Sunday, August 08, 2010

Drug & Alcohol Abuse in the Orthodox Jewish Community

Less than a month ago, I opened up my email to find an extremely powerful essay authored by Rabbi Dr. Gershon and Kirbie Pincus, Rabbi Dr. Elie and Aliza Feder, Noah and Nava Pincus Greenfield, and Chaviva Pincus about the life and loss of their beloved son and brother, Avi Pincus. This essay has been published online by the Orthodox Union under the title "Dying to Recover: The Life and Loss of Avi Pincus." He died of a drug overdose. Unlike others, who desire to cover up this information, the Pincuses and Greenfields wanted to share their story in the hope of helping others "to be more caring of others, more sensitive to the pain around us, and more appreciative of the difficult circumstances in which so many find themselves."

I was impressed to discover that this issue had formerly been addressed in Issue 278 of Mishpacha Magazine, the Mega Succos Edition, published on September 30, 2009. The article there was entitled "Drinking From the Cup of Bitterness: A Family Cherishes the Legacy of a Beloved Son" and was written by Malki Lowinger. Yehuda Mond z"l passed away at the age of 19 from a drug and alcohol overdose.

The Mond family decided to take their tragedy and turn it into a powerful effort to raise awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse within our world. They started a foundation, the website of which is What is more, they created a DVD which includes personal testimonials, endorsement of rabbis such as R' Twerski, a dramatization telling the everyday story of yeshiva bochurim and alcohol along with the Mond family speaking directly into the camera and speaking very movingly about their son. You can watch the DVD here or below:

The dangers and pitfalls of alcohol from Yehuda Mond Foundation on Vimeo.

I think it's fantastic this issue is being discussed in the Orthodox world, and I'm glad people are taking measures to spread awareness and combat the cavalier, dapper, unconcerned attitude many people feel on both sides of the spectrum.


Dana said...

like any powerful and dark issue- better to bring it out into a place where it can be discussed. if it'll happen anyway, better to address it in a healthy setting. nice post chana :)

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Charlie Hall said...

I'm now on the advisory board of a group that is trying to be a part of the solution: