In Kosher Sex, we started the semester with introducing the words Kosher Sex. The students were asked to define what they believed that word meant. At first students believed that the class would mostly revolve around very strict laws and that they didn't really know how much of the the law would apply to modern day society. From there we explored Jewish law regarding sex, The students learned that most of what is written about sexuality in Judaism is primarily after marriage. We discussed in detail how Judaism believes that sex is a natural but very sacred act that should not be taken lightly. We talked about the concept of B’tzelem Elohim, and how that concept encourages an approach romantic relationships that is not consumed with how the body looks but rather what type of soul occupies that body. The students took a critical look at how society offers teenagers certain troupes about sex and relationships and how they could look to their Jewish values for influence instead.
The students really wanted to talk about healthy relationships. So we began again with asking them: what did they think a healthy relationship looked like? We spent three weeks talking about what they wished for when they were ready. We did an activity to see exactly how much time they would have to properly contribute to a relationship, but most of the students realized that they had very little time to offer another person as well as properly make time for themselves.
From there we moved on and talked about modesty, laws regarding masterbation and the ideas of virginity in society and Judaism, internet safety and finally the legal and personal dangers of sexting.
We finished our semester with writing a letter to our “future-selves” as to what we needed in a relationship. Many of the students were hesitant to share. But they focused on what their needs were.
Snapshot moment: One of the coolest moments came at the end of the semester. One of the students was talking about a friend that recently had broken up with her boyfriend because he didn't have enough time for her. She spoke about how she used the activity we learned in class about time management and making time for yourself and seeing if you had time for a partner to comfort her friend. But most importantly, she talked to her friend about what it means to be ready to have a relationship with another person, and taking time to grow and mature and not starting down that path until you truly know yourself, This 8th grade class really walked away from this class with a suitcase full of Jewish values. My hope is that they take their time, and know themselves before embarking on the journey of loving another person.
Contact Midrasha Co-Directors Mark Deutsch and Debra Marx at (510)501-6692