Sunday, May 28, 2006

Beware the Classified-Parts 2 & 3

Part 2
After alarming us with this story, she warned us that "no matter how long his beard is, and I don't even care if he eats Yoshon! You don't know what he has in mind"

Some readers have accused the Bais Yaakov system of telling us that men are pigs. Well, it's because of men like these that we're told not to trust anyone.

I was looking through some of the classifieds after that, and whereas a "frum office" used to seem appealing, now, it seemed fishy. That was a frum office, too, and look how that turned out.

But I don't even mean molestation and things like that. What other bloggers have written about what goes on at their "frum" workplaces, and what I've heard from some of my working friends, "frum office" means nothing anymore. People talk openly about sex, they curse, and interaction between the sexes sometimes can cross a line.

My teacher even said that if the guy leans over a little too close, you know something's up, and watch out for it.

Frum people aren't what they used to be.

Part 3

Another thing that I think is important about this scenario, is that I'm fortuante to have a teacher who is open enough to talk about these things. She wasn't explicit, and we knew what she was saying. She sees the importance of our safety, and instead of being in denial of men's sexual desires, she told us that we must be aware of these predators.

She's unique in the fact that she doesn't pretend to be sheltered. No, she doesn't read the Post with her morning coffee, but she is up on the times. She's extremely street smart. She learns from all experiences, her own, and others', and even shares that with everyone else.

I hate when teachers deny reality. I respect her for making us all aware of the situation. Some might say, "how can she say this to young Bais Yaakov girls...?" but that's foolish and setting them up for disaster.

None of us can judge the victim. We weren't there. Maybe he was convincing, and he seemed official and serious. But I'd say that a girl was exposed to the media in her childhood would certainly be more on guard. Would she have left? Who knows. That's why I feel some commentors haven't given the girl the benefit of the doubt (something I'm not too good at doing, as we know). Everyone seems so sure that if they were in the situation, they'd smell something right away. You weren't there. Neither was I.

I don't think the girl was dumb. I think she was sheltered. She was a victim of the taboo Bais Yaakov culture of not telling girls about men's sexual ta'avos that are not always well-contained.


At 5/28/2006 1:56 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Bais Yakov schools are designed to shelter girls from basically everything. They grow up in a bubble and have the mentality of children.

Easier to control them that way.

At 5/28/2006 1:56 PM, Blogger shtaiger said...

hey, michelle, mind sending me an email so that I can have yours, thanks!

At 5/28/2006 2:35 PM, Blogger jemima3 said...

I agree with the gist but you can't pin it all on the Beis Yaakov system. What about parents? It is primarily their responsibility to make sure their children are not too naive and aware of the dangers out there. As parents, we cant just rely on schools and sems and hope that our kids know all that they need.

At 5/28/2006 7:12 PM, Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

There is no question that the system bears a lot of responsibilty for this and many other woes inthe frum community today!!!

At 5/28/2006 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we got to go back to the old fashion style the men go to work and the women stay home with the children and keep the house under controll that's how it worked the last 2000 years we even see it in the gemara however if the girl does go working she's gotta learn to take the consenquence there's always a match to start the fire I've seen a lot of frum girls at workplaces and bh there very happy there noone ever told them a word but some girls at work flirt with their coworkers then when the coworker says something they get all exited if the girls are serious the workers r also serious u can call me shlomie

At 5/29/2006 1:48 AM, Blogger jemima3 said...

anonymous - I think you forgot to add that women should wear burkhas whenever they're allowed to go outside the house!!

At 5/29/2006 12:10 PM, Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

Jemima- I agree! lol.

At 5/29/2006 3:42 PM, Blogger notahottie said...

ok so "you gotta call me shlomie" it's good you also called yourself anon. anyway, michelle, you're absolutelyright when you say that you're lucky to have a teacher like that and she's right for teaching things that all of my teachers were too scared to talk about. all we learned about was how if you have enough emunah you don't need any hishtadlus because if you really want your husband to learn money will literally fall from the sky (i think one teacher actually claimed to have seen it happen) and also it's important to wear midcalf skirts. luckily, i figured a lot out on my own, but i don't think most girls in my class did.

At 5/29/2006 5:12 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

notahottie--first of all, why would say something like that about yourself? But, hey, that's none of my business. Okay, so anyway, what you said about the women's Hishtadlus, for all I know, we had the same teachers. I always thought the Learning vs Working thing was too basic, yet WAY too intricate to get into.
You'lll hear the version I heard in my "Learning v Working" piece that I should start working on.

Jemima3-You're right. Unfortunately I have had way too many encounters with inept parents, and just hope that the schools overcome their errors, but they don't.

Orthoprax-Ummm, I'd say you're a little extreme in your assessment, but nontheless accurate. They don't want us to know that anhything else exists. When we find out, they get SCARED. But the way I look at it is if we know about it in the right way before we know about it in the wrong way, it'll save a lot of parents a lot of hardship.

At 5/29/2006 5:22 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Michelle, its a fine line. On the one hand you dont want girls to be totally contaminated by the outside world and lose that special eidlkeit that I regretfully lost many years ago. On the other, its very IMPORTANT to for the parents, school, community etc.. to teach them some streetsmarts. I have seen so many sweet, extremely gullible, tmimisdika girls be exploited so easily by boys.

At 5/30/2006 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

for everyone's information-I work in a frum office where strict guidelines of tznius are enforced and my boss would never dream of calling me by my first name etc. Don't despair-there are still frum and principled people out there. Please don't make this a general tirade against the frum population.

At 5/30/2006 7:23 PM, Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

The schools have to teach the girls how to deal with the workplace. Besides, if they're going to tell the girls to marry a learning guy and get out there, doesn't it follow that they should give them guidance in dealing with the issues that arise there?

And perhaps the girls that are more easily influenced and not so "shtark" should either marry working guys or make sure to work in a frum environment. Everyone knows themselves best, and in a situation like this, having an across-the-board approach isn't good. This is one of those situations where some things work for some people, and others need something else.

At 5/30/2006 11:32 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...


"Ummm, I'd say you're a little extreme in your assessment, but nontheless accurate. They don't want us to know that anhything else exists. When we find out, they get SCARED."

The whole culture is based on ignorance. The same way Bais Yakov schools keep girls in bubbles do the community leaders promote the proscription of college educations and the use of public awareness tools like television and the internet.

Independent thinking is what scares them. The goal is to produce conformity and cookie cutter lives. I think you know this already.

I know this may all sound extreme, but I do believe it is nonetheless accurate.

At 5/30/2006 11:37 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...


"On the one hand you dont want girls to be totally contaminated by the outside world and lose that special eidlkeit that I regretfully lost many years ago."

You don't think you are now better off with your more sophisticated understanding of things?

I don't get the fixation of innocence, aka ignorance, as a positive personal trait. It's cute in toddlers but kids need to grow up.

At 5/30/2006 11:43 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...


"And perhaps the girls that are more easily influenced and not so "shtark" should either marry working guys or make sure to work in a frum environment."

Don't cater to the ignorance, fix it at the source! Teach the girls, educate them. Then they'll be able to look out for themselves.

Its downright offensive to hear that grown women need coddling.

At 5/31/2006 6:15 AM, Blogger debka_notion said...

You might also remember that men are not the only ones who can be sexually abusive. It's more common- but there are women out there with the same nasty problems. Sexual abuse isn't a one-way problem.

At 5/31/2006 2:58 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Debka-I understand, but statistically, it's mostly men. And in the frum community, I'd say it's mostly men as well.

Ortho-that's why I praise this teacher highly. She teaches in an extremely sheltering high school, but is sure to inform these girls of the real world, because she feels their safety is more importance than their ignorance. Now if only they were all like this!!

Semgirl-what do you think caused you to lose the eidelkeit?

Isaac- I guess I failed to mention that we're also told not to work among Goyim. Another reason OT, PT, Speech and Special Ed are so ideal. Only have frum clients (or even with Goyim, you're not among many) and only work in frum schools.

I think they forget that this is America. You can't avoid Goyim. They founded this country. We're only here temporarily, as visitors in Galus. But, they ARE HERE, and in order to get by, we will have to interact with them, and better to so nicely and politely than "holier-than-thou"ish and condescending.

Great points, everyone! :-)

At 5/31/2006 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a look at the comments on and see how protective frum people are of a molestor.

At 6/01/2006 11:14 AM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Michelle...I would have to say it was too much involvement with boys in High School.. I've had boyfriends since I was 15. As a rebellious adolescent it was a lot of fun, and I really craved the attention.

But now looking back I see what I lost. If I have daughters I hope I can prevent from going in that direction.

At 6/11/2006 6:45 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

No it was R Orlofsky's tape that told us men were pigs. lol

At 7/06/2006 12:57 PM, Blogger Ronnie Schreiber - Publisher/Editor said...

Men aren't pigs, they are men. Many women are either naive or deliberately deluding themselves about male sexuality. I see this in talking with my daughters. All things being equal, if encouraged, most men will respond. Some men, unfortunately, don't wait to be encouraged. Unless you are incredibly fat, ugly or both, chances are that most men would have sex with you if they had the opportunity. In fact, there are men who desire 400 # women, so even fat ladies can find sexual partners.

Men are naturally promiscuous.

At 7/06/2006 4:47 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

the editor---I guess so. Do you think ALL guys are like that? It's funny how sex is so taboo in Bais Yaakov, but in all that, they teach us all men are pigs. Except OUR husbands who are gonna learn in Kollel all day and live like leaches off their parents/in-laws.

At 8/02/2006 10:45 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

I don't see how you can accuse the Bais Yaakov system of being negligent in educated girls to be worldly & wary when you say that BY teachs that men are pigs. I'd say that's a pretty strong warning!(Also a pretty strong reason to be afraid to marry one of those male pigs...)

At 9/09/2006 11:51 PM, Anonymous u can call me shlomie said...

B"h there are so many heimshe work places where the men are nice eidle frum people .they are people who don't hand over papers etc. To their female co workers by hand to hand its just a matter on how much research you do on the place u go work in I.e. Talk to other girls or women that worked in that office ask people who do business with that office there are a lot of heimshe kosher good offices out there its just the womens responsibility where she wil go work to make sure she would feel comfortable


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