Monday, October 22, 2018

Battling addiction in Orthodox Jewish community means breaking through silence

nbc news

"The Orthodox attitude about drug problems is to stay quiet on the issue," said one rabbi working as an advocate for those fighting addiction.


  1. Street drugs play an important role in some segments of the Jewish community. The following is based on my experience. I am encapsulating enough material for a book into one or two paragraphs. So this is just the barest outline of my thesis.

    Most Jews live in cities and towns with all the amenities science and technology provide. A typical diet might be mostly obtained from local stores. It can consist of pre-packaged, overprocessed foods and can contain artificial coloring and preservatives.

    Much of the pure pleasure of life has been drained from city life: walking in the outdoors through woods, under the sky, clean air, drinking water that hasn't been chlorinated etc, eating fresh, natural, local food, and interacting with those who produce the food.

    To be sure, the city has its own pleasure that substitute for this: the nightlife, shows, etc. But much of it is artificial. And street drugs fit right into that. Artificial stimulation of the body through a drug, as opposed to get the same feeling through the natural rhythm of life and experiencing the world directly, not through the glass of a car window, nor through the glass of an internet connected device.

    Inevitably, drug use seeps into Jewish schools and homes. And some who feel they are lacking sufficient "real" pleasures can get sucked into taking much of the "fake" ones -- sometimes too much.

  2. isn't it ironic that Jews hate intermarriage except when it's a very rich Jew who has intermarried. Look at zuckerberg for example. He uses a kiddush cup from his grandfather and everyone gets very excited another case is Roman Abramovich and many other of the Russian oligarchs as long as someone has money they are important people regardless of the level of observance.

  3. is it true that American Hasidim don't learn on Halloween nittel?

  4. Growing up in NYC, I never heard of that custom.
    The influence that Halloween had on our daily lives, was that would be let out of school early, so that we would be safely home before the haters would be out rampaging, and looking for some Jews to victimize.
    Jewish schools, synagogues, and pedestrians were often targets of the throwing of eggs or tomatoes.

  5. It depends on the organization.
    There are quite a few religious Jewish organizations will NOT accept money from someone who is married out.

  6. sorry, it was just a seasonal joke. the real version is next month ;)

  7. Off the top of my head, I can count at least five mainstream (Lithuaninan style, not Satmar or Neturei Karta) Torah institutions, that I personally know about first hand.

  8. I would suggest, that a contributing factor may the amount of disposable income people have today.

    Years ago, when people had less money to blow, there was no easy way for a teenager to do drugs. Drugs cost money, and you knew that if you got addicted, then you would need to steal in order support the the habit, which risks hard jail time.

    Today, kids are walking around with much more money in their pockets, and there's more from where it came from. They have dad's credit card too. So when someone wants to experiment a bit, the financial barrier which formerly might have served as an impediment, has been greatly lowered.

  9. Throw into the mix that there is less stigma from within the family because parents themselves may have have/are used/ using street drugs/alcohol.

    Jail time, too, is rare. If arrested, worst case scenario is caught using/having is therapy, rehab or community service.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.