Monday, May 30, 2011

American Yeshiva Students in Jerusalem and their Drug Abuse

Last Simchat Beit HaShoeva in Mea Shearim: Drunk American Yeshiva students yelling out of a window in Mea Shearim. 

All Photos Here !

"Hi, my name is Jacob, in Hebrew Yaakov, and I originally come from Boca Raton / Florida. Now I study at Ohr Sameach (a litvishe Yeshiva in Jerusalem) and this changed my life. Back in Boca Raton, I used to be a drug addict and was hanging around with really bad people. My parents sent me to Ohr Sameach and now I have discovered my Jewish heritage and that life offers so much more than drugs. I don't need any drugs anymore but have Torah !"

I heard this speech of a young guy in his early twenties a three or four years ago. Everyone hearing it was impressed. Forget about AISH and Ohr Sameach doing a bit of brainwashing but this guy getting away from drugs ... wow. What a story !

Only a few months later, a friend of mine and I saw the saw guy running and screaming around near Mea Shearim. Drugged again and this was the last time we saw him. Maybe Ohr Sameach kicked him out and Yaakov is back in Boca Raton where his parents have to deal with him again.

Drug problems are nothing new in Israeli Yeshivot and it is well - known that especially American youngsters studying in Israel either deal with drugs, use them or both. Not every student and I am not generalizing but many. Today almost every Israeli Yeshiva has a drug advisor or social worker. Especially since the deadly incident some years back where a young Anglo student studying in Telshe Stone (near Jerusalem) died of an overdose.

Unfortunately, many American, South African, Australian or British parents have the idea that by sending their looser children to Israel, they are getting rid of the problem. Kids using drugs at home will continue doing so  elsewhere. The same with violent kids and those getting drunk all the time. However, plenty of parents think that a Yeshiva should deal with the child and maybe the looser child turns into a normal person being able to deal to live his life. 

Those parents choose the easy way out and push all responsibility over to the Yeshiva, the Israeli police and social workers instead of dealing with the problem at home. No one is getting sober in a Yeshiva programme but only disturbing other or even trying to get others into trouble. Parents, in particular the ones with money, obviously don't see it this way and just want the kid out of the house. Even better, send the child as far away as possible. 

The results we see in Jerusalem and it doesn't matter if it is MIR, AISH or OHR SAMEACH. Young students with problems at home will always carry their problems with them and suddenly Israel has to deal with them. A very easy way of life until the kiddies are being thrown out and sent back to where they came from.


  1. I live in Jerusalem and I am fed up with people who send their problem kids here. Every Shabbat I get to stay up half the night listening to these kids vomiting from the balcony of the building next to door, and listening to young girls trying to act like grown up streetwalkers. What possesses parents to think that unsupervised teens with a credit card, in a place with little to no rules for buying alcohol, will spend their free time studying? Get real. I wish they would keep these kids at home or come with them to supervise--we have more than enough problems here already!

  2. B"H

    The parental credit card education is definitely a problem !

  3. They think that because the Land is holy, their children will become holy after spending some times in EY. But quite the contrary! They are polluting the Holy Land, and at the end, they are even convinced that their drunkness is Al Kiddush Hashem. There is no way to convince them with words as they are arrogant and think that being in the Holy Land, every thing is permitted. Often, Rachmana Litzlan, they need a serious accident to see the bad in their behaviour and change their ways. If they don't experience an accident, there are often no ways for them to change. I'm not wishing them bad, but I speak by experience. I have met a lot of such bochurim, and without a shock, they cannot change.

  4. B"H

    Some of those Chutznikim (Chutz La'Aretz = Abroad) students do get arrested by the Israeli police from time to time. Vandalizing and drugs.

    I actually do feel sorry for Yeshivot like AISH and MIR getting such students but money counts and the parents pay to get their kids away for a while.

    Unfortunately, it gives serious foreign Yeshiva students a very bad reputation, too.

  5. I know what you are talking about. In Crown Heights, we also have our Tzfatim :-) who give a very bad reputation to Chabad in general, and Chabad of Tzfat in particular.

    (Incidentally, last week, I was in Crown Heights for the annual Lag BaOmer Parade, and Tzfatim kept very quite this year. Contrary to last year, they were no fight, as the organizers agreed for the "Yechi" to be said. This is how people can obtain whatever they want and control the majority: with threats and violence.)