Little did I know, the Orthodox Union was just about to drag my ass through the schmutz with this one.
The OU has just debuted their too cool for Hebrew school site negiah.org (negiah is the restriction against physical touch with the opposite sex).
Billed as "The first abstinence site for Jewish teens" (oh great, can we expect more?) it is as packed full of lies and distortions as any of the Christian sites. For instance, condoms are ineffective. Then why not go on the pill? Because of the hideous and deforming side effects!
"These include migraines, gall bladder disease, increased blood pressure and liver tumors. Worst of all are the increased chance of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes."
Sure, these are all on the label but you don't see Rabbi Herschel stopping his heartburn medication because it causes rectal hemorrhaging or toxic epidermal necrolysis in less than 1% of users, now do you? How about taking mom off of those nasty anti-Alzheimer's meds. I mean, in less than 1% of patients there was retinal detachment and cerebral hemorrhage!
Putting forth the same arguments and massive sweeping generalizations that the Christian sites are promoting, they talk all about the horrors of sex. AIDS, date rape, guilt, regret, not to mention, having your soul cut off (kareis) which they describe as possibly meaning you "die prematurely or childless" (!) and suicide (!) are all things you can expect if you pop your cherry before you toivel in the mikveh.
Now, the bible is full to the rafters of rape, polygyny, incest and sex out of wedlock. Do we teach this? Only when it serves our purposes.
But when Lot offers his daughters for a big gang rape to the men of Sodom is he punished or is he praised for protecting the strangers in his midst? Why do we not teach this story?
Are we to believe that Shira and Yossi kissing in the woods at Camp Ramah are going to suddenly get HPV, drink until they pass out, go on welfare, and then commit suicide?
What would be ideal - and this is directed at anyone from the Orthodox Union who is Googling this (in my wildest dreams) - is not to follow this path of misrepresentation and keeping up with the Christians.
Rather, continue real sex education for Jewish kids. Negiah and taharat hamishpacha has always been important to Orthodox Jews. Teach it and remember, your children are intelligent. Describing the..
"genital discharge and a burning sensation when urinating (Sounds like fun, huh? Sexy, too!)"of an STD is not going to stop kids from having sex. Honest, careful parenting won't even prevent some kids from tossing family or community rules off the cliff of teenage angst. Regret and mistakes are a part of being a teenager. It just is.
When they will find out that in response to their natural curiosity and hormones, you are offering them distortions, exaggerations and lies, you will lose them.