Sunday, February 12, 2012

What is the Halacha about the separation of sexes?

The issue of the “exclusion of women” (hadarat nashim) in public spheres has greatly engaged Israeli society over the last several months. Unfortunately, under this big headline, numerous phenomena have been included. There is a big difference, from the perspectives of both Halacha and democracy, between allowing religious soldiers to excuse themselves from recreational concerts by women singers, to forcing non-religious women to sit in the back of an Egged bus or beating them for entering a certain neighborhood in immodest dress.

Clearly, however, many of the phenomena are deplorable, and require redress on three levels: (1) rectifying the massive desecration of God’s reputation (Hillul Hashem) created by extremists like the Sikarikim group and their neighbors who fail to condemn their actions; (2) creating greater understanding on the relationship between Halacha, democracy, and tolerance; and (3) clarifying the halachic sources related to these matters, the latter of which will be the focus of this essay.

No comments :

Post a Comment

please use either your real name or a pseudonym.