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Purim, What A Celebration?

Purim, What A Celebration?

20 February 2012

A Joint Media Release with Chevra Hatzolah, David Southwick the Member for Caulfield, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV)

In the lead up to Purim, Chevra Hatzolah, David Southwick the Member for Caulfield, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) have joined forces to remind the community of the dangers of alcohol misuse in the youth sector during this chag.

Danny Elbaum, Operations Manager of Chevra Hatzolah has witnessed a vast acceleration in alcohol abuse use in the last decade within the Jewish community. His concerns focus on alcohol’s role in associated risk behavior, including sexual abuse. Danny recommends the following strategies for parents at Purim and for any other event or social occasion during the year,

If you don’t want your child to attend a Purim party or any other party, just say no.

Rest assured you will not be the only parent that does so!

Always drop off and pick up your child, be a responsible parent.

Do not supply your child with alcohol, it is illegal and poor role modeling.

Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, President of the RCV, stated that there is a common misconception amongst some in the community that excessive drinking is considered a mitzvah on Purim. “Jewish law makes it abundantly clear that drinking alcohol in a manner which puts one’s health in danger or makes one prone to behavior which brings embarrassment to the community, is completely and utterly forbidden”. Rabbi Glasman added that much of the true focus of Purim is lost when drinking becomes the central theme of this festival, “we should be concerning ourselves with the joy of Purim and the mitzvot of hearing the Megillah, helping the needy and giving mishloach manot to friends”.

David Southwick, the Member for Caulfield is pleased to announce recent changes to the legislation involving the secondary supply of alcohol. The Victorian government’s reforms make it illegal to serve alcohol to young people in private homes with fines up to $7000 for any breaches. ‘In particular during the Festival of Purim and the parties associated with it, it is important that young people and their families know to act responsibly and follow the law. This loophole that allowed young people to drink legally as long as they were in someone’s home has long been a concern for parents and it is great it has been closed’.

Debbie Zauder, who leads the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s (JCCV) Youth Alcohol Project, has welcomed the government’s initiative saying ‘cutting out any grey area in this area of policy will go a long way in changing community attitudes.’ YAP is an educational program held at the majority of the Jewish schools in Victoria. Its main aims are to educate youth and their parents on the short and long term effects of alcohol and most importantly change the culture in the Jewish community that alcohol is required to have fun.

Nina Bassat, President of the JCCV believes that the primary responsibility rests with parents in guiding their children in the use of alcohol. “Parents already know what they need to do;” she said. “I know it isn’t always easy in the face of prevailing behavior and peer pressure, but the situation is so grave that parents need to take a strong stand. The recently introduced State legislation assists by giving parents an additional tool with which to do this.”

Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in ancient Persian Empire in the wake of the plot by Haman. Chevra Hatzolah, the JCCV, the Office of David Southwick and the RCV wish everybody in the Jewish community a very happy and safe Purim.

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