During the month of Elul, hundreds of high school graduates flock to Israel for their gap year programs, yeshivot, and seminaries. This year offers experiences of high level learning, spiritual growth, increased maturity, new friendships, and fun. But many students experience confusion, particularly around their developing sexuality. The legendary “Night of Tears” refers to the night that some yeshiva boys and seminary girls are encouraged to end their boyfriend/girlfriend relationships for the greater good of full time Torah study. On the other hand, the phenomenon of clubbing, drinking, and hooking up is real. Are our educational institutions teaching agency and self-control, or fear and self-loathing? What are the consequences of negative messaging about sex? How can we educate religious kids to navigate intimate relationships with respect for boundaries, and with consent and safety, while simultaneously emphasizing halacha and Jewish values? Finally, in light of a recent incident of rape reported at YU, how do we keep our institutions safe? Join Talli Rosenbaum and Rabbi Scott Kahn for this difficult but necessary discussion.
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