For many, the journey to cannabis medicine comes after several painful years of trying seemingly ineffective pharmaceuticals. Shifra and Alex Klein know this all too well. After years of exhausting pharmaceutical treatments and therapies to treat their son’s severe autism, the Los Angeles-based Orthodox Jewish couple made the decision to switch to a more holistic approach – CBD. Unfortunately, what they found on the current CBD market was less than desirable.
The Kleins are both children of the 80s, where rampant anti-drug propaganda had them “just saying no” to cannabis for most of their lives. But they easily moved past that mindset when they learned of cannabis’s potential to treat their child. They decided to bring up cannabis as an alternate treatment to the doctors they were seeing at UCLA, but they were quickly shut down. Unwilling to take no for an answer, the Kleins ventured off on their own and started exploring cannabis treatment options.
Having never tried cannabis, they were looking for transparency. They wanted to know exactly what the oil they would be giving their son was comprised of. They wanted to know where it came from, how it was extracted and if it was properly lab-tested. They finally came to the conclusion the only way to get safe, kosher oil for their son was to start from scratch and make it themselves. It took months of research and networking before they were ready to give it a real try. They started by making edibles at home with flower from local dispensaries.
At first it was a little awkward. “I am a religious looking guy,” says Alex, describing one of the first times he went to a Los Angeles dispensary. “The security guard is this big, biker looking dude with tattoos everywhere and a chain hanging out of his jeans and says ‘the temple’s down the street.’” Alex quickly broke through the presumptions about him once he began asking specific questions about the dispensary’s AC/DC and Harlequin strains.
Once they practiced and refined their home extraction process (made via Crockpot) and went through numerous lab tests, The Kleins finally created a batch of CBD oil worth testing on their son and made cookies with it. The results were immediate. His cognition, attention span and language and motor skills all improved. Friends and acquaintances noticed the incredible positive changes and begged Shifra and Alex to make oil for their families, trusting the Klein’s integrity and kosher kitchen.
The First Kosher-Certified CBD Brand Under the Orthodox Union
Once word got out within their community that quality kosher edibles were being made to treat medical conditions, things began to snowball.
“I ended up making so much medication for community members that I ended up not being at work at my real job,” said Shifra.
After receiving an overwhelming amount of positive feedback in 2017, Mitzva Wellness entered the market as the very first Kosher Certified CBD brand under the Orthodox Union (OU). Mitzva Wellness products can be purchased online and shipped to all 50 states. They are also available at various doctor’s offices, pharmacies and wellness centers nationwide.
Mitzva Wellness’s products are effect-based, using specific terpene blends based on scientific research and published studies for maximum efficacy.
A big win for Mitzva was getting their brand certified kosher by the OU. This was a first for a cannabis brand. The Orthodox Union is the largest and most respected certifying agency for kosher products and until Mitzva, they refused certification to cannabis brands. “It took us close to 8 months of education on cannabis, extractions and debunking myths to get them on board,” said Shifra.
Mitzva also hopes to get their products Halal certified before the end of the year.
A Mitzva (Good Deed)
Mitzva Wellness has grown and evolved into a trusted brand in the kosher community, but moreover, the brand has bridged all communities by providing safe and effective CBD options for healing. As a result of their efforts, Alex and Shifra have helped destigmatize cannabis – especially for those in the Orthodox Jewish community.
“So many people that can benefit from cannabis refuse to try it because of the stigma attached,” Shifra said. “Our family is an example of a typical family that would be put off by those falsehoods, and here we are not only medicating our children but providing it for the world.”
For someone just getting acquainted with cannabis, Mitzva Wellness is a wealth of information.
“Whatever we have learned over the past 6 years on our own journey, only becomes a mitzva when we share it with others,” said Shifra.
‘Mitzva’ means “good deed” in Hebrew and Mitzva Wellness practices the sentiment behind their name by giving back 10% of monthly sales to nonprofits, as well as, offering discount programs to healthcare workers, veterans and first responders.
The time they spend working with researchers on developing natural, terpene-rich formulas that are more effective than a basic CBD oil is just one of the ways the Kleins put their heart into their product. Their Mitzva is providing knowledge and guidance to those who are new to treating themselves or loved ones with cannabis.
Dedicated to community outreach, the Klein family works to break the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding cannabis/hemp use and points families toward trustworthy information in order to make informed decisions regarding their healing. Whether it’s answering dosing questions, finding a qualified physician or pointing them to community resources, Mitzva supports every step of their customer’s journey. The next step for Mitzva is expanding their community outward.
“Being able to reach other places in California is a really huge goal for us,” Shifra said. “I know that when Mitzva Wellness can be in other places and people have access, we can help more.”