Illustration Photo. This photograph bears absolutely no connection to the article.

Op-Ed: Too Close for Comfort

A post-seminary Lubavitcher girl wrote the following op-ed, which she shared with on condition of anonymity, regarding the feelings of discomfort she and her fellow students would often have while being mentored by male rabbis and Mashpi’im.

The author, who acknowledges that the rabbis in question are likely oblivious to the discomfort of the girl/s in their presence, compiled a list of nine tips she wishes to impart to all men who educate and mentor young women, so that they may avoid any inappropriate and/or awkward situations down the line.

Too Close for Comfort – by Anonymous:

Having grown up in a family where no sensitive topic remained taboo or was ever swept under the rug (for better or worse), my siblings and I were in tune and sensitive to all kinds of sleazy, gross, or somewhat off putting behavior. We would later on discuss if this intuition was in fact correct, and more often than not, we were right.

As a high school student, seminary student, shluchah, and counselor I have seen my fair share of dedicated shluchim, rabbis and rebbetzins. I enjoyed my years and summers thoroughly, but unfortunately not all my friends were left with the same feelings.

I honest to G-d don’t believe that every experience was vindictive or even on purpose, but the girl took it to heart and left with a bad taste.

We are encouraged to stay away from the opposite gender until the appropriate age. Yet, then we are having farbrengans late into the night with rabbis. Young rabbis, old rabbis, it doesn’t matter. In fact principals are encouraging these bonds. To me, this is worse. These men have families and are committed. These girls are single and vulnerable.

I write this as a guide for rabbis and even female principals. I pity some of the rabbis we bad-mouthed. They did not realize how inappropriate their behavior was. Hopefully this guide will help you be more cautious.

These scenarios are all based on true stories. A friend of mine recalled a rabbi telling her to be more tznius. She never will forget that, and neither will my class.

  1. Never in your right mind tell a girl she is not tznius, and this may even apply to your own daughter or wife. It’s NOT your place. It’s wrong, and very creepy. You will accomplish nothing. The girl will never look at you the same way and you will turn her off. She will most definitely repeat the story to many friends and you will be accused of a lot worse.
  2. Your tone. Teasing, winking, combating, clever comebacks. They’re not your daughters, sisters, or friends.
  3. Speaking to girls after school. Avoid it. If necessary, make sure there are people in the vicinity.

When a girl goes away from home her defenses are down. I don’t care how popular she is, she’s not in her element and that’s a fact. Small things to you may mean big things to her.

  1. If you have to ask, “are you comfortable with this?” (This silly question was asked by several men) then skip it. Very few girls will say, “no, I am not.”

You are the adult.

  1. DRINKING. If you are speaking to girls, think before you drink. You may trust yourself, but it can be downright scary and uncomfortable for a girl. You can be the nicest tipsy person but it doesn’t matter.

A girl told me that a rabbi at the end of the kiddush complimented her appearance. She left quickly knowing the rabbi would never remember it. Needless to say he never mentioned it, and that girl is still nauseous from the memory.

  1. Late night visit to the dorm or counselor house? How about not? Leave it for the next day even if it’s really important or have them meet you and your wife by a different location. Even if you leave a warning …there is always the one that did not hear.
  2. Farbrenging late into the night. Nothing about that is chassidish, let alone frum. A farbrengan with a married man needs to have a time slot: half hour, forty five minutes…otherwise sitting around into the wee hours when peoples defenses are weak can be classified as sketchy. There needs to be a wife present and even then…A bnos head does not count! When a rabbi farbrenged very late into the night with my high school all I kept thinking was where is his wife?
  3. Never put your wife down. I had a rabbi tell me, “please don’t mention this to my wife, she doesn’t understand these things.” It was ridiculous. You are showing me who your priorities are.
  4. Personal space. Make sure she has personal space.

**A note to female principals: Derech Eretz is essential in a classroom. However when too much trust is given to a mortal man, the blame rests on both of you. Why do you let alcohol by the farbrengans?

I’ve had female principals worship the ground a farbrenganer/lecturer walked on. Please don’t be naive. Let everyone know you’re watching and be responsible for the GIRLS you are entrusted with.


  • too true

    I think a similar letter should be written addressing girls who immortalize their male teachers and mashpias

  • anon

    One could hear about most of this.
    However in regards to part 1, you are just wrong.
    A father has a chiyuv to be mechanech his kids.
    A woman who is not tznius, is going against the tenoi’im of the the marriage.

    that is in regards to halocho.

    in regards human nature.

    why should one not tell his wife or kids about tznius?

    and why should a educator not say something?
    maybe explain why it is not his place?

    • Anonymous

      because tznius isnt just halacha these days anymore. if you wont tell someone she isnt matching, or her zipper is undone, then dont tell her her skirt is 1/4 inch too short

    • spacecase

      It is not his place, because he is a guy and should not be looking. Better to ask one of his female associates to discuss tznius or dress in general.

    • #3 You are so wrong.

      A father, husband, educator MUST tell their daughter, wife or student if she is lacking in Tznius! Especially since some people ingnorantly think “tznius isnt just halacha these days anymore” ?!?! HUH?
      I suppose cheeseburgers are not just halacha anymore? Or keeping shabbos isn’t just halacha anymore?
      If you would realize that tznius IS halacha, that the Rebbe begged for Tznius, maybe your skirt wouldn’t be 1/4 inch too short in the first place.
      And the reason children are born in this world is BECAUSE men have desires, and you WILL arouse them with your inappropriate dress.
      Please grow up. You have so much Torah to learn.

  • Keep speaking

    It’s about time these issues are being addressed in the open. I hope they will be taken to heart.

  • I fully agree with this article.

    I think that the time has come for women only to be mashpia to girls and especially for woman only to farbreng with girls.

  • NO

    I’m sorry, as a post-seminary girl myself, this post reeks of immaturity and a lack of understanding of what a farbrengen really is. Have some respect for these people. Maybe they know a LITTLE bit more than you? Possible? Then maybe, just maybe, they know what they’re doing. Oh I know, it’s much easier to cry ‘rabbi ___ drinks with girls! ‘ than to actually absorb what they’re farbrenging about…isn’t it?


    2 years in one sem
    Some more time in the real world
    And horrified by what you wrote

    • Anonymous

      Apparently you’re naive! This doesn’t just apply to rabbis and mashhpi’im in school… this applies to shluchim all over. From personal experience on multiple occasions, rabbis have said and/or acted inappropriately. Maybe You never experienced it, lucky for you but there are plenty of girls and women dealing with this problem. About time someone writes about it. I find this happens with more prominent rabbis and no one will say or do anything because they are highly looked upon and no one will believe them!

    • Man Farbrenger

      I am someone who is regularly invited to farbreng or give lectures to girls, this is not my full time job but I’m called upon quite often, I agree with the sentiments expressed in this op-ed.

      Many times the girls offer me some vodka to say Lchaim, I always refuse and I see the relief in the eyes of the girls who at times end up sitting with other Mashpiim who sit and drink and say Lchaim during their farbrengen, they become more relaxed and more attentive because they feel a lot more secure knowing that there will be no drinking.

      And no, I’m not one of those who won’t say Lchaim when I farbreng with boys, which I’m called upon to do plenty, I just think its plain wrong, and frankly, I believe it’s against halacha for a man to drink in the company of women.

      Just my own opinion and practice.

    • Ch resident

      I don’t like to say this, but your response seems a bit immature, in that you seem to be naive. Not that C”V there aren’t eidel men, but there are reasons why we have boundaries. As one teacher in seminary told us- the halachos of yichud applied even to Avraham Avinu. There is a reason why boundaries are appropriate, and men farbrenging late into the night with girls is inappropriate – no matter what message he is giving over, and no matter how much knowledge and inspiration he has to give.
      By its very nature, a late farbrengen becomes a more intimate setting where people open up and share more- this should be done women with women and men with men.
      Another comment – It seems that too many girls and young women feel that to be Chasidish, they have to imitate Bochurim style, in farbrenging and running out late to 770 at all hours. We each have different roles, and routes to Chasidishkeit. There is something very not feminine, and I would say opposite of “kol kvuda bas melech pnima” to be so “out there” in bochurim style chasidishkeit.

    • YMSP


      She’s not talking about shluchim and she’s right. The “op-ed” sounds like a little kid with a chip on her shoulder wrote it. It’s very cynical and almost 95% overblown/false.

    • rebtsn golda

      Definitely agree, this post has a very immature vibe to it, although there are one or two valid points but the naivety is what stands out more than anything.

    • Dear "Grammatician"

      1) The word is “grammarian”; there’s absolutely no such dictionary-recognized word “grammatician”!

      2) If you expect excellent grammar through and through in most of the Crown Heights web sites, you are setting yourself up for constant pain and disappointment!

      3) So just read these articles for the content. You’ll be a lot happier!

  • crown heights


    • Man Farbrenger

      About teaching I have no opinion because I know that men have traditionally been teaching women since girls schools were opened.

      However about farbrengen till late in the night I fully agree, an hour or maybe a little more is more than plenty, and after you said your piece, kindly just check out.

    • Bais Yaakov Girl

      Not sure where you’re getting your info from. Having been through both Bais Yaakov and Lubavitch institutes and with mulitple sisters still in both I can correct you with the utmost confidence. Every school has Rabbis involved and every person involved in these schools can benifit from what is written in this article.

  • Duh?!

    Thanks for writing this.
    This should have always been obvious (for those who consider themselves orthodox).

  • very good points

    Except husbands should nicely point out to their wives if they’re not dressed appropriately. Who else will??? Fathers shouldn’t need to, it should be a mother’s job.

    • #26

      and what if the mother is the one who bought the too short outfit for her daughter? :-(
      If you see something say something.
      The lack of tznius, and the lack of knowledge of tznius is appaling and must be corrected.


    Is the author of this op-ed suggesting that ALL men are pigs and therefore…

    It’s one thing to come make a few suggestions about things you feel need to change, but to stop the whole thing, why?

    There is Halacha (Jewish Law), which dictates on these matters. There are Rabbi’s that can give guidance on this matter. As long as this is done in accordance to Shulchan Aruch, I see no problem.

    If the author wrote an op-ed, where she points out issues which are contrary to Jewish law, I would give her the time of day.

    Suggestion: If you ever feel uncomfortable with a situation, just leave!

    • Misunderstood....

      No one said ALL men are pigs. But as of now there is no way to tell the difference. Even the man himself doesn’t know until he is placed in the situation.

      Chazal Said אל תאמין בעצמך עד יום מותך
      and אין אפוטרופוס לעריות. To say that anyone is above having a Yetzer Harah is ridiculous, and yes, sometimes we do need to go a bit above the letter of the law.

  • Kol Hakavod

    Thank you to the writer for bringing attention to this serious yet commonly overlooked issue.
    About time schools and seminaries start taking these points in to consideration.
    One more suggestion, not calling girls by first names.

  • Rush Limbaugh


    The average femanazi is a hypocritical dictator and a sexist. They tend to believe the male gender is conspiring against women and show no restraint in heaving up utter nonsense, which they refer to as ‘an argument’.

  • Cholent Mit Kugel

    How about a Bais Yakov principal insulting and being rude to a student in front of the whole student body? Nebuch, her neckline was a tad too low. Those comments stuck with me til today, six kids later….

  • 100% agree with you!

    It really is about time this is spoken about in our communities. Maybe this article will be the opening to a much needed discussion.

    Seminaries all over Israel and the U.S. have this trend going on for years.
    Seminary girls like it either because of intimidation or “Chasiddish” reasons.
    I must say that very few girls appreciate the long farbrengens and talks with Rabbis because of true pure feeling and intention.

    It is not “Chasiddish” to farbreng with a Rabbi far into the night or have lengthy discussions, especially with very young newly married Rabbis.
    And we all have heard the horrific stories that went on in specific seminaries as a result of such close contact.

    So thank you for bringing this up – it is high time this is taken care of!

    A post Sem student.

  • It's a sad day if we can need to discuss the possibility

    Yes, there needs to be boundaries.
    But having chassidishe yiddin teach gives us access to a alot more knowledge ie:chassidus, halocho.
    And farbrengens. We benefited very much from this.
    Can it be improved? Sure.
    But it’s sad that a girl or girls feel the need to address it in a public forum. Surely, if you mean l’maan hoemess, there are more discreet ways to do so. This is just to sensationalize. Nobody put a gun to your parents head. They should have asked. But they wanted you in such seminary. To go and spit in the bowl that fed you is wrong.
    You could’ve contacted your school together with other talmidos and had this discussion in private, discreetly.
    But you want sensationalism
    Nothing modest about that.
    This article is feh!! Nit shain.
    Makes me feel awful for no reason! feh!
    You are insinuating bad behaviour with no wish to improve this, or you should have done so with class, in private, sincerely.
    No class, feh .

    • ksure

      Actually your response is nit shein. You want to sweep yet another problem under the rug. Pathetic.

    • Man Farbrenger

      You’re wrong, I’ve heard this brought up by girls all the time, and the male farbrengers, as chasidish as they are, don’t understand, they claim that they need Mashke in order to talk, so they ignore the girls complaints.

      Girls are not boys, and when a man sits and drinks he is very intimidating and sometimes after a drink he’s very callous, he thinks that girls and boys are the same thing and that he can be cute and sometimes a little too sharp.

      If you must drink, then maybe you shouldn’t farbreng with girls, find yourself another outlet.

      And again I come back to the point that Halachically it is forbidden for a man to drink with girls. Check out the Halacha of Beis Din sending out messengers during Yomtov to checkout the drinking and the consequences (with the exception of Purim), a Halacha the Rebbe mentioned many times.

      So because that for so long the girls were ignored, it’s time to go public, maybe a public discussion will raise awareness.

  • good points!

    your points are really important to be said, even though most men as you wrote, were most likely not intentionally trying to step out of line. To #9, If a Rov says that a male can teach in a Seminary, then it’s fine, It’s when people step out of line that needs to be addressed.

    To the author; As others have mentioned, a husband can and should tell his wife gently (at the right time and place) about her Tznius issues.

  • Bella

    I appreciate your honesty! Although I was never a Seminary girl, this is really a primer for any girls who have a male authority figure to contend with.

    Yasher Koach, keep up the good work! Honesty is the best policy, especially in guarding young girls!

  • thank you!!!!

    Thank you thank you to the writer and to for publishing this!!!!!
    I could have not said it better!!!!


  • Emes

    Have you ever heard of Rabbi Manis Friedman. He has brought THOUSANDS purely back to Yiddishkeit, Farbrenging until early hours of the morning.
    Now it’s true that there are very few Manis Friedmans.

    • Anonymous

      Its about balance, that man is so serious he could be talking till sunrise and the girls would feel they still have their space. Doesn’t make it right but it helps if they’re not sending mixed signals.

    • Manis

      So do the laws of Yichud not apply to him? Have you ever opened a Talmud and read some of the stories of MUCH greater sages that succumbed to yetzer horah? Don’t be fooled, Manis also has one.

    • thank you!!!!

      Manis friedman should also not be allowed to do that!!!
      Why is he any different than any one else???!!!!!

  • farbreingen

    chassidse bochurim shuld farbraing with chassidsh girls maybe more shiduchim will happen

  • Changes must be made

    I refer you all to Rabbi Jacobson’s My Life Episode 33 where he directly alerted us to this issue, citing, as he does so well, sources from halacha and the Rebbe, regarding this issue. Hilchos yichud applies to all people, without exception.

    I work in one of the women organizations, and can tell you that after hearing that episode changes began being implemented by the faculty in our mosad. But it can be a bit complicated due to pre-existing positions and attitudes, pride etc. Some mashpi’im have been made aware of behavior that cannot seem in any way inappropriate, even if it’s all above board, appearances in this matter make a big difference, and its always better to err on the side of caution. Ayn aputrufus l’arayos.

    Sadly, we have seen some consequences from lack of proper boundaries and the time has come to deal with this decisively once and for all. We do not need to wait for other tragedies to happen.

    U’msaymim b’tov.

  • Chaya

    Our problems in tznius today stem from the fact that husbands are telling their wives that the way they dress is wrong. If the husbands won’t than who will?!.?

    • Round 2

      I am IY”H getting married again (at age 60+). I asked my future husband – Please, never tell I am not dressed tznius. A whole discussion erupted! We have known each other for a long time – and he has never seen me dressed inappropriately – why would I start now? IF he feels the urge to say something – he should say VERY gently something like “you might feel a bit uncomfortable (in those clothes) where we are going. Then we can discuss the issue and I will decide on my own how uncomfortable I want to be (feel like – as many just dont FEEL like it!).
      We are in an era where tzniut is one of our biggest challenges. Women and girls dont want to hear anything from anyone. It’s a BIG problem. We need to look deep inside and see where we are heading.
      PS – no one points out that someone is immodest when her skirt is 1/4 inch short – or shirt is a “drop” too low… usually it is 4 or more inches short – and WAY too low.
      Thanks for listening!

    • @50

      SO…IF he feels the urge to say something – … Then … I will decide on my own how uncomfortable I want to be (feel like – as many just don’t FEEL like it!).

      HUM at 60 you still think what you feel has more bearing than what G-d feels?????

      Wow, no wonder the younger generations are having such a hard time if this feel good nonsense is all they have to look up to.

  • Tzniyus for men

    Religious men( moreover shluchim) meet with women in high positions, and that is acceptible. The opposite is not. Why are there no rules of tzniyus or restrictions for men?

  • Male Rabbi

    This is very insightful. It will surely assist in my future kiruv work. Thank you!

  • anonymous

    When I was in Machon Chana many years ago, I had questions about cholov Yisroel and moshiach and the Rebbe.. Rabbi Majesky, with a secretary present, took precious time to explain to me the importance of cholov Yisroel and the Jewish view of moshiach and the Rebbe. I wish I had a recording of his answer because it was done with much wisdom. Instead of a blanket statement about men not teaching females, maybe the author should speak to Rabbi Majesky who has had a lot of experience of teaching women (and probably horaas from the Rebbe n this subject).

  • YMSP

    Kol Odom SheYesh Bo Yiras Shomayim Dvorov Nishmoyin. When the mashpia were not of the garden variety they acted in such a way that no one complained.

    But….. she’s 100% wrong on tznius and that’s today’s sickness, that no one can say anything to anyone no matter how important. Asking – demanding – that talmidim and talmidos follow halacha and act like Jews is an important part of chinuch. People are so self-centered today that they don’t care what the Aibershter wants and that narcissism leads to big problems in life (such people when older may throw away marriages, have problems raising kids, etc.).

  • never tell.a woman she is not Tznus

    I agree, if you find a problem with the way she dress act accordingly,

    Wife, divorce..
    Daughter, banish…

    • Good for u

      I can’t agree more! Don’t even have the discussion with the wife she should know better. And if she changes her outside just because you told her you don’t like it then her inside is still boiling and will overflow in places that you will not see. So when you see that sign just leave her and move on

    • someone

      i have no idea if this is serious or factious.

      however, it is most certainly a husband’s or parents responsibility to do something about the tznius, and what should it be according to this author?

      and the same is regarding a principle.


    Excellent,spot on article. I would add that the same applies in high school. I personally know of one horror story which resulted in divorce.

    • YMSP

      LA is very very different (as is FL while we’re at it). VeAshrei mi shelo boh l(shom). Most people can take mashkeh and even if they cause a rukus, they don’t do zenus ch”v.

  • I agree with all the points BUT

    Every point you made is true and should be considered and implemented


    As you mentioned, the said “Rabbis” are grossly unaware of how their well intentioned positions might be received.
    You clearly state this, but the tone of your article completely disregards the innocence and well meaning rabbis involved.
    Your tone is accusatory and a bit insensitive.

    I am thinking of all the hundreds (yes hundreds) of hours of dedication that our teachers put into their lessons and farbrengens. I think this article might very well be an offense to it.

    All the points you make should be taken into account but please don’t color ever rabbi- student interaction as somewhat inappropriate, because its not!
    Def place restrictions and increase awareness but don’t be small minded and write it all off.

  • Esty B

    Very well thought out and explained. She raises good points about small things men might not realize could be uncomfortable for girls. For those teachers who know better, no harm done in saying it. And for younger, newly married ones, hearing a girl’s perspective may help them be better in situations where they work with girls. I agree they quietly addressing it is the best way to approach inappropriate behavior, but when it’s a young rabbi who may not realize and a girl who is too shy to say something, this is helpful.

  • if i may add..

    Enjoying a girl’s personality/company under the banner of “teaching” chassidus. thank u so much for bringing this up -it was about time. may it be Hashem’s will to continue growing in “His Ways” the way He wants us to!

  • Extreme... Please don't over do it

    I was in seminary, high school and went through the Chabad system. This is so immature and untrue. The girls who start saying things are the ones who have no confidence.

    I LOVEd farbrengens in seminary. The rabbi inspired me so much until today.

    Maybe the girls should dress tznius so the rabbi didn’t have to tell you.

  • Repress nature>

    With a vengeance.

    Nature is not a game: it is a fundamental standard. It must be obeyed to be controlled.

    V’hamavin Yovin.

  • Yisroel

    To 16:
    If you want to pull out the Halacha card, then the Halacha is clear “Stay very very far away from woman’ is a Halacha in Shulchan Aruch not a quote from some 21st century Charedi Gadol or some musar sefer.

    Many of these rabbis (do we need to name them CHV) and I am a man, are not only not staying very far away but coming too close. You can nitpick with some or many of the specifics of this authors article but the general message and spirit of the article is spot on. It’s time to limit Rabbi’s interactions in high schools and seminaries. It is well known that there are many Rabbis who are doing things extremely inappropriate and it’s about time it’s brought up in a public forum.

  • A shlucha

    To the girl who wrote this. It was very brave of you to share your opinion. However, Their is something about a male presence as a mashpia that is very much needed for girls. When done in the appropiate way. I don’t know what seminary you went to but every seminary that is well known as chasidishe is not what your describing. If the girls parents are teaching their children to have such thin skin and to be so sensitive to rabbis comments. Then where are Theres or her priorites. It takes 2 to tango. Lubavitch girls are not like other chassidishe sects we are familar with the outside velt even if we don’t go to school with boys. On the contrary The girls need to know How they dress does effect people especially rabbis. who in their defense are sacrifcing their precious time with their families and wife. To be under the thumb of immature girls. When will these girls grow up and reaklize a pound of make up and being flirtacious or walking around half dressed . Is just as big of an aveirah as mechalel shabbos.

  • Very post sem

    i finished sem nearly 20 years ago, and one of the least inspiring moments of the year was at one of these late night male mashpia farbrengens. He was left with a bottle of vodka, which was half emptied through the course of the evening, and between 1 & 2 in the morning he past out on our living room floor. We had no idea what to do with a sleeping man in our dorm at 2 in the morning. it was very creepy, even though he did not say or do anything even mildly inappropriate ( except of course just being there at that hour).
    Not only that, but we were actually warned by hanhalah that this would happen, and it was his “yearly practice” at the sem……….but they still invited him to speak every year!!!
    Don’t agree with everything the article says, but lat night male farbrengens should totally be skipped or at least fully supervised with no alcohol .
    Tachlis, I always found that the farbrengens with women were so much better because we could sing niggunim, and a farbrengen without a nigun is always missing something .

  • To "Grammatician"

    I believe the term is “Grammarian”.

    As for this article: Yes, it is well-written in terms of content. The points are very valid & since many girls away from home are particularly vulnerable, hero-worship is likely for some. I understand the writer’s concern – I too know of more than one nasty situation where the “mashpia” & “mushpa” became too close, to the point of divorce.

    Her words are important, but I feel they will have little effect unless the whole structure of male teachers-female students is re-vamped.

  • Horror stories

    Can anyone please tell me a horror story that accured from a male mashpia in a seminary? (Without any names of people or seminaries of course) I never heard of any and it seems odd, hence, I wonder if people are just trying to stir the pot!

    • I do

      But you won’t believe me because as you say (quite rightly) you don’t want names or identifying features. Yes, I know of a young girl who became inappropriately close to one of her teachers & he left his wife & children for her. (I know her parents). This one was fairly recent, but don’t think for one minute this is the only case.

    • To horror stories.

      B”H I don’t personally know horror stories, and those that do would probably not share them here. But, I do personally know girls who have
      ” fallen for” or had huge crushes on their young, handsome, clever, chasidishe, perfect married, male teachers. And I know for a fact, at least one of these men fully knew about it, enjoyed the attention, and encouraged her behavior until a third party stepped in to make sure it didn’t turn into a horror story.
      I think it would be wise for sems to only employ male teachers above the age of what a sem girl might find attractive, not newlyweds or guys who are hardly out of yeshiva themselves .

  • to be addressed?

    of course!
    just the fact that someone took time to feel, think, write, and send this article provves that this needs to be addressed.
    in addition the article AND comments, it is understood that this topic affects people in this community strongly.
    to those who have been affected negatively, bring it up with people you trust and help othres to create boundaries or teach from your growth and experiences so others wont have to be in your situation again.
    to those opposed to even bringing this topic up- women who were once girls in these situations are bothered by it! this means there IS a valid reason for this to be up for discussion. this is coming from within, not from someone outside who is trying to ridicule or make low of the community. the writer cares and wants to help, change and feel safer.
    those who feel that they have no problem and its just the sidelines with no need to be addressed- you have no place for this- you live in a community if there is a problem and you consider yoruself part of this community this HAS to do with you too! look within yourself – is there anything to change? if not, then give what you have- your experience, your passion for whats right, your strength, help your community- help yourself.

  • There are some good points BUT

    I don’t like the disrespectful was this young lady speaks about or to teachers, mashpiim or principals. There is a lot of criticism, negativity, repressed anger perhaps and a very pessimistic and rude tone in her writing.
    This is how a lot of seminary girls speak and their attitude displayed towards teachers (both male and female) and any authority bichlal.
    I know because I work with a seminary and have seen this first hand with girls speaking about and to staff in this manner

  • To the Rabbis

    I hope enough Rabbis go on
    This should be addressed at the kinus hashluchim. You can never be too carefull when it comes to tznius between married man and single young girls.

  • Hinda Schryber

    What fascinates me here is how many people write anonymously…………. is it so difficult to put your name to something so important. Is this about shidduchim or what the nieghbours think or what.
    As a therapist and social worker dealing with the fallout of inappropriate behaviour i can tell you that if you do not think it is happening then you are in fantasy land.
    And until we all stand up with our names and say stop it will sadly continue and more nehsomas will be destroyed.

    • Citizen Berel

      You meant to comment on the JCW thread. Neshomas being destroyed by fallout you are dealing with in your professional capacity relates to this issue by means of fantastical projection.

    • Your anonymous friend in Israel

      Go Hinda! i would put my name here, but to be fair, you know as well as I that if someone comments under his/her own name, he/she is just “asking” for flak.

      As for the article – it was very well written and quite unsettling. Like someone else said, food for thought. I bet it happens more than we think. It’s abuse, taking advantage of these girls who are too naive to realize what’s happening.

    • Say what???

      Does Citizen Berel know what he is talking about? Because I don’t. I know what Hinda does. Yes, she deals with victims of abuse but what do you call a girl whose teacher entices her for a bit of fun then drops here like a hot potato? Or embroils her in a nasty divorce?She’s a victim. Just because it isn’t CSA or rape doesn’t mean abuse of trust wasn’t there. I’m a teacher, & we have a responsibility to be professional at all times. Once a teacher crosses that line it doesn’t mean it’s OK because she is over 16 & she was flattered by the attention.

  • Seminary principals

    Had a seminary principal who went through girls drawers (underwear included) looking for tickets to some show girls had bought tickets to, which he had decided was not allowed. But looking through the drawers when girls were in class, and coming to the form at all hours of the night to ‘schmooze’ was ‘allowed’…. And a tendency to curse in front of and to his students was ‘allowed’.. It is beyond me how such men are in any positions at school/seminary, let alone at the helm of it. I don’t think he motivated or inspired one girl under his ‘leadership’ to become a better person or to grow in yiddishkeit – as seminary should hopefully do. On the contrary he left many with a questioning taste. Most of all, it was his wife we pitied..and his family. His completely inappropriate behavior and moodswings could not have been saved just for us…

  • Larry

    You write they may not realize that is uncomfortable to girls well to that I say if they don’t realize then that in it self is a problem they should be aware

  • Parent

    It is the obligation of parents to talk to their kids about tznius. The father or mother. Whom ever the kids will relate and accept from most.

  • in sem now

    Im in seminary now and ill tell you one thing. ..when there are rabbis who farbreng and they drink, about half the crowd is gone, spaced out and not interested. In fact, we had one rabbi who came to farbreng and when he was offered mashke he did not accept and he explaine that he doesnt drink in front of girls and he doesn’t think its appropriate. Girls were so impressed and really enjoyed and gained from that farbrengen!

  • wow!! wow!!!!

    So true and well articulated. As a man who thought in girls schools, I would add – 1) pay attention to your walking it should be kahalacha. 2) always keep a door open or similar so as not to be private.
    I totally agree on the tznius point. Not the men’s place to correct. I will say that even to one’s own daughters, not always will it be productive for the father to comment.
    Many of the male gender have no understanding at all of the female characteristics , even though it is explained in detail in chassidus, many don’t connect chasdidus to real life.
    Again, thank you thank you.

  • I absolutely agree

    The author of this article is absolutely right. These things should be no brainers and it’s surprising that this needs to be said. Mechanchim and mashpiim, a little common sense please when you are dealing with young ladies. And girls, you need to empower yourselves. Listen to that voice that says, this is uncomfortable, this is awkward, I’m not sure this is okay. If you’re having doubts, most likely it is NOT okay even if rabbi so-and-so endorses it. Go with your gut feeling. If you feel the relationship is getting too close, get out of it. Don’t overshare with your male principal/teacher, as dedicated and caring as they may seem. Find a female mashpia to pour your heart out to. They are out there, you just need to find the right person. A male should NOT be a mashpia for a woman, period.

  • Landlords R a problem too

    A related issue:

    Single girls who rent basements deserve FULL privacy and tznius boundaries. The landlord cannot just waltz into their apartment at any time to “check on the furnace-boiler”. Nor is it appropriate to shmooze excessively with the renting girls.

    When I was renting from a “chassidishe” family, the “chassidishe” husband would often enter the basement apartment UNANNOUNCED and at late hours when we were already in nightgowns.

    When my parents complained to the landlord, he responded, if you don’t like it, rent somewhere else! (But anyone who rents a basement with other girls knows: It is not easy to find another place).

    This is going on now, on your block, and we are helpless, frustrated and disgusted by such “chassidishe” men..


    • simple solution

      Another one – tell his wife. If he’s doing it to you, he did it before.

    • Landlords R a problem too

      I am sharing the basement with a few other girls – we cannot change the lock. Also he SOMETIMES knocks but demands IMMEDIATE entry without waiting till the “coast is clear”. I hope he is reading this – it is not just untzniusdik, it is un-menchlich and disgusting.

      Oh, and his wife is oblivious to reality, as many women are wilfully blind, so when we mentioned it, she jut laughed it off!

    • reply: to landlords r a problem

      How about: is there a man (a family friend from anyone of your friends) that can put him on the spot? first from 9:00p.m. and on dont open up for ANYBODY. u need a man who can put him on the spot that from 9 and on he can’t ‘just’ walk in your apt. if he tells u find somewhere else -best a man or yourself tell him or make him feel I’M PAYING I’M THE BOSS! AND MY RULE IS FROM 9 AND ON NO ONE MAY ENTER!but u have to put your foot down. may Hashem help u to be successful!

    • Landlords R a problem too

      The landlord uses the excuses that he MUST immediately check the boiler / heating system / hot water / electric panel. ALWAYS at night! He makes it sound like an EMERGENCY! And he does this 2-3 times EVERY week!

      This guy is well respected and he might be YOUR neighbor. He might daven next to you in shul.

      Some of the girls I share the basement with have no problem with it – but I do!

    • reply: to landlords r a problem

      U have 2 problems first i see u have no man who can put his foot down. second the other girls can’t help u since they r not disturbed. thats big. ur very brave for wanting to do the right thing. if u cant have guts and put your foot down as i mentioned before then really its upto u. as much as its not easy to find another place but if u are stubborn enough to do what Hashem wants because u know what he’s doing is WRONG then Hashem WILL grant u success. as the rebbe says “yagati umatzase taamin”. Hashem WILL reward u for ur efforts for as thr frierdiker rebbe says “no effort will be without results” but its upto u. hatzlacha! p.s. i dont live in CH

    • Potato Kugel

      I think I know who this creep is. Actually I know of a few such creeps. My advise to the girl: If it feels wrong, then it IS wrong. Don’t put up with this dreck. I don’t care how long this guy’s beard is, he is NOT chassidish or frum, he is KRUM and a perv.

  • georgie

    The truth is I have been thinking that Rabbis really shouldn’t be teaching women. We have enough intelligent and well educated women who can do the jobs just as well.
    Too many young girls are vulnerable , especially those from troubled backgrounds, divorced homes , or where there isn’t a male figure to guide them.
    I remember many of them seeking out attention from male teachers while we were in high school.
    The Rabbis themselves are vulnerable as well.
    I agree that mashka has no place at a teaching session and if it becomes a schmoozing session – its not a good idea at all.
    It not insulting either party the rabbis or the young women, its just smart to make and keep guide lines.
    A Rabbis wife would do well to monitor the situations and if she is in doubt she should join the session and work together with her husband to make it the best , and most appropriate session – possibly by deciding beforehand that questions and topics that would lead to uncomfortable areas -are referred directly to her.

  • Levi

    “She will most definitely repeat the story to many friends and you will be accused of a lot worse.”

    Um, wow. Do you realize what you’re implying with that statement?! So, basically, any comment made by a male that makes a female feel uncomfortable will invariably lead to unjustified (and presumably grave) accusations leveled against him.

    Although this article makes a few valid points, there is a misandric undertone which is alarming.

  • Non Crown Heightser

    We had this issue already with a seminary in Israel about a year ago and there were a few articles written at that time.

  • Former Dorm Counselor

    I was a dorm counselor for a group of sem girls and in my role had many, many one-on-one interactions with Rabbis and Mashpiim. While for the most part everyone stayed in line, I can not emphasize how easy it is for things to become inappropriate. I will never forget a Farbrengen with a certain widely recognized and famous Mashpia, who is very experienced in teaching girls. He became very, very drunk and I remember sitting there in total disgust as he slowly became more and more free and wild. He got really loud and crass and I decided it was time to remove my girls from the situation so I literally interrupted him, gathered the girls and walked out. While most of the girls thanked me for my decision, some felt that we should have stayed since this was what would happen by Chassidishe bochrims farbrengens and they wanted “the real deal”. Still, I stood by my decision and did not regret it. The Rabbi left to his own devices soon left the building and got lost in his drunken stupor. He was missing for the rest of Shabbos and was eventually found by police sleeping on a park bench. It was shameful. More than anyone the women and girls in leadership should speak up and set boundaries.

  • Anonymous

    To #64-I don’t know if anyone already responded to your comment because I had to stop reading to write this. What you wrote is terrible. It’s hard to believe you are a shlucha.

  • Counselors/Mediators a problem too!

    men should not be counseling or doing mediation for women in bad marriages or newly divorced. they are not professionals and therefore do not have appropriate boundaries. not when it involves meeting them alone late at night in their cars or alone in their homes or anywhere else private. and not when it is done without their wives knowing. neither should these men be texting the women for support as texts easily become inappropriate. neither should they be discussing intimate subjects with these women or commenting on their appearances. although these women are adults they are just like these girls vulnerable and victims of their situations. this has become a big problem in our community

    • taken advantgage of

      right on! a so called crown heights mediator did marriage counseling between me and my husband and ruined my marriage by having a relationship with me. i was scared and feeling lonely and he took advantage of me. so many women use him and i wish i can openly say his name so that he will stop but i am too scared of him. i am left with a ruined marriage and he has moved on to other women. we sat in his car late at night to talk about my problems. we met behind his wife’s back. he texted me all the time and discussed very private things.

    • it happened to me

      A BIG NAME GUY!! I would be too scared to speak against him. Flirted with me courted me while doing marriage counseling. He contines to text me now. My husband suspected something was going on. Its so wrong. He is married.

    • Hinda Schryber

      I have just dealt with a similar situation here in ISrael. believe me if he is doing it to you he is also doing it to others. Please try in any way you can to get out of this relationship and report this man to whoever you can. You will be believed and many women and men will thank you for it.
      For this man the ” chase ” is the thrill. And it could be an addiction. There are helplines and many people who want to help you and will not judge you.

    • enough

      TAKE HIM DOWN!! It doesn’t matter that he does so much good all the bad doesn’t get washed away. He chases after the vulnerable.

    • danger to other women

      it happened to me exactly what you describe. must be the same big name guy. thinks he can get away with anything. tell his wife someone please. only thing that will stop him.

  • Former dorm counselor

    As a former dorm counselor who dealt a lot with these mashpiim and farbrengeners I could not agree more! There were many situation were I felt terribly uncomfortable especially when the Rabbi’s drank too much! The other dorm counselors told me I was exaggerating and that it was just a Chassidishe farbrengen but I didn’t buy it because it is never okay for a Rabbi to fall asleep in a room full of girls! I was also so uncomfortable that our sem mandated us to have private Yechidus with our mashpiim a few times a year to discuss our future and how we are growing in chassidishkiet… There are plenty of strong inspiring woman who can fill these positions and sems need to make strong rules and boundaries for Rabbi teachers. I saw a lot and have been saying this for years!

  • to former dorm counselor

    It seems that too many girls and young women feel that to be Chasidish, they have to imitate Bochurim style, in farbrenging and running out late to 770 at all hours. We each have different roles, and routes to Chasidishkeit. There is something very not feminine, and I would say opposite of “kol kvuda bas melech pnima” to be so “out there” in bochurim style chasidishkeit.

  • Right on Target!

    THis Article Is Amaizing!
    Having grown up in the Lubavitch system from preschool to sem i have had many male teachers.
    The Rabbi teachers who kept a proffesional distance from us girls were held at a much higher regard from us. When Rabbis have clear bounderies and dont joke or try to be “friends” with us, we can relax and actualy learn. And we respect them.
    Having the male teacher who is friendly, jokes or talks to much to us, made my friends and I very uncomfterable. Its not fun or constructive sitting in a classroom with a male teacher who is not sticking to a proffesional teaching style. I would go so far and say the teacher is actualy being NOT Tznius.
    Tznius is not just about clothes. It is about your behavor as well.

    I had have many great Rabbi Teachers and have Learned a great deal from them!

  • chill

    try to look out these male teachers, as people and relax. develop an intuition t know when fun and jokey, is turning into creepy at seminary age a girl should know the difference

  • Thank you

    I can’t thank you enough for bringing up this topic. From the stories I have heard I think its about time our
    Chabad Rabbonim come out with a clear psak that it is
    forbidden for male mashpiim and male shluchim to fabreng with females! B”h we have enough women who are eloquent,compassionate, and educated to farbreng with our girls and mekuravim. I believe that
    the lack of boundaries between male and females are
    way out of control. It is time to bring tznius and eidelkeit back to our community!

  • Sara

    I really gained from the men teachers and their Farbrengens. The author brings up some good points. The girls need to realize that the man is probably just as uncomfortable too.

  • To 71 and the rest of the readership

    As a Shlucha and Mashpiah, this is B”H unknown in my circles. But I am a BY graduate and can speak of my experiences in two BY High Schools and Sem. One was very right wing (chnyoki as they come) one was more liberal (principal and male teachers clean shaven), one was RW without the chnyoki part. We had male teachers and principals in all three schools, and bad experiences in both extreme schools. All males were middle age and older, some went overboard, one even began lessons with the words “we girls..” Some of them were famous Rabbonim who doubled as mashgichim in Litvishe yeshivos, were mechaber sforim etc. I go back close to 50 years scanning my memory. Some things are unpleasant and even embarrassing to remember. One of the teachers (white bearded and revered today, ob”m) was the tznius guard at the door!!!!
    In the high schools of my knowledge in Eretz Yisroel (and I can’t vouch for them all) Mashpiim, Shluchim and Rabbonim come to speak at farbrengens, leave the podium and the women take over. I have never heard of any Mashke being used at all and this truly is shocking. There is no way that The Rebbe has nachas from this!

  • In my humble opinion....

    As a post sem girl who has been through many CGI summers, dorm life and 2 years sem, and currently working for shluchim, I really appreciate the advice Mrs. S. Kaplan of Tzfas gave me many years about dealing / speakingwith unrelated guys:

    “Not one extra word”.

    And it’s true- if I stay on task and do what needs to be done, so do the rabbis, and everything is smooth. But when a girl/ rabbi starts joking and teasing, where do you draw the line? So easy for things to escalate. Sticking to what your job is – if you have to interact with men – (better for a single girl not to be working with guys, if she can avoid it) The safest way to make sure things don’t go awry (and even then you can never be SURE!)

  • Yossel

    Perhaps an older Rebbitzen should be present at all Farbrengens with a Rabbi. Also, lecturing and yelling at a woman for not dressing Tznius, especially in this day and age, won’t do a thing to improve the situation.

    You must approach your wife/daugther gently and kindly and have a meaningful dialogue about their manner of dress.

    Regarding alcohol, in this day and age, it seens that it belongs more in the category of SHALOSH KLIPOS TOMAOS rather than Klipas Noga. Ive seen alcohol KILL Chassidish men, turn them into pathetic drunkards who fall down on their faces on the sidwalks of Crown Heights on Shabbos after a Kiddush, breakups of marriages, and the flow in 770 of you-know-what from the men who toss their cookies all over the shul is just plain disgusting and a Chillul Hashem. Wine for Kiddush is one thing, strong booze is pure evil.

  • From a girl

    reading between the lines of this article…Firstly, seems to me that being that these are “all based on true stories”…the stories sound a little shady. like not 100% black and white. In connection with this: another point, many times: even girls who are very chassidishe girls will not know their own boundries when it comes to men even married men (although in truth there is room to say that the fact that they are married gives more leeway in comparison to a not married man but there is a fine line of sensitivity here)… so many girls dont know their own boundaries. in my personal opinion, begging a man farbrengener to stay later. Agree/ disagree with various things.
    Strong Disagree: “Never in your right mind tell a girl she is not tznius, and this may even apply to your own daughter or wife. It’s NOT your place. It’s wrong, and very creepy. You will accomplish nothing. The girl will never look at you the same way and you will turn her off. She will most definitely repeat the story to many friends and you will be accused of a lot worse” that is extremely extreme. It is never comfortable for anyone to be told that they are not dressing appropriately by anyone?! Yes if you look at this from a subjective point of view could be the fact that hes telling her how to dress etc….but if its from a very objective removed position there is no need to be “extremely turned off”…!? why is she going to tell the story to her friends… obviously to her it is more subjective than objective- get my point? and to accuse someone of a lot worse just for a story is downright disgusting.

  • yossi & berel, CH

    It’s a sad day IF there is actually a discussion if rabbis should be farbrenging with girls!!!Even sadder is to read that some are foolish enough to farbreng while imbibing themselves with alcohol!??In such an inappropriate setting?Say it ain’t so!!

    A FARBRENGEN is almost by definition an intimate, lowering of the guard get together
    which was supposed to be used for kedusha, it is a contradiction in terms when a rabbi farbrengs with women.

    First point that a father should not educate his wife and daughters is the only slip up in the essay which can be attributed to the youth of the author

  • Ex Shlucha and Ex Wife

    My ex husband was one of those “Rabbis” that used to “farbreng” and learn with women. Nearly a decade later, I am still picking up the pieces left by his inappropriate behavior and am raising a houseful of kids alone. And a number of them have walked away from Chabad for obvious reasons.

    Part of the problem is that no one tells these “Rabbis” (sorry, can’t take seriously someone who behaves like that in the name of shlichus) the rules and boundaries of behavior when teaching women. No one tells them before they go on shlichus how long they should be present at farbrengens, not to drink, not to swear, etc. etc. But maybe it’s about time that they did.

    My ex used to swear at the Shabbos table full of young women and he used to drink himself into oblivion. When I called him out on these points, I was told that this is “shlichus,” that drinking lechaims gave him the confidence to farbreng and fight off the yetzer hara, and that there’s nothing wrong with swearing in front of these girls because they were off the derech and this was the kind of language and “frank” conversation that would appeal to them.

    When I suggested that I should start learning with these young girls and women, he told me that I was incapable of teaching them – even though I would do his shiurim with them when he was away and the women seemed to enjoy them.

    If someone in Tzach could have monitored my ex and shown him some boundaries, maybe this would have saved an innocent family a lot of heartache.

    Today, my ex is with one of those young women – a girl who had a massive crush on him that he indulged until …

    I don’t wish to share any more details than that. However, please understand that behind every one of these “Rabbis” who are, from the comments above, rummaging in sem girls’ underwear drawers, sleeping in drunken stupors in front of girls, and swearing, a family. A wife. Probably children. And a lifetime of pain, suffering, and damage caused by their inappropriate behavior. I know because I’m there.

    • Hinda Schryber

      Dear…… Thank you for sharing this tragic and very sad personal experience.
      There is no other way to describe this other than abuse and a narcissistic personality disorder.
      There is absolutely no need to resort to profanity in any way and of course it is not shlichus. It is simple ” flirting”.
      And putting you down was a way to keep you quiet and shameful.
      And yes behind every badly behaved husband is a very humiliated and often frightened wife.

  • After reading

    all the comments, we see how real and serious this issue is, and is not only seminary specific. If anyone can now still disagree with the author, they are then part of the problem, not solution.

    • Ladies Drink!

      Ladies drink as much as guys do, but we usually mix our drinks (vodka and OJ or cranberry juice). We also drink more when the guys aren’t around!

  • Shlucha

    So I was checking with my female relative in EY who teaches and is involved with the farbrengens at the largest girls HS there, and she told me the following: just very recently at a class Shabbos, a “Mashpia” farbrenged with the girls and drank, and drank, and drank- a grand total of three bottles of Mashke. I personally would call it vodka because it surely not holy!
    And ..the girls were thrilled. This to them was a bona fide genuine farbrengen with all the trimmings!
    Said “Mashpia” had said before the farbrengen that since he had missed a farbrengen with them for some reason, he would give this one his “all.” Had he nothing to offer when not under the influence? Frightening!
    Och un vey! How could he be called a Chossid and Mashpia if he disregards one of the Rebbe’s strictest horo’os?


    Dear #116,
    Tzach should have called your husband out on his behavior however I doubt there’s much they could have actually done about it or that the issues are because “no one told him”. The fault totally rests with your ex who either is an alcoholic or has a personality disorder as Hinda Schryber suggested.I speak from personal experience.Unless he makes the decision to get help,your ex will always blame you and others for his issues while doing his best to bolster himself by tearing you down.

  • Shlucha

    Just as in so many aspects of our lives, it is time that our Rabbonim spoke out and made strict guidelines for this issue. Just like the tznius guidlines for schools, this is a matter of pikuach nefesh. It is high time, as well, that a kuntres in different languages be published with all the Rebbe’s horo’os for newcomers as well as eltere Chassidim, who either forgot or never knew them to begin with.
    Guidelines to internet use, mixed forums etc. must be included, as well as guidelines for Shluchim. They should be enforced by a governing body of Rabbonim (with achdus, please) so that the next photo gallery of a Chabad House dinner or any other activity under the title Chabad will make the Rebbe proud.

  • ARTH

    I don’t have any objection to these proposals. They seem reasonable, sensible, proprietary, and sensitive to the feelings that I would conjure such girls would have. Nevertheless, I have to ask, Was there actually any wrongdoings here?

  • Anonymous

    I would think the men would know better than to be alone with girls,especially with what happened to Weberman.

    • crown heights so called counselors

      i think one in our community is headed for a fall. too many are on to his ways of coming on to the women he spends hours with alone as part of his very intense marriage counseling

  • Anonymous

    these article is way too delicately written, and implies girls should feel uncomfortable around guys, as opposed to the (wild, unthinkable) alternative that its part of the problem.

  • Thank you

    As a male teacher of young women, I found this important article eye opening. Thank you to the author who had the courage and the clarity of mind to write this. And thank you to those who posted constructive comments. Although I see not everyone shares the same sensitivity to this issue as the author, it is my aim to serve every student’s needs, and I firmly believe that this author’s sentiments represent the opinion of a significant number of students.