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Why are orthodox Jews so strict about boys and girls not mingling?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

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Question:

Rabbi we have progressed. Schools are coed, boys and girls dance together at proms, and they enjoy it. Why is traditional Judaism so fearful of early romance and mingling?

Answer:

A wise man once said: “Not everything that is new is good and not everything that is old is mold.”

Judaism values modesty, appreciates that girls should be girls and boys should be boys, and prefers romance when the time is ripe.

It is true modern society has progressed as you accurately describe. But it has progressed further than your description. It hasn't stopped at mingling. It continued into the ugly world of teenage promiscuity, pregnancy, depression, and more than an occasional suicide.

And it doesn't take an Einstein to correlate the obvious connection between the "progression" of coed activities and the increased rates of promiscuity, pregnancy and depression etc.

But since you put your faith in modernity, I will point you to an article written in a most modern periodical. Apparently whilst Judaism's perspectives have been around for a while, they have not expired. These ideas are quite alive in many "progressive" circles as well. 

For example, in the April 16, 2001 issue of Time Magazine there was an article titled Puppy Love's Bite. The article examined the dangers of early romance.1 It warned:

"A recent study of 8,000 adolescents in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior shows that love can be hell, especially when it strikes young. Although steady romantic attachments tend to increase the health and well-being of adults, those relationships are a great source of stress for adolescents and can lead to depression, the study says... Dr. Miriam Kaufman, a pediatrician and author..., says... "I advise kids not to jump into romances too early, because young adolescence is a time for girls to cement their friendships, and strong friendships--and a strong sense of self--help kids through the tough times".

Footnotes

  • 1. See here for complete article http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,999689,00.html

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COMMENTS

The wrong about men and women mingling.

Posted by: dave on Mar 27, 2005

Seems like the rabbi was trying to answer the question without getting into too much spiritual detail.

But being that the MAIN answer rests in the spiritual source, i would like to share a small fraction of it:

It is forbidden by our rabbi's for men and women to mingle for one simple reason: it leads to lewdness.

This reason cannot be contradicted by any source, for being that the rabbi's imposed this restriction, this means that EVERYONE is in this category, regardless of age, sex, race, time and space.

The Code of Jewish Law forbids even looking at a woman's fingernail in a way of lust, needless to say touch, and definitely not to be intimate.

If you say that because we stand in 2005 it should be permitted to mingle - You are an utter fool! for on the contrary, today more than ever people are currupt and perverted. In the fifty's, it was illegal for a woman to wear a bathing suit more than six inches above the knee at many public beaches. Today, one should thank g-d if someone showes up to the beach wearing a bathing suit!

Furthermore, how many children do you know have had intercourse some 600 years ago?

The internet became a hub of pornography for people who want to fulfill all their sickening and crass desires.

Why is there a nude person on a regular ad for toothpaste? and you ask why men and women should not mingle?

Hope we all do some rethinking.

Best regards. 

Boys and Girls mingling

Posted by: Anonymous, Bklyn, Ny on Sep 25, 2005

When I spoke to not yet frum teens about dating many of them told me that there was no point in it. They found it sad that boys and girls would date. Some however said it was for the fun or pressure. When I told them that I do not mingle with the opposite gender, a few of them felt that i was very deprived in my life. Many of the teens nowadays are missing out on valuable friendships that are interupted by the dating process (girls or boys will be jealous of their friends, or they will ignore theri friends when they are dating). I feel strongly that when you have a boyfriend, it affects your friendships in ways you cant get them back.

progress

Posted by: T Tauby on Mar 01, 2012

I have a number of comments about this article but I want to share just one point which is on the question itself.

The questioner asks "Rabbi we have progressed...etc"

The word progressed connotes one thing i.e. we are progressing to a goal.

You cannot progress without guidance, without a goal.

So since a number of people decided something for a few decades it's translated as progressed?

How many broken hearts has this country seen through high school? How many students actually learn better in co-ed schools?

This isn%u2019t progression just digression= going away from something, not knowing where you're going.

Luckily we have a Torah which guides us, and yes people in their core (this includes sexuality) are the same for the last 3 millennia and are going to be for the next 3 millennia.


RELATED CATEGORIES

Intimacy » Sexual Issues
Daily Life » Clothing » Modesty

Miriam
Older sister of Moses and Aaron, and a prophetess in her own right.