Thursday, March 09, 2006

Alchohol-free Purim?

Ynet: According to the words of the scroll, Jews are supposed to get drunk on Purim, but over the last few years more and more ultra-Orthodox youths cash in on the spiritual costume to engage in wild crimes. Aware of the problem rabbis this year decided to coordinate ultra-Orthodox celebrations with the Israel police in a bid to curb drunk-related criminal offenses. Ahead of Purim, which falls next week, community leaders turned to the police to report on youths known to have crossed the acceptable limits. For many in the ultra-Orthodox community, these rebellious youths are problematic because they violate haredi norms of conduct but retain their haredi look and perceive themselves as part of the community.A haredi member of the Jerusalem Municipality Council, Shlomo Rosenstein, said “the same teenagers get drunk and let themselves go. They throw firecrackers, harass passersby and women, act violently and this a lot of times ends with quarrels.”Police officials met representatives of the haredi community on Wednesday to prepare for next week’s Purim celebrations among Jerusalem’s haredi community.The sides agreed to a boosted police presence in the Haredi neighborhoods of the capital on Purim. In a coordinated operation to contain possible drunk-related violence by delinquent haredi youths, community leaders will report disturbances to the police.In addition, it was decided that rabbis will be called to control delinquent youths and dissuade them from harassing passersby.A senior Jerusalem police officer said the meeting “proved the good intensions of the haredi community.” Rosenstein, who initiated the meeting, said: “Both sides, who previously saw themselves on different sides of the barricade, understood that the utmost objective is law enforcement and it is certainly possible to work together.”Rabbis have even banned youths from drinking on Purim despite the biblical significance of the festivity.David Ben-Esrim, a Jerusalem yeshiva student told Ynet this week why he thinks the rabbis’ decision is wise: “One day a year, students from all Yeshivas are allowed to chill out and this happens in a boom. Festivities turn into drinking parties and people miss the true sanctified nature of the holy day.”In the haredi town of Bnei Brak, police and community leaders have been cooperating on containing youth violence on Purim.Acting on tips from the public, police will conduct raids on suspected individuals in search of dangerous fireworks. “The problem is,” Rosenstein said, “that since things calmed down in Bnei Brak, the epicenter moved to Jerusalem and now we are required to deal with the problem.”
xmlns:dc="" xmlns:trackback=""> -->

<< Home