Volume 19 Number 34
                       Produced: Tue Apr 18 23:41:32 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Josh Backon]
Co-ed Issues
         [Steve Bailey]
co-ed schools
         [Orin d Golubtchik]
Co-educational Schools
         [Shira Persky]
Life (literally) After Death
         [Akiva Miller]
NYS Get Law
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Same Question, again
         [Zvi Weiss  ]


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Tue,  11 Apr 95 20:35 +0200
Subject: Re: Co-ed

As someone who graduated Maimonides (the Rav's zt"l yeshiva day school
in Brookline MA) over 27 years ago, permit me to comment. All classes
EXCEPT gemorra were coed (at least after 10th grade). As a neighbor of
the Rav, as someone who used to mimeograph his weekly notes for the
semicha shiur at RIETS, and as someone who went faithfully to the Rav's
Motzai Shabbat shiur at Maimonides all through high school, I can say
I was quite close to the Rav zt"l. When I and and a classmate once asked
the Rav why the school was coed, we received an *off the record* reply
that being in a coed environment would PREVENT any inappropriate
behavior. I can attest to the fact that there was ZERO hanky-panky
between the boys and the girls in my class. Like in a kibbutz, familiarity
leads to a totally asexual relationship. I remember while in Camp Moshava
in the summer listening to the guys in my bunk (all from male-only
yeshivot) talk about how all the time they run over to the girl's school
(Bais Yaakov, etc.). Being in a coed environment in a yeshiva day school
actually lead to a healthy attitude toward relationships with the opposite
sex. I know many guys who went to Haredi-type yeshiva high schools who
completely left yiddishkeit when they graduated.

Josh Backon


From: <RSRH@...> (Steve Bailey)
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 1995 15:55:21 -0400
Subject: Co-ed Issues

I have been following the co-ed thread with interest. It is no trick to find
indirect prohibitions because the subject, like tzniut in general, is
strongly influenced by social and cultural practices -- as well it should be.
But co-ed was not an issue to be dealt with in the last generation (and
before), when all education in Europe was segregated. Of more interest is an
honest approach to non-prohibitive attitudes in contemporary times.
A. Shapiro is not compelling in his black and white attack. He moves from
absolutely prohibited to "it depends on circumstances" to "not the ideal"
back to absolutely prohibited.  Heather Luntz is much more on the mark with
her observation about the likely 'revisionist" version of the Rav's(ztz"l)
position, as recounted in R. Schachter's book of stories. I have it on first
person report that neither the Rav's daughter(Atara Twersky), his son, Chaim
nor son-in-law, Rav Lichtenstein will state that the Rav prohibited
co-education. The fact that all classes (even Talmud) were co-ed as Heather
noted and the fact that his own children went there instead of to New York,
argues against the prohibition (let alone the fact that the Rav would have
segregated the school after it became fiscally sound with enough room for
segregated classrooms and not left it functioning co-ed for 45 years if it
was meant as a "temporary measure"). I also think Heather is on the mark with
her observation that the Rav strongly believed in minhag hamakom and would
not encourage change of status quo as a general strategy -- but that is not
to be confused with a position specifically on co-ed.
Regarding Bnei Akiva's position on co-ed, I'd like to refer interested
readers to a booklet (in hebrew) called "chevra m'urevet" by Rav Amnon
Shapira, in which there are halachik and hashkafic discussions with
rationales for permitting social integrated activities under the cloak of a
religious youth movement (which would equally apply to a religious school)
and an interesting interview with a Rebbe at Maimonides who gives a more
accurate view of the Rav's position. 
 Chag kasher v'sameach to all.

Steve Bailey
Los Angeles


From: Orin d Golubtchik <ogolubtc@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 95 17:21:07 EDT
Subject: co-ed schools

I would like to respond to Ari Shapiro's posting on co-ed schools and the
issurim that he claims they are over on.  First of all, I believe that it is
very naieve (and insulting to males who attended co-ed organizations) to
believe that males in co-ed schools spend all of their time looking at,
thinking about, excessively talking to and engaging in levity with women.  The
futhrer issurim of hugging and kissing etc. are even more so, and I will not
even address those.
Students who attend co-ed yeshivot, DO interact with females.  However, they
do so in an established and monitored environment, perhaps one that is
healthier than what goes on in non-coed (Black hat) yeshivas.  While I
attended a co-ed yeshiva, I have many friends who attended non-coed yeshivas,
where for some of the students, the most important task was finding ways to
skip shiur, and get out to talk to and look at girls.  As far as thinking
about girls, it seems that for many of the students (we are talking about high
school age boys) that was a full time occupation.
I do not mean to imply that all students in non co-ed yeshivas spend all of
time thinking about, and trying to meet with girls, many do not.  However, we
must recognize that many do, and are violating the very issurim that Ari is
accusing co-ed yeshivot of while many co-ed yeshiva students (who are exposed
to girls on a daily basis) are not as obsessed with the topic, and can (and
do) succesfully spend their time and energies on learning.
While I expect that not everyone will agree with my view, I hope that people
take the time to try and understand the situation from this point of view, and
not dismiss co-ed yeshivot as organizations that are teaching children to
violate multiple issurim.


From: <ShiraP@...> (Shira Persky)
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 95 12:56:53 EST
Subject: Co-educational Schools

I must take exception to many of the arguments going on regarding co-
educational schools. In my view, this is another example of how recent
"leanings towards the right" are attempting to change history and
transform what used to be the norm into something
forbidden. Co-educational yeshivot have been around for several decades
now, and have turned out more zionistic, idealistic, committed, and
Torah-learning Jews than people would care to admit.  As a Yeshiva of
Flatbush graduate (ES '72, HS '76), I consider myself in this
category. I now live in the Boston area and have two children who attend
Maimonides School. I can tell you for a fact that the current
administration of Maimo are, (as was its founder) committed to the
idea of co-educational schools NOT because it was the "lesser of two
evils," but because they believe in the inherent obligation of teaching
girls Torah in as serious and dedicated an environment as boys. This
commitment will not change.

Maimonides students--boys and girls Kindergarten through grade 12--who
learn together, both secular subjects and Judaic studies, develop deep
and long- lasting friendships which enrich them and which prepare them
for adult relationships. When they graduate, these young men and women
can be proud of the education they received, as I am, which prepares
them for the rigors of both learning in yeshivot in Israel, and the
various colleges and prestigious universities they attend.

On your way back from visiting Ramaz, take a trip on the shuttle up to
Boston and see what a co-educational Yeshivah is really all about.


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 1995 07:32:41 -0400
Subject: Life (literally) After Death

In MJ 19:19, Louis Rayman mentions that medical science has gotten to
the point where the doctors can bring a person to a state which meets
the definition of "death" by ALL medical and ALL halachic opinions,
perform the surgery which he needs, and then revive him to active
life. He then asks some fascinating questions about this person's status
during and after the procedure. I strongly recommend rereading his post
to better appreciate what I will write below.

I would like to offer a quote from Rav Moshe Feinstein which is very
relevant to these situations. It is from Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah 2:174,
second par.  from the end of anaf 1.

"Therefore, if someone is decapitated, even though his head and body are
jumping around, his status is entirely that of a dead person. Even if we
would say that there is a way to connect his head and body so that he
would live, there is no obligation to do so even on a weekday, because
there is no obligation to revive the dead, and so on Shabbos it would be
forbidden. Note that in Bava Basra 74, R' Yehuda says that a certain
jewel exists which has the power to revive the dead, even those who are
decapitated, but that HaShem hid it from humanity. It is plain that even
if HaShem would make it available to some person, he would not be
obligated to revive the dead, because the Torah required only healing
the sick, even to violate Shabbos, but not to revive the dead."

If a doctor diagnoses a patient as being dead, and then that patient
shows any signs of life whatsoever, then most people would consider the
original diagnosis of death to have been in error. Rav Moshe seems to be
teaching us the contrary: A return to health does *not* prove that the
patient had not been dead. Rather, certain criteria to be defined
elsewhere give a person the status of dead, and even if the technology
exists to revive that person, such treatment may not be in violation of

This is going to be a very difficult concept to get used to...

Akiva Miller


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 02:44:26 -0400
Subject: Re: NYS Get Law

M. Horowitz asked for an explanation of the New York State 'Get Law'.

There are really two such laws.
  1.  About a decade ago, the Assembly passed a law that stated that a
person who sues for divorce must sign an affidavit that said person is
not hindering the marriage of said person's spouse in any way.  Simply
put, if you want a divorce you must give ( or receive ) a get.

All was well until the lawyers got involved and recommendedto husbands
not to sue for divorce.  That way only the wife will have to claim that
she is not presenting a barrier to her spouse's ability to remarry.  In
effect the law accomplishes nothing.

Enter the new New York Get law.

This was an addition to an already existing statute.  As it stood before
change, there was a ruling that a judge can distribute the assets of the
marriage according to certain considerations ( this is called equitable
distribution ).  What was added to the law was that one of the
considerations that can be entertained by the judge is the ability of
the party to remarry.  The logic being that if a person could not
remarry they were stuck with only one income and therefore entitled to
more of the assests of the marriage since they would need the money

This ran into some heavy religious fire.  There are those who claim,
very adamantly, that this raises a problem of coercion.  The husband
will now only give the get because he is afraid of losing his assets (
and since those assets are being taken away not in accordance with
halacha, the judge is basically threatening the husband with forced
theft unless a get is given ).

This argument does not apply to the original Get Law since no assets were
being taken away, and all that was threatened was withholding a divorce
decree, which is not something a person can demand, rather it must be issued
by the state.  The judge is threatening to withhold a favor from the husband
for non-compliance which is not halachically problematic.

There are others who insist that the new Get Law is okay, and the jury is
still out as to an ultimate decision.  What the Beit Din that I am associated
with does is to check to the best of our ability that there is no issue of
the Get Law being used.  ( Some have argued that the mere possibility in the
mind of the husband that the Law might be invoked ( even though it has not
yet been brought up by anyone involved in the case ) is enough to consider a
subsequent get as having been coerced, but most do not follow this opinion. )
 If we feel that it is not an issue we will do the get.  If we feel it is a
problem then we might refer the couple to a Beit Din that does not feel the
whole issue is problematic.  So far this position has been purely theoretical,
as we have not run into a Get Law problem yet.

Eliyahu Teitz


From: Zvi Weiss		 <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 1995 12:51:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Same Question, again

RE Uri Gordon's comments:
I do not understand what they have to do with the issues raised.  
Specifiacally, the question was raised whether a school could be 
described as "ideal" whne it is co-ed AND there appears to be a 
significant amount of halachic material mandating AGAINST co-ed.  
Further, I did not come across any sources (a) citing co-ed as a 
desireable format or (b) at the least treating it as permitted 
Lechatchilla. I have no idea what that has to do with the religious 
intensity of the students, their love of Judaism, etc etc.  To me, a 
school which engages in any practice that is not lechatchilla -- *even 
when there is a "proper" reason to do so* cannot be considered "ideal".



End of Volume 19 Issue 34