Yeshiva High School Students Binge-Drinking [Episode #67 of The Jewish Drinking Show]

Introduction
How much is binge-drinking a practice undertaken by yeshiva high school students in the US? Surprisingly, more than we would have thought. In a JTA op-ed that Dr. Rivka Press-Schwartz and Rabbi Tully Harcsztark published in late February 2021, they shared their findings from a survey carried out under the auspices of Machon Siach at SAR High School. The 67th episode of The Jewish Drinking Show features Dr. Press-Schwartz sharing and discussing the findings of the survey.

Guest Bio
Dr. Press-Schwartz currently serves as Associate Principal, General Studies at SAR High School in the Bronx in New York City. She earned a Ph.D. in History of Science from Princeton University, writing her dissertation about the cultural history of the Manhattan Project. She lectures widely on issues of contemporary importance in the Orthodox community. She also serves on the faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.

Episode
The episode is available in both podcast and video formats:

 

Video Clips
Here are a couple of video clips from the episode:

 

Proposed Outline
Here is the proposed outline for the episode (how much we stuck to it or not is something you can check out):

  1. Welcome & Introduction to Guest
  2. Welcome
  3. RDK: Welcome to the 67th episode of The Jewish Drinking Show; I’m your host, Rabbi Drew Kaplan
  4. RDK: I’m very excited to welcome first-time guest, Dr. Rivka Press-Schwartz, to the show; welcome!
  5. DRPS: Thank you so much for the invitation 😊
  6. Introduction to Guest
  7. RDK: For those less familiar with Dr. Press-Schwartz, she currently serves as Associate Principal, General Studies at SAR High School in the Bronx in New York City. She earned a Ph.D. in History of Science from Princeton University, writing her dissertation about the cultural history of the Manhattan Project. She lectures widely on issues of contemporary importance in the Orthodox community. She also serves on the faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.
  8. RDK: As someone who was alerted to Dr. Press-Schwartz, I think it was Rabbi David Wolkenfeld, who put her deeply intriguing “Privilege, Perspective, and Modern Orthodox Youth” essay in a 2012 volume of the Orthodox Forum on my radar. I have also appreciated her Tweeting, and found her appearance on the 18Forty podcast to be quite interesting.
  9. RDK: However, what brings her here for this episode is her JTA op-ed she published with Rabbi Tully Harcsztark, “The data don’t lie: Yeshiva high school students have a binge-drinking problem. Here’s what we can do about it.”, which was published in late February 2021.
  10. Discussion of Topic
  11. RDK: Dr. Press-Schwartz, according to what you published, Rabbi Harcsztark and you took up this survey in 2019 and 2020, correct?
  12. DRPS answers
  13. RDK: How did you think to undertake this survey?
  14. DRPS answers
  15. RDK: In this survey, you took in feedback from 10th-12th graders from yeshiva high schools; would you mind sharing more about the process and gathering the data?
  16. DRPS answers
  17. RDK: I see that one of the most surprising findings was that “The national data show that 22% of students have taken ‘more than just a taste or a sip’ in the past 30 days, compared with 38% of students in our community; 11% of students nationally say they have binged (five or more drinks in a sitting), compared with 17% to 19% of students in our community.” – how did you take these findings?
  18. DRPS answers
  19. RDK: What were some other surprising findings?
  20. DRPS answers
  21. RDK: Which findings were more heartening to discover?
  22. DRPS answers
  23. RDK: And you wrote that “While substance use among teens will never be eradicated, we can work together to develop healthier attitudes and safer social settings for our children” – how do you believe we can work together to foster healthier attitudes and safer social settings for our children?
  24. DRPS answers

—– RDK: I wanted to take a pause and provide listeners with a sneak-peak into next week’s episode, “Wine at Brit Milah Ceremonies”, featuring Rabbi Hayim Leiter … I hope you enjoyed that sneak peak, and now back to our episode with Dr. Press-Schwartz —-

  • Wrapping-up
  1. RDK: Dr. Press-Schwartz, this has been an insightful and fascinating conversation. Do you have any particular projects upon which you are working at the moment you would like to share?
  2. DRPS answers
  3. RDK responds
  4. RDK: Dr. Press-Schwartz, thank you so much for sharing your time and insights on this matter – thank you!
  5. DRPS: It has been my pleasure, etc.
  6. RDK: Thank you and לחיים!
  7. DRPS: לחיים!

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