Gavra Rabba: You’re of course correct, and I know that- I grew up outside of NY. However, dealing with the reality means that the bulk of the community still lives in NY/ NJ, and can’t/ won’t move for many reasons, right or wrong, and thus a way needs to be found to ease pressure in a kosher way.
Bentzy: You’re right about the home atmosphere being far and away the single most important factor in raising frum, happy, and normal kids. No one questions that. But how does one do that? Your suggestions are obviously good, but just as obviously many homes do not or cannot function well in that way.
I would suggest that classes in “having a happy home” should be a part of the yeshiva & BY curriculum, along with classes on “ehrlichkeit in business” and “dina d’malchusa”.
Still and all, the pressure is tremendous and many people cannot handle it, as we see from the many news reports we hear of people cracking under the pressure. When a big gvir gives money, do you not think that many ask him for more no matter how much he gives? I am sure we have all experienced being asked to raise our donations, imagine how much more of that a wealthy man gets, and thus it becomes easier to understand why he might look to drugs for escape.
The same for a typical young fellow today. The wife and in-laws want him to buy a house, multiple kids and tuitions, the minimum the average young guy NEEDS today is a number older people cannot even imagine, and is far above the median income in the US. How can we alleviate this situation? Of course these young guys look to kiddush clubs and the like, they need a way to escape the pressure, and this is a “kosher” way, comparatively.
We pay lip service to this by making “takanos” about weddings and banning things, but the real problem is festering. Censoring the news in the name of lashon hara helps us feel better about not doing anything. Hiding the tragedies in the name of not hurting future shidduchim also has the effect of helping us ignore the reality.
Something has to be done, and killing the messenger hasn’t worked.