They're young, intelligent, good-looking and single - and their libidos are at a peak. They meet others like themselves on campus, in class, in the cafeteria and during activities held by the students' unions. Sometimes the result is just flirtation, but sometimes it goes farther.
Life on the campuses of the nation's colleges and universities is not just about scholarship and book-knowledge. For some secular-minded students, free sex is a rite of passage, a phase in one's development. But for an increasing number of religious youths, the encounter with the secular world results in culture shock that can totally undermine a religious world-view still in its formative stages.
"My rabbis warned me before I went to learn in university," said one religious female student. "They told me that the lecturers and professor there teach apostasy and ideas that contradict religious faith.
"I've been at university for two years and have never been taught ideas subversive to my faith. Nevertheless, my [level of observance] has plummeted. The danger is not in the classroom; it is during the breaks, around campus, on the lawn, in the coffee shop. The atmosphere here is very secular. And it is very tempting."
This religious student's testimony is one of several quoted by Yona Goodman, a veteran religious Zionist educator, in a controversial article entitled "Culture Shock." The article, which appeared in the recent edition of Tzohar, an influential periodical written by and for religious Zionist rabbis, has aroused a flurry of interest and controversy in modern Orthodox circles.[...]