The purpose of these protocols is to serve as a safeguard and enforce that which is prohibited by the Halacha (Jewish Law) and its spirit. It does not seek to replace the Sexual Harassment Prevention law but rather to compliment it and adapt the law to fit the social frameworks of the religious society.
The Reason for the Protocols:
The number of sexual harassment and sexual assault cases is increasing throughout all levels of society. Due to this fact, it was found necessary to create regulations and define rules of conduct for persons of authority to prevent sexual harassment and/or sexual assault, without hindering the possibility of conducting conversations of a personal and/or sensitive nature. In addition, these protocols will protect an authority figure from false accusations.
The regulations are directed at heads of institutions, principals, educators, teachers, instructors, rabbis in educational and community-based positions (hereinafter: "authority figure") in personal relations with students, those in National Service and the community of the authority figure (hereinafter: "the students").
• Every religious educational institution will hold a yearly public awareness campaign that will explain what is considered sexual harassment, as well as steps to be taken in such a case.
• Every religious educational institution that provides theoretical or professional certification training to graduates, and any association that employs those in National Service will educate the students about sexual harassment and how to deal with it by publishing regulations as required by law, and conduct lectures on the subject.
• The head of a religious educational institution with students under the age of 18 is required to ensure that the professional staff within the framework of the institution will inform the students, of the possibilities available to them in the event of sexual harassment, at the same time, maintaining the modesty standards of the institution.
Personal talks (between an authority figure and one of the opposite sex):
1. Personal talks in the institution will only take place during work hours (preferably not during the evening and night, even if these are working hours), and when there are additional people in the building. The talk should be held in a room with the door opened to a public area or in a room which can be observed through a window.
2. It is recommended not to hold personal talks in the home of the authority figure. If, however, it is necessitated (for example, after a class which takes place in the home of the authority figure), the conversation must be conducted in a public area only (such as the living room or kitchen), when the spouse of the authority figure or one of the adult household members are awake at the time.
3. The authority figure shall position a separating object (such as a table) between himself and the student during the meeting.
4. The authority figure shall be careful not to directly or indirectly (using an object) touch the student in any way.
5. When the authority figure schedules a meeting with the student, the student will be given the option to have another staff member, student or other person of his choosing, attend the meeting.
6. In the event that the authority figure identifies an intimate problem related to the sexual sphere, the authority figure will refer the student to a special advisor appointed in each educational institution (a male counselor for boys and a female counselor for girls).
7. In the event that the authority figure identifies emotional distress requiring professional care, the authority figure will refer the student to those able provide such professional assistance, either within the framework of the institution or professional public care services (Emunah counseling offices, help centers, Kupat Holim, etc.).
8. The authority figure shall take care not to have any conversations of a sexual nature with the student, use any words of an intimate nature or refer to the appearance and body of the student.
9. A personal comment on the modesty of a female student will be given by a woman only.
• An interview to be accepted to the institution will be treated as a personal talk (see section 1)
• Joint study session: A regular study partnership (hevruta) between an authority figure and a student may only be conducted with at least two other students participating.
• Joint travel: When traveling alone with a single student in the vehicle, the student will sit in the back seat and not in the front seat next to the authorized person.
• Non-silencing – The obligation to report: If a member of the institution’s staff becomes aware or has suspicions about a staff member being involved in sexual harassment, he must act to clarify the matter and prevent it being silenced.