Houston Rabbi’s Kosher Certification Extends to … Weed?!

‘Air Mail’ reports on Rabbi Yaakov Cohen’s unique take on having a toke.

photo-1596656933

A Houston rabbi has received some national attention for a, well, unorthodox reason this week.


Digital magazine Air Mail — published by Graydon Carter, the longtime Vanity Fair editor — posted a story about Yaakov Cohen, who owns Whole Kosher Services. Cohen was recently tapped by Los Angeles entrepreneur Roxanne Dennant to certify her products as kosher. So why is this newsworthy?

Dennant makes Fruit Slabs — all-natural, vegan and weed-infused “gelatin” squares. “Some Jews keep Shabbat to the degree that they will not light a lighter,” Dennant, who is Jewish, tells Air Mail’s Michael Kaplan. “They rely on edibles if they want to [indulge] during the Sabbath.” Dennant also mentions that local rabbis were wary of getting into the marijuana market, and couldn’t certify her edibles as kosher.

Enter Cohen, whose six-and-a-half-year-old son died from brain cancer in 2014. Cohen saw firsthand that cannabis helped relieve the unpleasant side effects of the chemotherapy, and believes that the line between medicinal and recreational usage is a little fuzzy. “While you can look at it all as recreational, what about the person with migraines who only gets a good night’s sleep after eating a gummy?” he asks Kaplan. “He should be able to get it in a kosher form.”

Cohen, who has five other children, is a director of Torah Outreach Resource Center of Houston (TORCH), a community organization that boasts a “unique, non-judgmental approach to Jewish education” near Bellaire.

AT TOP: Rabbi Yaakov Cohen, photo courtesy of Whole Kosher Services

Art+Culture
Thrive + Inspire: Former Texans President Rootes Says ‘Commit to Pushing Back’

AN INTERVIEW WITH Jamey Rootes, former President of the Houston Texans

When did you know that something big was going to impact Houston? It was 7:30am on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, and I was participating in one of the first-ever meetings of the Greater Houston Partnership Executive Committee to be conducted via Zoom. The normal public policy and economic development focused agenda was hijacked by a discussion regarding the potentially devastating impact of a new and highly contagious virus. It was hypothesized that this virus, the novel coronavirus, could absolutely overrun the capacity of our local health system. I was skeptical. I thought, "We have the largest medical center in the world. It would take something of biblical proportions to exhaust our medical capacity." As I learned, Covid-19 was pounding Europe, especially Italy, but we had yet to have a documented case of community spread in Houston. That was all about to change.

Keep Reading Show less
People + Places

CALL IT NAKED ambition. This holiday, Houston's top jewelers tout baubles beautiful enough to pair with the season's most festive fashions — or with nothing but a luxurious fragrance from centuries-old Parisian perfumer House of Creed, which just opened a Galleria boutique.

Keep Reading Show less
Style

The crowd partied with Galantis at the grand opening of Sekai Night and Day in EaDo.

HOUSTON IS WIDELY known for many things. Space exploration, medical research, energy production, even dining and shopping. But, much to the chagrin of some party-hearty Houstonians, the city hasn't been in the national spotlight for its nightlife.

Keep Reading Show less
Art + Entertainment