A Drug Problem Within the Haredi Population in Manchester, England – Rabbis, Please Help These Children
We would like to thank Yeshiva World News for covering the story below. We make absolutely clear to all readers that it is quite likely that YWN is not a supporter of this site or our coverage and perspective. That said, it does not diminish our respect for them and the work they do. We do not always agree with their coverage but they have a readership and circulation that they are beholden to and despite that, they cover stories such as the one below. We do not necessarily agree with the perspective the article took.
The issue, as we see it, is not that these girls were compelled to travel on Shabbat but that there is a growing and significant drug problem in the Yeshiva community in Manchester, England. We have been advised via a source, that the rabbis within the community know that there are a significant number of children, mostly boys, who are using drugs and either ignore the problem or actively cover it up. We have been advised that the drug of choice is Opiods.
We have further been told that the Manchester Police have been looking the other way.
We are not writing this article to condemn the actions of a rabbinical community trying to keep a drug problem quiet. It is not a shining example of how one wants a community, a family of children to be perceived. But, to the rabbis, teachers, parents and community leaders, closing your eyes to the problem or looking the other way will not make it go away. It will only get worse. The children who are using are sick and they need help as they would with any other disease.
We applaud the Chabad organization that refused to house these kids to prevent them from traveling on Shabbat. The Chabad organization stated their refusal is on the grounds that these children had committed crimes. We applaud any group that takes a stance against smuggling drugs (which is ultimately what was happening) and gets the authorities involved.
Drug abuse and addiction will not go away by ignoring it. It is a disease and these children need help like they would if they were sick with any other illness. If they had cancer, they would be given chemo or radiation coupled with love and support. If they had epilepsy or diabetes, they would be treated and loved. The same should be true of drug addiction. And, do not fool yourselves that occasional use of opiods is not addiction. It is.
Teaching religious oriented students is not going to “convince” these children to stop using and apparently it is not successful at influencing them to avoid trying these drugs in the first place. No community is immune, contrary to what the rabbis would have everyone believe. If kids are using, they need serious and medically oriented help. And they need to be embraced and loved.
The kids cannot stop using alone. They need an open and supportive, loving and kind community to help them.
We implore upon the Rabbis of the Manchester, England Yeshiva community to embrace the problem and work to fix it. These children need help, medical attention and love. At least give them that.
Following the YWN report of the arrest of chareidi girls upon their arrival in Manchester for smuggling in Khat (a drug), it has been learned the matter is gaining notoriety throughout areas of Europe, and there are two girls currently under arrest in Oslo.
As YWN-Israel reported, over the past few months, dozens of young charedi men and women have been arrested for smuggling contraband items in Manchester, England. Two girls spent seder night in detention and house arrest after they were apprehended. It is reported that the plant is not illegal in Israel, but it is prohibited in Europe.
BeChadrei Chareidim continues reporting on the case, explaining a number of askanim from Europe have contacted them to publicize the matter pertaining to the two girls detained Seder night, as well as the outrage of a Chabad shaliach whose become involved, albeit, not at his own behest.
Dozens of young chareidi boys and girls are smuggle the drug to Europe. They receive a sum of money and a hotel for three days and are told by the operator that if they get in trouble, they are told that they can “call the local Chabad shaliach”.
Two chareidi girls from Jerusalem were detained for a number of days in Oslo, the capital of Norway, for the attempted smuggling of Khat leaves. They are scheduled to be deported on this coming Shabbos to Israel. [They spent Pesach in detention.]
The Norwegians refuse to put them on a flight with a stopover, insisting on a direct flight, and this only happens on Shabbos, and for now it seems that the two will be forced to be mechalel Shabbos against their will because of the smuggling.
The Chabad shaliach to Oslo, Rabbi Shaul Wilhelm, says in a conversation with BeChadrei Chareidim, that all those who have become entangled with the law in the past few months are asking him if they can stay at the Chabad House and pay as much as they can, but he does not agree. “They are breaking the law and I do not assist lawbreakers,” said Wilhelm.
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