shared her dream of uniting marijuana-loving Jews over Friday-night dinners.

“They were, like, ‘Cat, we can’t smoke on Shabbat,” Goldberg, 28, recalled. “So I figured havdalah, instead, was perfect.”

Thus “Chai Havdalah” — in which “chai” is pronounced “high” — was born.

Since July it has become a somewhat regular event, advertised by word of mouth, that marks the end of Shabbat with the traditional havdalah blessing alongside the less traditional acts of smoking marijuana and eating cannabis-infused edibles.

So far there have been five Chai Havdalah events, mostly in the herb-friendly states of California and Colorado. But last weekend, on

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