Sunday, September 19, 2010

Williamsburg Jews Find Solution To Yom Kippur Headache: Caffeine Suppositories

One of the biggest concerns of Jews fasting on Yom Kippur is how to avoid headaches from caffeine withdrawal.  The advice most often given is to slowly reduce coffee consumption starting on Rosh Hashana and drink no coffee for a few days before Yom Kippur.  This advice has been generally heeded and works for most people.

According to a report in Friday's Vos Iz Neias  (The Voice of the Orthodox Jewish Community), a Haredi online newspaper, Jews in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, have found a new way to prevent caffeine withdrawal headaches:  caffeine suppositories.  No, we're not kidding.  Vos Iz Neias reprinted a story by Andy Campbell in The Brooklyn Paper, a local neighborhood daily.
In his article, Bump in the trunk! Jews rushing to get caffeine suppositories, Campbell writes:
These huge, rectally inserted pills are popular. Pharmacists at Rafieh — one of many distributors in south Williamsburg on Lee Avenue — sold nearly 150 suppositories today.
“We have caffeine suppositories!” the store’s handwritten sign heralded. “Be ready!”
But is it kosher?  There’s some controversy over whether Jews observing the Biblical fast should be taking an easy out (or, more accurately, in).

Some Jewish leaders said that consuming anything — through the body’s traditional entrance or its exit — is against the spirit of the ritualistic fast.
“We’re supposed to do it the old fashioned way — I wouldn’t advise [suppositories],” said Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, a Hasidic leader. “We wanna keep Jews in the synagogue and not in the bathroom.”
(Photo by Community Neighborhood Group/Andy Campbell)


  1. Doesn't it seem that doing something like this takes away from the dignity and seriousness of the day? If people are serious about their fasts, perhaps they should try to remember next year to start reducing their caffeine intake 3-4 days before the fast, instead of taking an easy(?)way out -- or do I mean easy way "in" ?!


  2. The best part of waking up is Folgers in your...butt?