Welcome back for the conclusion of my interview with Yehudah Fine, the Times Square Rabbi. For many years, you roamed Times Square, looking for the homeless and runaway kids. More recently, you've also been visiting high schools and youth groups. Please walk us through one of your seminars, Yehudah.
Yehudah Fine by Yehudah Fine
I come in with some rules. No word to students that I am coming. Not even a mention of my name. Only one faculty or teacher in the meeting room. There must be no more than 300 kids. No introduction of me. I just walk in and getit all rolling. Jump them with my life and in two hours, I have over 85% of America's teens' secretquestions, so powerful they would not ask their best friends or parents.
Across the country, I survey them about their lives. No matter what the ethnic make-up or whether I am at a high-end suburban high school, inner city school,private or parochial school or if I am with home-schoolers oralternative schools, the results are nearly all the same.
I wasn't interested in how many of them experimented with drugs. For this survey, I didn't even want to know who was abusing drugs or alcohol. The more fundamental question was: What precisely were the issues in their daily lives and who was talking to them about those issues.
To make it easier for the teens to open up, I phrased each question in the following way: "How many of you have a friend who you know for a fact has . . ."
The eye-popping results are as follows:
100% had a friend who had been seriously depressed.