Wednesday, August 08, 2007

1 A.M. - One Week Later

Rabbi Horowitz has followed up last week's interesting, some might say frightening, some might say all too common story with a very good piece this week. He starts by noting the all too connected arrests of a number of older teens who were among the oldest at a party which started on a Shabbos that involved plenty of alcohol, then discusses how many people reacted to last week's piece, which made the Jewish Press. Finally, he discusses lessons and approaches to be learned. Excerpt:
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we should resist the seductive route of merely ‘banning’ places and activities for our growing teen population. It is entirely appropriate to declare certain areas off limits for our children. But if we do not create healthy, safe, and enjoyable venues for our children, we are deluding ourselves into thinking that we have solved the problems and are setting the stage for far greater challenges later on.

Ten years ago, we ‘banned’ Woodbourne, for some very good reasons. There were pronouncements in a variety of Jewish publications forbidding our children from appearing in Woodbourne on Motzoei Shabbos. There was also a concerted effort made by Hatzolah leadership and camp directors to limit the driving of teenagers who spend their summers in camps and bungalow colonies. These initiatives were effective in taming the environment in Woodbourne and reducing the number of horrific car crashes. What we have not done, however, is really address the core causes that are driving so many of our young men and woman to the fringes of our society. Nor have we been creating enough supervised, appropriate venues for our children (including mainstream ones) to spend their free time.

Our disenfranchised kids, some of whom may not be that book smart and academically gifted, figured out the “new math” pretty quickly.

Woodbourne, no. Monticello, yes.
Frum pizza shops, no. Non-Jewish pool halls, yes.
Public areas, no. Motels and apartments in non-Jewish neighborhoods, yes.

Somehow, that doesn’t add up to me.
Amen. Read the whole thing. Serach always liked the example from Monsey growing up, where they banned people from a certain pizza shop on Saturday nights. In the end, that just meant the kids were hanging out in some basement unsupervised, instead of in a public pizza shop - what do you think happened differently? Common sense is paramount, not acting out of fear.


  1. Very interesting piece. I like how he states it's better to monitor in public places rather than ban and allow for more secretive attempts at acting out. Hurrah for common sense.

  2. Ahhhh, the days of 'Candy Island' THAT was rebellious.

  3. I agree with commenter Yoni on Rabbi Horowitz's post: "I think that the essential reason why the boys and girls are going out here is just for that reason, to be around the opposite sex."

    Maybe it's my Conservative Jewish bias showing, but it seems to me that at least part of the issue is that, in some segments of the Orthodox community, *any* contact between unmarried and unrelated males and females is considered taboo. When did it become a crime for young men and women to eat pizza together? Perhaps a little more wholesome mixing, in very public places and/or with chaperones, might lead to a lessening of what seems to me to be a "forbidden fruit" problem.