Volume 19 Number 40
                       Produced: Mon May  1  6:30:52 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Camp Moshava, Wildrose-- sexist?!
         [Daniel A HaLevi Yolkut]
Co-ed Schools
         [Ari Shapiro]
Coeducation (2)
         [Aleeza Esther Berger, M. Press]


From: Daniel A HaLevi Yolkut <yolkut@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 1995 20:25:47 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Camp Moshava, Wildrose-- sexist?!

as a former mail jewish reader who is kept up to date on proceeding by 
several readers, as well as a long time camper and staff member 
(including chaver kollel) at Camp Moshava in Wildrose Wisc, I felt 
obliged to respond to Leah Gordon's tayna's on my camp.
As far as most people are concerned, Moshava is a fairly egalitarian 
camp: last summer the Rosh Moshava (head counselor) was a woman, all 
shiurim are co-ed, teen-age girls and boys equally participate in such 
work prgrams as loading trucks, washing dishes, hauling garbage, and work 
together to keep the camp's physical camp operating with no particluar 
heed paid to gender. Not having been preesent at the hockey game in 
question, I can only surmise that there were indeed sexist remarks hurled 
by the guys (as teenage American Orthodox boys are unfortunately known to 
do), but the fact of the matter is that hockey, particularly as played in 
Moshava, is full contact sport that would in all probabability result in 
violations of Negiyah. As for seperate games for women, I myself have 
seen them conducted on occasion, although, for the most part, the 
rivalries that exist and fuel some of the men's hockey games simply have 
not had parralels among the women. Enough on what is, in essence, a 
fairly silly and petty topic.
Of much greater importance is the issue of the kollel. To clarify what 
the Kollel is for those unfamiliar with Moshava: four years ago Moshava 
established a kollel program. what this involves is six-eight bnei torah 
who have spent at least two years learnign in a Yeshiva who spend their 
mornings giving shiurim to the kids and their afternoons and evenings 
learning in the Bet Midrash. the Bet midrash is open to both sexes, and I 
can testify to a number of women who had set regular sedarim at various 
times during the day in our Bet Midrash in gemara, Nakh and Halakha. The 
kollel guys are totally open to giving shiurim to women on topics of 
Torah shebaal peh, and in fact this summer two women were mesayyem 
Masekhet Megillah which they learned behavrutah. While a woman has 
applied to the kollel (and please be aware that the decisions about 
hiring are made by the vaad moshava, a group of both men and women of 
college age) and was rejected that was due to the fact that currently the 
kollel program, in order to stay both financially viable and to provide 
the critical number of chaverim to allow for a bet midrash atmosphere as 
opposed to two havrutot, is restricted to men. This is not a statement 
regarding the worth of women's learning; however, in a  camp with limited 
resources only six-eight, and not 12-16 people can be hired for the 
kollel. Theoretically one could propose to make the kollel co-ed; 
however, almost all serious Bnei Torah (and Bnot Torah, for that matter) 
would find a Bet Midrash that at all times had a co-ed chevrah that was 
theoretically a cohesive unit (as opposed to the current situation where 
men and women both use the Bet Midrash) would be a set-up that most 
people would find religiously problematic at best. I believe that Moshava 
will eventually also set up a tzevet morot/ equivalent female program, 
but it is a matter of finances rather than of policy.

Chag kasher v'sameach,
Daniel A HaLevi Yolkut


From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 95 22:40:12 EDT
Subject: Co-ed Schools

<Like in a kibbutz, familiarity
<leads to a totally asexual relationship. I remember while in Camp Moshava

Unfortunately the Shulchan Aruch disagrees with you.  The shulchan aruch in
Even Haezer Siman 21 says 'Tzarich adam lhisrachek min hanashim m'od
m'od' a man must distance himself from women. In sif 6 the shulchan aruch
says 'ain shoalim bishlom isha clal afilu al y'dei shliach' (A man should
not ask about a woman even through an intermediary). The Aruch Hashulchan
explains because 'shema mitoch sheilas shalom yiyu regilim zeh im zeh
v'yavoh lidie chibah (maybe because of asking about the woman even through
an intermediary he will come to like her).  How much more so if you are her
friend.  We see that chazal were very concerned about this issue and went
to great lengths to prevent these issurim from being violated. Co-ed schools
are certainly not in line with these sifim in the shulchan aruch.

<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.

Everyone can tell anecdotal stories about people who left yiddishkeit when
they graduated school.  I am sure many people can tell you about people who
went to co-ed schools and left yiddishkeit.

For all those in favor of co-ed schools I invite you to learn Even Haezer 
Siman 21 and 22 and then explain to me how co-ed schools fit in.  Also
look at the last Siman in hilchos Yom Tov where the shulchan aruch
discusses setting up guards to prevent the sexes from intermingling.
I would like to hear an explanation of the shulchn aruch which would
allow for co-ed schools lechatechila.

<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.

Maybe we should go back to having Young Israel's sponsor mixed dancing.
Just because something has been done for 30 or 40 years doesn't mean it
is correct.  Most women 30 years ago didn't cover their hair was that
correct? Was shul's sponsoring mixed dancing correct?  The issue is not
the quality of the education, the issue is simple as Tzvi Weiss put it
'Specifiacally, the question was raised whether a school could be
described as "ideal" when 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".'
So far no one has quoted a SINGLE solid halachik source saying that
co-ed schools are lechatechilla (ideal).

Ari Shapiro


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 1995 22:19:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Coeducation

Ari Shapiro writes:

> I would like to go into more depth about the issur(prohibition) of co-ed
> schools.  It is prohiited for men and women to mix.  The gemara in
> Succah 42b says that even at a eulogy in the time of moshiach men and
> women will be separated kol vachomer(certainly) at other times.  The
> Rambam in Hilchos Yom Tov perek 6 halacha 21 writes that beis din(court)
> is obligated to appoint shotrim(guards) during the holidays so that the
> men and women should not get together and come to violate an aveira.
> This is quoted in Shulchan Aruch in Siman 529 sif 4.  It is clear that
> the halacha requires a seoaration of men and women.  

It is, in my opinion, a big jump from these sources to Ari's
interpretation. School isn't a holiday.  Even on class trips, there's no
drinking as there is on a holiday (drinking is likely the reason that
people might come to inappropriate levity).  And aren't the teachers
"shomrim"?  Another interpretation is that on special, select occasions
separation was mandated.  The inference then is that on other occasions
separation is not mandated. There's great variety in the halakhic
community on this issue, e.g. seating at meals and weddings.

>Schok v'kalus
> rosh(laughter and levity) is prohibited between men and women.  The
> mekoros are the shulchan aruch Even Haezer Siman 21 (based on many
> gemaras if someone wants I will post them), Shulchan Aruch Even Haezer
> Siman 115.  A co-ed school also leads to the formation of friendships
> between boys and girls.  This violates the following 4 issurim: 1)
> histaclus (looking at a woman).  It is prohibited for a man to look at a
> woman for pleasure 2) hirhur (thinking about women) 3) sicha yeseira
> (excessive talk) with women 4) kalus rosh (levity with women).  These 4
> issurim are documented very clearly and explicitly in the gemara and the
> shulchan aruch.  

They may also violate the following 3 issurim: 1)
> Yichud (being alone with a woman) which may be a torah prohibtion if the
> woman is a niddah 
2) chibuk v'nishuk (hugging and kissing) 3) negia
> (touching).  R' Moshe has clearly stated in more then one responsa that
> co-ed school are prohibited based on the above.

First, perhaps posters should write in gender-neutral language.  "Being
alone with a woman" is no problem for more than 50% of the population,
including me.

On a more substantive note, in using this language, perhaps Ari
demonstrated the underlying problem with too much separation of the
sexes based upon reasons like "histaclus".  Extensions of reasons like
"histaclus" (prohibition to look with sexual intent) to prohibitions of
everyday contact such as in school tend to promote the idea that women
are (relative to the default person = man, who's not allowed to be alone
with a woman)"other", "sexual temptestresses".  I thought that one of
the party line reasons for women's modest dress is that it serves the
purpose of men *not* treating women as sexual beings all the time. (I
don't know if that's the real reason, but it works in reality, I think.)
If the girls are following the school dress code, then why the great
concern with "histaclus"?

Similarly, to extend a prohibition against excessive talk and levity
with the opposite sex to a prohibition against coeducation feeds the
notion that any conversation on the part of the default man with a woman
will be frivolous.  Ergo, women are frivolous creatures who can't talk
and think seriously. And hence the prevalence of books for hatanim
(bridegrooms) on "how to treat your wife", which include advice such as
you must be patient with (I read it as "condescend to") her emotional
outbursts, after all, she can't help it, she's only a woman.

I'm not getting into social pros and cons of coeducation, just halakha here.

Aliza Berger

From: M. Press <PRESS@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 95 14:50:31 EST
Subject: Coeducation

In the pre-Yom Tov rush I misplaced my file in which I saved some of the
postings on coeducation to which I wanted to respond.  I therefore apologize
for any imprecision in the following comments.

Several posters attempted to assert that there exist Halakhic sources
asserting that coeducation is permitted l'khatkhila (as a state permitted
under all circumstances).  They did not cite any written sources to that
effect and I do not believe that any such sources, written by recognized
Halakhic authorities, exist.  All such sources, including those from the
poskim recognized by the religious Zionist camp ( Rav Kuk z"l, Rav
Bar Shaul z"l, etc.) have explicitly written that coeducational activity is
prohibited l'khatchila. One poster referred to a work written, I believe, for
Bnai Akiva which he claimed to permit. I have not seen that work but I have
reviewed a number of other works from the rabbonim of Bnai Akiva which agree
with the a priori desirability of separating the sexes.  It should of course
be noted that even if there were a single authority who permitted l'khatkhila
one would be hard pressed to rely on such a view against all other authorities
unless one were oneself a Halakhic authority.
 Efforts to cite Rav Soloveitchik as supporting coeducation l'khatkhila
and denying Rav Schachter's explicit testimony to the contrary appear to
be part of the historical revisionism currently in vogue to make the Rov
ztvk"l into a centrist or modern Orthodox Jew.  The citation of
irrelevant anecdotes or quoting the failure of his students to have
heard that coeducation is prohibited bdai-ovad (after the fact) do not
address the issue.  While I never asked Mori Rabi ztvk"l about the
Maimonides School I can relate his position re YU.  When Dr. Belkin z"l
proposed combining Stern and Yeshiva College for fiscal reasons I played
a leading role in organizing opposition to such a move.  When I went
into the kodesh pnima to discuss the matter with Mori Rabi ztvk"l he was
enraged and stated that he would take a leading role publicly in
fighting such a step.  (Those who knew him and his relationship to
Dr. Belkin are aware of how unusual such a position of public
confrontation was.) He then proceeded to organize the Roshei Yeshiva in
opposition and publicly told Dr. Belkin that he would resign from the
Yeshiva were such an event to occur.  It did not occur (at least under
Dr. Belkin's presidency). So much for those who presume to know the
Rov's position on the matter.  Anyone who is aware of the subtlety of
the Rov's thinking and the care with which he thought about individual
Halakhic issues knows better than to assume that one can easily
generalize from his position on either Maimonides or YU without more

M. Press, Ph.D.   Dept. of Psychiatry, SUNY Health Science Center
450 Clarkson Avenue, Box 32   Brooklyn, NY 11203   718-270-2409


End of Volume 19 Issue 40