Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.

Time for a Sober Look at Jews and Alcohol
by Moshe Werzberger, MD
This article orignally appeared in

  Rated by 14 users   |   Viewed 16786 times since 3/17/08   |   35 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend

As I was driving on Shabbos, rushing an intoxicated, unresponsive teenager who was vomiting blood to the ER, the absurdity of the situation was painfully evident to me. Here was a young student who together with some friends at an Oneg Shabbos had, without any second thought, drunk himself to the point of endangering his life. Yet, on Purim we allow our children unrestricted access to alcohol, endangering their lives.

An unresponsive, intoxicated patient requires approximately nine hours to return to sobriety. During this time of stupor, lethargy, and diminished reflexes, the patient is in danger. He may lose control of his airway, vomit, choke, and heaven forbid die. He may have a seizure, or suffer an irregular heartbeat. If someone is used to drinking alcohol on a regular basis it is possible for him to attain much higher alcohol levels, which can cause him to lapse into a coma, or even to die from direct alcohol poisoning.

It is time to reevaluate our community's use of alcohol. Clearly we are drinking much more than our parent's generation, and our children are drinking more than us. This is the age of "At Risk Children". Doesn't anyone see the obvious correlation between the profuse alcohol consumption among our youth and the unprecedented number of children using illegal and dangerous drugs?

In the other communities, addicts of all backgrounds, from the inner city to the affluent suburbs, were studied to find a common cause for their addiction. The common denominator found between these disparate groups was the early introduction to the recreational use of alcohol.

Have you taken an objective look at how much alcohol you drink? How many shots do you have at a kiddush? How many drinks do you have on Friday night? Are you well versed in the differences between the single malts, barrel proof bourbons, and of course the 127 proof Bookers? Have you spoken to your teenage son, asked him about his alcohol consumption? Does he have a few beers at a party or Oneg Shabbos? Does he drink hard liquor at a kiddush on Shabbos, or at a wedding or Bar Mitzvah? How much is he drinking while away at camp? At affairs, our underage youth drink beer and hard liquor in full view of the adults, without any reprimand. It is not uncommon for there to be several of our youth, clearly intoxicated, at a given event.

To be clear; alcohol is a drug, with dangerous and possibly deadly consequences. It is not OK for teenagers to drink liquor or beer. It is unhealthy, illegal, and can lead to Marijuana, Cocaine, or Heroin addiction, not to mention the potential for lifelong alcohol dependency. It is not OK for an adult to have multiple drinks at a kiddush or affair. This is unhealthy for the adult and is incongruent with the behavior we ought to expect from our children.

As Jews, we were given the gift of a Torah way of life. Noach's son Shem was blessed because of his dignified behavior when his father became intoxicated. Cham, however was cursed due to his improper response to the situation. Jews until now had an admirable reputation for sobriety. The Torah teaches us how to elevate the use of alcohol through the commandments; such as kiddush on shabbos, the four cups at the seder, wedding ceremonies, and circumcisions. This is the proper setting for the use of alcohol.

One of the commandments of Purim is to drink. But how much need one drink to fulfill his obligation, is there a limit? How could it be that God requires us to endanger our lives, and the lives of others in order to fulfill our obligation on Purim? According to the Halacha the proper way to celebrate on Purim is as follows. The commandment of drinking is only fulfilled with wine. Therefore, beer and liquor should not be drunk at all on Purim. Furthermore, this commandment only applies at the daytime Purim meal. Any amount of wine, which will cause the person to become intoxicated and behave in an improper manner, should not be drunk on Purim.

Teenagers who make the rounds collecting charity on Purim should not be served alcohol. You are endangering their lives, and the lives of others. Furthermore, you are legally responsible for any harm resulting from their intoxication.

On Purim we celebrate that God saved us from destruction at the hands of an external enemy. Today, the immediate threat to the future of the Jewish people is from our own behavior. In the merit of celebrating Purim properly, may we triumph over the threat of addiction, and may we see our children grow to become good Jews and successful people.

This article by Dr. Moshe Werzberger, practicing internist in Brooklyn, NY and Former Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Brookdale University Hospital is distributed as a public service by The Orthodox Caucus and its task force on Substance Abuse.

This Article, found at
was first published in 2000.

To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.

Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 14 users    (35 comments)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.

Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593