Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Lakewood et al-

MAILBAG: The Alcohol-Drinking At Prominent Yeshivos Is Out of Control And Being Ignored

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This headline may sound familiar to many. I’ll remind you. In August, I wrote a letter to YWN titled “The Alcohol-Drinking At Yeshiva Camps Is Out of Control And Being Ignored”. Now I’ve decided to change the word “Yeshiva Camps” to “Prominent Yeshivos”.
It may be a bit harsh, but things are getting a bit out of control.
First off, I hope all of you just had a wonderful Purim. Wait, Purim? Have you been drinking early? It was Chanukah last week, not Purim! It was Chanukah at your family Chanukah party perhaps, but in the most prominent of Yeshivos it was PURIM.
Hatzolah in many communities had many calls for intoxicated Bochrim on Chanukah. At one very prominent yeshiva located in Upstate NY, Hatzolah needed Paramedics for one boy. In Lakewood, I heard from multiple Haztolah members that there were “intox calls” at Yeshivos as well. To say this clearly, the booze was flowing like water at these Yeshiva Chanukah parties.
While discussing this topic with my nephew in Eretz Yisrael, he informs me of a new fad called “Drunken Dreidel,” played by bochurim in dirahs of prominent yeshivos. Based on a graphic description from my nephew, it seems this ‘game’ entails taking turns spinning the dreidel and knocking down shots of vodka based on what letter the dreidel lands on. If it lands of a “Hay,” then everyone drinks a half a shot. A “Gimmel” would be a full shot for everyone etc. By the time the game is over, the boys are nearly passed out.
I’ve heard stories about Bochurim even getting arrested for disorderly conduct on a night of Chanukah! The famed Mashgiach at one of the most prominent Yeshivos was busy getting Bochurim out of jail instead of focusing on the more important things… like banning local stores from being opened past 11PM…..
There are stories every Shabbos in Yeshivas of Bochrim dead drunk in the dormitories.
I can go on and on and I should probably start naming Yeshivas. This is Pikuach Nefashos Mammish!
Nothing is being done about this. Nothing at all.     Our community is in total denial.
But lets all keep our heads in the sand and pretend that we don’t have a crisis on our hands.
Do these Roshei Yeshiva have any idea what an “AA” meeting looks like in the Frum community in 2017? They are PACKED with Frum people. Just wait until year 2025 when the number triple and quadruple. We are raising a generation of drunks.
What are these Yeshivos waiting for? Do we need a few boys to die of alcohol poisoning before people boycott these Yeshivos? Why is the “zero tolerance for a smartphone” enforced but the drinking epidemic being ignored?
I am demanding that the Yeshivas take action before I and others like myself take appropriate action to ensure the problem is dealt with another way. We will make sure your Yeshivos are (legally) exposed and blacklisted by every single family in America.
Thank you for publishing my letter, and I am sorry for being so harsh, but the reality demands this.
Yeshaya Dovid Braunstein – Lakewood


Sweet potato tempura said...

Reb Yeshaya Dovid,
Thank you for bringing this out. What in your opinion can/should be done about this?
I know what I did. The first year my son was going back to Yeshiva for Simchas Torah, I told him, if you want to drink a little, nisht geferlach, just don't go all out, just take it slow.
That was 2 years ago, and he drinks occasionally and is never a problem. He knows that his parents are in on it, and expect him to behave responsibly.
The parents need to have the foresight to step in EARLY and GUIDE the boys how to have a good time RESPONSIBLY. If everything is NO, NO, NO!, yeah, they will not know when to stop.
You have to assume that they're going to drink, you may as well bring it out in the open instead of making believe it doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

What happens when the PARENT doesn't know how to stop????????

Anonymous said...

Smoking is MUCH worse in the long run !?!

Anonymous said...

Smoking- at least brings you to G-D quicker.

Anonymous said...

I commend your concern. However I would first check with gedolei poskim to see if involving authorities without exploring all other options can go under mesirra for which a person is mechuyav .....
And I must add that a letter written into a Blog which is considered to be run by a person who has proven himself to have zero interest in truth rather to just further agendas that he is caught up in is not considered exploring all your options. I hope I am not being too harsh, thanks again for your concern.
Chaim Klien

Anonymous said...

This issue has been getting progressively worse.Thank you for printing this letter.Go to a wedding these days,and you will probably see drunken bochurim,and very inappropriate behavior.It has become "normal"to the frum wedding.There is a certain hefkeirus that has crept into frum lifestyle,that was looked down upon not long ago.A person that was drunk at a wedding,was looked upon as a bum.His parents were mortified.His Rebbeim would warn him that if this ever happened again,he was out of yeshiva.Instead of these reactions,the parent rolls his or her eyes,chuckles,and makes a joke out of it.Onlookers,think it's Geshmak,leibidig, and a sign of a Geshmaker Bocher,and the Rebbi/Rosh yeshiva looks away.He doesn't want to be the party pooper.He will answer you,"he will grow out of it,boys will be boys,you can't always say no,or they will rebel,I did it also when I was younger,As long as no one gets hurt it's fine,etc."It's total hefkeirus,"Grubb",the opposite of what a yeshiva bocher should stand for.It also may lead to damaging property,being inappropriate with other guests,basically acting like a low class bum.
If you have a son in a mossad where this occurs regularly at weddings,there is a good chance that there is drinking going on in yeshiva as well.How frequently,is up to each bocher,depending on their T'aava,discipline,ability to not be affected by others,self esteem
Any Rebbi/Rosh Yeshiva that is spoken to about the problem in his yeshiva,must immediately confront the ring leaders and tell them in strong language,"stop it immediately,or your not welcome here".If he does not do this,take your son out immediately.Besides for the potential harm that can befall your son through exposure to a culture that doesn't acknowledge the harm to excessive drinking(weddings,shalom zachor,vorts,siyum,mesiba,l'kovod Shabbos,just because...),any yeshiva that doesn't catch this in the bud,is a yeshiva that has many other issues they are ignoring.So save your son and take him out of there.
Some will say that's to extreme.What about the fact he's happy there,friends,derech halimud,it's a top place,he isn't affected(yet).A person that spends his formative years in such an environment will be affected. It will affect him,either by joining this low activity,learning it's not so terrible in others,thereby not standing up to it in his own future family,but most important,that yeshiva has no kedusha,and that's why you send your son there,to absorb kedusha for the rest of his life.A yeshiva that looks away from this,or can't stop it,or is in denial,will not instill kedusha in your son for life.Maybe some high level shiurim,stamp his passport as having gotten into an Aleph yeshiva,but no kedusha,so the whole thing may one day fall apart.

Maria said...

Drinking alcohol to the point of being buzzed is a way of escaping from the real world. Many people in the secular world used to have a drink to forget the tensions of the office, and calm the jangling of their nerves. People use it to forget their unappreciative husbands, worries about the mortgage, etc.
But what is a yeshiva bachur running away from?
He doesn't yet have a mortgage, or a difficult marriage.......
Are the yeshivos no longer the happy places full of simcha shel mitzva that I thin they used to be?