web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

One A.M. – One Week Later


Woodbourne, NY

Photo Credit: Google Maps

In last week’s Jewish Press, an op-ed column of mine – “It’s One A.M. Do You Know Where Your Children Are? – described the “scene” in and around the pool hall in Monticello, New York, where hundreds of unsupervised teenage boys and girls were hanging out, drinking, and using drugs. I noted that some of the kids in the pool hall said they and their friends rent bungalows in non-Jewish colonies or motel rooms throughout the Catskills where they regularly party from Thursday night until Monday morning – including Shabbos.

If any readers needed further validation that things were as described, it came in the form of an article in The Middletown Record, the newspaper serving the Catskill Mountains area, the very day The Jewish Press hit the newsstands:

 

Five Arrested After Cops Break Up South Fallsburg Party

South Fallsburg – Police arrested five men over the weekend after getting complaints about a house where kids were being served alcohol and people were smoking marijuana.

Fallsburg police got the calls Saturday night, and between 9 and 10 p.m. they went to the address on Laurel Avenue in South Fallsburg. Police say they broke up a large party at the house and arrested five males, all between the ages of 17 and 21. Police said that those arrested were among the oldest people at the party, and some of them had supplied the alcohol to the younger partyers. Police said the partygoers were summer residents [emphasis added].

The five men were freed pending appearances in Fallsburg Town Court.

 

Those arrested were all frum kids from Brooklyn and Monsey, and their names were published in accounts of the arrests in other newspapers. (Shabbos ended well after 9 p.m. that week, so if the police received calls and responded “between 9 and 10 p.m.” and found at that time “a large party” – well, you do the math.)

No doubt some of you are wondering how things turned out this past Motzoei Shabbos. I’m pleased to report that things were far better than the previous weekend – in no small part due to the awareness generated by my Jewish Press op-ed.

Countless parents whose teens are spending the summer in the Catskills shared copies of the column with each other in print and e-mail formats. I know of several bungalow colonies where the article was clipped from the paper and posted on the shul’s bulletin board. Two popular frum bloggers wrote essays about the issue last Wednesday and more than 1,100 people reviewed the article on my website alone (www.rabbihorowitz.com), not counting those who forwarded it to their e-mail lists.

Additionally, concrete steps were taken to improve things on the ground. Quite a few bungalow colony owners called staff meetings with their day-camp counselors and initiated curfews for those traveling off grounds on Motzoei Shabbos. A Brooklyn rav and his lay leaders made arrangements with the pool hall owner in Monticello to have the hall’s use limited to boys after midnight. He also rented Liberty Lanes, a popular bowling alley in Liberty, for the exclusive use of girls. The rav arranged for adult supervision in both locations and provided homebound transportation for the girls after their time in the bowling alley.

As I see it, there are several important lessons to be learned from this evolving episode.

To begin with, awareness matters. As difficult as it is for us to write and publish columns of this nature, it really is the only way to generate the type of awareness that allows parents and community leaders to proactively respond to the challenges we collectively face.

Additionally, we need not throw up our hands and feel resigned to accept things as they are. We must feel empowered to parent our children effectively and set limits for them that will keep them safe – and alive. We also need — with our time and our financial resources – to get behind the efforts of the rabbis and lay leaders who are working to help save our children

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 them, we delude ourselves into thinking we’ve solved the problems and thereby set 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.

Those 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 in which our children can spend their free time.

Our disenfranchised kids, some of whom may not be that book-smart or academically gifted, managed to figure 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.

About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “One A.M. – One Week Later”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
jewish psyciatrist

Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

In part the altered lives victims of abuse and molestation live are a result of the abuse itself. But it is in part also because of the unfortunate negative reaction to the victims by their own community.

These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.

All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.

A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”

Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”

One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.

Dear Rabbi Horowitz:

We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.

Digital images of the profoundly disturbing computer-smashing ceremony conducted by Rabbi Aaron Feinhandler have been viewed by countless thousands of Jews worldwide over the past few weeks.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/one-a-m-one-week-later/2007/08/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: