Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable Behavior

If Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt’s habit of bringing boys and young men with him into the sauna was perfectly acceptable, why was it kept hushed by leaders of the congregation (“With Sauna ‘Secret’ Out, Riverdale Shul Faces Tough Choice,” June 5)? Why wasn’t this announced from the pulpit: Boys and youth, take off your clothes, your rabbi wants to mentor you.

Would you allow your son to be drawn into a shower, sauna and hot tub, naked, with Rabbi Rosenblatt, also naked? Then why subject the children of your fellow congregants to such humiliation?

Social attitudes may have changed, but Jewish law has not. Such behavior is unseemly and unacceptable, period.

Let me raise a question that I have not seen discussed: If Rabbi Rosenblatt wanted to conduct his mentoring of congregational youth in a shower, sauna and hot tub, what happened to the young women of the congregation? Were they simply to be denied rabbinical mentoring because they could not be brought into the men’s shower? 

Department of Religion Dartmouth College Hanover, N.H.

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