Binge Drinking

It’s worse than you think.

Click here if you are unable to view this video.
See More

Comments (28)

(24) Anonymous, February 5, 2012 6:39 AM

Drinking has become a disease sanctioned by the frum community

I absolutely agree. Drinking has become a major problem in the frum community that needs to be addressed. It appears to be sanctioned by the frum Jews who use the word "l'chaim" to justify the intake. Kiddush clubs in shuls abound, and even in those blessed shuls that have thankfully become "dry", the men have found ways to establish kiddush clubs in their various homes. And what about vorts and tisches. All centered around "l'chaims" and alcohol. Talk about a perversion of the word "to life." I know Hashem did not have this in mind. All it is is a religious looking bar on the West Side (disguised as a shul, simcha etc.). I am sick to my stomach over this. And all the kids are watching their parents and continuing in this "l'chaim" (really l'liver disease etc) in their youth and adulthood. I would love to galvanize the rabbinic figures to put the alcohol away and find a way to be "b'simcha" WITHOUT scotch and whisky. ESPECIALLY the chassidic sect...

(23) Anonymous, January 31, 2012 4:04 PM

A 13 year old boy at my shul almost needed his stomach pumped last Simchas Torah from drinking at a kiddush. This is not ok.

(22) Brenda, January 26, 2012 2:00 AM

My daughter is always the designated driver because she never drinks but

...shethinks that binge drinking is something that college kids do. It just no big deal.. Very scary!

(21) Suzanne, January 22, 2012 3:38 PM

Excellent message

Thanks, rabbi, for addressing this as it IS a very serious problem. I have begged my kids (who are of legal drinking age) to please stop after having just a little. I also suggest (that if they are in a social situation where everyone is drinking) to order or have sodas instead of another alcoholic drink. It will slow down their alcohol consumption in a given time or better yet, stop it altogether in that given situation. Most people can't drink too much at all before it becomes dangerous.

(20) rebecca, January 22, 2012 12:43 AM

Thank you for addressing this issue. It is indeed a problem, especially among our young male (teen/young adult) population. Part of the problem is the inflexiblity of the Yeshiva world who continue to pressure these kids to sit and learn Gemarah for hours on end, for as many years as they can, without giving them the opportunity for extra curricular activities of choice. Even Yeshivas in Israel, geared for the "At Risk" youth, promote this kind of ridiculous curriculum and "look the other way" when the kids use "drinking" and "smoking" as an outlet. Apparently these things are "accepted" while promoting things like regularly daily exercise at the gym is not. The other big elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about is the huge increase in the psychiatric drugging of our kids in the Orthodox community who can't meet the stringent standards of the Yeshiva curriculum and are made to feel like second class citizens as a result. The psychiatric establishment has failed these kids by labeling them and drugging them instead of providing them with normal alternatives. Many of the kids who have developed drinking and other substance abuse problems started off on drugs like Ritalin and Concerta and/or Prozac. What kind of message are we sending our youth when we promote drugs such as this and then tell them they should stay away from drugs and alcohol! It is time to change the system!

(19) alan, January 20, 2012 12:41 PM

how right you are

I can tell you through my own experience, that this is the start of becoming a true alcoholic. Thank you for bringing this problem to public attention.

(18) MGEWIRTZ, January 18, 2012 9:10 PM


I was at a Simcha this past Fri nite, where there was also aSholom Zochar taking place. On our way out we saw someone being carried in by his friend. He was quite drunk and had also fallen, was bleeding , turning colors, and was unresponsive. Nobody thought to call Hatzolah, except for my husband who works with troubled teens and has seen too many die. this young boy was froma a yeshiva, was not with his parents and there didnt seem to be anyone responsible for all the alcohol sitting around. do we have to see people die before we wake up. I hope not! Get educated!

(17) Anonymous, January 18, 2012 4:08 AM

In response to Rabbi Salomon!!!

Rabbi Salomon is absolutely right. I am proud to say that as a 52 yr. old male, growing up in the '60's and '70's in America, I never smoked, never drank and never tried any drug aside from prescription medicine and vitamin supplements. Today, as a religious Jew residing in Israel, I will only drink two or three sips at the most to make a L'Chaim or wine to make kiddush and nothing more. Even when I make kiddush at home, I usually drink grape juice except when there is a kiddush in shule and I make kiddush for the congregation. Even on Purim, I only drink a few sips at the most. There are those who try to convince me to drink more but I do NOT listen. This is the way my parents raised me because this is the way they were raised and this is the way I raised my children. My parents also raised me to be independent so I never followed in the footsteps of those who did negative things. The dangers of drinking must be taught in every school including religious schools. It should be part of the science curriculum even in elementary school from an age when the children understand. Teaching the dangers of drinking as part of the school curriculum could save many lives.

Yaakov, January 19, 2012 4:02 PM

agree with 17- we are not teaching the right things

agree with the last point- but of course schools and education never teach life skills, knowing (or still not knowing) what the inside of a frog looks like is more important than the topic you mention- alchohol's affect on the brain/neurology. it is a general problem I believe in education today that we do not teach critical skills.

(16) Anonymous, January 18, 2012 3:02 AM

"people who drink to drown their sorrow should be told that sorrow knows how to swim" Wonderful job addressing this crucial topic! :)

(15) Christina, January 17, 2012 7:55 PM

I have been in recovery from binge drinking for over 20 years. Though I didn't drink every week, or even every month, but the fact is, I couldn't drink just a little bit. I have had many times as a teenager that I should have been taken to a hospital for alcohol poisoning, but was not taken. I am a 52 year old women with two grown children and I see my 34 year old son following in my foot steps.. It is both scary and sad to watch. My son doesn't think he has a problem since he is not addicted to alcohol, I felt the same way. Sad!

(14) rscoach, January 17, 2012 7:06 PM


G-d willing I will have 22 years of sobriety 3/1 - I was a good student - started drinking in HS - always heard that there were no Jewish Alcoholics - alcoholism is a disease and what you call binge drinking is not social drinking, it is the red flag for that person perhaps being an alcoholic - without help such drinking leads to jail, institutions, and death - it is a huge problem in the Orthodox community but there are places in LA where members of this community can get help privately - see the above post re: this group and to the parent speaking about their 22 year old son - there is help out there - AA and Alanon for families of Alcoholics - and yes there are many Jewish members - as well as Jewish 12-step meetings - with many Jewish groups offering help - such as Beit Shuvah in W.LA - thank you for addressing this serious problem but don't let the # of drinks let you think you are not in this category for some it takes only one drink to be one too many

(13) derek, January 17, 2012 5:57 PM


THIS narch I will have 20 years of S O B R I E T Y Alcoholism IS A DISEASE ,,THE only known PROVEN treatment progran is one of GODS simple answers .. DONT drink ,,, There are many treatment plans available ..BEING JEWISH is a denial of this problem .ALCOHOLISM EFFECTS everyone ...

(12) Miriam, January 17, 2012 5:54 PM

A wonderful, eye-opening video

Aleinu, the orthodox counseling service in Los Angeles, created this video to promote alcohol-free Purim and Simchas Torah celebrations. These holidays are often wrought with excessive alcohol consumption in the name of a mitzva--truly the antithesis of what a mitzva should be. Children should learn early on that alcohol is for adults, and one to two servings is the max! A serving is defined (by the CDC) as 6 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces (one shot) of hard liquor. Parents, honestly ALL adults, have a responsibility to lead by example.

(11) DAVID FRANKEL, January 17, 2012 5:47 PM


(10) Miriam, January 17, 2012 4:46 PM

Well let the Rabbis lead the way!

Binge drinking may be a serious problem for our youth, but it starts with adults being good role models. Our rabbis must say no to kiddush clubs, and at other s'machots adults need to be in control. They need to control there own drinking behavior and not make every simcha an oppurtunity for drinking. Our children are watching!! The leaders and rabbis need to step in and make this message a priority.

(9) Anonymous, January 17, 2012 3:41 PM

I will act upon this

My sons usually respond when another man says something. Not that I didn't train them to listen to women, when a man says something factual and with concern they usually listen. I will be sending them your link. Thank you for your concern and commitment to lead.

(8) Ardy, January 17, 2012 3:06 PM

my 22 year old son who is a 4.0 student with perfect attendance is as we speak standing on the side lines waiting to see if he will be convicted of a DUI which will make him inable to sit for exams that he needs for his future work. If convicted his $30.000 education is down the drain. As his parents we are alarmed at what the DUI means for him personally and educationally....indeed we have a "drinking problem" with our youth. BTW it hasn't seemed to slow he or his friends down from their drinking which is also a red flag for me. Now we face legal fees to the tune of $5-7000 just to try and save his future and our investment emotionally and finacially. This has been a nightmare.

Anonymous, January 19, 2012 3:18 PM

To Ardy-- I am so very sorry that your son received a DUI.

Anonymous, January 26, 2012 2:30 AM

so very sorry

Just awful. So sorry

(7) Sharona, January 17, 2012 7:53 AM


I was recently listening to a lecture where the speaker mentioned how he grew up with the idea that a bottle last a long time. However, his guests finished a bottle in one weekend. We need to learn some limits.

(6) claudio, January 16, 2012 9:16 PM

Drink or eat?

Drinking as a meal is such a powerful approach to stop alcohol abuse. In my country people (heavy drinkers) use to say: "don´t drink alcohol, eat it". It means: drink as much as you can. It's so sad. Thanks for such an encouraging video.

(5) Lisa, January 16, 2012 12:10 AM

Parents must be present at parties!!

You are so right...just a few weeks ago my neighbor had a party & 2 under age kids had to go to the hospital because they blacked out from binge drinking!! Thank G-d they are OK.....I hope it taught them & those around them a lesson.....that it's just not cool to drink!!

(4) Anonymous, January 15, 2012 10:10 PM

We need to remember the phrase everything in moderation. Yes, we drink wine but that does not give us license to consume unlimited amounts of this substance. Re: Shabbat and other Yom Tovim. If I feel that people at my table will consume enough wine to the point of becoming drunk or sick, I can certainly put out grape juice instead. Sadly, alcoholism and binge drinking are INDEED a serious Jewish problem. We can no longer pretend this problem does not exist.

(3) rochel, January 15, 2012 6:24 PM

responsible moderation

I agree with Rabbi Salomon-and no doubt our rituals use wine shabbos and yom tov --but that is the point exactly! We are to make kiddush on the wine-be mikadash it-elevate it from the mundane to use it for a holy purpose, as we are required to do with all "mundane " activities. We have disciplines how to speak and on how to dress and yes on how to drink. Like everything else in the world like the internet or driving-it can be done responsibly or abused. I belive the rabbi was speaking of the abuse of drinking going on in our community and unfortunately sometimes this is even in the name of religion. We are responsible to teach our children the difference between holiness and a privledge abused. yashar koach to the rabbi for being this to the fore.

(2) SusanE, January 15, 2012 4:20 PM

Alcohol is the Most Dangerous Drug.

If you drink alcohol to celebrate, if you drink because you are sad, if you drink to relax, if you drink because you are angry, or if you drink because you socialize have a drug problem. Kids "binge' to save time and get their high as fast as they can. Adults do shot and a beer to get drunk faster. They guzzle straight out of the beer or the liquor bottle. The kids who 'binge drink' are drug addicts and the drug of choice is alcohol. It's cheap and legal. When they are out of college they will shoot up or snort because that delivers the drug to your brain faster also. - - - -The only person who can change that path is that kid. - - - As long as the kids are away from parents, and have money, and are addicted...sorry.....but there is nothing anyone else can do to stop it.

(1) Rosen, January 15, 2012 2:14 PM

Judaism's emphasis on drinking wine vs. mixed messages

Although I agree with Rav. Solomon, I think it is sending a mixed message on the amount of alcohol we consume, because Judaism places much emphasis on drinking wine, usually on Shabbas, Purim, and Passover, as well as weddings as a kind of mitzvah. How can one differentiate drinking and being merry vs. binge drinking?...Personally, I drink no alcohol whatsoever since it really has no health benefits and does (virtually) nothing good for the body. Sadly, this seems to be the way a lot of people socialize as it loosens them up (where I feel "left out" by not drinking and not knowing what I am missing out on socially). Again, I sense mixed messages on Judaism placing emphasis on drinking wine as a mitzvah and being merry compared/contrasted with binge drinking.

Claire, January 17, 2012 6:30 PM

I was taught the same

When I was growing up I also heard that drinking was not a problem for Jews. I don't know it that was true then, but it certainly isn't true now. I always thought that the message of moderation was a preventative for abuse, but I am not so sure now.


Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment

Receive Weekly Current Issues Emails

Sign up to our Current Issues Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy