Well, marital sex too, to be fair.

Tzelem, a new and much needed initiative from Yeshiva University is tackling the topic we all love to talk about.

“I think that kids and adults in the Y.U. and Orthodox communities are raised with a large degree of discomfort and awkwardness with the opposite sex,” says Alan Goldsmith, a Yeshiva College senior.

Because sex is supposed to only take place within the context of marriage, he says, people often view any day-to-day interaction with the opposite sex as inappropriate. “Rabbis and parents must encourage a healthy outlook on sexuality within the framework of halacha,” or Jewish law, he says. “We have to avoid demonizing sexuality.”

Sounds good to me.

The plan is to develop programming for high school and college age orthodox youth addressing such things as healthy self image, gender issues, the holiness of sex, and communication within a relationship.

According to Dr. Michelle Friedman, a psychiatrist…at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah…the primary challenge facing the Orthodox community on sexual issues lies in the discrepancy between the explicit sexuality of modern secular culture and the ideals of modesty and restraint in the Jewish religious tradition. Ignorance of Jewish views on sexuality often lead to misperceptions that cause undue hardships, Friedman notes.

“When you educate, you normalize,” she says. “People tend to be more restrictive when they don’t know. They assume a negative stance – and that’s not often what Judaism is about.”

Hmmm, very interesting, are they implying that maybe the law isn’t as strict as some would think? In any case, kudos to YU for addressing it head on.

About the author

Laya Millman


  • Show me the money.

    The liberal way does not produce a future. The hell with it. Even a hole in the sheet with a grimace is better than disappearing completely.

    No way is it that bad, either.

    All the people weighing in on this have nothing to show. Have they marriages? Have they children? So what qualifies them to opine?

    What, mommy, what?

  • That psychiatrist lady, well, she might be married. Maybe. She might even have a child. If she has more than three I will eat my hat in Macy’s window with horse-radish on it.

    As not everybody marries, three kids per family is the minimum to have a stable or increasing population. Two won’t really do it, on a mass scale.

    Yes, knowing less leads to restrictions. Restrictions lead to artificial monopolies such as monogamy. Which leads to children.

    Relaxing slices marriage rates. Lots of fun. For a few decades. Then, silence.

    I’m an American. I look at RESULTS not theories.

    Traditional Judaism adores sex. Enshrines it. Best thing in the world. Within marriage. The moment, especially on Shabbat, when you are closest to G-d EVER. If YU hasn’t suceeded in transmitting this ancient teaching, WHY NOT? Isn’t that what they do for a living? Transmit Judaism?

  • In fact, all you unmarried Jews out there are in a state of grave sin, meaning celibacy. Marry immediately, and take the phone off the hook.

  • I don’t think the *laws* are too strict, I think that the *interpretations* are too strict. If you’re not sure of the halacha, you can tend to be overly stringent, and take the fun out of it. If you know your halacha, then you can relax and enjoy what is permitted. (with a clean conscience!)

  • Jewish Mother, not all unmarrieds are living in the “sinful state celibacy”. Judging from the amount of time you have to comment on the internet, it seems you haven’t been spending too much time under that sheet with the hole in it yourself!
    There is nothing wrong with a woman only having the number of children she knows she can physically,emotionally and financially handle rather than trying to be a mass-production baby factory. Too many of my friends and neighbors have “special needs” children after #3; too many have severe financial problems; and, most can’t handle all the housework involved in having one baby after another and live in filth and chaos. Jewish women are NOT individually responsible for repopulating after the Holocaust or keeping up with the Arabs, they are only responsible for contributing to the Klal to the best of their individual capabilities and their lives are not solely meant to a baby-making competition!

    The increasing lack of common sense and compassion you have been showing lately indicate to me that you severely need to get laid!

  • Jewish Mother: Since nobody else will say it, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??” Intelligent people who read this blog cannot understand your posts. Spare us the cryptic excess of what you consider clever witticisms and make your points succinctly so we can understand you, and move on.
    In the spirit of the democratic blogosphere I’m all for free expression, especially considering this IS a Comments section designated for reader discussion, however this is not the forum (no pun intended) for rambling. Yet I am only one voice, so in that same democratic spirit others should weigh in whether they agree or disagee. …Keep it kind.

  • They could start w/ something I have never been clear about, why a woman is considered impure during her period, and why the need to count 7 clean days.

  • OMG!!!!! All it takes is a few Jewish ladies to take the fun OUT OF ANY DISCUSSION!!!!!

    Chuzpa – why didn’t you just get a cleaning lady?
    Jobber – puhleeze…just go to Discovery or something like that…all these stupid questions on 7 days, blah blah blah…sometimes it’s cuz GOD SAID SO…and you deal…as if when you’re frei you absolutely NEED to have sex during your period or YOU’LL DIE! And as for the 7 days – right this second I dont’ have the reason for you…it’s rabbinic…and yes, they knew what they were talking about…you’ll see…some guy will chime in with all the reasons to make you feel better….here’s the answer to all your problems ladies…have a good sex life with your husband, treat him nicely and he’ll treat you nicely back….MAN!

  • Jsirpicco, did you just tell somebody that the way to handle an abundance of children is by hiring a cleaning lady?!


    Seriously though, I understand the hole in the sheet is a myth.

    I also think somebody better start talking about sex more openly so people won’t feel too guilty about what comes naturally. Also, it might prevent more 35 year olds who have never been touched by the opposite sex.

  • I happen to know first hand from hanging around with the “Nanny Bridgade” when I was a “stay at home Mom” that many Orthodox husbands have sex with the live-in housecleaning help when their wives are in Niddah.
    Now, back to Match.com for me so I can move out of the sinful State of Celibacy!

  • Yes and this ties in w. the witness thread. People’s action dictate the Halachik acceptance. It’s OK for Nanny’s to bring up their children now, but he the husband has to light the fire first for their meals. It’s ridiculous.

  • Wow…. If JM’s right, I’m living in sin with myself.

  • JS, Discover and Aish are a bunch of fat cat windbags, I wouldn’t waste my time and money, but you go ahead and hang out there. They do fashion shows now, don’t ya know.
    I think the 7 days thing is another anachronisum that should be abolished. I feel that previous societies did not have to deal w/ the temptations that we have today.

  • I can’t help noticing that warming up the secular population in this direction has not led to marrying. That is what I was carrying on about.

    It has led to a situation where nobody has to marry because they are not missing anything by not marrying. How wonderful is that? It’s not.

    Are young Jews really not marrying because sex has been demonized? Is that some kind of sick humor? No, they are not marrying for many other, awful reasons.

    It breaks my heart to think that the last old-fashioned Jewish girls, the orthodox, will now have to compete that way too, just like the rest of the population. That is the direction programs like this push the population in, eventually, long-term, even though they do not mean to, at the beginning. Oh, the howls. “We still support the rules! We are just disseminating information!”

    I only hope it works. Good luck.

    I am still in shock that a major Jewish educational institution like YU has found itself unable to transmit this basic Jewish viewpoint, that marriage is for joy and holiness.

    Baloney. If even I know that, can the YU kids not know it?

    I feel there is a Trojan horse in this picture. Anybody who finds that unintended pun funny, well, they should help some lady with a few kids with her chores, that’s what I say.

    Yes, maids are great. Spend money on that before almost ANYTHING else, say I.

  • Call me the Scrouge of Shtetyl Past but Jewish Mother sounds like she’s the head of the cheerleader squad for Chabad Niddah softball team. I’ve said this before, having grown up in both the secular community, and spending a great deal of time in the Orthodox community, they both have challenges, ableit different ones. My Ortho friends DO NOT have better sex (a lie Aish tried to sell me a few years back) than my secular friends. It would seem, that my Ortho friends struggle with the same issues re: marriage, intimacy and sex, that my secular friends do.

    Anyway, the fact remains, and Mordechai Kaplan spoke these unholy words many years ago, Jewish communities pick and choose which minhags/halachot they follow. Modern Orthodox communities have silently flipped the bird to Shomer Niggah many moons ago. C’est la vie. If niddah/niggah is the goal, there’s many Hareidi communities that would be more than willing to take you in.

  • My schtick is, people should marry.

    Once they marry, I shut up. I wasn’t talking about Niddah. (I can’t solve ALL the world’s problems.)

  • “My schtick is, people should marry.”

    Yeah, people should do a lot of “good” things they aren’t doing. But now that we’re hovering around a 50-ish% divorce rate in the US (and I believe divorce stats are creeping up in all sectors of Jewish communities), it is not surprising that people are weary about marriage. And the lie that Aish/Ohr etc try to sell i.e. Ortho life helps with these issues, doesn’t hold up…at least with respect to what my male Ortho friends tell me…ahem. Anyway, it’s clear that I’m a cynic on these issue and pity the girl that decides to explore these things with me 😉

  • Shtreimel and Chuzpa – you both have the same problem and that is you took everying aish/ohr somayach/neve, etc. told you and bought it hook line and sinker at first, only to be disappointed that life is well, more complicated than a 90 minute class or a year in yeshiva….

    And so now…it all sucks, right?
    NO! Basically, it’s like this – and yes, here I go again, BECA– USE I CAN, THAT’S WHY! I AM JSIRPICCO – I MISSPELLED MY OWN STUPID BLOG NAME! AND SO I GET TO SAY THE TRUTH! – ahem, it’s like this:

    If you take a good “kli” and you add good Torah, then you have an even better kli – in all areas. So….someone who was a kind and sensitive lover before (and that’s all that we care about, anyway, right?) and you add the structure of Torah, the concern for the other person, etc. etc. , so yes, you get a better sex life than before…at the very least cuz it’s in a committed relationship…

    If you take a cracked kli with issues – and there are tons of people out there – and you add Torah..then you get a cracked torah kli, and so..someone who didn’t know anything about relationships before, is liable to be a jerk afterwards, duh. Though there is help that if they go to their Rav and listen they’ll be less of a jerk than they might have been, but maybe not…yes, there are a lot of weirdo Ba’alei Teshuva out there…but it’s not Aish’s fault! Or neve’s….

    and finally…chuzpah – who said anything about LIVE IN MAIDS!!!!! Boy, you Jersey Jewish women…I mean a minute ago there was NO help in the house, and no it’s LIVE IN?????

    Basically, the way Jsirpicco sees it is as follows, and it’s sad: The world isn’t so much divided into religious and secular anymore…it’s divided into sane and insane.

    But don’t blame Aish for trying to be out there helping people…that’s just ingratitude. Same with all those groups…it’s the height of immaturity to blame people for yes, being much less than perfect…

  • jobber, i cant blame you for not liking all these Discovery, Aish and all other Judaism PR programs but maybe you should go there ones so you get some more knowledge in chumash. The 7 days is mentioned explicitly in the verse at the end of parsha …. metzorah (I guess). Yes there is later takanah build upon that but even without it you still have 7 days.

    Now If you think that Torah was written by saintly rabbis then you are right. Abolish it. (on the second thought, please dont) But if the Torah’s source is divine then I find it very difficult to abolish it, no?

  • The cheerful husbands may not have time to talk. They are running to the florist, or home.

    I am in favor of artifical scarcity.

    “Explore” – ha ha ha! Lewis and Clark? Vasco da Gama?

    Nice to hear from you.

  • Shtremiel, does your woman read this blog? Or does she already know that she is to be pitied? 🙂

  • (mumble mumble “Explore” is when you go out, find something new, and afterward return home again. None the worse for wear. With enlarged knowledge. A dangerous word! A self-dealing word! Implies she will be fine afterward. Loses nothing, and even gains something. But how true is that?

    Oh, riiight, she gets expeeeeeerience. As long as it’s not my sister, right? You want to give my sister experience? How about experiencing my fist?

    I hate mush-mouth language, loaded language, disingenuous language. But Streimel is nice. The joke is, he is not at all committment-phobic. He’s a lot more married than he knows. All will be well, and G-d bless.)

  • “The cheerful husbands may not have time to talk. They are running to the florist, or home.”

    There was a wonderful, sobering article in the Globe and Mail this week about married life and what it takes to make it to 25…30…years. It was written by a woman, married for 25 years to the same partner, who debunked the flowery myths that some folks try to sell. It wans’t sexy, but it dripped in wisdom.

  • ” The joke is, he is not at all committment-phobic. He’s a lot more married than he knows. All will be well, and G-d bless”

    Damn it JM, you’re good. If this is true, you’ve just saved me muchos cash in therapy. Seriously though, in the same way that certain rabbis cautioned about interpreting a dream in the negative, you’re optimism is refreshing.

    “Shtremiel, does your woman read this blog? Or does she already know that she is to be pitied?”

    I hope not. But she doesn’t need to read this blog to know whom she’s dating. Trust me, she’s a brave woman.

  • Everybody tends to hang with people who think the same as they do.

    If you were a cheerful husband, would you hang with you? And would you even have the time?

    And would you like the company of such a maddening, grinning creature?

    Happy husbands might steer clear of you, skewing your sample, and your impressions.

    But I would like to read the article you mention. This Jsirpicco is very clever.

  • JM said:

    Oh, riiight, she gets expeeeeeerience. As long as it’s not my sister, right? You want to give my sister experience? How about experiencing my fist?

    Sounds pretty intriguing. It might be worth it just to have a fistfight with JM. 🙂

  • Fertility is the issue. While you dally you may be foreclosing little Streimlets.

    That may cost both of you very dear. Very dear indeed. Think about it. Do you want to face a bitter woman who suddenly wakes up at 40 and realizes what she has done with her life?

    You may taste the frying pan.

    She may ditch you and run, clutching another hand, to the fertility clinic right before closing time.

    Not to be mean. Just concerned. Danger, buck rogers, danger.

  • YB, fine but we don’t follow every little thing in the Torah anyway. Can you please stop being so freaking patronizing to me?
    From my vantage point, the lack of frequent intimacy between couples is not a good thing, maybe more in todays’ world than in the past, where people have sex on the brain.
    I don’t agree that the system is a good one. The marriages are not any better, and it makes people more not less frustrated and so they compensate or find comfort in other things, like food. Look at the men in any MO Shule, fat, fat.

  • Where is Michael, now that GM is wilfully misunderstanding me again?

    Of course I was quoting an imaginary man.

  • “Happy husbands might steer clear of you, skewing your sample, and your impressions.”

    And I of them…alas, it is true that we seek out folks similar in temperment and beliefs/values as ourselves. Or as Dr. David Schnarch puts it: “We marry the perfect mate 99% of the time.” In other words we tend to end up with people with the same level of shit/goodness as ourselves.

    “But I would like to read the article you mention.”

    I just spent 5 min searching for it at Globe’s site. Unfortunately I read it in the paper addition a few days ago.

  • “That may cost both of you very dear. Very dear indeed. Think about it. Do you want to face a bitter woman who suddenly wakes up at 40 and realizes what she has done with her life?”

    You make it sound like women are walking around in a state of delusion about whom they are dating and how much power they have over their lives. I would like to believe that a “healthy” woman knows when to walk if her values clash with her man.

  • “i swear its like a bad rerun”

    TC, I just took a peek at your blog. You have “0” comments on almost all of your posts. You may wanna try the whole single/married/intimacy angle to create some interest.

  • Ha ha ha !

    Sigh. No. Women have no idea when to walk. Their optimism makes the world go round. But nobody should take kindness for weakness. But people always do.

    The scenario I warned you about is possible. May it never happen. May something much better happen. YOUR optimism, of this kind, is misplaced. She may be a modern, smart one, but that doesn’t alter the fundamentals.

    If she likes you too much to run off, you may face a steely gaze occasionally. PLEASE make sure she has a real dislike of having children. If she does NOT, given her AGE, oh boy, it’s time for you to take a walk by yourself and think.

  • JM, babe, Muffti loves you and your posting. But:

    a) No one willfully misunderstands you because, with all due respect, no one understands you at all.
    b) Muffti was kidding about the fist fight. Please forgive the light hearted jesting. Or put up your dukes and let’s have it out already. (I keeed!)

  • hey come on! i enjoy town crier’s blog! besides everyone knows that the only people that comment on the self important jewlicious blog is us and 10 of our close friends. everyone knows that! oh and we’re all mormon with jew envy.

  • Ck, Shiksa left you an urgent message to call Dani before he leaves for a month…

    Why must you be so hard to contact? Get thee a cell phone or something.

  • sending an email now, on line with dani as we speak
    sheesh, y’all are worst than my mom. except for uppity shiksa, she has the patience of job …

  • OK JM,

    My sister(s) are great! Any experiences they feel they should have are both none of my business and up to their discretion. As long as they stay the hell away from CK, because as we all know, he is a sick, perverted, unreachable, mormon bastard.

    What should Shtremiel do? What should Shtremiel do about what?

  • “What should Shtremiel do? What should Shtremiel do about what?”

    Shoud he purchase a guitar synth even though the MIDI tracking abilities are wonky and it involves more cables than he can already handle? Will this contribute to a more defined/innovative sound or will it collect dust? Aslo, should he install the MIDI pick up on this Mexican strat?

    That, or should he marry/impregnate his girlfriend or walk, and let her meet a nice, sweet man with family and kids on the mind.

  • “Shtreimel should go to the Beaches and enjoy a leisurely walk by the lake.”

    My friend, when you move from BC to Toronto, a walk by the lake is anything but leisurely. The smog and humidity alone can make a man think horrible, horrible thoughts. No…shtreimel is sitting in an air conditioned Starbucks, collecting EI, and posting on a blog. Ah yes…the debauchery of it all.

  • Muffti will tell you after he sees Shtremiel in Toronto sometime in August. Steel yourself, Shtremiel. You have roughly a month.

    Oh, and never, ever by Mexican Strats. Guitar synths are for losers. You ever see your heros with MIDI equipment?

  • “Oh, and never, ever by Mexican Strats. Guitar synths are for losers. You ever see your heros with MIDI equipment?”
    No one ever saw a guitarist turn his backwards reverb to 100%, manipulate his tremlo arm and cause a musical revolution known as a shoegazer rock. But Kevin Shields did, and he’s my hero.

  • BTW web nerds…my good friend is looking for a web designer to join his firm in Montreal. If anyone is interested, check out plankdesign.com and send ’em a resume/email.

  • Well my hero invented inward singing a technique so diabolical it makes non-stop rocking possible!

  • There have been people whose fathers were musicians. Or rockers. Or gear people.

    Not all fathers wear ties but they can still be good Jewish fathers.

  • Hey Jobber, I am not patronizing you I was trying to politely present you my point of view. It may read a little but stiff ever since I am trying to adhere to patty-cake’s typing wishes.
    Anyway, you said we dont have to follow everything that says in the Torah. Why not? If it is G-d’s desire then why shouldn’t we?
    And even if we wont then which ones should we leave out. Who is gonna deceide? The leadership from the Utah meeting? Or maybe everybody should deceide for him/herself? This would make one nice coherent religion, wouldnt it?
    And where do you get the idea that people had less sex on their minds back then???

  • Ybocher, we can leave out what is nonsensical. Maybe not as a functionary decision, but each of us, individually should not do something that is wrong in their eyes. It should not matter what has been done before. What is wrong w/ innovation?
    The type of lives and work most of us do today are vastly different than in the past. You can’t compare the 2. I do know that there is a lot of visual stimulation on display that wasn’t the case in the past. Then it may have been easier and more acceptable to find a prostitute, but not sure about the rest.

    Shtreimel it is silly to not enjoy Toronto. I have been to both places. There is alot of beautiful scenery outside of Toronto.

    But leaving Vancouver was a BIG MISTAKE. There are so many women there. When I was there I asked a woman to dinner right there on the street. This was in the gaslight district. Did she say yes? No not exactly…

  • Jobber, we leaving what is nonsensical?? Why? There was a famous chassidishe rebbe in Poland (18th century again?) Kotzker Rebbe who said “I wouldn’t be able to believe in G-d that I can understand.” If you take everything that does not make sense to you i.e. that you dont understand then what are you left with? Is it still religion or more like the Jobber’s constituion. And I m not saying that you cant put together something great.
    Does G-d makes sense to you? If He doesnt then why would you bother with amendments to Torah – you can do what you want. If He does then I dont understand why His exsistence does make sense but his rulling over this world doesnt?
    Just please help me understand.

  • Semantically, I’m happy to posit that the pre- in the title of this post refers to talking about sex in advance of marriage, instead of doing it in advance of marriage.

    And a public announcement: The Chabad Niddah Cheerleading Squad will be meeting tomorrow night at Kosher Delight to discuss our new tznius uniforms. Don’t be late, or you’ll miss the steamed vegetable dumplings.

  • Esther, I just want to be clear that if I weren’t married, I’d go on JDate to hook up with your profile.

  • Esther totally slays me. Totally. Except when she’s being a spelling Nazi in public despite the fact that a simple email would suffice.

  • A simple email? If you give me my editing powers back, dude, you wouldn’t even need the email thang. By the way, can you please email me Muffti’s email addy?

  • TM. I never took your editing powers away. Its this newer version of Word Press. The only entity with universal editing powers is the site admin. Even ck at a level 9 cannot edit ck comments on posts written by someone other than ck. None of that makes sense but like i said, i’ll look into it and see what’s up. Also when deleting spam from the moderation queue, from now opn mark it as delete, not as spam. Messgaes marked as spam stay in the database and do nothing but gum up the works. Thanks!

  • Okay, okay, but will you send me his email addy now? By the way, did you see the Hebrew spam? See? It is a country like any other.

  • Wow, this thread has been hilariously entertaining.

    This program sounds to me like a welcome counterbalance to the creeping haredi influence that has influenced even MO dayschool education.

    I can see where a lot of working parents have little time to discuss an already challenging issue. So they leave it to the schools – whose Judaic studies are increasingly marked by haredi, uh, “fundamentalism” on issues like these. Then the kids go home to MO households with TV and Internet, and imbibe a totally opposite set of messages.

    Mom and Dad are either to busy and/or embarrassed to help the kids navigate this mine field of mixed messages, or are themselves unsure of where they stand – modern orthodoxy being what it is.

    Sounds like a much needed program.

    Jewish Mother:
    – can you please point to any specific, factual evidence in the linked article indicating that this is a “Trojan Horse” used to introduce negative influences from the external culture?

    – do you REALLY think this program’s materials will be as corrosive as other manifestations of the outside culture that the target audience is already exposed to?

    The very name of the organization indicates that it is focused on countering the “meat market” externalized sexuality of the general culture with something more human and authentic – with discussion of sexuality within the context of deep human relationships, as Judaism teaches.

    What is the problem here (besides the fact that our wonderful web hosts should all get married and have lots of equally wonderful children, please G-d)?

  • Sigh. I know. But I figured if this could function as the “CK phone home” bulletin board, then maybe my spelling fascism would be tolerated…

  • YB, it is non-sensical to not allow a woman to be a witness. It was done originally, at a time when women did not work outside of the home, did not have a Jewish or otherwise formal education, were treated meanly by general society, did not have rights. We, most societies that is, have changed from that path. In fact, most Orthodox women that i know, they work even when they just gave birth, they hire a nanny, this is who brings up their children, a non Jewish nanny, while the mother shleps to work and gets home 6-7PM. So where is the tradition there?

    I don’t have an answer for you, as to who decides what to change or not. If you are happy keeping things which are no longer relevent bec. you are afraid that then you will not keep anything, that is your path, it is not mine.

    There is no right or wrong, it is a matter of traditionalism vs. rationalism.

  • So Jobber you saying that as far as “the rational Judaism” you are the one ( or everyone indivdually) who gets to deceide what is relevant or rational today? Does everything has to be rational? Are you Jobber always rational? Are you rational when you meet a woman who you instantly fall in love with? Ask Jewish Mother how many times parents are non-rational with their kids.
    If you feel that halacha i.e. one’s relationship with G-d is a burden then obviously one might want to limit the relationship only to what s/he thinks is necessary (relevatn today?) but if you in love with G-d then you just want to interact with Him as much as you can. Even on His conditions! If you really in love then this love cant be stopped by some rationalism!!!
    How many people make aliyah just out of love for Israel even from point of view of their careers it just doesnt make sense!!!
    G-d loves you beyond any rational, right?

  • YB, I don’t think we are getting anywhere. It’s not a question of if Halacha is a burden, but why is something in place or not? What was the reason it was in place before, does the reason make any sense. Things in life do change. At one time, there used to be one esrog for an entire Sheltl, now everyone has their own. Now if you don’t purchase one, you are looked down upon.

    your argument, as I understand,that you want to preserve Judaism, and if you make changes here it will cause an end. changes happen all the time.

    As far as Shomer negiah, what I object to the 7 clean days, is that very often the couple does not have sex every night, and there is a gap between times, and the period has its own schedule so you have often 3 weeks and more between intimacies, which I for one do not think is healthy in a marriage. I was hoping to hear from frum married women or men their thoughts on this.

  • My generation thought we could loosen things up a bit, without the world coming to an end. Ha.

    Product knowledge leads to product use. They say that themselves: “When you educate, you normalize,” she says. “People tend to be more restrictive when they don’t know. They assume a negative stance – and that’s not often what Judaism is about.”

    What kids KNOW is one thing. They know plenty. But making it OFFICIAL is another thing.

    The leaders should get this through their collective heads: immodesty DESTROYS marriage.

    In the REAL world, as opposed to smiling theory, when people’s privacy and sense of delicacy are invaded and trampled on, they harden themselves in self-defense, and become uninterested.

    If the men were not turned off, WHY would the women have to show more skin every year to get a glance? The men are sick of the whole manipulative thing and are averting their eyes. It takes more and more to interest them. And it is close to impossible to interest them in permanence. They are willing to be friends. But they do not feel they can trust.

    Men have to have pride in front of each OTHER. No man wants what every other man can look at, too. A man want to be the only one who can see it, because seeing is a form of touching. If they can’t have that exclusivity, they say no thanks.

    Oh, they TALK a great, liberal, game, as they have been trained to do. Everybody spouts the party line. But: actions speak louder than words.

    As the proposed approach has worked so spectacularly badly in the secular world, I was wondering why these religious people would want to go down the same path.

    I may be grumpy these days. But that does not have to mean I am wrong.

  • okay, if I’m reading this right
    “Ignorance of Jewish views on sexuality often lead to misperceptions that cause undue hardships, Friedman notes.”
    the point was about including Jewish teachings on sexuality in the curriculum. The quote continues ““When you educate, you normalize,” she says. “People tend to be more restrictive when they don’t know. They assume a negative stance – and that’s not often what Judaism is about.””

    so she’s saying that rather than getting Jewish viewpoints on sex and sexuality from the playground, people should be getting them in school. Uh huh. How is teaching Jewish values in school going to lead to rampant scandle?

  • Depends how much. Depends how it’s done.

    I was just reacting to the tone.

    I do not have the patience to click on their link.

    I thought I detected that old familiar tone.

    Maybe, in the current climate, some explaining is in order. I was just worrying.

    Nobody thinks there is any danger.

    What is so terrible about Hareidization?

    Could the problem they are trying to solve be imaginary? The Jews have always had the best marital and sexual attitudes. Has that got lost in the sauce somehow?

    Of course the relevant historic texts should be presented.

    They ought to bring in Rebbetzin Jungreis, or her books on the subject. She is good at this. Or one of her sons.

    It could be ok if they sell marriage hard as great instead of jail.

    There is an awful lot of good stuff about this on the Jewish internet sites.

    Maybe it is hard for people who have not seen the changes I have seen, as they unfolded, to understand.

    Obviously I wish them all well. How is the Wedding On The Beach iniative going?

  • Jobber bro, you might be right we are getting stuck in this discussion. Maybe it is because I asumed that we base our discussion on the same principles. Let’s fix it now. Please tell me do you believe in the divine origin of the written Torah? Do you believe that the chumash that we have today is the mesorah m’Sinai?

  • JM, when you talk about “what kids know” and “making it official,” are you condemning the idea of a program that addresses issues between young men and women? Kids in yeshiva should be prepared to deal with the outside world, and if you believe that halakhah provides the answers to everything, shouldn’t sexuality, sexual ethics and interpersonal behavior be part of the equation?

  • Jewish Mother:
    What kids KNOW is one thing. They know plenty. But making it OFFICIAL is another thing.
    – – – – – – – –
    Making WHAT official? Sex? Physical attraction?

    Most day school kids are learning Chumash with Rashi by 8-10 years old. Including Rashis like the one on Genesis 24:16 – among others. The Talmud is equally frank.

    You keep carping on how ignorance is bliss, but:

    – young people today are far from innocent, they are constantly bombarded with sexual(ized) messages.

    – my observation has been that “forbidden fruit” syndrome romanticizes that which is left mysterious, and leads to far more negative experimentation than frank discussion.

    I think you should lay down for a while. ALONE, I meant alone… to rest… sheesh…

  • Ja, Ja. Present the whole Jewish literature on the subject. Especially the positive parts about MUTUAL, NON-SELFISH, joy, and the whooping of the bride-grooms. Explain carefully why he is whooping. Explain carefully about that moment of seclusion after the glass breaks. Explain carefully that Judaism sanctifies our earthly life acts, such as eating, and this, too, and is not at all other-worldly or anti-sensual. For instance, ascetism is foreign to Judaism. So is celibacy. You don’t just fall on your dinner, you say a bracha. You don’t just fall on your spouse either. Take him or her seriously. Down boy! Think first!

    The tone has to stay Jewish. Modesty preserved. Stay vague. Kids with specific questions should surely be able to ask them, but perhaps in some anonymous note-box way. Class presentation and discussion should not cause any discomfort or squirming. There IS a way to do this. Dignity. Yes. Dignity. Everybody’s.

    IF it were any of my business, I would recommend staying very carefully with the Jewish stuff, and leaving out all modern stuff.

    Showing kids that there is a Jewish way about this, and that it is good, is good. Allowing a modern sensibility to creep in will just lead to making more modern people.

    I do not want modern people. I want people. Modern people don’t make more people.

    Prove me wrong. I want to be wrong.

    Now, about that Beach Wedding thing. Can we make plans now? Do we have to wait until after the holidays in October to start thinking that way? What does the rabbi say? I know this is the somber part of the year.

  • Go, Esther! My tiny part of the world mixes together haredim, CJs and middle-of-the-road orthodox. I have 2 young teenage girls and I see the blurred lines and fuzzy logic that makes up Jewish sex ed.

    The yeshiva boys try to be cool, but they’re supposed to be shomer negiah and can’t officially talk to girls. The NCSY kids try to imitate the outside world in their kooky, entirely wholesome way by having boys talk to girls, but not hooking up after events ;-). And then they happen to be together in someone’s minivan and a boy talks to a girl and the mom goes apoplectic because teenage boys can’t talk to teenage girls! (really happened). When the USY-ers walk by in their miniscule outfits, the yeshiva kids drop their books. And the frum girls wear clingy clothes that satisfy the letter of the law if not the intent…

    JM, kids are kids are kids. Unless they’re raised in a cigar box, they fall prey to outside influences! But wasn’t the goal of modern orthodoxy to prove that people could still keep their Jewish identity in the “real world”? Sorry, I can’t be a Haredi. And Esther Jungreis isn’t my cup of tea. Ah, if it were only that simple. So we do our best.

    I’m just glad that someone has officially recognized this problem and is trying to address it. ‘Bout time!

  • Ben-David, without quite wanting to, you are proving my point. You say the kids DO more when there is mystery. And therefore, the must DO less when there is frank discussion. Right! That’s what I said! Frank discussion kills DOING.

    Don’t you get it, I WANT them to DO! I WANT them to long for, and I don’t care too much if they jump the gun a little, if they are driven, panting, by their natures, to the Chuppah! It’s all this cool-headedness that is the enemy! With programs like this, they calm down and get past the whole busines and concentrate, very maturely, on what really counts, getting places in their jobs.


    THAT is what is killing our reproductive future. So LEAVE the mystery in place, and maybe we will have some babies.

    Yes, I should lie down.

  • I believe in the divine origin of the Chumash. I also have my own way of doing things and being close to Ha-Shem.
    The Oral Law, it is not as clear how it is connected to Sinai. I have heard some Rabbi’s say that every piece of Gemara, Mishna, Rishonim, Achronim, Aggadita. was also given at Sinai. Is this what you believe?

  • Judi, sounds like you will have grandchildren. Go girl.

    I repeat, coolheaded, mature discussion of this issue DESTROYS actually DOING anything marital.

    The whole business is tamed, and relegated to just one part of a rich, full life.

    Not a central, role-determining thing.

    A “need” to be taken care of, like other needs people have.

    Very mature. But infertile.

    So LET there be fuss and feathers, and LET the mothers yell, and LET the kids drop their books. What counts is, what do they do about it? Do they marry? Separation of the sexes causes marrying. Togetherness causes a whole spectrum of things. But NOT marrying. Empirical evidence proves this no matter how strange it may sound. Is there a sociologist in the house?

    Let’s keep it warm. Let’s not medicalize life. Let’s not be mature and informed. Not at the cost of a future.

    Do you think I am exaggerating? Have you looked at our population numbers lately?

    TM, I need help here.

  • Jobber, it was ALL given at Sinai. Just as we were all present at Sinai. You’ve got to get a little mystical. This IS a religion. I hope you are well. It is hot here.

  • I just had a dark thought. Are we being lazy? Do we find it too much trouble to police our warm-blooded young? Is that why we are trying to cool them off? But that would be for our convenience, not for their benefit. Sure, policing them is exhausting but it has to be done. The results will please. Simchas in the future. Our parents did it for us… It is true, it was easier then. Or was it.

  • Judi, sounds like you will have grandchildren. Go girl.

    I hope so, but I’m prepared to wait a while. No rush. Y’know, we’re honest with our girls about sexuality and boy-girl relationships, and they’re fairly well adjusted. I won’t lie- they do look with curiosity (and more than a little jealousy) at the “outside world”, but seem to be as comfortable as teenagers could possibly be within the parameters that we and our community have established.

  • G-d bless. Of course they are grateful for boundaries. A cage protects as well as confines.

    Not that they would ever admit that. They probably do not even realize it.

    You are probably already keeping an eye on the developing population of eventual suitors. You are well ahead of the curve, I am sure.

    As long as they know we are on their side, we can get through to them.

    I really must lie down.

  • I went to a yeshiva high school where boys and girls had classes together, every class except Kedushat Hamishpacha. In KHaM, as it was known from the schedule, we a) learned not to date non-Jews when we went to college because they might ask us out for a Friday night movie and b) went on a field trip to a mikvah. I’m sure there must have been other classes and other lessons, but I don’t remember a thing. Then, poof, I’m in Rutgers, which was a whole other story. Let’s just say my education was very different from that of the public school kids. I think everything shocked me that first year. But it became clear that even though most of the kids on my floor were Jewish, they knew little about Judaism. I became the resident Judaism expert (this was before the internet, remember)…and I could usually answer most questions (Shabbat, holidays, kashrut, Tanach characters and stories). But Judaism’s views on sex, pre-marital or marital? I had no information, and no one to ask. And that was a problem.

    This is only part one of a much larger story, but suffice it to say that my high school was more concerned about my assimilation into the world of Friday night movie dates with “Chris” or what to do with chametz that you happen to find in your house on Pesach than with completing the educational job they started and preparing me for encounters with real people in the real world.

    I’m sure Tzelem is not going to encourage licentiousness in Orthodox teens. It will simply give them the information that they will need in order to understand positions on subjects that are as invisible in Orthodoxy as they are overly represented in American culture.

  • I don’t believe that every line of Gemara was given at Sinai. Read books by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, he explains how the Gemara developed.

  • You cannot police the warm bodied young, it is natural to be curious about the opposite sex. And also the times we live in affect kids. Not all but most. Um, my daughters school for grade school, most of the girls, she told me, mostly talk about boys, boyfriends, dating, this was in 8th grade. How are you going to change that?
    Wasn’t it always like this JM?
    Basically, they want to love and be loved, they want the adoration of someone their own age.
    You can tell them that it is destructive but not everyone will accept what you say.

  • Jobber, it is not totally destructive. It’s girl thing. Obviously you are keeping an eye on what they DO. Because of you, they will basically have confidence that it will all work out ok, and someone will be theirs, in a nice and reasonable way, because they are looking at you. You are the main engine, not all those other factors. Daddy rules. The more confidence they have in their futures, the more they will read, think and have a life apart from that. Talk about books with them and they will see they have something else that is valuable. It is the panicked girls who think they have nothing else who over-emphasize that.

    Steinsaltz is a wonderful man. But there is a mystical dimension you are pushing aside. Were we not all present at Sinai? That’s not what it says on my birth certificate, but so what. Don’t confine poor Steinsaltz in the material world; I don’t think he would want that.

  • I hope Esther as shaliach had an influence on the non-religious Jews who so touchingly asked her questions. A big burden for her at that, or any, age, and one she bore pretty stalwartly.

    As for the questions she could not answer … could it have been an impossible situation? Can you NOT think of a white horse? Can you modestly discuss Judaism’s take on married life with people who are not asking about it modestly?

    Maybe Esther could have better equipped for this challenge. Maybe not.

    There is always the Fifth Amendment, meaning, I don’t have to answer that.

    Leads straight into the Fifth Commandment. My parents didn’t bring me up to talk about that, at least not on your terms. Maybe on my own terms. At my own time. When I want.

    It is well known that not all questions have answers, and a fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer.

    Framing this stuff as a question may itself be nonsensical, like asking what is north of the north pole.

    As their question had no context, it had no meaning. With whom? How? When? Under what conditions? They ignored all that, so it was all just air, basically. Sounded intelligent, but it was mostly air.

    A string of words with a question mark at the end is not necessarily a real question, no matter how much it sounds like one, and is earnestly presented as one, by someone who is otherwise genuinely clever.

  • Hey Jobber, let’s put the Oral Law aside for a second.
    You said that you have your own ways to get close to G-d – that ‘s great. I do too. Now tell me do you believe in the infinite wisdom of G-d. And please leave rabbis out of it for a moment? It ‘s just you and G-d. Why you want to get close to him? What is that He has that you need? Please tell me!

  • Jobber, as far as your comment #79 I d like to just tell you few things.
    1) Shomer negiah concept is concept that pertains to people of opposite gender that are not married to you (nor are your mother etc). By the concept of Nidah we talk about harchakos.
    2) Waiting for 7 days is mentioned explicitly in Vayikra 15:19. So it was G-d idea to wait and therefore we cant be sure why really we have to wait. Nevertheless rabbis tried to understand why.
    One of the possible reasons is that in marriage for it to work people must develop the communication skills. And the times of nidah are times to develop your communication skills. In the begging of marriage the phisical aspect of marriage might be so overpowering or so dominating in the relationship and people do not develop proper communication skills. And over the long run this is a great problem. So G-d prescribed us a period of time and techniques that will promote developing this communicztion skills. It also says in the gemarah Nidah daf 30a that reason for the seperation is that the wife will be dear to his husband like on the day of the chuppah. The modern psychology there is a therapy for the marital difficulties which is called the absistence therapy. Sounds familiar?

  • Personally I am not a big fan of the system you prefer, which I won’t go into because there are many differences in our outlooks and how we view our many behaviours. Therefore I don’t share your scorn of therapy. Also from my experience the physical enhances the communication many fold.

    I was also discussing the seven clean days and the mikva. This is a minhag that was adopted by Jewish women at some point, I dont recall the exact story. So this is the old Dorei Doros connumdrum

  • One wants to get close to G-d for many reasons. There are many approaches to this answer. My answer is that I am seeking this comfort zone, whether comfortable or not.
    There are different phases one goes through. You have the option to do something that for you brings you close to G-d. Someone may daven for a long time for example. Someone else may check on his elderly neighbor often, take care of errands for her, etc… Some people would take these 2 examples and argue which is more correct, assuming that the one doesn’t do the other. I don’t get into this war. I respect both of them. No one of them is better than his brother, but everyone of us can be better.

  • Oy Jobber, Jobber you are stubborn. Please take chumash and check the pasouk I gave you. It does say it explicitly!
    What you reffering to is the takanah of rav Zeyra ( of which origin is intersting because gemara says that it was bnos Israel that came out with this chumrah and later it was developed into rabbinical law) which is a chumrah and was added on… the famous 7 days prescribed by G-d. And mikva is also not a minchag but the law from torah. Men (like ck ) into a mikveh is a minchag but by women it is a law.
    Furthermore I did not say that this is my psychology. I neither have any marital problems whatsoever nor I specialize in this particular field of psychology. I mentioned it to proove that even secular sources recognize need for such behavior.. i was hoping that you will fall for my secular world example. I was wrong. Now I see you are free thinker and you are not confiened by any kind of box. But then what do you need Judaism. You can or actually you are successfully finiding your way to G-d without any prescribed confinements. But if so then why you trying to fix Judaism – it doesnt pertain to you, does it?
    Live and let live, no?

  • And I m hoping you are not asking me about misticism in Judaism. I dont know such difficult words nor concepts. I am just totally in love with G-d. Hoping to stay always high on G-d!

  • Um, people, this is a discussion about sex, what’s with the havruta talmud study session? Or at least post pics or something.

  • Hey, themiddle here is your picture on the topic
    Now you happy? Can you not interupt when two adults are talking. Or at least wait till you have your editing priviliges back? 😉
    I dont make post here. Make one where you ll find it more suitable for us to talk about it.
    And didnt you here Jewish Mother? Dont talk just do!

  • Jewish Mother:

    You’re doing fine – just keep breathing deeply. Deeeeply. Remain calm. Two points:

    1) I don’t agree with your notion that “the Jewish way” involves keeping sex a mystery. There is a difference between modesty and ignorance.

    Any yeshiva student who has learned the major books and exchanges of the Talmud has come across frank, graphically detailed discussions of male and female anatomy, function, and sexual habits. One Talmud story has the student hiding under his teacher’s bed to learn how a Torah scholar makes love – I don’t think this is what this organization has in mind for your little Mendy and Dasi, so don’t worry.

    I think we have confused our own Jewish notion of modesty – which is not necessarily passive, and grows out of the entwined vines of intimate living with G-d and man – we have confused this with Christian notions of sex as something dirty and fallen. Something to be ashamed of.

    2) It certainly was not right that Esther had no answer to give her peers about Judaism’s take on sexuality – this no doubt gave the false impression that Judaism had no cogent view on how life should be lived, or was unrealistic – in other words, it probably confirmed many suspicions that Judaism had little to say about real life, and was a bunch of dusty old, irrelevant restrictions.

  • YB,I don’t understand your question. I am Jewish, why should I not care about the issues in Jewish life? Just because at this stage, I am unable to daven, why should I forgo learning? or Chessed?

  • Oh man! you should never give up chessed, learning etc. And you only think you are unable to daven now. I am sure you are talking to G-d at your own frequency. This is all you got to do. But in the same time you say halacha doesnt really bind you, right? So maybe leave halacha with its problems to those who live by it.
    Or maybe I m wrong and you do feel that this is also yours and part of your yerushah. Because it is. It s great you are asking questions but maybe wait with changing it and adjusting it untill the moment that its knowledge is as great by you as the knowledge of today’s issues and challanges. i think that’s what I would do. Otherwise it’s just unfair judgement, right?

  • I don’t understand what gives you the right to declare who can and who can’t have an opinion on the issue. Just because going to Shule doesn’t work out for me at this time, that is to say, I do go but I am a zombie there I will admit. But most days on my commute I have a Chumash or a Torah oriented book, except for when I am preparing for an interview. According to the Ramchal, he says that just by reading the Torah you are part of the illumination. OK fine. So I do this. But this has no connection to the problems being discussed. There are abuses in the system and you can take the approach, don’t do anything it doesn’t matter, or you can support and try to bring about an improvement so that the abuses stop.

  • One Talmud story has the student hiding under his teacher’s bed to learn how a Torah scholar makes love – I don’t think this is what this organization has in mind for your little Mendy and Dasi, so don’t worry.

    Man, that is too funny. BD, either give us the source or tell CK how Torah scholars do it so he can get a t up on shmatas.com saying ‘torah scholars do it better.’

  • Ben-David, you are right. You should run the program. YOU I would trust to run the program. I don’t hear any mush-mouth tone from you.

    I can’t help wondering why there is a need for this program if Jewish studies already should have taught all the things you mention!

    Maybe the usual curriculum is not Orthodox ENOUGH to cover all these bases. Ha ha. What they need may be a move to the right, not the left, ha ha.

  • Jobber, I am sorry that your going to shule doesnt work out for you. I used to go to a place where I felt more like doing my time than communicating with G-d. So I do completely understand you on that and as I understand you try to make it up by own means of communion with G-d. And you learn Torah whenever you can – that’s great. I obviously do not think that you have no right to have and voice your opinion of changes in halacha. I am not sure I understand why do you want any changes in halacha. You said that you have your own ways of Judaism and if something doesnt work for you then you do it your way. Therefore you dont need any institutional changesin the law because you live beyond this, right?
    Unless you do want to live by halacha and you just cant find yourself within it.
    I think that more thorough studies of the subject cant help you get better perspective of the law. Maybe then you can appreciate the rabbi of the old and their divine inspiration.

    You said earlier that the system is bad and marriages are not better I think you wrong and in the traditional circles there are less divorces and much less abuse than in the general society. The system is a tool for a better life. If you obey it fully it works but it doesnt guarantee that by putting a black hat and growing a beard one becomes a saint. Jews like all people are strong enough to defy and abuse any system including Judaism. And a lot of them do that very often. But can you blame the system then???
    I m not sure I understood when (#39) you said that guys in any MO shul are fat… this is because they dont have enough sex??? and that supposedly talking about sex in YU will make them less shy of their wives and they will have more sex with them???

  • BD, for what it’s worth, whenever people asked me anything about Judaism at college, I usually prefaced it with “if you really want to know the sources involved, you should ask the campus rabbi, but the way I understand it…”

    But for the most part, I felt pretty confident about answering their questions–it was just this one subject that I was woefully ignorant about. I tried to keep it simple and not get into all the lovely things like sotah and what halakhically constitutes a mamzer.

  • esther:
    I tried to keep it simple and not get into all the lovely things like sotah and what halakhically constitutes a mamzer.
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    … now, now, don’t go giving away upcoming threads!

  • YB, You want to know again, why do I care so much about making changes, first of all, we are talking about changes to the system where abuse of the system occurs in modern times that did not occur a thousand or so years ago. I have already answered this question that you asked previously, but you continue to ask it, in some form of why do I care, and I already responded that I am a Jewish person, part of the community, and happen to be bothered by the abuses, and the Chilull Hashem that occurs.
    As well, I have been in this for many years, and it is not so easy to just pick up and leave, especially as my children have grown up in this kind of Charedi modern life style, and my expectation is that for my oldest at least I will be in the Shidduch parsha very soon, and likely a Kollel boy and all that, eineklach, so I am
    a part of this world, even though if I had my way, I would move to another location altogether like Redondo Beach.
    What I see from this discourse w/ you, is that the Yeshiva person, feels that only they are the true Yiddishe people. this is sad because there is alot of Torah amongst other groups of Jews in areas that I have tried to solicit your awareness. I know many Charedi people for example who play the part, but are not there for you when they should be.
    But for many in the Yeshiva world, they only see as far as their 4 amos.
    You may like to think that all is well in the Charedi world, but we are seeing alot of problems that were never there before, or perhaps were swept under the rug.
    I suggest that you just take in some information rather than continue to ask the same questions that have been answered. As I said earlier, I see several paths in life as fully legitimate not just one path.

  • In regards to how often a married couple has sex, I have read in the Mishna Brura, that it is to happen twice a week, they use the term he should Pokaid sham, which I guess means to probe there?
    It seems to me that being grossly overweight is an indication that something is not right, for both men and women, it is just that i have noticed typically it is men in MO shules who are in large majority overweight. I am not saying it is easy to lose weight but there are measures you can take as I walk alot, and run. THere are also some diet supplements that are good such as green tea. I thought this was supposed to be the topic of this thread anyways.

  • its all about the crystal meth my little yiddles. You won’t be able to keep your hands offa yo’ wife and you will lose weight at a very, shall we say, accelerated pace. Just sayin …

  • ok Jobber you got me. I give up this round. I see I m not able to expalin it to you my point of view. And I also belive that you are in point of you journey where it is very hard for you to hear my views.
    Nevertheless I have to say that although you claim to recognize many paths you keep pointing out what is wrong with orthodoxy. In the same time overlooking the vast majority of the traditional world who lives a”good life” following Torah.
    I am 100% cognizant of other ways that people follow in Judaism and even beyond it. I dont claim to understand them though. And definetly do not understand when people come and tell other what to do. live and let live.

  • themiddle, the lightening does strike if you go over the limit. Believe me! Unless you cut the deal with the Boss that the extra times should be accounted for the two weeks your wife spends by her mother why you stay home alone.

  • The Boss – being whoever you think rules you life. wife or the Dude, the Dudster or El Duderino.