Female and male teachers must be separated at the workplace, according to Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the rabbi of the settlement of Beit El, north of Jerusalem.
"Those who educate our children in schools where the sexes are segregated must practice what they preach," he said.
Aviner made the remarks in his weekly article in a synagogue pamphlet entitled, "With Love and Faith."
Some of the questions the article dealt with included: "Is it acceptable to hold orientations with both male and female teachers? Co-ed workshops? One teachers' lounge for both sexes? Field trips or work seminars with members of both genders?"
In his response, Rabbi Aviner said that "a major rule in the Torah is that men and women must keep very far from one another. Not just distance themselves in a moderate way, but keep far from each other."
According to the religious leader, "these principles apply to all Israelis, all the more so for those who have taken upon themselves the holy mission of educating children and Israel's young about the Torah and the mitzvot."
The rabbi said he believed an answer to above mentioned questions "was almost not required" and ruled that work seminars and orientations must be segregated by sex.
Conditions for co-ed activities
In the rest of the article, Aviner lists the six conditions that stipulate when it is acceptable to hold co-ed encounters "when there is no other choice": In a lecture where men are sitting in the front of the lecture and women are seated in the back, places of rest and ceremonies, the discussions should be segregated and co-ed discussions, if they are held, should be very business-like.
"The seating of male and female teachers together is an educational necessity," the rabbi explains, "thus it is important to make sure that everything is very businesslike and not social, that only professional matters are discussed, the teachers are not seated in a circle but rather around a table, men on one side, women on the other and they should not tell jokes or stories."
Aviner said the atmosphere in work seminars should not be pleasant, social or friendly, especially if the same group frequently returns to meet over a long period of time and stresses that "sometimes some women may dress in a manner that is not modest – which causes sin and embarrassment.
"What we see as right for male and female children, we must first practice ourselves," the rabbi concluded.