Purim, Parties, Parents

March 6, 2014 by David Marlow
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The Jewish Community Council of Victoria calls on the community to celebrate Purim responsibly.

A Purim drunk

A Purim drunk

Purim, especially for youth is a joyous and fun Chag, involving dressing up, wearing masks, attending celebrations, baking and eating Hamantashen. However, in recent years Purim events for youth have also involved ambulance trips to the hospital’s Emergency Room and hospital admissions to be revived or have their stomach pumped, lying unconscious in the gutters of Caulfield, vomiting profusely, and severe dehydration, all due to alcohol.

With a large Purim youth event planned this weekend, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) Youth Alcohol Project (YAP) Committee, which consists of representatives from Chevra Hatzolah, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, Jewish Care, Australian Jewish Psychologists and the JCCV Executive, offers the following advice to parents.

  • Parents of Jewish youth should drop off and pick up their children from any and every Purim event they attend. This is vital no matter where the venue is located, or what time the youth claims the event concludes or requests to be picked up.
  • Know where your child is at all times; know who they are with and what they are doing.

Debbie Zauder YAP Project Manager vividly remembers that last Purim the Australian Jewish News reported that almost half of the thousand Jewish youth partygoers at the Purim party were intoxicated upon arrival. Zauder recalls “In 2012, Jewish youth made headlines in the media across Melbourne for their drunken behaviour at the Purim party that had a potentially fatal effect on the availability of emergency services for the community that night.”

Despite the Purim party advertising it is an alcohol free environment, the practice of preloading is increasingly becoming popular in the Jewish community.  Otherwise known as ‘pre-drinking’, ‘pre-partying’ and ‘home drinking’, pre-loading is when a group of youth gather to consume large amounts of alcoholic beverages before going out to a party, usually in a short period of time. Preloading has become popular as the alcohol is freely available to underage youth and cheaper to access. Preloading in the Jewish community occurs on a regular basis; however it is receives more attention at Purim where it is referred to as “pressies”.

Evidence from Drug and Alcohol agencies clearly state that parents are the greatest influence, by far, on their children’s’ alcohol patterns and behaviour. Parents can make a difference!

For more information about the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s (JCCV) Youth Alcohol Project (YAP) please contact Debbie Zauder YAP Project Manager dzauder@jccv.org.au and 0413 263 673

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