(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 13:12:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Co-Ed School

Estee@aol.com states in Bais Medrash Volume 2 Number 25 that:
<  <  ....kalus rosh, shifchas zera lavatalah and pritzus are things which
co-ed schools contribute to, this is a fact not an opinion. I have seen
....issurim de'oraisa!) and I have witnessed these things first hand. The
...I have heard again and again that I seem to be attacking modern camp
with right wing views and insulting etc. but the fact remains that these
aveiras are much more common and rampant in boys and girls from co-ed
schools. (yes I know of yeshiva guys and girls who have strayed off the
path too, and I know great frum people from co-ed...>  >

I wish to make it clear that I am commenting as an actuary and that I am
not necessarily disagreeing with Estee.  Estee and I both agree that (a) we
have seen Biblical sins in Co-ed schools (b) we have seen yeshiva students
stray (which also means Biblical sins).

We disagree on the numerical assessment of these two items. Estee says
there is MORE sin in coed schools and they CAUSE it while there is LESS
sin in Yeshivas and the Yeshiva set up does NOT CAUSE these sins

Unfortunately there are NO studies to back Estee up. I of course would
welcome them. As a simple example of WHY statistical studies are necessary
consider the simple experiment of 2 people tossing a penny 10 times--
Abraham sees 7 heads and Yitzchak sees only 3. Despite the 50% difference
any statistician will tell you that these coins are the same! We cannot
judge RELATIVE differences using our intuition--we need formal statistical

I again review the halachas on this subject. Estee and I agree that Yichud
(privacy) and physical contact are Biblical prohibitions. However there is
no Biblical prohibition against 15 boys and 15 girls being in a room
together for 50 minutes learning math!!! True as one person wrote the
Shulchan Aruch does advise against it but there is no Talmudic source that
_requires_ it. As I have previously indicated these 15 boys and girls will
be spending most of their adult life in co-ed business offices. It is
**possible** that if we don't prepare them now in school then they are more
likely to sin in the business office. In other words, it is conceivable
that perhaps Yeshivas DO contribute to sin and co-ed schools DO contribute
to Modesty. I am not saying I know this for sure..I am simply saying we
must study it with statistical tools.

I am also saying that our modern environment (coed offices) may justify our
ignoring, not halachas, but advice in the Shluchan Aruch. On this forum
many have already cited Rav Soloveitchick who founded the co-ed
Maimonidees. I can also cite the Mishnah Brurah who ruled that one can say
Kriath Shma in the presence of a married woman's uncovered hair or in the
presence of a woman in pants--the reason being that because such a dress
mode is common today therefore it is no longer considered arousing. Thus we
have a precedent that a modern environment may change certain (not all)
standards of modesty.

I hope this posting is taken in the right way. I am not disagreeing with
Estees conclusions. I am rather disagreeing with her methodology. We cannot
make absolute statements unless they are backed up by formal statistical
tests I know this is a touchy topic(pardon the pun!) but I did want to
clarify methodological issues. Sorry for the length of the posting.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; rhendel@towson.edu
Moderator Rashi is Simple