Defining relationship boundaries at work
Rabbi Azriel Ariel, of the the Israeli organization Hotam, which works to propose Halachic solutions to societal problems, has called to address the phenomenon of romantic relationships in the workplace.
He stressed the need to create a behavioral code that will prevent unhealthy relationships that destroy families.
"The Halacha wants a man to work, but the purpose of work is to support a family. Therefore, one has to be careful that the Frankenstein's monster doesn't rise up against its maker," the Rabbi said.
"It's crucial, then, that very clear boundaries be defined so that if a man is required by his work to cross his red lines, he will know that it is preferable to quit that job than to destroy his family," Rabbi Ariel said.
"Additionally, when there is a universal red line, my colleagues can help alert me when it is being crossed," said the Rabbi, citing an instance in which a woman saved the dissolution of a family in this fashion, after identifying an unhealthy relationship at her work.
Rabbi Ariel notes that while there is room for work-related conversation between men and women at the workplace, the difficulty lies in defining the grey area. "When does a professional conversation turn into personal one? When does 'small talk' between friends at work turn into sharing personal life details with a colleague?"
Rabbi Ariel also calls for the government to encourage part-time work for mothers, by a change in day-care subsidization policy, so that women can invest more time in the home.
"We need a real change of policy here, since the Office of Economics really encourages full-time work for women because it is a condition for getting a discount on day-care.
"What if a woman wants to invest more time in the home and the kids? Instead of encouraging her, it hinders her. This is a national mission. It's possible to raise the pension age for women to encourage them to work part-time, and they can develop careers later in life."