All the Rabbinic organizations should instruct their Rabbis and all Rabbis should include this in their pre-marital counseling sessions that should be mandatory for all couples whose weddings they perform
All Mikvahs should have this material on display
all JCC's and similar organizations should also have such material available and accessible
Answered by: Rabbi --- Not Active with JVO Suspended
Thank you for your question; once its meaning was clarified to me, I value your asking it – because even opening the inquiry shows the kind of courage that can help correct the very challenge you are seeking to solve.
It is true that Judaism has something to say about every aspect of our lives; the term “Torah,” to me, means a breadth and depth of wisdom that goes beyond virtually any finite bounds, and that is always open to new discovery and innovation. The stories in the Talmud of the students who ask their rabbis personal questions unrelated to a specific text, or even the story of the student who hides under his rabbi’s marital bed to discover the mysteries of sex, end with a common refrain: “Torah hi, v’lilmod ani tzarich – this too is Torah, and I must learn it, Rabbi!”
And so, if treated with the proper sensitivity and gravity, conditions affecting one’s intimate life and relations should not be taboo from counseling and listening ear of a rabbi. That said, in many cases, a rabbi would not be the most properly-trained professional to help treat medical conditions that may be underlying the symptoms of pain or discomfort that arise during sex. In these cases, the rabbi or other Jewish communal professional has two important roles:
The rabbi should be an open presence, a listening ear, in a way that alleviates any sense of shame or taboo. Often, young people may feel isolated in their pain or problems, because they feel as if no one else shares these conditions; they can feel alone and unsupported – and therefore afraid. The Jewish community should never let someone feel this way.
The rabbi or other Jewish professional should also recognize his or her limitations, in the scope of professional training, and be able to offer recommendations or references of trained professionals (physicians, therapists, or the like) who might offer the help needed.
In this manner, we can build a community that is supportive of one another in all aspects of our lives – avoiding stigmatization, and providing the comfort and help for our needs, both public and private.
There is much the Jewish community can do and has done to help with this issue. The question can go in a couple of ways, this can include couples who have issues such as infertility or couples who have developed an STD. In either case, congregations can properly provide direction to resources in the community. Brochures placed in the bathrooms, discreet announcements in the monthly newsletter or links on the website are all ways to steer such couples to the treatment that they are seeking.
On a more elemental level, synagogues should not be afraid to teach Jewish views on sexual and reproductive ethics to the teens in the class. We often hear from opponents of sex-ed in public schools that kids should be learning about these issues at home or in their church. While I disagree with this as a blanket statement, there is a proper place for a discussion about sexual ethics in the Hebrew High/Confirmation class and that discussion should properly include what one should do if sexual issues arise.
Copyright 2020 all rights reserved. Jewish Values Online
N O T I C E
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN ANSWERS PROVIDED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL JVO PANEL MEMBERS, AND DO NOT
NECESSARILY REFLECT OR REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE ORTHODOX, CONSERVATIVE OR REFORM MOVEMENTS, RESPECTIVELY.