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Lecture out of town, gender separation?

 
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amother1223




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 6:46 am
I live out of town, in the southeast of the USA. Our orthodox (mainstream orthodox, not modern) synagogue sometimes has lectures, learning classes and the like. The events are never separate seating, and I find it distracting to be in a learning environment that’s mixed. Am I the only one? Any advice?
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sequoia




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 6:52 am
The lectures at Hineni were always mixed.

I’m sure Rebbetzin Jungreis wouldn’t have done anything wrong.
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amother1223




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 6:58 am
sequoia wrote:
The lectures at Hineni were always mixed.

I’m sure Rebbetzin Jungreis wouldn’t have done anything wrong.



I hear you. So do you think outreach situations should be the same as frum community situations? Is the audience demographic a factor?
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singleagain




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 7:00 am
amother1223 wrote:
I hear you. So do you think outreach situations should be the same as frum community situations? Is the audience demographic a factor?


I think that if something about a program bothers you, bring it up to the person in charge of that program
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Not_in_my_town




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 7:04 am
When I lived out of town in a BT community, davening was strictly seperated but all classes and kiddeishim were mixed. I never found it distracting. It was just normal.

I can understand that someone coming from a frum mindset would feel uncomfortable, but I think that has more do with mental conditioning than anything else.

Could mixing be problematic? Potentially. But I'm not sure that it's assur. In fact, I can imagine it's not.
My rabbi was what they call "a rabbi's rabbi." He was the one rabbonim would call with shailos, and he allowed mixed classes.

Personal feelings and halacha aren't always equatable.

I think a lot of BTs would feel very uncomfortable segregated for non-prayer events, especially if it limited their ability to communicate, such as being behind a mechitzah. I think it would also be discouraging because they couldn't sit next to a spouse or a friend who might be their support in a scary situation. And yes, coming into a frum environment and not knowing what to expect can be very, very scary. It's the unknown.
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amother1223




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 7:15 am
Not_in_my_town wrote:
When I lived out of town in a BT community, davening was strictly seperated but all classes and kiddeishim were mixed. I never found it distracting. It was just normal.

I can understand that someone coming from a frum mindset would feel uncomfortable, but I think that has more do with mental conditioning than anything else.

Could mixing be problematic? Potentially. But I'm not sure that it's assur. In fact, I can imagine it's not.
My rabbi was what they call "a rabbi's rabbi." He was the one rabbonim would call with shailos, and he allowed mixed classes.

Personal feelings and halacha aren't always equatable.

I think a lot of BTs would feel very uncomfortable segregated for non-prayer events, especially if it limited their ability to communicate, such as being behind a mechitzah. I think it would also be discouraging because they couldn't sit next to a spouse or a friend who might be their support in a scary situation. And yes, coming into a frum environment and not knowing what to expect can be very, very scary. It's the unknown.


I am a BT. In a lecture it’s fine for me for it to be mixed. Learning environment I find it uncomfortable to be mixed, it’s difficult to express yourself with the other gender in dialogue IMO
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 7:17 am
amother1223 wrote:
I live out of town, in the southeast of the USA. Our orthodox (mainstream orthodox, not modern) synagogue sometimes has lectures, learning classes and the like. The events are never separate seating, and I find it distracting to be in a learning environment that’s mixed. Am I the only one? Any advice?

Ask around in your community.

Just be aware that if the vast majority are okay with the mixed seating, they may not be thrilled if you try to change it.
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shabbatiscoming




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 7:28 am
amother1223 wrote:
I live out of town, in the southeast of the USA. Our orthodox (mainstream orthodox, not modern) synagogue sometimes has lectures, learning classes and the like. The events are never separate seating, and I find it distracting to be in a learning environment that’s mixed. Am I the only one? Any advice?
What about mixed learning or a shour is distracting? Everyone is there to learn, not socialize.
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amother1223




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 7:41 am
shabbatiscoming wrote:
What about mixed learning or a shour is distracting? Everyone is there to learn, not socialize.


I feel like by nature learning in a mixed environment is socializing. Also our kids are separate in class, why shouldn’t we be?
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amother1223




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 7:42 am
amother1223 wrote:
I feel like by nature learning in a mixed environment is socializing. Also our kids are separate in class, why shouldn’t we be?


Btw I’m not trying to “be more frum” it’s just a general feeling about the mixed environment learning. It’s in a beis medrish btw and they pull up the cloth mehitza so I’m also like why don’t you just keep it there
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OOTforlife




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 7:43 am
amother1223 wrote:
I am a BT. In a lecture it’s fine for me for it to be mixed. Learning environment I find it uncomfortable to be mixed, it’s difficult to express yourself with the other gender in dialogue IMO

If your community switched to separate learning only, then you'd probably have very few learning opportunities and they would be limited to the topics usually provided for "women's shiurim."

Practical advice for being less distracted - arrange your seating so that your immediate neighbors are women. Look at the instructor or at another woman when addressing the group.
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essie14




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 8:00 am
I always attended mixed shiurim in OOT America, in NY, and in Israel.
We are all adults. I don't see a problem. Clearly none of the shul/organization leadership or rabbis had a problem with it either.
OP, if this is how your community does it, presumably that's how most people want it.
Can you sit on the side with some female friends so you're not surrounded by men?
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shabbatiscoming




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 8:13 am
amother1223 wrote:
I feel like by nature learning in a mixed environment is socializing. Also our kids are separate in class, why shouldn’t we be?
As adults, learning in a mixed crowd is vastly different than having hormone raging teens learning that way Smile
To me a shiur, mixed or not, is a social event.
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Aurora




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 8:46 am
I hate separate seating. I feel like once I'm stuck behind a mechitza it's harder for me to pay attention since I can't see the speaker as well, and I also get my questions ignored so much.

OP, I understand that you're uncomfortable. But I'm sad when I show up to a shiur and then it's made harder for me to learn.
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cbg




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 9:02 am
I live in Aventura FL, close to NMB
We have seperate seating for lectures
But the women sit downstairs in the mens section
One side women one side men so no mechitza
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tichellady




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 9:38 am
what is distracting for you about it? really can’t relate.
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Living Princess




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 11:20 am
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chocolate moose




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 1:58 pm
it's not davening and it's not a chassidsiche gathering, right? If it bothers you, speak up. But I'm sure some will take offense.
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naturalmom5




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 02 2022, 3:17 pm
I guess you need to know your crowd. If it primarily FFBs that are chasidish or ultra yeshivish you will want it to be gender segregated for social and political reasons
If it’s BTs or people who lived OOT most of their , DONT , just Don’t
All you will accomplish is weird everyone out and put a bad taste for learning in their mouth , particularly women
I am frum over 40 years and still if I go to a Shiur and see a mechitza , I am out the door before you can say door
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