How to Speak to Your Child About Drinking on Purim


The custom of drinking alcohol on Purim stems from a quotation in the Talmud attributed to a fourth-century rabbi, Rava: “One must drink on Purim until that person cannot distinguish between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai” (Megillah 7). This custom has become a green light for people, especially students in Israel, to drink lots of alcohol on Purim. Unfortunately, many gap year students drink until they are sick, passed out, or exhibiting dangerous or inappropriate behavior (such as vomiting in your rabbi’s yard). Although alcohol consumption in the US is illegal for people under the age of 21, in Israel, it is legal from age 18.

This year Purim is on Wednesday night, 3/20, and Thursday, 3/21, outside of Jerusalem. Purim in Jerusalem starts Thursday night, 3/21, and ends with Shabbat, 3/22. Many gap year students celebrate BOTH Purim days, traveling in and out of Jerusalem… and binge drinking for 2 days!
Unfortunately, every year there are alcohol-related injuries among gap year students, even resulting in alcohol toxicity (which can be fatal).

Parenting teenagers is never easy. Learning how to approach drinking on Purim with your gap year child is important for parents as it keeps communication open. Here are some tips for parents:

  1. State clearly, “I want to speak to you about drinking on Purim.” 
  2.  Keep in mind your child does not want you to invade his/her privacy and may think you won’t understand the atmosphere in Israel on Purim.
  3. Teens have a fear of being “lectured” – keep it short and to the point.
  4. Your response should include respect for your child’s privacy, understanding your child, wanting to help your child make good choices, and love and warmth toward your child.
  5. Begin with an open-minded statement. “Purim is coming, and with drinking being legal in Israel, you may be looking forward to a fun holiday filled with lots of drinking.”
  6. Listen closely to your child’s response. Do not criticize!
  7. Speak honestly about your own experiences and opinions about alcohol. Again, keep it short. Include symptoms of alcohol poisoning: 
         a. vomiting
         b. losing consciousness
         c. uncoordinated movement
         d. dehydration

8. Encourage spacing drinks – 1 drink per hour with a glass of water in between
9. It would be great if everyone felt comfortable saying, “I don’t want to get drunk, so I’m not drinking a lot on Purim.” Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Ask your child if he/she is comfortable with that statement. Is your child feeling pressured to drink on Purim? Talk about other ways to say no:
     a. I don’t feel good; I have a headache
     b. I don’t want to be sick on Shabbat
     c. I don’t want to be sick when I travel
     d. Drinking makes me feel dizzy/ queasy – I wouldn’t say I like the feeling

Purim is a beautiful holiday with many fun activities, including the whole country dressing in costume, giving charity, exchanging food gifts, eating delicious meals, candy-binging (perhaps a different blog on that issue). Purim should not be marred by gap year students going overboard with alcohol consumptions to the point of illness.

EMA Care encourages all parents to speak to their children about how to handle Purim and excessive drinking. Click here for more information about alcohol abuse during a gap year in Israel.


Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Purim Hangover Remedies
More About Food Allergies

Our Latest Blogs

25 June 2023
Medical Checklist for Gap Year Students It's probably safe to say that the Gap year packing list your child received did not include a medical supplies checklist. There are many reasons to give your kids some medical supplies and medicines before the...
31 October 2021
You have decided to make your Aliyah and currently take prescription medications. How can you continue with your medication regimen in Israel? How can you ensure that your medications are available in Israel and how do you communicate the need for th...
17 October 2021
During the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have been worried about the upcoming Flu season. But to everyone’s surprise, the numbers in the southern hemisphere were the lowest they have been in a long time. “Never in my 40-year career have we ever s...

EMA Care in the News

05 September 2021
Medical Care during the Holidays can be tricky in Israel especially if you do not speak Hebrew. During the holidays, many medical offices and hospitals are operating on Shabbat mode. Shabbat mode means that personnel is cut to minimum staffing, many ...
19 July 2021
Over the years, we've been approached by people who've asked us about different kinds of diets and food plans. Intermittent fasting has become very popular over the last few years. It is a method of dieting that restricts the amount of time you are a...
11 July 2021
 Telemedicine is a great option for caring for geriatric populations in Israel. This is especially true during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the years, we’ve had many clients who care for their older, dependent parents. Take our clients, the A fam...

What Our Clients Say

Our COVID-19 WhatsApp informational group

Thank you so much for your help. I can't tell you how this Whatsapp group helps all of us. It makes everyone so much more relaxed to have real good information and have somewhere to ask questions, I am so grateful!

Our COVID-19 WhatsApp informational group

I want to express my appreciation for these very informative updates.

Thank you so much


Entry to Israel services

Your team was so attentive to my needs. Everyone was so incredibly quick to respond and were proactive when they were able!


Interview with Dr. Mobeen & Dr. Eliana Aaron

Many thanks for your hour-long session on Dr. Syed's YouTube channel. This is the best Hasbara Israel could wish for!


EMA Care information and Q&A conference

Thank you for the zoom (and all your updates). It was great. I wish the news was like that. Straight forward, factual, unemotional.  Bravo to both of you ladies!! 


EMA Care information and Q&A conference

Thanks so much for your time and attention! It was excellent! Thank you guys so much for organizing.


EMA Care information and Q&A conference

Thank you! Very helpful and comprehensive.


WhatsApp groups

I really appreciate being apart of your WhatsApp groups. It keeps me informed and up to date!


Ema Care WhatsApp groups

I have been following your updates closely and I really appreciate your posts and I know that I am reading accurate information 


Recommended by an Infectious Disease Specialist

My experience with Ema Care has been so positive that I wanted to share it in case it could help someone else. Eight days ago my daughter, a Shanah Bet student, called to say she wasn’t feeling well and had symptoms of Covid-19. I was put in touch with an Infectious Disease specialist who recommended Ema Care. I reached Dr. Eliana Aaron easily and signed my daughter up. The next morning, Ema Care gave my daughter a telehealth exam and provided her with prescriptions, as well as a list of