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Simchat Torah – Fight Night

October 11, 2009 – 9:43 pm4 Comments
The "Chk Chk Boom Girl" - the only thing missing from Simchat Torah Fight Night

The “Chk Chk Boom Girl” – the only thing missing from Simchat Torah Fight Night

by Anthony Frosh

Walking the 3.5km down Balaclava Rd from east of Caulfield Park to Hotham St, circa midnight Simchat Torah, there were plenty of intoxicated members of the community to be seen.  Happily, most of these individuals only manifested their drunkenness through boisterous off-key singing.  Well, I know better than most that we can’t all be Placido Domingos.

Unfortunately, there were also a significant number of adolescents who had clearly had too much to drink.  I’m certainly not one to advocate for a complete alcohol ban for those under the arbitrary age of 18.  It can be good for young people to occasionally experience moderate use of alcohol, ideally in the presence of older people drinking responsibly.

As bad as it is to see adolescents keeled over on the footpath due to over consumption, past experience hardly makes these scenes unexpected.  However, the same cannot be said for a very ugly alcohol fuelled fight between two teenagers outside one of the larger shuls.   Thankfully, a couple of CSG volunteers were on the scene very quickly to break up this brawl before the impromptu pugilists could do much damage to themselves.

In another disturbing incident, a young boy probably not much older than bar mitzvah age, who at minimum appeared intoxicated, was holding his younger sister’s hand as they crossed the road.  One hopes this boy, presumably responsible for getting sister home safely, was merely mirroring the drunken gait of the adults at his shul.

In contrast to some other sectors of the wider community, alcoholism is not a major problem in the Jewish community, 363 days a year.  I’m not sure, maybe we should just be glad that this in only a twice a year problem.  Or alternatively, rabbis, madrichim, and other grassroots community leaders could consider the need for a more serious approach to education and appropriate role-modelling of alcohol use.  And then with any luck, by the time Purim comes around, I won’t be tempted once again to write such a preachy self-righteous article, approaching wowserism.

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4 Comments »

  • eli says:

    A black hat shule i attended this weekend had a sign up that under no circumstances was alcohol allowed on the premises. Not a drop was to be seen nor any sign of intoxication. The joy was all natural.

    On another note, there is a distinct problem of alcohol and substance abuse in the young Jewish community. Ask any 12-18 old from any of the major Jewish schools including the religious ones,how easily any these items can be obtained.

    These are being supplied by other Jewish youth and dealers.

    The problem is well hidden and rarely spoken about except when incidents make a public appearance.

  • TheSadducee says:

    I’m looking forward to next years undercover under-age drinking sting by Vic Police!

    Something like Operation Shiker! :P

  • Dew girl says:

    Interesting piece – however, unfortunately I think it’s naive to believe that we are only affected by this behaviour on two days of the year – I don’t feel this to be an accurate perception (I am speaking from a young person’s perspective). I’d have to agree with Eli’s sentiments – we need to find strategies for dealing with alcohol related issues rather than pretend it is only a problem on perhaps the two most visible days of the year.

  • eli says:

    Hi dew girl, I am currently putting together a web site for a voice for Jewish youth..would be interested if you have any incites
    Let me know

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