Guest Post follows (thank you and more Purim Posts to come, I hope. So busy!)
I don’t want to get into the debate about drinking and drunkenness on Purim, even though I do have some strong feeling about the subject. I would rather focus on an area in which we can all agree; we must have a zero tolerance policy for drunk driving, especially on Purim.
Yeshiva students who are not accustomed to regular drinking may be more susceptible to minimizing or even ignoring their impairment when it comes to driving. Let me say this clearly; no child or young adult should drive or attempt to operate a vehicle if s/he had anything to drink on Purim.
College Campuses have a similar problem when it comes to spring break, a period of time where many students engage in behaviors the normally would not consider. One solution I have seen on a number of college campuses is to offer a Drunk Driving Pledge to prevent students from drinking and driving.
Students are encouraged to sign the Pledge, and are offered an entry into a Raffle for doing so. Drunk Goggle demonstrations, which simulate the impairment of drunkenness and can be a powerful illustration of the dangers of drunk driving, often accompany the Pledge drives.
I believe it is time for a similar strategy for Purim. I have drafted the following text for a Purim Pledge aimed at children and young adults between ages 15-24:
In order to help ensure a safer Purim, I pledge that:
1) I will not operate or attempt to operate a vehicle if I have consumed any alcoholic beverages whatsoever.
2) I will not get into a vehicle driven by anyone who has consumed any alcoholic beverages whatsoever.
3) If, in consultation with my parents and Rebbeim and while obeying all applicable laws, I choose to drink on Purim, I will make safe transportation arrangements before Purim.
For an additional raffle entry: I will encourage my friends to sign the Purim Pledge.
It’s a simple idea, but coupled with organized Pledge drives on the local level it can save lives on Purim. For more information about the Pledge, or to help bring it to your community, please email chaimshapiro@ aol.com and join the Pledge Facebook Group at http://on.fb.me/fzFGx4
Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed serves on the Executive Committee of JBAC, The Jewish Board of Advocates for Children http://jewishadvocates.org/ . He is also the founder of the largest Orthodox online networking group, the Frum Network on LinkedIn.