NEW YORK – It’s less of a sex scandal than it is a sex shanda, an embarrassment.
Oh... and there may not be any actual sex involved.
The Yeshiva University student newspaper, The YU Beacon, has lost its funding and created an uproar after publishing an anonymously authored account – possibly fictional – of a one-night stand between Yeshiva University students.
The story recounted, in relatively nonexplicit language, a premarital sexual encounter between an Orthodox boy – who takes off his kippa before going into the hotel room where the meeting takes place – and an Orthodox girl studying at the university’s Stern College for Women, who changes out of her modest clothing before the tryst.
The story, “How do I even begin to explain this,” ends with the woman regretting her decision to engage in premarital sex. It was posted with the caveat that its content “can be perceived as offensive by some readers, so reader discretion is advised.”
The story received over 41,000 hits online and caused tremendous controversy, prompting the student council to revoke the paper’s funding, which was $500 this past semester.
The paper is the only coed press at the school, and is a joint venture put out by students at the university’s undergraduate schools for men and women, Yeshiva College and Stern.
“In light of recent developments, YU and the Beacon have agreed to separate,” an announcement read on the YU Beacon homepage. The paper will continue to publish, but no longer as an official club of Yeshiva University.
In a post titled “The Explanation,” editor-inchief Simi Lampert defended the editors’ decision to publish the controversial story.
“This article does talk about sex,” Lampert wrote.
“Yes, sex. And the premarital kind, too. Yes, this is assur [a sin according to Jewish law]. No, we don’t encourage or promote the act of premarital sex. However, it happens. It happens in our community, and we as a community prefer to pretend it doesn’t happen.”
Lampert apologized to those upset by the article, but wrote that she did not regret the decision to post it.
Her co-editor, Toviah Moldwin, resigned from the paper on Friday, as did the Beacon’s news editor, Devorah Deutsch.
“It’s not just that, ‘Oh, we’re a university, so we believe in free and
open discussion about anything,’” Moldwin told The Wall Street Journal.
“There is also a religious institution that’s called the Yeshiva
The religious part is very much a part of what the institution is and believes in.”
“This article has started great debate in YU and many people are
bothered that it was published in a YU newspaper,” one commenter, Scott
Kalmikoff, wrote. “I don’t believe the article had to go into such
detail, but I do believe that articles like this one need to be
published more often.
There is a much bigger issue that the article is bringing to the
surface.... So many people in the frum world feel like they have no one
to turn to in a time of need.
Could we really turn to our Rabbis, our ‘friends,’ our parents if we had
this problem?” While his comment garnered 60 “likes,” other comments on
the article were less favorable.
Adam Rosenberg wrote that “to publish this type of article in a
newspaper that claims to be representative of the students of Yeshiva
University is a slap in the face to everything that this institution
“This article is the most disgusting thing I have EVER read!!” Tamar
Berger posted. “I don’t understand why someone would write that on
there!! Why do they even go to Stern?!?” “By censoring this article,
rather than addressing it, the YU administration is continuing their
policy of ignoring the large portion of its student body that does not
conform to their every ideal,” Yehuda Stiefel posted. “Whether the issue
is premarital sex, drugs or excessive drinking, the time has come for
YU to recognize that these are prevalent within its student body, and
hiding from the truth will only further ostracize portions of its