The Jewish holiday of Purim will take place next week, amid typically boisterous celebrations. But one group is warning that young Jewish girls face a serious danger on the day of drinking and celebrating the Jewish people's rescue from destruction in ancient Persia.
Patty Kupfer, Director of Learn and Live, a group focused on saving Jewish girls from abusive relationships, notes one particularly drunk 17-year-old girl last Purim was nearly "helped" by two Arab men into their car.
"We intervened and took her to our ‘safe tent’ where female staff look after girls and let them sleep off the liquor till the morning. We save girls like this every year," reported Kupfer.
Kupfer notes that particularly in downtown Jerusalem, 15- to 18-year-old girls tend to take too far the religious imperative to drink and revel in the salvation back in the days of Queen Esther, becoming inebriated and unwittingly putting themselves in danger of being taken advantage of.
Those interested in volunteering with the group to patrol Jerusalem this Purim in two hour two-person shifts are invited to e-mail. The group emphasizes no dangerous activities will be required. Those interested in more information or donating can find more here.
Exploitation of Jewish girls -- not just for Purim
Knesset figures state that last year over 700 young Jewish girls were lured into relationships with Arab men, only to be confronted by abuse. Reportedly over a thousand calls from girls trapped in Arab villages are fielded by Israeli hotlines every year, with many others unable to call.
The group notes that Muslim legal authority Sheik Abu Humam Al-Athari announced in 2011 that Islamic law encourages Arab men to capture "infidel" (Jewish and Christian) women. Since the ruling, Learn and Live reports the number of Jewish girls who have "gone missing" more than doubled.
“This is a silent war and our daughters on are on the front line,” warns Kupfer. “Vulnerability and low self-esteem, combined with the Sharia law, has led to this disastrous state of affairs for the girls and for the Jewish people.”
Kupfer's group tries to help Jewish girls before they are taken to Arab villages, and is looking to raise funds for more counselors, a new shelter, and an awareness program to warn school students of the dangers. Over 600 girls are on the group's list now, after parents or friends called for help.
The group's director notes "a girl doesn’t usually fall for wining and dining unless she’s in a lot of pain, lonely and searching for the attention and affection that’s missing in her life. We work with the girl, her family and friends to help get her life back on solid footing.”