You are here


Alcohol Free, Not Free Alcohol

By: David Mandel  

Rav Dovid Weinberger, the shul’s Morah D’asrah, introduced the issue by explaining that the mitzvah of v’shamarta es nafshosechem, to keep your body healthy and al taamod al daam re’echa, don’t stand by idly while your friends blood is being spilled, was the basis for inviting Dr. Wertzberger to speak about the problem of teenage drinking in the frum community. 

Dr. Wertzberger, one of the Medical Coordinators of Hatzalah is all too familiar with the problem of teenage drinking. He shared three brief stories of excessive drinking, one leading to a boy vomiting blood, the second story of a child requiring resuscitation from a comatose state, and the third of a teenager who actually died. Dr. Wertzberger decried all three as preventable and urged his fellow mispallelim to take the issue of making alcohol available to youngsters much more seriously.

Shul Ban on Liquor
Rabbi Weinberger responded immediately. He announced that henceforth all liquor served in his shul would be supervised. Rabbi Weinberger wanted to ensure that no underage child could take a drink unsupervised at a Shabbos kiddush, a shalom zachor, on Purim, Simchat Torah or at any shul simcha.

Rabbi Hershel Billet of the Young Israel of Woodmere advocates a ban on all liquor except for wine at a shul kiddush or any simcha. As a practical matter it is understood that neither shul caterers, nor for that matter baalei batim are ready to accept such a drastic change.

Bar Mitzvah Initiation
Our recent conversations with teenagers in OHEL's Addiction Treatment Program are very revealing. It is all too common to hear from these sixteen-year-olds how they had their first serious drink at the age of twelve or thirteen at a friend's bar mitzvah.

They relate that booze was easily available, it was free and no one was watching; not their parents who usually weren’t there since it was a classmates or friends bar mitzvah, not the hosts and not the bartender.

These boys speak of a quick, easy and inexpensive high. The booze was in plentiful supply every Shabbos at shul kiddushim. Access was relatively easy.

Alanon
Chaim Brill, OHEL’s Addiction Coordinator, Phyllis Mayer, Director of Children’s and Family Services and I were recently invited to attend an anniversary celebration of a sixteen-year-old who was alcohol free for one year. The setting was an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. The event was striking for two reasons: we were truly happy to share in the success of this young man who appears to be doing extremely well and on his road to recovery. Secondly, it was painful to see that one fourth of the twenty-five members of the group at this AA meeting were frum people ranging in age from sixteen to forty-five.

Yet, the alcoholics at this AA meeting were at least at a point of recognizing and dealing with their addiction. They were attending AA

Alcohol free not free alcohol was the message given by Dr. Moshe Wertzberger in the Shabbos Parshas Zachor speech at Congregation Shaare Tefilah in Lawrence, New York.

Meetings. AA is almost an unheard of phrase in our frum community.
Though Dr. Wertzberger spoke at Shaare Tefilah the week of Purim, his remarks serve as a reminder that people with drinking problems donÂ’t confine their drinking to Purim or to Simchas Torah. Of course, those are popular dates on which to focus our attention on this issue.

But this is also a good time to speak about Pesach. This is a tricky time for a young man with a secret drinking problem. We are obligated to drink "rov cos". How convenient. We could imbibe to our hearts content and if we get sloppy who will say anything?

Dr. Wertzberger was also referring to the habitual weekend drinker, the man who consumes two shots at the shul kiddush club, two or three more shots at the regular shul kiddush, two shots at home making kiddush for his family and finally another one or two with the meal. These ten shots consumed every Shabbos between shul and home don’t go unnoticed by this man’s children. Children learn by example.

My Name Is, and I'm an Alcoholic
All who participate in AA meetings begin their sentence with "Hello my name is… and I’m an alcoholic". This is true for Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), Sex Anonymous (SA). It is true for any addiction. Often, at these meetings you will hear a person say they are addicted to more than one substance such as alcohol and drugs. It doesn’t start out that way. It often ends up that way.

The first step to recovery is a willingness to recognize a problem. Rabbi Weinberger’s and Rabbi Billet’s plans to control the flow of liquor in their shuls could certainly prevent a youngster from beginning to drink. But for the person who is already there, the road to their recovery begins with the words, "Hello I have a problem." 

Latest News

NEWS

  • 07/21/17: A Tee-rific Day Golfing with OHEL...
  • 07/11/17: Empowering Families To Fight Addiction: OHEL & Amu...
  • 06/09/17: OHEL’s Third Annual OXC Classic at Camp Kaylie D...
  • 05/16/17: At TD Five Boro Bike Tour, Team OHEL Wins for OHEL...
  • 05/11/17: OHEL Co-Sponsored Rebbetzin’s Conference Draws R...
  • 05/11/17: 500 Participants to Challenge Themselves for a Gre...
  • 05/01/17: The Multiple Challenges Faced by Teenagers Today -...
  • 04/24/17: OHEL Bais Ezra’s Hosts Autism Family Day in NY C...
  • 04/04/17: OHEL's Annual Legislative Breakfast Draws Public a...
  • 04/03/2017: As OHEL Expands, Alan Secter Appointed New Chief...
  • 03/30/17: The Eternal Bonds of Grief - Losing a Child with D...
  • 03/15/17: This Purim, OHEL Brought Happiness & Warmth to Hun...
  • 02/28/17: OHEL to Open New Residence for Individuals with De...
  • 02/23/17: OHEL is the Only Agency Approved to Provide New Re...
  • 01/24/17: Half the Marathon, Twice the Fun!...
  • 01/11/17: A Day With OHEL to Remember the Love and Sacrifice...
  • 01/09/17: Life; Fully Engaged...
  • 12/29/16: OHEL Celebrates Chanukah with the Amazing Shloime ...
  • 12/6/16: OHEL Breaks New Ground in Confronting Stigma 1,100...
  • 11/6/16: Team OHEL Keeps on Running at TCS NYC Marathon!...
  • 09/28/16: OHEL’s 47th Annual Gala - If OHEL’s Walls Coul...
  • 9/23/2016: OHEL to Temporarily Move Headquarters to Downto...
  • 09/20/16: The Mel and Phyllis Zachter OHEL Institute for Tra...
  • 09/07/16: At Start of New School Year, OHEL’s Dr. Norman B...
  • 08/24/16: OHEL’s Retreat to Bushkill Inn Provides Inspirat...
  • 08/15/16: OHEL Bais Ezra’s East 26th Street Residence Cele...
  • 07/28/16: Camp Kaylie - Reflections of a Past Camper and Fut...
  • 08/1/2016: OHEL Bais Ezra’s Hillcrest Residence Celebrate ...
  • 07/06/2016: Chinuch Comes Alive at Camp Kaylie...
  • 6/20/16: A Tee-rific Day Golfing with OHEL...
  • 06/22/16: Yoni Benedek, Touro Social Work Graduate, Wins OHE...
  • 05/15/16: OHEL’s Second Annual OXC Event at Camp Kaylie â€...
  • 06/7/16: Mariano Rivera Pitches in for OHEL ...
  • 6/6/16: OHEL Launching Local Support Groups for Divorced Mot...
  • 6/2/16: Anxiety and Relationships...
  • 6/1/16: OHEL to Significantly Expand Services to Children an...
  • 5/26/16: New Challenges and Changes Facing Millennial Genera...
  • 5/10/16: Exclusive Screening of OHEL’s Rising from Divorc...
  • 4/26/16: OHEL And Kool Kids Bounced Around On Chol Hamoed!...
  • 5/9/16: OHEL’s New Listen for a Change Podcast Series Yiel...
  • 4/15/16: OHEL's Annual Legislative Breakfast Draws Public an...
  • 4/10/16: Canarsie Meets Boro Park For Makeovers and Mingling...
  • 4/13/16: Art Exhibit by Moshe Pollak, OHEL Mental Health Res...
  • 4/3/2016: Children and Families Enjoy OHEL Bais Ezra’s Fam...
  • 7/17/2016 Emotional Intelligence...
  • 1/21/2016 OHEL Hosts First Lady Chirlane McCray...
  • 12/07/15 - OHEL Lights up the Lives of its Children and Fami...
  • 11/11/15 Co-President of OHEL Moishe Hellman is Guest of Hon...
  • 11/10/15Team OHEL Honorees, The Levi Family Personifies Fa...
  • 11/05/15 - Gloria and Harvey Kaylie, Founders of Camp Kaylie...
  • 12/30/15 -NJ Native Bruce Prince to Be Honored at OHEL’s 4...
  • 10/29/15 Rabbi Yaakov and Leah Lehrfield Of Staten Island to...
  • 10/23/15 OHEL Runs Challah Bake in Honor of Shabbos Project...
  • 10/16/15 Message From Rabbi Shalom Rosner On the Situation i...
  • 10/07/15 - Dear Sarah: My daughter still has not found her b...
  • 9/3/15 - OHEL’s Retreat to Bushkill Inn Provides Inspirati...
  • 8/19/15 Chesed Begins at Home Meira (Reinstein) Mintz...
  • 8/10/15 Gloria and Harvey Kaylie Visit Camp Kaylie for Kayli...
  • 8-10-2015 Beyond Comprehension Dr. Norman N. Blumenthal...
  • 07/15/2015 - Double Your Impact...
  • 05/13/15 - Team OHEL Crosses the Finish Line!...
  • 5/13/15 - Sibshops Family Event...
  • 04/28/15 - OHEL & Jewish Family Service of Clifton-Passaic B...
  • 04/28/15 - OHEL Launches New and FREE Parenting Workshops...
  • 4/14/15 - Rav Moshe Lieff and Rabbi Eli Mansour Join OHEL fo...
  • 03/31/15 - NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray Passionately Calls...
  • 03/19/15 - OHEL’s Sibshops Program Hosts Another Successfu...
  • 03/03/15 - OHEL and Task Force Co-Sponsor Important Communit...
  • 02/27/15 - OHEL’S Expansive School Based Services Garner P...
  • 2/26/15 - OHEL Bais Ezra Individuals Celebrate Elisheva’s ...
  • 02/23/15 - DRS Students & OHEL Day Hab Individuals Pack Mish...
  • 02/15/2015 - OHEL Receives Top Scores in Government Regulato...
  • 01/19/15 - OHEL & Jewish Family Service of Clifton-Passaic B...
  • 01/20/15 - Local NJ organizations J-ADD, OHEL, Kaplan JCC on...
  • 01/12/15 - Sibshops Ice Skating Trip Enjoyed by All!...
  • 01/13/15 - OHEL Lights up the Lives of its Children and Fami...
  • 12/15/14 - OHEL New Jersey Hosts Teaneck Training for The Ye...
  • 12/09/14 - OHEL’s Sibshops Training Day...
  • 12/02/14 - Over 1,000 Friends Inspired at OHEL’s 45th Annu...
  • 11/25/14 - OHEL Bais Ezra East 16th St Residence Celebrates ...
  • 11/13/14 - OHEL Hosts Foster Care Information Session Open H...
  • 11/10/14 - OHEL and BoroPark Lumber Recognized for Employmen...
  • 10/28/14 - Join OHEL on Sunday, November 23 as we “Look Ba...
  • 10/23/14 - OHEL Honors our “Angel of Mery” – Miriam Lu...
  • 10/06/14 - Looking Back and Giving Back - Moving Forward Tog...
  • 09/18/14 - OHEL Meets Diverse & Increasing Needs of Northern...
  • 09/03/14 - OHEL’s Retreat to Bushkill Inn Provides Inspira...
  • 9/02/14 - OHEL Launches New School Essay Competition...
  • 08/21/14 - OHEL a Guest at Hamptons Synagogue...
  • 08/21/14 - Robotics “Classes” Sponsored by the Gruss Lif...
  • 08/07/14 - OHEL “Future Leaders” Golf Event...
  • 07/28/14 - Mezuzahs Complete OHEL’s New Kadimah Building...
  • 07/02/14 - An Opportunity to Double Your Impact and Be Twice...
  • 06/27/14 - OHEL Bais Ezra Sibshops- Another Terrific Year Co...
  • 06/27/14 - OHEL Bais Ezra Makes it Easier to “Access” Se...
  • 06/27/14 - OHEL Bais Ezra Hosts 2nd Annual Appreciation BBQ...
  • 06/19/14 - OHEL Omni Golf Classic 2014...
  • 06/10/14 - OHEL Support Groups for Mothers of Children With ...
  • 05/28/14 - OHEL Takes Fund Raising to New Heights!...
  • 05/22/14 - OHEL Bais Ezra Siblings Celebrate Side by Side...
  • 05/16/14 - Team OHEL Crosses the Finish Line!...
  • 05/08/14 - Parents and Kids All Have Fun at OHEL Bais Ezraâ€...
  • 05/05/14 - OHEL Partners With Others to Provide Stimulating ...
  • 04/09/14 - OHEL Bais Ezra Siblings Run Side by Side...
  • 04/01/14 - OHEL Takes Fund Raising to New Heights...
  • 03/26/14 - Racing to His Work!...
  • 03/19/14 - While Project Hope at OHEL Ends, Lessons of Resil...
  • 03/18/14 - OHEL's FREE Camp Safety Program and Camp Chessed ...
  • 03/12/14 - OHEL Invited as Guest Speaker to Eis Laasois Pres...
  • 03/12/14 - OHEL’s Expanded Kadimah Program Enables Individ...
  • 02/24/14 - OHEL’s “Devoted Dads” Workshop Draws Capaci...
  • 02/20/14 - Purchasing OHEL’s Mishloach Manot Helps Provide...
  • 02/18/14 - OHEL’s Diverse Support Groups Draw Everyday Peo...
  • 01/31/14 - OHEL Launches “Devoted Dads” Support Group...
  • 01/30/14 - OHEL Runs Another Successful Season of Winter Cam...
  • 01/24/14 - Rave Reviews from Attendees of OHEL’s First Sib...
  • 01/14/14 - New OHEL Event for Adult Siblings of Individuals ...
  • 01/08/14 - OHEL Quietly Protects Children of Sexual Abuse Wh...
  • 12/19/13 - OHEL to Host Bi-Weekly Family Caregiver Support G...
  • 12/13/13 - A Different Kind of Simcha at Ateres Chaya...
  • 12/10/13 - OHEL’S Foster Care Chanukah Party Brings Warmth...
  • 12/02/13 - Record Number of Friends and Supporters Attend OH...
  • 11/20/13 - OHEL Conference Provides Tools to Address Challen...
  • 11/06/13 - OHEL’s Project Hope Still Rebuilding Lives One ...
  • 11/04/13 - OHEL Marriage Webinar Draws Hundreds...
  • 10/28/13 - New Camp Kaylie Masmidim Program for Summer 2014...
  • 10/22/13 - OHEL’s Sibshops Program Cooks up a Storm at Pom...
  • 10/22/13 - Camp Kaylie Welcomes Arielle Sheinbein as Latest ...
  • 10/15/13 - OHEL Mental Health Residents Host Succos Party...
  • 09/30/2013 - OHEL and Etta Hold First Ever National Shabbato...
  • 08/30/13 - OHEL’s Retreat to Bushkill Inn Provides Inspira...
  • 08/29/13 - Rabbi Eli Brazil Appointed New Director of Camp K...
  • 08/22/13 - OHEL’s Next Generation. 4 year old campers from...
  • 08/14/13 - OHEL’s Simcha Feuerman’s New Book, “Marriag...
  • 08/08/13 - New “OHEL Access” Centralizes Inquiry to All ...
  • 08/05/13 - OHEL and Gourmet Glatt Present Healthy and Mind...
  • 07/30/13 - Team OHEL Appreciation BBQ...
  • 07/29/13 - OHEL Bais Ezra Launches “Sibling Day” Program...
  • 07/26/13 - OHEL/Avnet Bowl-a-thon a Perfect Strike!...
  • 07/23/13 - Rabbi Soloveitchik Brightens up OHEL During his M...
  • 07/22/13 - Individuals Managing Their Mental Illness Enjoy O...
  • 07/19/13 - OHEL Welcomes Rabbi Jeremy Donath to its Bergen C...
  • 07/17/13 - OHEL's Expanded Kadimah Clubhouse Offers Socializ...
  • 07/15/13 - Softball and Sun up at OHEL’s Camp Kaylie! Kayl...
  • 07/11/2013 - OHEL Opens New Supported Living Apartments with...
  • 07/03/2013 - OHEL Bais Ezra Ave M Residence Hosts Community ...
  • 07/03/2013 - OHEL Bais Ezra’s East Broadway Residence Ligh...
  • 06/20/2013 - OHEL Institute Autism Conference on Social Skil...
  • 06/20/2013 - OHEL Caregiving Evening- Addresses Needs of the...
  • 06/20/2013 - SKA and OHEL Team up to Help Provide for Foster...
  • 06/18/2013 - OHEL Scholar in Residence, Charlie Harary, Wows...
  • 06/17/2013 - OHEL Bais Ezra Woodmere Resident Celebrates Her...
  • 6/12/2013 - OHEL Bais Ezra Residents Welcomed in Community...
  • 6/11/2013 - OHEL Discusses Trauma on Nachum Segal Radio Show...
  • 6/5/13 -Touro and OHEL: Delivering Services in an In Increas...
  • 5/21/13 - Oklahoma Tragedy, OHEL Provides Pointers to Parent...
  • 4/4/13 OHEL Bais Ezra’s Annual Chol Haomoed Adventure...
  • 3/14/13 Socialize and Find Your Bashert...
  • 3/6/13 OHEL’S New Five Towns Office...
  • 2/18/13 OHEL Annual Gala 2013...
  • 2/6/13 OHEL Bais Ezra’s Sibshops Program Empowers Siblings...
  • 11/19/2012 - New Project Hope Crisis Counseling Program...
  • 11/14/2012 - OHEL Provides Comfort to Evacuated Residents...
  • 11/13/2012 - Free Carnival...
  • 11/12/2012 - Hurricane Sandy...
  • 11/11/2012 - Rosh Hashana ...
  • 10/31/2012 - Etta Israel Center of L.A. Merges with OHEL...
  • 10/31/2012 - Robert Katz as the New Chief Development Office...
  • 09/14/2012 - Bais Ezra Hosts Community-Wide BBQ...
  • 08/20/2012 - Camp Kaylie Inaugurates the Kleinman Bais Medra...
  • 08/03/2012 - Ruach K’tonton in West Hempstead...
  • 08/02/2012 - OHEL Congratulates Our Own Misayim HaShas...
  • 07/24/2012 - NBA Greats Thrill Campers...
  • 06/19/2012 - Golf Classic...
  • 05/26/2012 - Getting Older...
  • 05/21/2012 - Day of Remembrance...
  • 03/07/2012 - Challenges of Anger Disorders...
  • 03/06/2012 - Bais Ezra 30th Anniversary...
  • 02/14/2012 - Ohel Draws Capacity Crowd...
  • 01/25/2012 - Mel Zachter Named OHEL Co-president...
  • 01/16/2012 - Gary Schaer To Receive the “Legislator of the...
  • 01/02/2012 - Cherish the Children...
  • 10/05/2011 - OHEL Bais Ezra’s Sibshops Program Empowers Si...
  • 08/30/2011 - Kaylie Day: A Dream Fulfilled...
  • 06/28/2011 - Pomegranate’s Chef Boris Grills Up a Great T...
  • 06/24/2011 - OHEL Golf Classic...
  • 05/25/2011 - OHEL Institute for Training Workshop Addressing...
  • 04/13/2011 - OHEL Institute for Training Addresses Eating Di...
  • 03/17/2011 - Over 400 Celebrates Purim with Matisyahu...
  • 03/11/2011 - New OHEL Video Colorizes the World ...
  • 03/11/2011 - OHEL Appoints New Director of Development...
  • 03/02/2011 - Reggae Star Matisyahu To Perform ...
  • 12/20/2010 - OHEL Regional Family Center of Northern NJ Tra...
  • 12/16/2010 - OHEL Provides Training on Addictions ...
  • 12/16/2010 - OHEL Residents and Neighbors Gather for a BBQ ...
  • 12/07/2010 - OHEL Insitute Provides Training On Short-Term T...
  • 11/24/2010 - OHEL Sixth Annual Benefit Concert ...
  • 11/21/2010 - OHEL Benefit Concert November 21st...
  • 11/11/2010 - Team OHEL Wins For OHEL Bais Ezra Kids...
  • 11/10/2010 - OHEL Working Breakfast Addresses Student-Issues...
  • 11/09/2010 - Gaining Couple Therapy Expertise at OHEL...
  • 07/19/2010 - Large Turnout at First Camp Kaylie Open House...
  • 07/13/2010 - “Building Resiliency in Our Children”...
  • 06/28/2010 - OHEL Golf Classic Benefits Children!...
  • 06/08/2010 - Training for Parents of Children with ADHD...
  • 04/28/2010 - Long Islanders Ride for OHEL Residents of the 5...
  • 04/07/2010 - “Reaching Out to Special Friends” Competit...
  • 03/11/2010 - Shloime Dachs Annual Siyum and BBQ...
  • 03/01/2010 - OHEL Draws Capacity Crowd To Celebrate 40 Years...
  • 02/12/2010 - Malky Giniger Presents a Star-Studded New Show...
  • 02/05/2010 - Meeting the Challenge of Postpartum Depression...
  • 01/21/2010 - OHEL 40th Anniversary Annual Dinner...
  • 01/10/2010 - Professionals Prepare to Address Teen Behaviors...
  • 01/08/2010 - Record Number of OHEL Bais Ezra Day Trips ...
  • 01/03/2010 - OHEL Celebrates Purim with Le Cirque Du Purime...

ARTICLES

  • Overnight Respite...
  • Employment: The Power of a Paycheck...
  • After the Brooklyn fire tragedy in which seven children died...
  • Rav Elya Brudny and Others Address Over 200 at Conference to...
  • Does Alan Turing have Aspergers Syndrome?...
  • Foster Parenting: How will it affect my children?...
  • “Hard to Place,” Not Hard to Love...
  • The Ties That Bind: Keeping Siblings Together in Foster Car...
  • Confronting Abuse in the Frum World ...
  • Understanding the Educational and Behavioral Needs of Childr...
  • When Divorce Can Save a Marriage...
  • Jewish Kids are in Foster Care, Too...
  • A Fulfilling Life ...
  • Richard Bernstein to Become First Blind State Supreme Court ...
  • Ask the Expert: Eligibility Specialist...
  • Meachorei Hapargod: Lessons for Elul, Courtesy of Summer Ca...
  • Early Parental Loss...
  • Are Gedolim Stories Good Chinuch?...
  • Is Recovery From Mental Illness Possible?...
  • Helping Your Child Accept a New Baby...
  • Self-Esteem or Self-Validation?...
  • “Knock, Knock” “Who's There?” OPWDD: Welcoming the F...
  • Developmentally Disabled Employees Shine In The Workplace...
  • “I Take Care” — Mrs. Miriam Lubling, a”h...
  • The Hallmark of Klal Yisrael: A Caring Heart… Foster care ...
  • Redefining strength...
  • Sustaining the Excitement of the First Year of Marriage...
  • No Complaints...
  • No Shidduch Left Behind...
  • Statewide Project Continues Offering Services to Sandy Victi...
  • 75th Anniversary of the Horrors of Kristallnacht...
  • Etta at OHEL Dedicates Fourth Group Home...
  • Staten Island Jewish victims of Hurricane Sandy Still in Nee...
  • A Slice of Home: Through the eyes of a foster child...
  • Ask Sarah: Newly Married & Worried About Divorce...
  • As New Year Approaches, N.Y. Community Devastated by Hurrica...
  • Oniomania: A Look into the Minds of Compulsive Shoppers...
  • Teens and Saturday Nights: A Parenting Approach...
  • The Loss of a Dream...
  • Help! My Adolescent is Out of Control!...
  • Protecting Our Children: Does a Bakery Have a Soul?...
  • Who Am I? Standing at the precipice of death longing for sta...
  • Nobody Quite Knew What to do With Yaakov...
  • Understanding the Coordination between Early Intervention an...
  • Understanding your "peckel", your packet of problems...
  • Life for Frum Women in domestic violence shelters...
  • United We Stand: The Impact of Disabilities on Marriage...
  • Unique Needs of Children in Foster Care...
  • The Success Story that Finally Happened...
  • It’s a painful process to watch. We joke about it all the ...

donate online