Students attending national religious schools are to begin studying a new subject next year – sex education, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
The new course, titled "Home, education and family," will deal with contraception, premarital relationships, modesty and the status of women. It is also to deal with "family purity," or the Jewish law that addresses married couples' conduct during menstruation.
The subject, which has gone largely unaddressed in the national religious education system, has received the rabbinical seal of approval. It is to be taught in system's coed high schools, as well as the ulpana and yeshiva high schools.
The course material is primarily based on a book penned by Rabbi Eli Sheinfeld of the Chorev Yeshiva, titled "Nature, Heart and Mankind," which is considered to be the undisputed authority on religious sex education.
"Not much has been written about the issue, for obvious reasons," Sheinfeld said.
Moshe Weinstock, on of the program's initiators, said that this is the first time that the controversial topic is broached in religious schooling.
"The studies will deal with love, the relationship between the sexes, and issues that have been considered taboo, like sexual intercourse, the use of contraception and raising the age of marriage," he said. "If we don't talk about it with (the teenagers) now, we never will."