NCSY Purim Party Requires Two Squad Cars And Police Helicopter To Quell

The National Council of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) held a Purim party Thursday night at an Orthodox shul in Pico/Robertson. There were four security guards on hand and they couldn’t keep the kids under control. They were racing around the shul opening doors (to let in their friends who weren’t registered), setting off fire alarms, consuming prodigious amounts of hard liquor and setting off firecrackers up and down Pico Blvd.

The firecrackers brought out the police helicopter along with two squad cars around midnight.

Kids were running onto Pico Blvd and bringing traffic to a complete halt.

The party was finally closed down at 1 a.m.

Neighbors are furious and threatening complaints. The whole thing was a disaster.

The kids have been out of control at every NCSY event I’ve seen (about a dozen). They act like water buffalo and treat a shul worse than a nightclub. Perhaps they need an abusive rabbi like Baruch Lanner to keep them in line.

The Los Angeles Jewish community’s version of Pravda, the Jewish Journal, reports things this way in its March 28, 2008 issue:

Sober; but Joyous, Purim for L.A. Teens (print edition headline)

Purim is fun and sober for L.A. teens (online headline)

More than 600 Los Angeles teens attended Purim parties this year thrown by an Orthodox youth group intent on showing the kids a festive holiday while keeping them sober and off the streets.

Because drinking alcohol is a ritual part of celebrating Purim, teens often find easy access to liquor and wine on the holiday, which in the past has led to some dangerous and illegal activities. This year, the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) of the Orthodox Union sponsored Purim parties.

"Teens are out there looking for ways to celebrate Purim. We needed to create a responsible venue to compete against unsupervised and potentially harmful experiences," said Rabbi Effie Goldberg, West Coast director of NCSY.

About 100 teens gathered for an NCSY bash, complete with live band, at Golan Restaurant in North Hollywood. …on Pico Boulevard, about 500 teens celebrated with a costume contest, dancing, arcade games and a Wii competition. No alcohol was allowed in, and inebriated teens were turned away.

Aleinu Family Resource Center, a program of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles that serves primarily the Orthodox community, launched an "Absolut Choice" campaign. The organization sent out 7,000 postcards offering parents pointers for talking to their teens about celebrating Purim responsibly and the dangers of binge drinking. At synagogues on Purim, Aleinu distributed 3,500 water bottles with an "Absolut Choice" label that included information on the dangers of rapid drinking and drinking and driving.

In addition, Hatzolah emergency first response service put up posters around synagogues and other venues warning of the dangers of binge drinking, and rabbis urged people not to serve minors drinks as they went door to door delivering Purim baskets or collecting money for charity.

"I believe Purim was a safer Purim in Los Angeles this year," said Debbie Fox, Aleinu director. "When the community works together, we have a safer community."

If NCSY Purim parties get any safer, people will die.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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