Muhammad Ali’s Grandson—a Bar Mitzvah: On April 28, 2012, Jacob Wertheimer, the grandson of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, became a bar mitzvah at Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Khaliah Ali-Wertheimer, Jacob’s mother, was born and raised as a Muslim; her husband, Spencer Wertheimer, is Jewish. “No one put any pressure on Jacob to believe one way or another,” she says. “He chose this on his own because he felt a kinship with Judaism and Jewish culture.”
During the ceremony Muhammad Ali supported his grandson and looked intently at the Torah.
Reform Jew Olympics Star: Alexandra “Aly” Raisman, a member of Temple Beth Avodah in Newton Center, Massachusetts, led the U.S. women’s gymnastics team to Olympic gold at this past summer’s London games. The squad captain’s floor routine, performed to a jazzed-up version of Hava Nagila, received the highest floor exercise score of the evening, sealing the U.S. team’s victory over Russia. Notably, she also dedicated her win to the memory of the Israeli athletes slain in Munich in 1972, after the International Olympic Committee had ruled against honoring them with a moment of silence in the opening ceremonies.
“Aly is what you see on TV…gracious, confident, focused,” says Rabbi Keith Stern. “She was the same at her bat mitzvah.”
Reform Rabbi to Open Medical Marijuana Dispensary:
Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn outside the site of the future dispensary.
Photo by Rita Rubin originally published in Tablet
Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn and his wife, nurse Stephanie Reifkind Kahn, will be opening one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington, D.C. in order to ease the suffering of people who might benefit from medical marijuana.
Over the last decade the Kahns had witnessed firsthand the suffering of both Stephanie’s father, who had multiple sclerosis, and mother, who had cancer. Doctors had recommended marijuana to both of them to minimize their symptoms, and the few times her father could secure it he found it reduced his pain and muscle spasms, but because they lived in states where medical marijuana was illegal, it was practically impossible for them to obtain it.
After their deaths, “our midlife quest for a new way to make a positive difference in people’s lives and a lifelong commitment to pushing the envelope to help others made this the obvious path to follow,” Rabbi Kahn says.Two years ago they began laying the groundwork for a legal dispensary in D.C., and this past June the D.C. Department of Health approved their Takoma Wellness Center as one of the first four applicants eligible to register to operate such dispensaries in the D.C. district.