Tzfat Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu Shlita has come out with a new restriction regarding frum women serving in Sheirut Leumi.
The rav responds to a question in the weekly “Olam Katan”, seeking to understand if females may serve in Sheirut Leumi. He states that in keeping in line with the p’sak of his father, HaGaon HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu ZY”A, females may serve providing they adhere to certain conditions.
One may serve in a private home or in a private setting similar to a home but certainly not if the home is under the responsibility of others. There must be an appropriate atmosphere in the place one serve, and certainly not with police or a hospital.
According to the Kipa website, the rav’s primary concerns surround who is responsible for the females during their service. He states only parents or one who is very close to the parents or shares their concerns for the young lady’s well-being, such as a trusted agent may be directly responsible for the volunteer, since for them, they are genuinely interested in protecting the volunteer’s interests. She must be totally free to distance herself from someone who may wish to take advantage of her.
The rav explained that his father was in favor of Sheirut Leumi in principle, but not supportive of what the system has become, as it is operated today.
This is one of the issues raised by the chareidi tzibur, that too often; young women are under the responsibility of strangers and are left to fend for themselves in a strange and possibly hostile environment.
Rav Eliyahu echoes concerns recently expressed by HaRav Tzefanya Drori Shlita, who heads the Sheirut Leumi program.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)