The rabbi used to come to the bar almost every day. When he wasn't teaching Hebrew words to fellow barflies or delivering impromptu lectures, he would sit quietly on his stool and copy out sacred Jewish texts into marble composition notebooks.
The bar "has allowed me to work," he said one Saturday in May, his wiry, salt-and-pepper hair dipping down his spine. In between drags from a long, crackling plastic bag of vaporized marijuana, he shared a poem he had written to commemorate the bar's first anniversary. It celebrates "the good green-seeded herb of blessings." Over the line "drawing writing conversating and most of all inhaling smoke," he'd added an "e" in a different color — creating the word "inhealing" out of "inhaling."
Suffice it to say, this was not your grandfather's bar, even if it was your rabbi's.More »