Synagogue shuts counseling center due to ‘immodesty’

Volunteer says rabbis may have been upset by presence of female soldiers in “immodest dress” - pant uniforms as opposed to skirts.

May 25, 2010 05:57
1 minute read.
A Shabbat dinner for lone soldiers.

soldiers shabbat comic 311. (photo credit: Pepe)

A counseling center for lone soldiers at a Jerusalem synagogue was closed recently by the synagogue’s board of directors because it was deemed “immodest,” The Jerusalem Post has learned.

A volunteer from the Michael Levin Memorial Center for Lone Soldiers said Sunday that about two months ago the group was given permission by Jerusalem’s Yeshurun synagogue to set up an office and social club in the basement of the building where lone soldiers could go for counseling, to do their laundry or just to relax. However, volunteer Joshua Flaster said that a week and a half ago the synagogue’s board had unanimously voted to shut down the office.

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Flaster said he got the impression that the presence of female soldiers in “immodest dress” (pant uniforms as opposed to skirts), had upset the rabbis who study at the synagogue.

“Obviously we weren’t holding or planning on holding parties there – but we did want male and female soldiers to be able to sit and watch TV or grab a bite to eat on their way home,” Flaster said.

Yissachar Pollack, executive director of a body that oversees the operations of the synagogue, confirmed that modesty was the issue, and said the synagogue had not agreed to allow the office to be used as a place for male and female soldiers to fraternize.

“There was a request made for an office at the synagogue to be used for lone soldiers to come and receive help. We thought this was a great idea and we immediately agreed,” said Pollack.

“What we can’t allow, what no synagogue can allow, is for a holy place to include a social club. This is absolutely an issue of modesty,” he added.

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