You could hug the world, in the hope that it becomes a better place. That’s what a group is doing in Jerusalem, according to the JTA:

The Old City of Jerusalem will be engulfed Monday in a human hug to promote love and unity among religions and cultures. Thousands are expected to gather at four locations around the Old City, from where they will fan out and surround the city’s walls in a “huge human hug,” according to a statement.

The hug is being organized by Lovers of Jerusalem, a group “unified by a commitment to make the world a more loving and respectful place, starting here in Jerusalem,” according to its Web site.

But the problem is that hugs can lead to dancing. Which is why you might also want to consider not hugging. And for that matter, encouraging teenagers to not hug, or kiss, or touch at all, following the example of (also via the JTA):

The Orthodox Union’s youth group started a Web site that promotes sexual abstinence for teens., a site of the National Council of Synagogue Youth, explains abstinence, offers religious arguments for it and tips.

“Does being abstinent mean you can do everything except for the actual sex act?” the site asks. “Or is it doing absolutely nothing of an intimate or affectionate nature whatsoever (i.e., being “shomer” )? Is hugging and kissing still abstinent? What about second base? Third base?”

The answer: “Just be aware that halacha (Jewish law) does not permit any intimate or affectionate contact between men and women who are not married to one another (or close relatives).”

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see, and


  • we all know how well abstinence education has worked in america’s high schools… yeah, that’s the ticket. the scare tactics on suicide made me LOL.

  • Guilting young women into abstaining from any intimate or affectionate contact before marriage is another way the male-dominated Orthodox leadership tries to control them.

  • Hey Venom, you are totally cool with your “before marriage” thing. I am pro marriage too, so we are extremely friends! Just very generally, how long is that? Months? Years? Yay marriage! And babies!

    Once married, these control issues you mention get worked out over breakfast, when the real test is “who remembered to put up the timed coffee pot last night, so it would be hot by now, and who did not remember”. And who is awake enough to care.

    Control issues are serious, but they usually go away eventually. The other stuff you mention is more fun, and persists much, much longer, fortunately. It is so different with love. That is the missing ingredient everybody wonders about, like leaving the oil out of the hummus and wondering why it has the consistency of library paste.

  • Jewish Mother, all of us (chutzpah especially) admire your preternatural enthusiasm for the institution of marriage. But surely it’s a stretch to say that marriage makes controlling behavior disappear. The reverse is the case, no? (If you don’t agree, I’ll invite you to attend court with me to sit through the restraining order hearings.)

  • venom, it’s not only females who are prohibited from touching the opposite sex before marriage under the laws of shomrei negiah.

  • As to controlling behavior .. there is nothing wrong with that.

    As long as everybody gets a chance at it.

    Unless one of the people is really a nut case, there is usually some muscle on both sides, and that is just part of being human.

    Compromise….. and how about love.

    Psychological perfection – no hangups! no controlling behavior! total ommm serenity! – is just as unatainable as physical, mental or moral perfection, and so what.

    Marry somebody with problems – just not a nut case – and be assured that they are doing that, too.

    Happy Spring.

  • I think someone metioned men hugging and kissing each other after they were set free from the holocost. I watched one of your vidos on this site which had no sound. I don’t know the name of hte video. But I think I saw a man kiss another man. I don’t know if it was on his cheek, forehead, or lips. But I’ve heard at lesat that in Bible times that Jewish men kissed each other on the lips as a sign of good will and not immorality.

    If you have a video with sound that has two men, especially brothers giving each other a quick peck on the lips, I’d like to watch it. I prefer a video of two brothers who are in our time if possible, not someone who was in the Natzi camps.

    I just think it’s totally awesome that two teenage boys or grown men, espcially brothers, can kiss on the lips with a peck and it not be gay! I’d prefer to hear and see them kissing.