The Orthodox Union in America has called on its synagogues to make sure that teenagers are not served alcohol during Simchat Torah celebrations later this week.
The holiday, which falls on Thursday night in the Diaspora, marks the end of the annual Torah cycle and the beginning of the next cycle, and features dancing with the Torah scrolls in a celebration that often includes alcohol.
"The reality is that no one should overindulge in alcohol on Simchat Torah, as it is not conducive to the spirit of the day. Even adults should be careful that their celebrations do not go counter to the appropriate decorum of our synagogues,” the OU's executive vice president, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb wrote in a letter to rabbis and presidents of OU synagogues.
“But when it comes to our youth, we must be extra zealous, for additional matters of safety and law," Weinreb added.
"Parents should know where their children - including teens - are, with whom, and what they're doing. Synagogues should not make alcohol available to minors. Authority figures should not turn a blind eye if they see underage members of their community drinking," the letter concluded.