August 15, 2008 7:15 pm at 7:15 pm #588025careful Hashem reads theseParticipant
As many of you may have seen, there is a story on YWN about a couple of teens
that were arrested for apparently flashing illegal drugs and then assaulting someone
in South Fallsburg. So I present a question to all of you YWN readers; is there a “drug problem” in the Frum community?
IMO, there most definitely is, and I wish we would acknowledge its severity and extent. I personally have never used drugs, however, I know a few Frum people that have/do. The destructive nature of drugs cannot be understated. Drugs can take a person down soo quickly and severely, and the long term effects can be great (including, Rachmana Litzlan death). The passive, accepting and almost glorified way society as a whole views drugs has slowly but steadily seeped into the Frum community.
So I guess I’m asking the following: 1. Am I alone in my opinion or are there others that see what I am seeing? 2. No matter your opinion, I’d like to know this: Do you know a Frum person that has ever used any illegal substance (including marijuana)?August 31, 2023 6:12 pm at 6:12 pm #2221828YiddishParticipant
Yes tnere is a drug problem by us with all the weed shopsSeptember 1, 2023 1:49 pm at 1:49 pm #2222053Yserbius123Participant
Yes. Is it as prevalent as it is in some other societies? Probably not. But the fact that not only frum teens but also frum adults in stable, happy (seeming) lives can sometimes resort to drugs already makes it a huge problem. Opiod addiction is a real danger and has ruined countless lives, probably some of people that are close to you.September 1, 2023 1:50 pm at 1:50 pm #2222056n0mesorahParticipant
1. Of course there is a drug problem. But drugs isn’t the problem. there are deeper issues.
2. Over a year ago, I counted close to two hundred yidden (Kids and adults. Why are forty year-olds trying drugs for the first time when they have stable family lives?) that I know have tried drugs.September 1, 2023 3:12 pm at 3:12 pm #2222099
A few days ago, i went to a local 7/11 for a midnight snack; it was about 1:30am. To my shock, i saw a kid, couldn’t have been older than 13, alone, on an electric scooter, schmoozing with the clerk.
He didn’t look jewish at all, but i overheard him telling the clerk, who is muslim, about his hebrew birthday. He also shared that he had begun smoking marijuana.
When the kid left, i asked the clerk what the story was, and he said that the kid comes from a home with a father who dresses like i do, and has been kicked out of every school, program, and even boot camp that the family has tried to put him in. The father routinely comes to the 7/11 to look for his son, who gallavants around the area at all hours of the night. The kid has committed crimes, stolen things and obtained $2,000 in cash, in ways “you don’t want to know,” the kid said to the clerk.
He had just turned 12.
It was the most gut wrenching story i had not only seen, but heard kf in our community.September 2, 2023 9:48 pm at 9:48 pm #2222123KuvultParticipant
As one Rabbi so perfectly put it, “We have the same problems as the outside world except our closets are darker & our locks stronger.”September 2, 2023 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm #2222224
It’s not nearly as bad as the secular world – it just isnt. That’s equivalent to saying that Torah doesn’t do anything to make us a better people. It’s close to apikorsus in a sense.September 2, 2023 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm #2222229
I heard from a big Askan “Oib es Christilzichs es Yidishzichs”.
I know of too many “once normal” Yeshiva bachurim from perfectley regular /normal families who are not with us anymore(I mean unfortunatley they are in the Bais Hachayim) R”L because they fell into drug use because of social pressures/anxiety/depression etc.September 2, 2023 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm #2222231
We certainly do not have the “same” problems are the outside world. The problems we have are different, the ones that have similarities are less prevalent and overall less severe. The exceptions are exceptions. And many of the problems of the outside world are almost non-existent in our communities.September 2, 2023 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm #2222248
You are being naive. Go to any of the many halfway houses in any frum community. Or to any Bais Hachayim and see the row of bachurim. Go to South Florida where there are multiple rehab centers full of once frum or still frum young and not so young people. Go to any AA or NA 12 step meeting and see the hopefully recovering ones.
Do you know how many divorces are because of addiction issues of all sorts. Some which cannot be talked about on this forum?
Hashem should help us. But YES this issue is here. Addiction is nondiscriminatory. It doesn’t care about your religion.
Speak to any mental health professionalSeptember 2, 2023 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm #2222255modernParticipant
Yes but we feel like we need to stay in denial in order to keep up pretenses.
That doesn’t cause the problem to go away.September 3, 2023 12:12 am at 12:12 am #2222268
“Addiction is nondiscriminatory. It doesn’t care about your religion”
Being Jewish is not merely subscribing to a religion. We are, in the words of the kuzari, a different beriah, a different level of creation above “medaber.”
A jew doesn’t have the same problems or the same mentality as anyone else. Of course yidden can get addicted, but the way you’re describing it is, i hate to use the word again because it makes me sound “extreme,” close to apikorsus.
I do agree that brushing problems under the rug was unsuccessful. The community is acknowledging the issues much more than it used to, but the truth remains that for the overwhelming majority, our community is spared the evils of the secular world. It’s mainly among those who leave the haven of the Yeshiva, etc..who fall prey to such things.September 3, 2023 6:52 am at 6:52 am #2222280ParticipantParticipant
@avira where’s there 7-11 in Israel?September 3, 2023 11:11 am at 11:11 am #2222331
My wording may have sounded off but my point is true. And no not all have left the haven of Yeshiva when they started.September 3, 2023 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm #2222334
Actually the fact that we are “different” makes the shame and secrecy much worse that in itself being a self perpetuating catalyst to keep the cycle of addiction continue. The self loathing a frum Yeshiva bachur or Bais Yaakov girl has when they CH”V fall is much worse than a regular public school kid and that feeds the addiction tenfold. So in a way we have it worse. Same goes for a married frum man or woman.September 3, 2023 1:40 pm at 1:40 pm #2222380
Part – i don’t live in eretz yisroel. I love eretz yisroel, and had some of the best learning of my life there, so I chose that as my screename.
American; i hear you, and yes, I’ve known bochurim in recent years who got exposed to drugs in certain types of yeshivos. But yeshivos aren’t the drug dens that public high schools are. It’s a very strange thing when it happens, and it’s not like you’re going to meet a drug dealer in BMG.September 3, 2023 1:41 pm at 1:41 pm #2222381
I think alcohol is more common, and prescription drug abuse with adults, because those things can come while in good surroundings; they start off innocuouslySeptember 3, 2023 2:57 pm at 2:57 pm #2222416n0mesorahParticipant
So are we agreeing that drugs is an effect of a bigger problem, and not the root cause?September 3, 2023 2:57 pm at 2:57 pm #2222423
And I know ones who got exposed to it in the best Yeshivos. The ones you think it can never happen in. And prescription drugs is a makkas medinah. It can start from someone who had a tooth surgery or a bachur who raided his grandmothers medecine cabinet. Hashem yishmor!!September 6, 2023 12:53 am at 12:53 am #2223247
Making statements like ‘these things don’t happen to people like us or in our community’ just make the shame and secrecy deeper and make it that that much harder for people to get help.
My father used to tell me that Jews couldn’t become alcoholics because they introduced children to alcohol at a young age (I must have been allowed manischewitz wine at kiddish since about age 8). Well that’s not how that works and while thank G-d I never became an alcoholic, I developed a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression. Since I had a false sense of security that alcoholism could never happen to me, I missed some of the early warning signs in my behavior and was not as cautious as I might have been otherwise.
Fyi – I am not frum, I went to public school K-12, and I’ve never used marijuana. So much for your stereotypes….September 6, 2023 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm #2223392Menachem ShmeiParticipant
while thank G-d I never became an alcoholic, I developed a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression.
I’m curious to understand what you mean in differentiating between alcoholism and unhealthy relationship?September 6, 2023 1:29 pm at 1:29 pm #2223444
I’m not sure where @”careful hashem reads this” is from because I live in a very frum yeshivish neighborhood and drugs is unheard of, so to answer your question, maybe where you live its common, but I don’t know of one person that’s ACTUALLY frum do this type of shenanigans.
And they should go to rehab even though it doesnt work most of the time.
the real problem in our circles is drinking by a Shabbos morning Kiddush and coming home drunk to your wife and kids, SHAMEFUL!September 6, 2023 1:42 pm at 1:42 pm #2223451
Avira, I don’t think anyone is saying yeshivos are as bad as public schools when it comes to drug use in school. They’re definitely not. The question is, does the problem exist in the frum world? The answer is yes.
Even going back 20+ years, I remember that when I’d sometimes go out bowling with friends at Maple Lanes on a Motzei Shabbos (which was in Boro Park), there was a chassidish guy, still dressed in his Shabbos clothes, selling drugs in the parking lot. Things have only gotten worse since then.
I personally know of many people in Lakewood and the surrounding area who regularly use marijuana recreationally. I know of shuls there who have crazy kiddushim, with thousands of dollars worth of alcohol each week, which get completely finished.
Substance abuse exists in the frum world. It’s a fact. Trying to deny it is just burying your head in the sand, and it will just cause things to get worse. It needs to be addressed.September 6, 2023 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm #2223426commonsaychelParticipant
“Fyi – I am not frum, I went to public school K-12, and I’ve never used marijuana. So much for your stereotypes….”
Yet your write “G-d” something that only a frum person does.
Nice trySeptember 6, 2023 5:16 pm at 5:16 pm #2223459
Sact – the way to phrase this would be “most marijuana use happens in public schools, but most public school kids don’t take marijuana.”
The dangers of being exposed to marijuana use and eventual usage is higher in areas where it is available and among non jewisy populations in general. Just because you went there and didn’t smoke pot is like looking at an 80 year old chain smoker and saying “you see, you can smoke till you’re 80 ahd be healthy,”
As for the old American Jewish line of “we’re not mystified by alcohol,” my dad used to say that too. Is there truth to it? Maybe, but that’s of little solace to people plagued by alcohol addiction or abuse.September 6, 2023 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #2223488
Menachem Shmei – That’s a good question.
My understanding of alcoholism is that its really an addiction where you can’t stop even if you want to, have physical withdrawls, drink more than you meant to, make poor choices, and it causes problems in someone’s life.
None of the above applies for me.
However during a particularly difficult period in my life I realized I was essentially drinking one drink a day. This is not considered excessive but it was not a healthy trajectory. I was using it to cope as I find it calms my anxious mind which they say can lead to alcohol dependency.September 6, 2023 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #2223493Menachem ShmeiParticipant
I live in a very frum yeshivish neighborhood and drugs is unheard of
It has less to do with neighborhoods, more to do with who you hang out with.
Sometimes, people can be oblivious to what’s going on with other crowds in their same neighborhood (unless it’s tiny).September 6, 2023 6:11 pm at 6:11 pm #2223514
Damoshe, maple lanes is not in boro park. It’s in sunset park; totally different area. He wouldn’t have been selling drugs on 13th avenue; it just wouldn’t fly.
I’m well aware of the proliferation of marijuana use in new york, particularly after it was decriminalized and basically legalized, with pot shops opening up right in our own backyard. Of very serious concern is that these places aren’t regulated, and drug cartels have been known to lace marijuana with deadlu drugs, such as fentanyl, on occasion.
It’s something people used to understand as being totally degenerate, and would make one a complete outcast. Times are changing, and drug use is only one part of it. EditedSeptember 6, 2023 6:52 pm at 6:52 pm #2223519
If you look at old medical journals from before the 1980s (starting when it became politically incorrect to note differences between ethnicities or races insofar as various maladies are concerned), you’ll find multiple scientific studies and references stating that Jews are known to have a very tiny rate of alcoholism.September 7, 2023 12:13 am at 12:13 am #2223542GadolHadofiParticipant
If you speak to old Rabbanim active from before the 1980’s you’ll hear multiple opinions stating that Jews were known to have a very tiny rate of alcoholism.
Anyone, especially a contemporary Rav who’s under the delusion that’s still the case has got their head buried very deep somewhere. Unfortunately, we’ve made great strides in catching-up to the rest of society.September 7, 2023 12:23 am at 12:23 am #2223550Always_Ask_QuestionsParticipant
read R Twersky, he dealt with drug & alcohol problems in the “frum” communities. He highly recommends AA.September 7, 2023 12:29 am at 12:29 am #2223588
Commonsaychel – Lol, I’ve never been mistaken for frum before but I’ll take the compliment! I figured the minimum qualifications were keeping kosher and being shomer shabbos. While I have a strong aversion to chazer, I can’t say I meet those criteria. I was wondering where I picked up writing G-d which I’ve been doing as long as I can remember. It must have been from my mother who is kinda frum but placed her liberal and feminist values ahead of her Jewish ones. I don’t share her liberal values, so this is likely why I’m so mixed up as to where I fit in religiously. Anyone got a quiz I can take? Which Jewish denomination is right for you???
Alcoholism – what I think happened was my father likely saw some study like that which said Jews as a group have a lower (but not a zero) rate of alcoholism in their communities in comparison to other ethnic groups. He took it to mean there was some cultural reason we couldn’t become alcoholics which is nonsense. My parents would make comments about how our shul replaced the kiddish wine on the bima with grape juice because there were some alcoholics in the congregation, but they could only be non-Jewish spouses or converts because Jews don’t become alcoholics. It’s similar to saying this problem doesn’t exist in our community or hashem and Torah make us immune from the pitfalls of the secular world. You see what you want to see until you have a wake up call. Had my dad had a friend who secretly had a drinking problem or wanted to come to him for advice can you imagine the shame they would feel hearing comments like this? The stigma and getting help for these things are hard enough, there’s no need to make it more difficult by denying the existence of an issue.
Marijuana – I’m curious what’s the actual halacha here? It’s no longer illegal most places and while it’s had a conservative cultural stigma against it, is there any actual Jewish law against its use? I know my ggpa who was chassidic smoked cigarettes but that was before they knew they were so bad for your health. I can’t stand how universal marijuana use has become with legalization, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually prohibited.
AviraDeArah – You strike me as having the innocence and idealism of youth. Hashem gives us each our challenges Jew and non-Jew alike. We are human not superhuman. Also how do you see something so awful as what you did at the 7/11 and still think frum Jews don’t regularly fall victim? I think perhaps you view addiction as a moral failing which is why you are convinced that the Torah protects us by holding us to higher levels of morality than others? While casual drug use (like occasional marijuana use) which is in the morally questionable category is likely much less prevelent in the frum world, drug addiction is different. It can sometimes start that way, but it can also start with prescription pain pills from a doctor which has nothing to do with moral failings. It can start with untreated mental health issues and a lack of resouces. It can start with trauma and abuse that are kept secret. These things exist in the frum and secular worlds.
Every community has those with mental health needs that are not sufficiently addressed, people in need of support, and those who in the absence of healthy outlets (sports, art, friends, support groups) will turn to unhealthy outlets. This is universal.
editedSeptember 7, 2023 9:11 am at 9:11 am #2223666
Avira: Maple Lanes doesn’t exist anywhere anymore, it closed down years ago. IIRC, it was on 60th St and 15th Ave. I just checked Google Maps for the borders of Boro Park, and it was within them. Either way, on a Motzei Shabbos, it was completely filled with Jewish people.
I think you’re mixing it up with Melody Lanes, which is in Sunset Park.September 7, 2023 11:13 am at 11:13 am #2223718YiddishParticipant
This thread is from 2008 !! !!September 7, 2023 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #2223721
Da, that’s correct! I was thinking of Melody lanes; it’s been quite a while…
Either way bowling alley weren’t exactly known for their yirei shomayim clientele (no offense to you, just in general)
Sact – what I saw that night was one anecdotal example; my overall dealings with people, including in my role as an educator of religiously disenfranchised youth, has been consistently seeing the spiritual greatness of even the lower elements of the Jewish people. I do believe as a yid that the Torah has a power to elevate people above such problems, but it is when people forsake it that they fall prey, harder than non jews or secular jews..as the say ,”the bigger they come the harder they fall”September 7, 2023 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #2223738
Were you born yet??September 7, 2023 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #2223739lakewhutParticipant
It’s a societal problem that people in the yeshivish world like to make believe isn’t happening among Jews or how prevalent it is. It’s happening to Jews of all background..September 7, 2023 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #2223765
Sact, rav Moshe feinstein ruled that marijuana is forbidden, for a number of reasons.September 7, 2023 5:38 pm at 5:38 pm #2223771
Yiddish, did you just notice this? You were the first commentor since then. 🙂September 7, 2023 5:42 pm at 5:42 pm #2223857lakewhutParticipant
Avirah would he let it in circumstances knowing that it’s treated for anxiety today?September 7, 2023 6:19 pm at 6:19 pm #2223863
Lake, in the event that conventional medicine doesn’t work and a competent psychiatrist wants to try marijuana for extreme mental health cases, I’d imagine rav Moshe would allow it, because his reasons given are overindulgence, not letting you learn and work, etc… These are things that people with such problems do not need to be concerned with until they get better.
But i don’t think he would allow it as a permanent solution, and i don’t think qualified doctors look at it that way either.September 7, 2023 6:33 pm at 6:33 pm #2223869Zaphod BeeblebroxParticipant
In response to the second of the OP’s questions, Allow me to answer your question with one of my own. There are many things in this world which we don’t understand, which we cannot comprehend. It is our innate duty, as men, as Jews, to ponder the questions that must be pondered, to direct our minds in the directions by which universal comprehension can be comprehended by our puny carbon based brains. We, as thinkers, as philosophers, as pontificators, and as pundits, must pugilistically, but never pompously, ponder. We must wonder at the marvels around us. Why are giraffes not purple? Would not purple be prettier? Or how about elephants? Personally, procurement of a purple pachyderm would please me. And yet, such marvels do not exist. Why don’t they exist? These are the questions we must ask. These are the questions we must answer. If people had three eyes and four arms, we would think that was normal. But we don’t so it’s not. It’s all about conditioning. Someone should totally make purple giraffes.
Does that answer your question?September 8, 2023 9:33 am at 9:33 am #2223945Shimon NodelParticipant
@SACT5, the Torah doesn’t ascribe labels. You are frum for certain. Perhaps you are a mumar letayavon, but you are one of us. Now is the perfect time to start moving a little bit more in the right direction. Good luck!September 8, 2023 9:34 am at 9:34 am #2224011
Avira, there are times when marijuana can be extremely beneficial.
A few years ago, I had terrible back pain. The doctor determined I needed surgery for a severely herniated disc and pinched nerve. He wanted to prescribe opioids until I had the surgery, to help with the pain. I told him I was nervous about it – the pain was really, really bad, and I’d have to take them constantly. There have been enough stories of addiction starting with a proper prescription for back pain, where the patient had a hard time getting off the pills. The doctor agreed with me, and then suggested I try marijuana for the pain, instead of opioids.
B”H, after my surgery and recovery, I was able to stop taking the marijuana, and my pain is completely gone.
There are other cases – studies have shown that marijuana can have benefits for children with autism. People with severe anxiety can also benefit from it.
I’m not saying to use it constantly for recreational purposes, but with guidance from a doctor, it can have tremendous benefits.September 8, 2023 2:50 pm at 2:50 pm #2224071
I second Shimon’s comment to SACT.September 9, 2023 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm #2224088
@SACT5 I’m still not sure if your a clown faking your story just to get people to answer your comments or if you’re legit. if you are legit in your story, then I just want to say that you ask if marijuana is halachically ok. We don’t work with black and white mutar or assur, a Ben Torah, a yid doesnt do such things. It’s like asking is it halachically ok to go to a baseball game, regardless, we don’t do such things like going to goyishe venues to watch goyim get attention and then see a few inappropriate things. “Mir ton nisht” its not for a child of Hashem to do it, so besides the fact that it happens to be assur simply for the 101 law in the Torah of “venishmartem”
(and don’t tell me its not unhealthy) still it shouldn’t be done bec. of our status of sons of Kings. Look at the slack lehavdil of prince Harry for being a son of a King and all he did was just join the western culture a little and his family abandoned him. Kal v”chomer US YIDDEN who are the sons of the almighty King Hashem, does it fit for us to do something as low as drugs? Its an embarrassment for our King!September 10, 2023 7:33 am at 7:33 am #2224223
Aww thanks @Shimon Nodel & @ujm! Your words are so kind & encouraging! 🥰 Except for the name calling, but I’m not sure what mumar letayavon means anyway.
I’ve been rapidly flying to the right of where I’ve been, but you don’t know what you don’t know. I did attend 2 different Torah studies this week (chabad & MO), and 2 services on shabbat (Reform & MO) so I’m working hard on moving in a good direction in advance of Rosh Hashanah. I even began to wonder whether I need to stop attending the services at the Reform shul altogether to prevent myself from potentially backsliding but I think that might be too drastic a change for me at the moment. I get a lot more out of the service itself and what I see there continues to remind me of why I’m pushing myself way out of my comfort zone. Perhaps at some point in the future I will get there.
CholentBeans – I’m not sure what part sounds so silly? I come from a non-orthodox Jewish background, but I am very dissatisfied with the laxness in halacha and liberal secular politics being encouraged at reform and conservative shuls. I am trying to learn more but have very limited resources and lots and lots of questions.
If alcohol and cigarettes are allowed why is it so strange to ask about marijuana? It has a societal stigma from years of being illegal but is it really so much worse than alcohol and cigarettes which are certainly both unhealthy? It’s no longer illegal so the issue of following secular laws would now be moot. It has some medical applications which in Judaism can often lead to exceptions. I would much prefer it was illegal for non-medical use under secular law, but it is allowed so is it that strange for me to wonder what’s the deal here from the halachic perspective?
If religious Jews don’t go to baseball games, who’s buying the glatt kosher hot dogs they sell at yankee stadium?
I think I get what you’re saying though about generally trying to live a life of moral example and holding ourselves as Jews to a higher standard than those around us. Just as poor behavior reflects negatively on ones parents, our poor behavior reflects negatively on Avinu Malkeinu. Thank you for explaining this! And I appreciate everyone’s patience with me.September 10, 2023 7:30 pm at 7:30 pm #2224268
Sact5 I’d love to answer your questions
first you ask If alcohol and cigarettes are allowed why is it so strange to ask about marijuana?
So the answer is that I’m referring to the ultra orthodox community like in Lakewood Monsey Brooklyn, where no-one does alcohol on a daily basis or weekly maybe on shabbos a little but not getting drunk or the like. And cigarettes are way different then marijuana, our Gedolim like Rav Shach used to smoke its not a drug, no-one gets high on cigarettes.
Also you ask who buys the hotdogs, the answer is a lot of non jews and the few random who goSeptember 10, 2023 8:12 pm at 8:12 pm #2224425
Cholent, you are in denial. I have personally seen shuls in Brooklyn and Lakewood where there are extremely large quantities of alcohol being consumed, often during davening. People get drunk. Do you really think that this doesn’t exist in yeshivish areas?September 10, 2023 9:23 pm at 9:23 pm #2224428
DaMoshe: What you’re describing are man bites dog situations; sure it exists – but they are rare exceptions to find such “extremely large quantities of alcohol being consumed.”
Stop pretending that every problem that ails the MO and secular communities “most also be the same in Lakewood”.
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