Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sherut Leumi

With the recent discussions of Sherut Leumi -- national service in Israel for women of army age -- I sent some questions about this issue to some friends and they came back with some interesting information. Keep in mind that the discussion has changed from what it once was: Sherut Leumi was originally proposed as a mandatory draft of young women, which great Torah scholars vehemently opposed. It is now an entirely voluntary program.

It seems that R. Tzvi Yehuda Kook generally viewed Sherut Leumi favorably provided that a girl is placed in a spiritually appropriate atmosphere. Someone spoke on my behalf with R. Ya'akov Shapiro, the son of R. Avraham Shapiro, and he said that girls who may be influenced negatively should not do it. But for other girls, it is fine provided that they are in a proper atmosphere. R. Mordechai Eliyahu, as related by his son R. Shmuel Eliyahu (link), seems to be cautious but not entirely against. R. Avigdor Nevenzahl is also quoted as having permitted Sherut Leumi, when in an appropriate environment (link).

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